Tonight just before dusk we walked through a park near the guest house where we're staying in Bangkok. In this huge, densely populated, modern city parks are a place where people can gather, relax, and be active. It was also a neat cultural experience for our family!
The park was beautiful with walkways, ponds, green grass, trees, and water features surrounded by a panoramic view of the glittering lights of skyscrapers. People were doing the normal park things of walking, jogging, and skating but in addition we saw a couple of outdoor aerobics classes and a Tai Chi class (but we'd never seen it done to music before!). In one pond the fish were obviously regularly fed. They were absolutely thrashing over each other near the surface to get to the food being tossed to them. One girl was putting bits of bread on the end of a little stick and a turtle kept surfacing to eat it right off of the stick! Aaron nearly came out of his skin when in the dusk he suddenly noticed a HUGE lizard (a monitor?) slinking along the grass a few meters in front of him. Stray cats and dogs lived near a statue and people obviously brought food to them nightly as well.
All of these things combined with the Asian flair of the place were neat to drink in and watch the kids' reactions to. But we still haven't figured out the most unusual thing yet! A voice said a few words over a loud speaker, a whistle blew, and everyone in the entire park suddenly stood stock still! For the next minute or so a weird, warped wailing sound (but not the sound of a voice) filled the air while everyone waited. A whistle blew and then everyone walked on like nothing happened!
We're all jet lagged and haven't had enough sleep yet but we had a morning and early afternoon at the legendary MBK. It's a six storey mall that feels like a big outdoor market with hundreds of stalls and lanes, each level specializing in a certain type of product. Steve and the boys spent the most time in the electronic section but all of the kids wisely spent pocket money on clothes that they needed for a fraction of the price they'd find them elsewhere. When asked if they'd like hamburgers for lunch the kids unanimously voted for Thai food stalls instead. Good little multicultural kids!
Tomorrow we'll take a river ferry through the city and see more sights. We're so glad that we stopped here for a few days! This is a very modern yet very Asian city so a good cultural bridge for the kids between NZ and where we're headed! We fly out on Sunday evening hopefully refreshed and ready for what's next with only a 2 hour time zone change to adapt to after that.