I was in Bangkok staying in the Miami Hotel in the Sukhumvit area thinking; this is the kind of place I usually don’t spring for – it was $15 a night and I wanted them to charge me less but I had my own refrigerator and bathroom so I was happy. I just didn’t know that I was living in the middle of Thailand’s sex industry.
At 5:30AM I was leaving my hotel with my yoga matt going to the city park where Thais congregate to do Tai Chi or walk briskly. Darkness shades the street, dawn has not arrived yet.
And there in front of my hotel is a barrage of tables with big African guys sitting and looking over the livestock. I know they are African because they have that kind of skin that can be seared for years in the sun and it will always be black with those impossibly white eyes and heave-ho musculature I don’t see on white men. I see women in skimpy outfits parading around their tables and realize oh my god they are all hooking up and selling sex while I walk thru the crowd with my yoga matt.
I decided I would not look more deeply at any of the men’s eyes who were now staring at me like who is this new chick? They hadn’t picked out their prostitute yet from the pack so I was fresh meat walking by in my yoga pants.
I felt safe but naked being probed with their eyes. Here in Thailand where people are not running around with guns I never hear about rapes or robberies.
Maybe I am living in a bubble of calm but when I go back to my own country I read about grisly murders in the press or hear about oil spilled over virgin waters and lands. Well, maybe these things are happening here in Thailand but I never hear about them. Does this mean they don’t happen?
Take the red shirts for example – the protesters came from Issan where I was living in the northeast part of Thailand – farmers and the bottom class of people who were not making much money. They were pissed so they set up shop in the middle of Bangkok and peacefully protested. Well that turned into bombs and killings and 2 months later most Thai people were concerned that nothing was being done to stop them.
And I told everyone, “Don’t worry it’s just a bunch of Buddhists.”
I’m not sure why the red shirts failed or why they thought they could do a better job than the current bureaucracy but they kept their red shirt city in operation until they were jailed and some of them were shot.
So. I still feel safe in this country. Even with the red shirts and the sex industry I know that what we have here is better than what we have in the USA.
I am slowly evolving into an ex-pat.
Here there is superior medical facilities at an affordable price, clean and reliable transportation, and kind people.
There are no big burly scary men beggars living on the street. There are just peaceful nuns and monks who ask for money or food. If I had a bag of rice I would give it to them. Many people do.
I lived with monks and nuns in a Buddhist temple for 2 months in Loei and they go out at 5:30am and receive food from the town’s people. I was humbled that this was how we got our food to eat every day. Divinity provides.
People were happy to give their food to the monks on the street. I saw it on their faces in the soft glow of dawn as they piled the monks’ begging bowls with rice, fish, sweets, eggs, everything. They did it with love. That does not happen in the USA. It’s every man for himself. How little we have learned from the east.
But then there is the sex industry.
How does that continue here and why is it allowed? I love this country and now it is my favorite. I never expected that Thailand would steal my heart like this. It’s clean, I have friends here, its holy, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and wifi.
All is good.