Sunday, May 11, 2008
Top Photo: Piano player and violinist with Chaniya and myself.
Second: Wonderful hostesses Century Park Hotel.
Third: Front of Century Park Hotel.
Do you ever find yourself looking for signs that the decisions you make are the right ones, you know, little things that validate the way things are. A good example is seeing a rainbow after having your favorite dog of all time put to sleep. It’s a sign! Well anyway you get the picture. I often ponder this notion and when I do, it takes me back to one of the most amazing places I have ever been, “Thailand.”
Now, here is a guy who at the age of fifty, had never ventured outside the U.S. any further than Canada. Even serving in the Air Force I never left South Dakota, and yet, with love at the helm I set course for Bangkok Thailand. I had met a young lady online and I took the steps necessary to meet her in person. A passport in hand and a 16.5 hour flight and I was there. The sounds and smells highlighted what my eyes could see. Although it was night the heat radiated off the pavement like a stray dog humping your leg. The woman I had flown so far to meet was there and gave me a big hug. It was a very exciting adventure that Mr. Cole had booked himself I thought to myself.
Chaniya was as lovely in person as she was on the web cam. We had spent many months talking by E-mail and of course by phone, thank the powers that be for yahoo phone service. She has a degree in English literature and communication was not a problem.
My first night in Bangkok, where Chaniya worked as a tour guide was spent in a very small hotel which was located down a very narrow alleyway. To be honest I was rather apprehensive as we traveled down this path. The space on either side of the taxi was not enough to open the doors. Just as I started to feel like I was in a submarine with no escape, the driver turned into a space in back of a large and unattractive building. We were greeted by a snappy security guard who took our bags from the taxi into a spotless white hotel room, not a great room but it was white everywhere and not even a speck of dust. We spent the first hour talking and then I found myself sicker than a dog. Not sure what caused it but I thought I was going to die. Chaniya made me as comfortable as she could and even went out and found some Ginger Ale and crackers to help settle the stomach.
The next morning we checked into the hotel that I had booked for the next three days, “The Century Park Hotel.” This is where later that evening I would find the sign that would tell me all was well and that I had made the right choice by coming to this place once called Siam.
I recovered from my illness and basked in the suite fit for a king. It was beautiful. It was also almost twice as big as the duplex that I called home in Montana. The lobby was amazing, full of beautiful things both living and inanimate. A large grand piano sat polished and awaiting the arrival of its pilot. Chaniya and I decided that we would go to the lobby that evening and have something to drink. We sat in a large comfortable sofa and moments later a beautiful hostess came and gracefully floated to her knees before us and asked if we would like to have something to drink. By this time the piano player had arrived and he was accompanied by a violin player. You could not ask for a better marriage of instruments. Now here is where my sign comes in. I am a lover of the notes put down on paper by McCartney and Lennon. Solo work as well as the miracles they put together as the Beatles.
Chills went up my spine as I listened to one of the most beautiful renditions of John Lennon’s, “Imagine” I have ever heard. I no longer felt like I was so far away from home. All was right in the world at that moment. I talked to the piano player during one of his breaks and told him how much we had enjoyed the music especially “Imagine.” He was a very nice person as was the violinist. It was magical. They entertained us for another hour playing McCartney, Lennon music. I can’t say enough about that experience. It was moving and oh, what a sign. I made it a point to stay at The Century Park on my follow-up trip and the results I am happy to say were just as grand.