Saturday, September 13, 2008

un-WAT-ching THAILAND

Thailand 1 would always be my most memorable journey. It was my first trip abroad where I got to pamper my churchophileness in the magnificence of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Po in Bangkok, and Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. It was really more of a subsidized tour rather than the training that it was supposed to be. I had a good time.

Thailand 2 and Thailand 3 were more subdued with the excitement tapering considerably since the first encounter. The plus of the second was staying in the the old city district within walking distance of Wat Arun and Wat Saket and a myriad of interesting symbols of the city and its country. The third was more of a long walk to the Erawan Shrine, getting lost in the red district of Sukumvit, and treating Oyet P to an impromptu pabinyag feast of broiled dalag. He was ninong to my Balong but cannot attend the christhening in Nueva Ecija.

I could have passed Thailand 4. Its been only a week since coming back from an exhausting journey across the United States. But really after being there 3 times and travelling to 7 other countries, I seemed to have lost the hots for Thailand. Except that I was supposed to hooked up with Oyet P in Bangkok. And there is still the mystery of Wat Trimit to discover.

The last time I saw Oyet P was some 8 years ago. He brought me a bottle of Absolut Vodka for pasalubong and treated us to a hike to Minalungao Cave where I backpacked a case of San Miguel Beer and Arden walked in his Electrolux Man splendor. We were supposed to eyeball during my US trip but he had to fly to Asia on the same period.

Oyet P just won the grand prize in the essay writing category of the 2008 Philippine Free Press Literary Awards. That carries a hundred grand cash prize and I thought we could drink the night out with some of it. Perhaps Frank C who will be in Laos during that time can come too and finally have real time with him. I only briefly met him once at the High Country Inn in Baguio City, and he was quite tipsy, before our big climb to Mt. Pulag in 1993. My contacts with him after that were sporadic: a phone call when I was trying to get in as a PDI correspodnent, emails for the Mondo Marcos project, and periodic exchanges via our blogs.

Well, Oyet P left Bangkok before I came. He did meet Frank C in Laos. I learned a lot about climate change though and again proved myself mamartek par excellence by downing with some friends 2 bottles of Jack Daniels plus Singha Beer for the Pinoy hugas ritual at the Brown Sugar Bar along Lumpini Park, and waking the next day as the only one not hanged over. It rained on my last day, and I misinterpreted the details of my flight back to Manila. Wat Trimit will have to wait.



PHOTOS EXPLAINED (top to bottom): (1) The conference's group photo as taken with my Nikon D40 by a waiter of the Amari Boulevard Hotel; (2) the night of the Jack Daniels in the Brown Sugar Bar along Lumpini Park, and; (3) waiting for the flight back home (me at the left, Tambuyog's Pepe Tanchuling in the middle, and Oxfam's Mike Llanes at the right) at Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

1 comment:

Sidney said...

In any case whatever Thailand trip you do... you still bring nice memories back home...