The timing of our trip to Thailand has turned out unfortunately. King Bhumipol Adulyadej has just died in the hospital where he has lived for the past years.
I first learned about this king from the owners of a Thai restaurant I used to frequent in Spokane, WA, in my first few university years. My then-boyfriend and I went there as often as we could. We chatted with the owners after a while. We asked questions about the pictures hanging on the walls.
At the time, I considered their deep regard for the Thai king as nostalgia. They had moved to the USA and respect for the monarch was one of the ways they felt connected to their culture. It also suited the atmosphere of the restaurant.
But many many years later, when I first actually traveled to Thailand, I spoke with many people. At any opportunity, Thai people were willing to explain their country and sometimes their politics to me. I never heard anything but love and respect regarding their king. In his younger days, he had been very involved in governing, and was considered to have been a force for good in the world.
Anyway, the king has passed away, and the country mourns. Official mourning will continue for a month. Entertainments are closed. There is some confusion as to which things constitute “entertainment,” so I’m not sure which markets may not be open, for example. My favorite restaurant and the cooking school where Matt wants to go again are both open, and of course most businesses must continue, or people will go hungry. So I go with an open mind to our personal plans.
Matt and I woke up very early this morning for our journey to Narita, where we met up with his mom, Jennifer. She will be joining us this week, and is of course also very excited. We had coffee and breakfast in the airport.
Pha Thai House, which I discovered on my last trip, and which is a very comfortable retreat in a good location in the old city.
So we checked in, and then ran to the Saturday night walking market, which is nearby, to do our eating. We had already seen that it was open from our taxi ride.
It is good to be back. I know some parts of this city really well, and the area around CM gate is one of them. It feels like home.