"That Friend Who You May Not See Very Often, But The Moment You Reconnect Feels Like Yesterday." —Country Thang
We were so happy to connect with our Thai friend and yoga buddy, Cherry Rungsea from California, who has been visiting her elderly mom. We took a walk through the grand Benchasiri Park that was built on 11.6 acres and is situated across the street from our hotel, the Marriott Marquis in Queen’s Park in Bangkok. This is not just any neighborhood park. It is situated around an ornamental lake and contains a dozen pieces of contemporary sculptures by talented Thai artists and is often used for open air events. There is a large designated area where people go jogging and to play volleyball and basketball. After purchasing some gift items at Jim Thompson, located in the colorfully decorated Emporium, that has earned street creds for having a legacy in the silk trade, we decided we were all in the mood for a good pizza.
We stumbled across a trendy Italian eatery called Mozza’s (short for mozzarella) by Cocotte located on the ground floor of the Emquartier Mall. It was pitched as La Cucina Di Mamma (Mother’s kitchen). Cherry treated us to a “Carpi Salerno” pizza with Parma ham, soft Italian buffalo cheese, basil and cherry tomatoes and a "Norma pizza" with fried eggplant, fresh ricotta and salted ricotta. There was no denying that management was at the top of the their game in making pizza. It was, “Molto Bene.
Following lunch, and knowing we wanted to do something non-touristy, Cherry invited us to join her in attending a historical-themed festival for the citizens of Thailand to pay homage to past monarchs. The month long program was ordered by King Maha Vajiralongkorn following Thailand’s emergence from a year of mourning for his much revered father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose reign lasted seven decades. The festival took place at the public square of the Royal Plaza.
The attendees were encouraged to wear traditional Thai clothes and 19th century fashions.
As for my attire, I was forced to buy a wrap-around men’s folk skirt to wear because my knees were showing. Normally, this is standard request when entering temples so I was thrown off guard. However, at least it matched my hat. Besides, who was I to argue with polices of the King. This event turned out to be one of the highlights of the day. It was festive, colorful and charming, and great people watching. Also, Cecile and I had the unique experience of practically being the only westerners there. We finished up with cold drinks at our hotel and bid Cherry farewell and thanked her for her generosity.
Photos: The Big Government Building in the backdrop of the 3 young colorfully dressed young women crossing the Royal Plaza is the Royal Reception Hall within Dusit Palace of Bangkok. The Gold Boat is the Royal Boat. Photo of the late King with his camera. He was an avid photographer. Finally, the young boys in the lime shirts are selling offerings.