First in an ongoing series of posts that explain – as the title says – what’s in the header, I talk about a shot from one of the best days I have ever had on the road, at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.  Fitting, since it is Songkran, New Year, in Thailand! If you’re over there, enjoy the celebrations!

The picture above is from my trip in 2000 – 2001 to Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.  I was gone for a little over a month, the longest I’d ever been away for.  I traveled with Chris, my friend in the photo.  He helped make it initially possible to book the plane tickets, which I will be always grateful for.  This was really the trip that made me want to travel long-term – and though I haven’t quite managed it yet, I’m hoping we’ll be able to sometime soon.

Chris and I visited Thailand after Japan; I remember being so sad to leave Tokyo, so disoriented when we turned up in Bangkok in the dark of night with a planeful of Japanese on Christmas holiday, some very drunk.  But any city is strange in the dark and after a flight, so after a day’s relaxing on Khao San Road with beer and pirated movies, I was feeling good.

In fact, any homesickness pretty much left me once we got to Bangkok. I loved it there.  It’s big and crowded and polluted and the traffic is mildly terrifying – but like every city, it has an energy and that one resonates with me. Toronto, Bangkok, New York – these are my cities.

On the second day, we went to the Grand Palace.  We’d been smart and read up and were aware of how to dress respectfully at the temples, so we both had that handled.  In fact, I’d bought a cool cotton outfit the day before as I knew it would be better than anything I had for the heat.  When we were poking around and taking pictures, we noticed the two boys in the picture along a monk in his thirties, obviously their minder for the day.  It was pretty cool to see – they were cute!   I didn’t want to be all gawky about it though, so continued to go about my business being STUNNED by all the beauty.

Then the older monk is asking me if I can take a picture with the kidsAnd I am totally confusedIs he asking if I want a picture?  What?  Was I obvious?

NoThe kids want a pictureWith me.

Still not fully sure why, but I wasn’t all that interested in asking.  I just asked if he’d take one for me too.

Then we saw some more amazing stuff, and some Thai women helped me get blessed by a Buddhist priest!  All before noon!

But that’s not in the header, so another time…