Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not What I Expected

Recently, Sam and I visited about how easy it's been for us to slip into a non tourist role as we live life here in Bangkok. That's not necessarily bad, but there's so much to see and our days or years are numbered. So we pulled out the tour books once again and renewed our resolve to continue seeing and sharing the sights that surround us.

One local sight that's been on our list to see is the Royal Barge Museum. We had had a glimpse of these magnificent barges this past fall as we watched a televised annual procession of them float down the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, in order to offer royal kathin robes to the monks in the temple. Believe me, after viewing this royal procession with all its pomp and circumstance, I could tell that these "boats" were truly a treasured part of Thailand's cultural heritage and could only imagine viewing them up close.

If you'd like to see them up close, take a look at the Royal Barge Museum album on our Shutterfly account -
They were as beautiful as I'd expected, but what I want to write about is what I'd not expected.

What I'd not expected is to be guided through winding narrow alleys of a slum in order to get to the museum. I couldn't believe that we were actually following this sleepy local resident (bum) who had been resting on a table near the fading museum sign where our driver had dropped us off. In fact, the whole time we were trekking behind him, I kept thinking there has got to be some mistake.... Surely, Thailand's royal treasures can't be located here! I was even wondering if this was some sort of scam... To be really honest, I was sort of scared. This just wasn't what I'd expected.

Well, obviously it wasn't a scam, and we were led right to the door of the museum. After viewing the barges, we headed back through the slum to meet our driver....this time without the benefit of a guide. As we were walking, I couldn't help but think how appropriate that the poorest of the poor should be the keepers of these royal riches. After all, isn't that what heaven will be like?...the last will be first and the first will be last...Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

...Just wanted to share how thankful I am for the opportunity to have been reminded once again that life's treasures have nothing to do with barges or any other "thing", royal or otherwise, but instead life's real treasures are people...even people disguised as bums!

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