Monday, August 17, 2015
Damn, Damn, Damn
The news from Bangkok is horrifying. When you read about the bombing of the Erawan Shrine, with the chaotic pictures taken in the dark of a scene that's impossible, really, to decipher except as the latest in the long and endless string of acts of pointless, horrible political violence that stud the world, I want you to remember this picture.
I took it on a fine August afternoon just a year ago, less five days. I always made, back when I was a carefree corporate traveler and happily wandering about the beautiful Thai capital, of passing by the Shrine, at least havnig a quick look down on it from the elevated walkway that speeds one way along the congested shopping mecca that is Ploenchit Street. It was always a little beacon of calm and good will; there are musicians and dancers there, under the loggia at the back, and vendors selling little jasnine leis for one to offer to the beneficent multi-faced god under his gabled shrine. Back there in the distance is the gracious Grand Hyatt Hotel, and diagonally across the street, behind me, is the vast and beckoning Central World Mall.
And now it's just another place that tourists will steer clear of, for at least a while. "Oh," said a neighbor yesterday afternoon, while I was having a desultory Sunday-afternoon swim in the condo pool, "we don't go overseas; we think overseas always seems so dangerous."
I hate it when people like that are right.