23.10.2009 26 °C
October 22, 3: 27 pm
Stopped at a red light on the back of my motorbike taxi. Exhaust fumes, early morning humidity, caffeine cravings, mental to-do list for the day running through my mind as I wait for the light to turn.
Sukhumvit Road, in the heart of Bangkok’s financial district, at 8 am on a weekday morning is packed solid with business commuters and Thailand’s white-collar troops heading into the office. So the line of young novice monks, in their bright orange robes and holding brass beggar bowls, looked rather incongruous as they made their way down the crowded sidewalk.
They looked to range in ages from about 10 to 17 and were being led by an older monk in a robe of a more sedate burnt shade of orange. The good and hurried people of Bangkok made plenty of way to let them pass. No one batted an eyelash at what looked to me a rather anachronistic sight amidst all the spikey-waxed hair of BKK executive hipsters and high heels clicking down concrete.
The line stopped at the cart of a street hawker selling chicken and beef skewers he was grilling up on the corner. The middle-aged man came out from behind his cart, make a full obeisance, getting right down onto his knees on the dirty sidewalk and touched the feet of the young monks in turn. Standing up, he put money in their brass bowls and freshly grilled meat in their hands.
The line of young monks continued on their way, the street seller went back to serving up quick bbq breakfasts and my mototaxi leapt back into life, whisking me into my office of glass and steel.