After our time in Papua New Guinea in 2003, we hooked up with YWAM and stayed in Bangkok for a few days before heading to a tiny village in the east. Bangkok is an amazing city. There are high rise buildings, Seven Elevens on every corner, bustling traffic, movie theaters where you sit in a recliner with a pillow, socks, and blankets all provided with your movie ticket, bright neon lights and music pumping at night down every street, and an outdoor market that is the largest in the world. It is quite the sight to see. We all enjoyed the city and the conveniences it had to offer after being in PNG for so long.
We wouldn’t say that the Thai people as a whole are very friendly and welcoming in Bangkok. It’s like any city – people have things to do and they are on a mission to accomplish those things. We found Bangkok pretty affordable. If we had decided to stay and live there, we could easily see how we could furnish an apartment nicely with a small budget. The food is cheap, plentiful, and delicious.
We traveled from Bangkok to a tiny village in the eastern part of Thailand – at one point we visited a temple where we could actually see Cambodia in the distance. The eastern part of Thailand is extremely hot in the dry season. We slept on the floor with mosquito nets surrounding us, ate on the floor, and found the people in the villages to be more friendly and willing to talk with us.
Drugs, prostitution, and human trafficking run rampant here. On our drive from the city to the village we were explained that the drug situation had gotten so out of control that if you were stopped by police with narcotics in your vehicle, the police would shoot you dead on scene. One of the women who was working with the YWAM’ers was a former prostitute whom they had helped out of prostitution and were helping teach her a trade – she was learning to be a baker so that she could make enough money to prove that she was able to provide for her child who had been taken from her by the government. These stories are not unique — Thailand is a place that desperately needs a touch from God — they are a country like so many others that need to know and receive the love of God.
While we were there a number of things happened. The U.S. went to war with Iraq, there was rioting outside of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, and the Sars epidemic started on the same airline we had flown over on and would fly back on – Air China. We called home and were encouraged to return and end our trip (little did we know that after we had changed our return date and once we had arrived at the Bangkok Airport for our flight, we received word that Colorado had just been hit with a major snow storm – 4 ft of snow in town, 7 ft at our house in the mountains – and Denver International Airport would be closed on our arrival – we booked a hotel in L.A. from Bangkok’s airport and enjoyed a relaxing night in L.A. as a homecoming). We enjoyed our time in Bangkok and would gladly return for a visit.