Bangkok! The last city on our Bornemeier-O’Reilly Asian Adventure. With just 24 hours in this bustling capitol Zach and I decided to forego the traditional tourist sights and get down to brass tacks. Tailored suits and Muay Thai boxing.
First the suits. My friend Bullwinkel who we’d seen in Siem Reap had just come from Bangkok and recommended Savile Row Tailor. As fate would have it, the shop was directly behind our hotel. Zach picked out his fabrics and ordered two suits and several dress shirts, which would be delivered to our hotel later that evening. In less than 12 hours the tailors turned measurements and yards of fabric into custom made suits with a wicked iridescent paisley lining. Amazing!
Next up, Muay Thai boxing. We walked in to Lumpinee Stadium as one of the first matches was coming to a close. The soon-to-be loser was leaning against his opponent with blood pouring from a cut over his eyebrow. Thankfully this was the bloodiest match of the night. Before each of the remaining matches we got to witness the fighters performing “wai khru ram muay.” This is a ritual done out of respect for their teachers and trainers. The fighters first circle the ring and bow in each corner (wai khru). Next, they begin what looks like a mix between dancing, stretching, and praying (ram muay). Each fighter has his own ritual and sequence for the ram muay and sometimes one fighter would complete their ritual several minutes before their opponent. I thought this was nearly as fascinating to watch as the boxing itself.
After the championship match Zach and I went to the fighters’ locker room to get our photo taken with the champion. I’m proud to say that we were the only ones that strayed from the “fists ready to punch” pose to something a little different. Here’s a cropped view of Zach and the champ in our break the mold photo:
It was hard to believe that Zach’s two-week visit was already coming to an end. The trip felt like it flew by and lasted forever at the same time. I’m extremely fortunate to have a brother who’s willing to travel half way around the world to have an adventure with his little sister (and brother-in-law, too!). I’m looking forward to Christmastime when the three of us can relive some of the memories together and also share our stories with family.
Photos of Bangkok, mostly of Muay Thai, are here.