Sonchai Jitplecheep, the protagonist in John Burdett’s novels “Bangkok 8” and “Bangkok Tattoo,” is an honest cop in a place where being on the take is a form of art. Sonchai lives in a tub of moral and ethical Jello, awkward for westerners until they become comfortable with shrugging their shoulders, admitting they don’t understand and uttering TIT, mai pen rai.
I am a river rat. Not a rafter, but a lollygaging Huck Finn kinda swamp rodent who likes to flow with the current and poke around the slough. Lord Buddha describes The Dharma as a raft that floats one to Nirvana. A few days on a river and I find myself paddling pretty close to a perfect state of bliss.
This is a very intense place in heart of Bangkok. It is called the Erawan shrine, named after a hotel that once stood here. It is not a tourist spot.
The workers building the hotel received mysterious injuries so the owner built a shrine to appease the Hindu god Shiva. If you know anything about Shiva, he/she/it is not to be messed with.The hotel is long gone, but the Erawan shrine is still there. Thailand may be devoutly Buddhist but Thais still come here in to lay their offering in front of this scary god of destruction. The Thais have always been ones to hedge their bets. There is an expression here: mai pen rai.” It means no big deal: if it works, do it.
AUDIO: Bangkok: Mai Pen Rai