Yesterday I had one of those glorious lone-Farang-at-an-Untra-Thai-event experiences. A couple of ajan buddies asked me if I wanted to go with them to "the palace" to show respect for the late Princess (the sister of the King). "Yes," I said.
It wasn't at the current palace, but rather at the historic Royal Complex called Wat Pra Kaow, an impossibly ornate clutch of buildings built over the course of about one hundred and fifty years. "Wear a black suit," and I even had the jacket, borrowed for the recent commencement exercises.
There were about a thousand people there, all dressed in black, all Thai except for me, mostly old people. I was the only one with a jacket on too. They just walked us into the temple in groups and we did a little obesience thing on the floor, then got a souvenier card.
Lunch was superb. We went to the "Royal Thai Navy Officers' Club Restaurant," on the river. Fried Butterfish with spicy mango salad; sweet green curry; stir fried mixed vegetables with oyster sauce.
Sometimes it almost seems worth it.