The King and I


After traveling in Laos and southern Thailand on a trip in 2001, I found myself in Bangkok on the first of December awaiting my flight home in a week. The city was decorated with yellow banners and pictures of the King for his birthday on Dec. 5th.

Thinking that there might be some special celebration, that morning I walked from my guest house to the area around the King’s residence. I wandered into a huge auditorium and found myself among 500 well-dressed Thais. Just before a program was to commence, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej himself approached me and asked where I was from. He told me that the year before, he had sent a video of his birthday celebration to President Clinton.

He had an usher seat me, and at noon he approached me with a general requesting that he seat me for lunch at one of the tables on the patio. I sat with a small group of professional women, and the King joined us for one course. The program was an all-day affair, with Thai dancing and music and the presentation of awards and scholarships.

Thinking no one would believe me, I asked His Majesty if I could have my picture taken with him and he graciously consented. No wonder the people of his country love him and the royal family!

ANITA LEES
Vista, CA