Waking Up Among Lotus Ponds in Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand
5:30 am: Sukhumvit-area of Bangkok. It's still dark when you decide to take an early stroll down to Lumpini Park, Bangkok's green zone of leisure in the midst of this giant Mexico City of Southeast Asia. You haunt the streets virtually alone, except for a few women dressed in high-heels and mini-skirts out finishing a night's work, and the ochre-robed monks just beginning their begging rounds. Soon early commuters arrive, sharply dressed and walking briskly or racing on motorbikes. Arriving at the park you see it is already hopping with people doing martial arts and tai chi, badminton, and jogging. Some are wielding swords, practicing thrusts and jabs. One man is selling snake blood and bile. Snaking canals, landscaped flower beds, elephant shrubs, and gorgeous lotus ponds surround you as you stretch and greet the beautiful day.