I'm back from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and what a short, exhausting, inspiring week it was. I met several people from the region doing incredible things, and, on more than one instance, I was blown away by the creativity of lawyers who do work outside the traditional practice of law. Besides meeting lawyers and law students working on rule of law issues in Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand, I also met a fellow US lawyer who is initiating lawsuits to break patents in Thailand in order to increase access to affordable, generic HIV/AIDs drugs, which are often outside the reach of most Thai residents, despite the universal healthcare provided.
My colleague, Tourist (yes, that is his name), an intern at my organization accompanied me. It was his first time out of the country, and he took so many pictures, of the shiny Bangkok airport, of escalators and elevators, and all the fancy shops, of everything on the trip. The first time the plane landed, he beamed such a huge smile across the aisle at me, over the French travelers who were assisting him with his Thai visa paperwork, that I could do nothing more than laugh aloud. To be forced to see things through his eyes, through constant awe, cut away any jaded outlook I may have. It forced me to stop and look at things, and to consider.
And the small city was, indeed, lovely and peaceful: the old quarter with its decaying fortress, the moat surrounding it; the fried chicken lady situated just outside the moat, who, for 50 Baht (the equivalent of $1.75), sold you five pieces of chicken, sticky rice, and sweet chili sauce (seriously, yum); the ice cream shop I frequented; the green hills that greeted me every morning; the crazy-cheap food malls; the relatively clean streets; the order.
On the way back to Phnom Penh, I went a little nuts at the beauty counters in Bangkok international airport, and some of the results of that jaunt were a NARS Heat Wave lipstick, an orangey-red matte shade that will likely scream hooker in Cambodia (highlighted in J. Crew's S/S 2011 lookbook on all the models) and YSL Touche Eclat, which I swear by.