Twenty years ago we visited Bangkok for the first time and wandered into an antique shop that was strikingly different from the others we passed in every street. This one had only a few items which seemed carefully selected and were beautifully presented in that small space. In talking with the young woman behind the table, we learned that she had recently opened the shop. Her husband, an architect, specialized in restoring old Thai buildings which were disassembled and reconstructed in the city. We spent quite some time talking to both of them, with each of them pulling out reference books from the back room to show us examples of the Thai art and architecture that they were so proud of.
They insisted that they wanted to take us to the old Thai capital of Ayuttaya and showed up at our hotel with a car the next morning to pick us up. It was wonderful to have a private tour of the ancient ruins and we had a great time.
We saw them again 10 years later when we were again in Bangkok, and yesterday we saw them again, 20 years after we had first met. We assured each other that of course none of us have changed at all in those two decades (well, hardly at all). That's more than can be said of Bangkok though, an enormous unwieldy city of 10 million that is very little like the place we liked so much 20 years ago. We’re glad we saw them, and sad that it was probably for the last time.