I lived in Asia few years and we opened a subsidiary of my company in Bangkok: one day the CTO went to see me almost crying; he said to me he loved me, the company, his job, … but he wanted to use his right to be on leave (for up to 7 years) to become a monk.

I was furious and delighted at once: then in Italy you had to make military service for at least one year: in Thailand companies had to respect their employees wish to meditate and live like a monk for up to 7 seven years, while keeping their jobs for them ….

In another occasion I went to Bangkok from Jakarta to buy antiques with Sergio, an Argentinian diplomat: we found a beautiful, 16th century, human size wooden Budda and Sergio bought it immediately.

At the airport he refused to send his Budda as a wallet and we moved to the check in: we were flying Thai Airlines; the officers did not know what to do for it was impossible to pass the Budda through the scanner machines.

Sergio asked for to talk with the captain of our flight: after negotiations, the captain asked for his assistant if there were available seats on the plane and when he knew there was a first class seat available, he said: «Please bring the Budda on board, seat him and fasten his seat belts: he will protect our flight».

So we came back to Jakarta in our couch seats while our beautiful Budda made his trip in first class, enjoying the legendary great service of Thai hostesses. I love this country.

I will never forget that experience: I thought what would have happened if I would have bought an old cross and flying to Rome with Alitalia instead, …


Picture by Dennis Jarvis