Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017. Sweating our way through famous temples

LOCATION:  House-sitting in Bangkok, Thailand

WEATHER:  Same rainy season weather - hot and humid, with a shower in the evening


Our cat Bronson is still in the pet hospital, so we have the day free to explore the city.  We got an early start (to avoid the heat HAHA) and took the Sky Train to a stop near the river.  

In addition to being called the "traffic jam city of the world", Bangkok is also known as the "Venice of the East" as the Chao Phraya River flows through it and is a main artery for people and barge traffic.  Today's destination was a river boat ride and a visit to some of the temples in that part of the city.  


It humbles me a bit to realize that English is the universal language of the world.  Most of the Caucasians are European or Australian.  I hear quite a bit of Russian when we are around foreigners.  We sat next to some young women from Slovakia on the train.  It is interesting  to hear the Thai speak broken English to communicate with the Chinese,  Japanese, and Euopean tourists who struggle with English, too.  It is challenging for both sides of the conversation.  

Walking (a bit lost) toward the ferry, we encountered 2 Caucasians also appearing a little lost.  They are Swiss, and we decided to try to find the ferry together.  We did. 
We crossed the river on a ferry (10 cents) with them, then found a water taxi to take us down the river, along with about 500 people crammed on it.  I am certain we were way over capacity.  No life jackets in sight.  This is what our taxi looked like...  

There are all kinds of boats that go up and down the river....

Today is a Buddhist holiday so there were lots of Thai relgious people at the temples in addition to the tourists.  There were several groups of monks and women dressed in black.

But first, we had to quench our thirst......Thailand has some weird alcohol laws.  Since today, Monday, is a Buddhist holiday, there were  no alcohol sales whatsoever (in markets or restaurants or bars) for the weekend before the holiday.   And, even without a holday, alchohol is not sold ever between 2:00 - 5:00 PM.  So, we had a window on Monday before 2:00 to get our first beer in a long time.  We found a cafe and ordered two tall ones.

We shared Pad Thai and an order of spring rolls.  Both good.    

Fortified, but not cooled off (no A/C), we visited a World Heritage Site temple.  It is famous for its reclining Buddha statue.

All the temples seem to have a lot of out buildings. Perhaps where the monks live?  They are beautiful....
From there, we wanted to visit the Grand Palace.  Even though it was a short walk, we decided to take a tuk-tuk as it was so hot.  What fun!  
I had read that women have to be covered up to enter the Grand Palace, so I came prepared, weiring my zip-off long pants.  Female tourists wearing shorts and/or skimpy T-shirts have to rent shawls and long pants in order to enter. 

In addition to the Grand Palace itself, there were again many other beautiful buildings.  The architecture and attention to detail are amazing.

On our way home, we stopped one Sky Train stop early to shop at one of Bangkok's fabulous indoor shopping malls.  The economy must be doing well, as the stores are high-end such as Harrods, Prada, Versace, etc.  In addition to the shops, there are ice rinks, IMAX theaters, restaurants, concert halls, and indoor gardens in these malls.  We stopped at this one as there is an expat supermarket here.  We bought a few things like butter and bread that you can't find in the local Thai shops.  (Also wine!).  

DINNER:  Needing to use up some tomato paste the homeowner had left, I made spaghetti.  I threw in some Thai greens for body, and to give it a bit of an Asian twist.  


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