Day 9: Bangkok

Gah I’m falling behind here on the journal entries.

The next morning we struck out early for the tourist area of Bangkok. First we caught a cab to the Grand Palace with an early morning tropical shower. When we arrived a man dressed in a uniform told us we weren’t allowed to come in without pants. I was wearing pants, Danny and Elmar were not. He directed us down to the market saying we could rent some there. We couldn’t. Some tout directed us to the shopping area and some boat tours…

We decided to try again later and headed to the national museum. I thought it was interesting and I learned a lot about what is ostensibly a fairly young culture. It wasn’t Elmar and Danny’s cup of tea so I had to rush through a little bit, and part of it they just sat and tried to stay cool. Which is pretty much impossible.

After a bit of wandering around we headed to this backpacker area of town. It wasn’t what I expected at all. This seems almost like a hippie commune and quite the party place. We bailed pretty quickly after everyone seemed to be asking “hey hey! where you going? want tuk tuk?!”

Next up was Wat Arun, this amazingly cool temple across the river from the main bit of town. The problem was getting there. We decided to walk, which was a bad idea and I think played a bit into why Danny and Elmar seem to not be having much fun here in Thailand. It was a long hike with not much to see, crazy traffic and suffocating weather. We eventually made it soaking with sweat. The temple itself has a large center building in what was described in the museum as Ayutthaya style from the previous thai culture. You can climb fairly high up on it and the stairs are quite steep. A lot of people there were quite scared going down, but for some reason it didn’t bother me. I was impressed with all the detail in the tiling. The view wasn’t bad either.

After that we went back to the Grand Palace by river taxi which was much shorter. Arriving there we found that the guy in uniform that directed us elsewhere was in fact a fraud, and that you could borrow pants inside the gates. So frustrating. The palace though was closing soon and the Emerald Buddha that was a major attraction for many closed for the day for some ceremony. We decided to head back the next day before leaving town. This made the misdirection even more frustrating because we lost like half a day needing to come back tomorrow. Instead we went back to our hotel and took advantage of the pool and other amenities.

Heading out for dinner we hit up a little mall right next to our hotel that had some good food at a reasonable price thai wise, and some absolutely delicious ice cream from a local chain called Thai Orchid.

Walking around Bangkok I’m struck by the mish-mash of modern city, and 3rd world feel. I’m immediately hit by nostalgia from our cruising trip when I was a kid. I think it’s the weather. We need to move and do things at a more relaxed pace. It’s just too hot otherwise.

So far as expected I’m enjoying the food. I love thai food at home and here it’s everywhere! We haven’t tried the street food yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long, it always seems the best.

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