Monday, November 19, 2007

The Grand Palace of Bangkok

Laura and I arrived safely in Bangkok (with all our luggage!). Our flight was delayed about 4 hours in Abu Dhabi so we arrived at our guest house at half past midnight. The only issue was that the guest house had given our room away so we had to find a new place to stay. We found a place just down the road and crashed after a 36 hour trip.

Since then, we've been exploring the city. We successfully utilized the hospital for our first Japanese encephalitis shot; hospitals around the world are the same. Doctor saw us for 2 minutes, spent most of the time in the waiting room, cost too much for services provided..!

Our second day, we visited Chatuchak market.

The market was HUGE!!! There were rows and rows of stalls, probably over 1,000 vendors. There was everything from animals to toys and electronics. We picked up a few small things for our trip but made sure to keep the backpacks light. Here's a sampling of the food we tried at the market and near our guest house. It has been a lot of noodles and rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Luckily, all of the sauces are unique making each meal different.
We recently visited the Grand Palace of Bangkok, the former residence of the king. The palace grounds are more than impressive. There is the temple of the emerald buddha, a library, a number of spires which contain religious items, and of course, the palace.

The temple of the emerald buddha contains a buddha made completely of jade. Originally, the buddha was covered in plaster. The plaster on the nose was chipped exposing what was thought to be emerald. It turned out to be jade. Now, the plaster is completely removed but unfortunately, pictures are not allowed. Numerous fantastical characters could be found throughout the palace grounds. These were some monkeys and demons that defended the base of one of the spires.

We visited nearby Wat Pho (wat means temple). This temple had the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. The Buddha was 46 meters long and 15 meters tall.

The wat allowed us to take pictures within the temple so we got our first picture within a Buddhist temple.
The wat grounds were at least a city block with amazing architecture. Each doorway throughout the grounds were protected by either a warrior or a fantastic beast/demon.

That day, we decided to enjoy a movie at a nearby cineplex. Prior to the movie playing, we had to stand to salute the king of Thailand. We had read about this but finally got to experience it. The revery for the king of Thailand is strong with the Thai people. When we exited the movies, a large crowd had gathered next to the mall elevator. Soldiers, police, and rope were keeping the crowd at bay. Laura and I decided to stick around to see what the commotion was... could Britney Spears be in Thailand? It turned out the royal family was at the mall. They were unveiling one of the princess's art collections at a gallery she owns in the mall. We saw the king of Thailand personally!
Today, we visited the former home of Jim Thompson.

He founded the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company, a successful company that introduced Thai silk to the western countries. The store is a massive success story in Thailand. Jim, who first came to Thailand during WW2 and later moved there, died a mysterious death in the 1960s and is now an American legend in Thailand. His home was filled with various Buddhist relics from Southeast Asia and the home architecture and decoration was from different locations in SE Asia.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures of this far east land--those teemples seem just as impressive as the cathedrals of Europe. hope your choices of native food have been to your liking--trying the venison sausages with Marco on Friday after a great turkey dinner on Thursday. Dad

Anonymous said...

what is the language situation over there? we have 5" of snow on the ground here and temps of 25-35 degrees faren. what is your usual temps during the day and night?

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Snowing in Boulder.

Amazing pictures.


J.Pallotta said...

Everybody speaks Thai in Thailand and none of the characters even resemble latin characters. Luckily, everyone had adapted english as a second language and we've had no issues getting around. Temps are 30 degrees C and cool down just slightly at night. Very high humidity.