Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Warning: We did a lot this day!

I was up

early... (surprise) and moving by 6:30am. We got ready for the day and headed down for breakfast. The hotel’s included breakfast was fantastic, including bacon and eggs and waffles for Trey! There was lots of fruit and even salad makings. After filling up, it was off to see the sights! The hotel concierge arranged for a taxi to a private long boat canal tour. Our first daylight view of the city showed a dense, fast moving city mixed with ornate temples and slow moving small boats selling goods. Our boat driver kindly pointed our good picture taking opportunities and sites. Down one of the canals, a women rowed up to our boat to see if we wanted to buy souvenirs. We were dropped off near the Grand Temple, where we had a surprise

20B fee for having a private boat bring us there. Welcome to Bangkok!

Next up was the Grand Palace, which is an entire estate with multiple temples and gorgeous grounds. With appropriate clothing, we wandered around admiring the ornate mosaics on almost every inch of each building. Inside there is, of course, a Buddha. In this one, it was an emerald Buddha. You have to take your shoes off in order to enter any of the temples.

Next we headed to see the giant Reclining Buddha, which takes up an entire room! On one side of it, you can buy a bunch of small coin to drop in close to fifty metal containers, which echoes throughout the bui

lding. Then we went to catch the short ferry across the water to see Wat Arun, another gorgeous temple. Instead of bright golds, blues, reds, and greens like the other temples, this one is in more whites and softer colors. You can climb up ridiculous steep steps to see a panoramic view of Bangkok. There we met a nice monk who explained some of the traditions they had. It was a cultural learning day of sorts there. You could write a wish into a piece of wax, melt it, and add the liquid to a mold for a large candle.

After all this wandering in the humid weather, we headed back to the hotel to take a swim before going out for dinner. We caught a ferry boat back closer to our hotel, and had a nice Thai man help with directions and acquiring a Tuk-Tuk. Tuk-Tuk’s are similar to pedi-cabs or rickshaws. He stopped at a tailor and a store to see if we wanted to buy anything. (He told us if we looked around at the store, he would get 5L of gas!) At the hotel, we relaxed at the pool for a bit, met a nice Australian couple, and got ready for the hotel happy hour and dinner.

We had a recommendation for a restaurant, and tried to walk there with Leslie and Deb, the Aussies. Ba

ngkok is a bit of a maze and we quickly realized we had no idea where we were going and hailed a Tuk-Tuk. We told him the place, showed him the little map, and the four of us squished in. We arrived at a different restaurant, which was not what we had requested. When we tried to ask, he just kept saying, “Same-Same” until we finally gave in! Dinner was good, then it was off to Patpong for the night bazaar. The Same-Same Tuk-Tuk driver had waited and tried to go elsewhere, but we didn’t let him this time.

After some shopping and bargaining, we were off for one last drink at a fancy rooftop bar. We found our new favorite Tuk-Tuk driver, whom Leslie named, Johnny, and the bargaining and fast racing through the street of Bangkok began. At the hotel, we found there was a dress code for the bar, so we couldn’t go up. We were allowed at the poolside bar, so we sat there and had little dessert shots. Leslie couldn’t resist the pool and took a quick dip in the far end! We then managed to get in an elevator to the top, and Deb an

d I, in dress code, checked out the bar. It was unbelievable! Like something swanky from a James Bond movie!

Finally, it was time to crash. Back to the hotel we went; I had to direct the Tuk-Tuk driver, and we were sound asleep, with an early train to catch the next morning.

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