Visiting parts of Bangkok

Visiting parts of Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand


We have a decent breakfast before we are picked up at 8 for another long day. Unlike the other hotels we stayed at, this is a busy hotel on the river front in a very large and populous city; almost 9 million people. It’s extremely congested with lots of cars and scooters. It takes for ever to get anywhere. It’s also very spread out with pockets of high rise. We are heading for Wat Pho home ( it is a huge ornate compound) which has a giant reclining buddha. That pose means the Buddha is in its last hours before passing to nirvana. The Buddha is covered in gold leaf. Many Stupas cover the grounds, it’s sort of like our urns, but giant ones, they contain remains of important people. In another temple on the same grounds, there is a very elevated statue of an emerald Buddha carved out of one block and incredibly revered. Then we enter a different temple and we sit on the floor beside the monks who are sitting on the platform facing another giant statue of Buddha . This was very moving because they were chanting their ritualistic morning prayers. this is also a compound where they offer Thai massage classes( definitely not my favorite massage- unless you like your body to be tied like a pretzel). Further down, there is a garden filled with statues expressing different yoga positions. I definitely have not mastered some of these positions! Thailand is a democratic parliamentary government which used to be a Kingdom. There is still a very old King and Queen, which is reminiscent of what’s going on in England – figure of state- however recently the military took over which is not great for the economy. The religion in Thailand is mostly Buddhism but with an Hinduism influence. We leave the compound in tuk tuks to visit the Royal Palace, of course used back then as residence of the monarchy until it was overthrown. Now it is just used for certain ceremonies. From there we have a mediocre lunch on a river barge. After lunch we embark on a long tail boat and cruise some of the canals of Bangkok. It used to be filled with canals but now they have just a few remaining ones. It was fascinating to see how the running water pipes are above the water. Some of the poorest houses have the best views on the canals and then you have some teak houses( very expensive wood now) right next to a shack. We stopped to see the stunning temple of Wat Arun in the banks of the main river. It’s highly decorated with tons of glass, stones which originally came from China but now are made in Thailand. It was being refurbished when we were there. Many artists were painstakingly cementing one tile at the time. It’s less than 2 centuries old but look ancient. It’s a masterpiece . We just had a little time to freshen up and relax a bit and here we go again to a authentic Thai dinner sitting on what looked like the floor , but there was room for our feet underneath. Then we watched a classical Thai dance. The food was scrumptious and the dance delightful. I must say the male dancers were just beautiful and much better looking than the female dancer. We couldn’t stop looking at them! As most days this was an exhausting packed day and we learned a lot!

 

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