Bangkok Sightseeing

You know, if that date were a true date here in Thailand, it would say Saturday, 25 November, 2549, which in Thai numbers is ๒๕๔๙. That is of course, the year 2549 in the Buddhist Era (BE) which is pretty standard here. Generally speaking, most things written in English will say 2006, and most things written in Thai will say 2549. It’s on everyday stuff as well…bus tickets, milk cartons (definitely threw me off the first time I went to buy milk and it expired in the year 2549!).

Anyways, I am back in กรุงเทพ ๆ (Bangkok). We got back last night, and of course our plans to make it to Ko Si Chang didn’t go as planned. We got up yesterday and set out to find some breakfast, which proved harder than we’d expected. One of the problems with no tourists is that it was difficult to find anything that we’d really consider breakfast (it’s not that common a meal here). We finally settled for some pastries and then went to the dock.

Again, all the signs were in Thai (บาษษาไทย–passa thai–Thai Language) and we didn’t see anything about any means of getting to the island. We asked some people and got misinformed. We hung out on the dock for a little while, in which Chris called his parents to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. By now it was after noon and we decided that it would be better if we just returned to Bangkok. Along the walk back I did notice a sign in Thai that talked about the ferry, but at that point we’d made up our mind. We walked around town a bit and checked out this small island attached by a bridge to the mainland with a Wat on it, before getting lunch and a bus back.

Upon arriving back in Bangkok we checked back into our hotel and set out for dinner. We were trying to find this place in Lonely Planet, but it didn’t appear to exist. We did come across this great Thai place though and had a very tasty dinner. As we were already close to our next destination we decided to walk the rest of the way, instead of going all the way back to get the Sky Train. Our post dinner walk did take us along the huge Lumphini Park. In front of it was a statue of King Rama IV (King Mongkut) which was all lit up and had wreaths around it, as well as people passing by and pausing to wai to the statue. Perhaps the anniversary of his death was recently.

Our next stop for the night was the night market along Silom Road, which is quite lively. Chris did a bit of shopping and I got to try out my Thai bargaining skills. We also visited Patpong, which you may recall is Bangkok‘s infamous “official” red-light district. But the ping-pong shows aside, there is a thriving, tourist-oriented night market on the site. After enough browsing we headed back, as we were both beat.

This morning we decided to sleep in a bit before a day of sight seeing. We took the Sky Train to the Chao Phraya River, where we got on the river boat to get to the Grand Palace. I should point out that since the Sky Train does connect to the river boats, it is a convenient, yet out of the way means for getting across town. I got to re-visit the Grand Palace, this time as a guide though. The Emerald Buddha was now dressed in his winter outfit (he’s got one for each season, and the King himself dresses him), though it’s hard to believe this is winter as its been around 35 C, which is over 90 F!

After we’d seen enough of the Grand Palace we wakjed down to Wat Pho, which I’ve also been to before…it‘s the one with the enormous reclining Buddha, which I believe may be the largest in Thailand. The reclining position for the Buddha signifies his parinirvana; that is to say his final death, as he will no longer be reborn. Wat Pho is also supposedly the best training program for traditional Thai massages in the country, so we decided to take advantage of that. It was a bit more expensive than what I’ve paid before, but it was totally worth it! My masseuse was quite curious about my lymphedema and couldn’t understand why I would apply pressure to it. She kept saying that in Thailand when people are swollen they try and keep loose things around it! I don’t think she quite understood that my situation was different. Ah well!

After Wat Pho we decided to walk up to Khao San Rd, which as you may recall is the major tourist stretch in Bangkok. We had dinner here and then stopped in for the internet cafe where I’m currently writing from. As it’s so late, we’ll have to take a taxi back…ah well. I’m planning on heading back tomorrow night, as I’ve got class on Monday morning. Chris’ flight leaves Monday at like 6 am, so unfortunately I will have to leave him alone (he’s leaving for the airport at like 3am!). Well, that’s all for today. We must be going! Tomorrow, we’re hitting the Chatuchak Market!

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