Back in Bangkok we took things easier. We walked through a local market and had lunch on the river. Since Lyle had never seen any of the Hangover movies we all watched the second one, which is set in Thailand (or Thighland as one character calls it). In it they refer to Bangkok as the city of squalor and although it most certainly has its own charm you can definitely see how the nickname emerged walking around.
It is a HUGE city, you think you’ve reached ‘downtown’ and then you just keep driving and more and more skyscrapers sprawl on. With so many skyscrapers come tons of people and with tons of people comes a lot of refuse. Additionally, Buddhists believe in kindness to animals-which I think is great, but it also manifests itself in the city being full of dogs, and all of that which wild dogs running around entails. Similar to Delhi it has some awful smells but it also has some absolutely wonderful ones and the fact that every building has small shrines outside of it is super cool.
The next day we got out early to see some of the Bangkok sites. Our first stop was the Grand Palace. This was my second time to Bangkok so I’d already seen this magnificent place, which is home to the Emerald Buddha. You are allowed to take pictures of the entire complex except the Emerald Buddha. However, some photos exist online and if you see them you will think the statue is very large but it is not because it is entirely made of jade. It is however on a giant throne of various gold objects.
Loving mosaics, Drew was in heaven with all the decorations and all of us had to mimic the different stances and facial expression of statues throughout the complex. It was even more crowded and hot than I remember from my last visit and that’s saying something!
After the Grand Palace we walked over to Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple complex, and home to the breathtaking Reclining Buddha. The statue is massive and made completely of gold. I paid 20 Baht and got a ton of coins to participate in giving offerings, at this point we will take help from any god to get our house sold.
Our last temple of the day was Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn, which is only a quick boat ride across the river from Wat Pho. The last time I was here it was being restored and it was cool to see the finished product. Instead of gray cement it was covered in glittering glazed ceramic tiles and colorful glass.
That evening we tried to go to the Sky Bar, the roof top bar from the Hangover II, but after taking an accidentally long boat ride we got caught in a torrential downpour and decided to grab a taxi back to the hotel. We attempted to visit the Sky Bar two more times the following day and failed both times. The second time it wasn’t yet open and the third time we weren’t dressed appropriately (I mean come on in 95 degree weather with 90% humidity who wants to wear pants???). I guess we will just have to wait until our next visit to Bangkok.
On our last day we took a Thai cooking class and was a TON of fun. We learned how to make 5 different dishes. The first two courses were Tom Yum soup, a spicy sour traditional soup usually made with seafood, and Pad Thai, Drew said it was the most delicious he’d had probably because he made it.
Then we learned to make two different curries, one red and one green. We even made the paste for the green curry though our teacher told us Thai people usually just buy it from 7 Eleven! Our final course was mango with coconut sticky rice. It was really good but by this point I was too full to enjoy much of it. I am hoping the cooking skills Drew acquired during this class translate back home though!
Since we failed at going to the Sky Bar we ended our time in Thailand they way we started it at the rooftop of the Millennium Hilton and again the views were spectacular, the drinks a little expensive (but we had Baht to finish) and the company excellent!