May 15, 2006 - Monday
Around Bangkok Thailand

City tour day.

I got up at a reasonable hour and went down to find the morning breakfast spot. A decent setup to which I ate well and within reason. With some food for the body the next item was a "complimentary" city tour from the travel booking company. The time scheduled was 2 pm but they called and asked if it could be moved up - anytime is fine by me - OK, Noon. I was in the lobby and at noon the tour guide, Supanee (Sue), arrived. Ticket in hand we headed out to the car and our driver. I would be the only guest on the tour.

We stopped at a couple temples. The first, Wat Traimit, (Wat translates to Temple) has the world's biggest solid golden Buddah. Five+ tons of gold. The second, Wat Pho / Wat Phrachetuphon has the second largest (in Thailand? in the world?) reclining Buddah. We walked the grounds of Wat Pho for a bit and she described the various items to me. We also visited the main temple on the grounds. Leaving the temples we drove through Chinatown, by a couple palaces, through the "flower district" where you could purchase about every flower imagineable. After that we 'visited' three stores - gem stones, silk and hand crafts, carpeting and hand crafts. I wasn't in a buying mode but some of the hand crafts certainly did catch my eye.

As a fun comparison, in the U.S., you can occasionally see a "chainsaw carved" log - often of a bear (ones with split wood being in Germantown Wisconsin [joke amongst friends]). Here they had carved logs of the same general size - waist high and a foot+ in diameter. But that's about the end of the comparison as the carving is extremely detailed, three dimensional, and took many hours to hand carve with small tools.

At tours end she asked if I might be interested in a traditional Thai massage and since it was on my list I said yes. The driver dropped us off, she made the arrangement with the massage parlor - a fancy place - and said that the parlor would arrange a taxi back to the hotel for me. With that we parted.

Thai massage - hmmmm - well. I was told it was not like Swedish massage that is common in the U.S. and that it can be somewhat painful - though relaxing. The massage started off with me removing my shoes, having my feet washed, donning slippers and then heading to the massage area. The area was a row of curtained areas each containing a mat to lay down upon. There I was instructed to change into the massage clothing - loose fitting top and bottoms. That taken care of the massuse told me to lay down on my back.

The message started at the feet and worked up to my head - taking about 2 hours or so. I was pulled, pushed and fully walked on by this lady. A few mats down I heard what seemed like crying for a few minutes and another point someone was laughing for a bit. I whinced twice at some pressed points on my thighs but that was it. In the end - I don't know if I'd bother doing it again. I'd probably try some other form of massage instead. A good experience though.

From there the taxi took me back to the hotel. With the traffic I could have walked faster and had I made a GPS waypoint of the hotel I probably would have as the walk was less than 1 mile. In the end the taxi driver got me very close and then said, due to the traffic, it would be better for me to get out and walk the rest of the way. The fare was reasonable and I was off.

A bite to eat and over to the "computer city" also known as Pantip Plaza to check out some cameras. The prices are NOT favorable but the selection on some items certainly is - MP3 players abound in all sorts of designs and colors. I went to the vendor that had two Canon A620's, with research on pricing in hand, and asked the cost. I was quoted 10,000 Baht "that was negotiable" yesterday but today it was 13,000+ with a "negoatiated" price of 11,500. No deal and I walked. Another place quoted 13,900 (375 USD). I was willing to do 8000 or 9000 Baht as I paid 268 USD (9916 Baht) for mine, new, about 1 month ago. Several vendors don't have the camera any longer as it is an "old", though popular, model. Here's hoping that this camera will hold out for the trip.

Tomorrow I take a bus to Pattaya to see about a motorcycle rental. Before the 11:30 am bus I'll see about exchanging some US Dollars for Thailand Baht.

Not much of a map today - just about the city.

The large, golden Buddah

At one point in its past it was covered with cement - perhaps to disguise it from a possible military takeover. Time passed and it was forgotten that this "cement" Buddah was actually a solid gold Buddah. In it's move from a prior location to it's present location it had an accident and some of the cement chipped off - revealing the true material underneath.

Buddah's covered with gold leaf put in place by worshipers

The reclining Buddah

Symbolism in the ten, uniform toes and the colors and images on the base of the feet.

Outside, with cremation standard, the remains are buried here. A small spot is chipped in the side of one of these, the remains placed in the spot, and a nametag placed to cover and mark the spot.

Inside the main temple

Outside and on the road. This is one of the palaces - just a quick glance as we drove by.

Just before we parted company I asked if I could take a photo....

BackNextUpJW Home Navigation