Sunday, February 24, 2008
We took a taxi into town. The Sky Train connecting the Airport to downtown Bangkok is still under construction. It is not ready yet.
Bangkok is a let down after India and Mumbai. India is chaotic, dirty and slow yet colorful, aromatic and warm. The Indians we met from the poorest beggar to the shopkeepers of the finest stores all were exceptionally nice. Bangkok by comparison, is clean, modern and efficient. Yet we had constant struggles just trying to negotiate a cab ride. The drivers quote a rate, but insist on including a stop for shopping at some friend of theirs. When we say, no, take us directly to our destination they refuse to take us.
We hired a boat and motored down the Chao Phraya River . It is like Venice with many different connected waterways. The water contains fish and you see people fishing it. We also so kids swimming in it. On the sides of the canals are fabulous new apartment houses and hotels abutting poor shanties. The Buddhists call a temple a Wat. They are ornate, sometimes colorfully painted wood, sometimes covered in gold. There are many of them along the river and canals. One absolutely amazing structure is Wat Arun. It soars quite high and looks like it was ripped from Angkor Wat. You can climb about ½ way up; we didn’t, but you can see the figures of people in the picture and that can give you a sense of perspective.
I met a very friendly monkey. He was affectionate like a cat or dog except he wanted to steal my glasses. We then went to The Jim Thompson House, had lunch and looked at the textiles. I think we were shopped out because all we bought was a 5 bhat postcard!
We plan one more massage tonight for Cathy and I then a 3:30am wake up call to get to the airport for our 6:30am flight to Tokyo and then home. We went down to the bar to have a glass of wine before our massage and as luck would have it, it is National Election Primary day in Thailand and bars are closed until midnight. Dejectedly we started to leave and they told us, we could get wine via room service. I love it when the law is flexible.
I took lots of little video clips but it takes forever to upload from India to YouTube. I will create a link to them.