Posted by: aitzko | December 19, 2009

I explore Bangkok, go to the sweetest movie theater ever, and maybe go a little crazy shopping.

Well, it’s my last full day in Bangkok.  I had an AMAZING day yesterday.

Before I get into it, it seems that my mom has told every living being on the planet about my blog, so hello, Garnet Valley. 🙂

Yesterday I got up reasonably early and headed out for a day of sightseeing.  I took the Skytrain to the Chao Phraya River Express, and hopped on a boat.  I was totally lost and confused about how the whole thing worked – you pay on the boat? Am I going in the right direction? – but it turned out to be fine, and I really enjoyed the ride on the river.  What a neat way to see the city!  Anyway, I got to Ko Ratanakosin, and began my walking tour.

First I checked out the Royal Palace, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew.  I honestly cannot think of any other way to describe this place than this:  when I was little, and my family and I would go to Atlantic City, I would always drag my parents down the boardwalk to the Taj Mahal, because I loved the gaudy awesomeness.  Everything glittered, and what little girl doesn’t love glitter?  This was that times 1000.  And real, not a tacky casino.  The buildings were overwhelmingly beautiful – everything is incredibly ornate and absolutely covered with gold leaf and shiny tiles and paintings.  I took about a zillion pictures, because it was something you really just have to see to believe.  And the Palace, although no longer inhabited, is equally as impressive.  It’s hard to believe someone actually lived there.  Also, all around the buildings surrounding the temple, the walls are covered with murals of the Ramakian (the Thai version of the Indian epic the Ramayana).  Inside the temple are murals of the life of the Buddha.  They are incredible.  Honestly, the temple was like a Thai Sistine Chapel – it’s gorgeous.

When I finally finished wandering around, I left the Palace area and walked down the street to the City Pillar shrine – this is where the spirit of the city is believed to reside.  It wasn’t a huge site, but it was interesting, because people were going about their devotional business, and that was cool to see.  I happened to be there while a group of school kids was visiting, and they were pretty adorable.  I strolled down the street some more (to cries of “Miss, taxi?”  Ah, I had almost begun to miss that), and decided on lunch at a little place by Wat Pho.  The chicken fried rice was delicious – I’m not yet brave enough for the street food, which is more often than not staring back at me.  I also had one of the sweetest Coca Colas I’ve ever had.  After that, it was Wat Pho, another gorgeous temple complex.  This one is home to the giant Reclining Buddha, which illustrates the passing of the Buddha into nirvana.  It is RIDICULOUSLY huge, and barely fits inside its building.  That was pretty awesome to see, and I tried to take pictures that effectively illustrated its size.

By the time I was finished wandering and photographing, I was pretty wat-ed out, so I headed back to my part of town via the river boat again.  This time, however, it was PACKED – two boats went by before we could get on, and when we did, I thought it was going to sink, there were so many people on it.  We made it safely, but it was quite an experience!  I kind of liked it, though. 🙂

After a shower and freshening up, I decided to visit a Bangkok movie theater.  Apparently, going to the movies is kind of a big deal here.  The theater I went to has the option of a Gold Class ticket, and it was SO SWEET!!  I was soooo excited.  First, I had the theater to myself – hooray!  My seat was a huge leather recliner that came with a pillow and a blanket to deal with the blasting air conditioning.  And they brought a soda and popcorn right to my seat!  It. Was.  Awesome.  I absolutely adored this – what a fun time!

Today, I got up early and headed to the Chatuchak Weekend Market.  My guidebook (which every single other foriegner in Bangkok has – I’ve seen at least twenty being toted around) says, “This is the market that all markets around the world are measured by.  You’ll find things here that you didn’t know you wanted or needed.  And they will come in every size and color.”  That is totally accurate.  I maybe went a little bit crazy with the souvenir shopping.  Good news is, I’m done shopping for souvenirs!  Also, it was ridiculously cheap.  Bad news was I could barely carry all my bags back to my hotel.  Excuse me while I go attempt to find a way to fit all this stuff into my suitcase.

Tomorrow, heading to Sukhothai!

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