The funny thing about living in Thailand is that you loathe being thought of or being reffered to as a tourist i any way yet you still want to do all the touristy things. So when we go to these touristy spots we walk confident and when needed speak the small amount of Thai we know which at least in our reasoning is a vast amount more than your average run of the mill tourist. So that said today a group of us went to "play" tourist at the Grand Palace. It's just one of those things you have to see while you're in Bangkok. You don't want there to be an important conversation years down the road about your life in Thailand and they ask "Did you go to the Grand Palace?" and you must reply "no, I did not..."
The trip started out in my favorite way, on the river Taxi. The river taxi is probably my favorite mode of transportation in Bangkok because you can sit and relax and enjoy the scenery and even though it's melt worthy hot your comfortable because of the nice breeze with the unfortunate, and in todays case frequent splashes of the nasty garbage water from the river :)
The Grand Palace is a huge compound made up of the palace buildings and several temples all within a big white wall. The first part you get to when you enter is the main temple compound. I love looking at Thai temples because they're always so bright and colorful and there's so many details. Right in the middle of this compound is the "Temple of the Emerald Buddha." Because every temple I ever go to in Asia that's named for it's Buddhas has a giant Buddha inside I was expecting to see a giant green Buddha but instead it was a very small Buddha (in comparison, it was maybe 3 feet tall???) set high atop a golden pedestal wrapped in a golden cloak so that only it's head is visible. When you go inside you arn't allowed to take pictures so there wasn't a lot to do. The assistants kept insisting everyone goes and takes a seat or kneels on the floor. WE couldn't, it just wasn't right..... So we got a good look and there were beautiful paintings on the walls, then we moved on.
I think I may have mentioned this before but in Thailand, winter is 3 days for sweater weather a year. Needless to say, today we were melting, and to think it's only going to get worse. March and April are apparently the hottest months of the year. Because it was so hot and because at the Grand Palace you have to wear long pants and shirts that covered your shoulders we tried to stay mostly to the shadows and every once and a while the nice breezes would come along. We walked around for about an hour looking at the temples and the Royal Mansion and Royal Hall where all the thrones are (all of the royal buildings were built in the late 19th century or later). We took a bunch of pictures and got some pictures with the Royal guards who are just like the guard in England that have to stand completely still. After a while in the eat and with our stomachs growling we decided to leave and go to the Au Ban Pan we had seen across the street from the entrance where I got the most amazing strawberry smoothie. It was delicious.
After that we left for dinner (I know what you're thinking. You were just at a restaurant, well, oh well right? :) ) at an infamous restaurant called, oh I don't don't know if I should say the name..... oh all right Cabbages and Condoms. It was interesting to say the least and I felt quite scandalous being there. The point of the restaurant is to get money to educate Thai people about safe practices and also to help impovrished people. The decor of the restaurant was very interesting.... it involved a lot of one of the subjects in it's name and it wasn't cabbages if you get my drift. Well, now I've been there done that and from now on will only be spending that much money on western food.
We finished off the night by going to Siam PAragon to watch "Valkeryie" (I probably spelling that so wrong). I must say, one thing I lvoe about Thailand is you can take your starbucks into the movie theater and you don't even have to try to hide it because they don't care. So I got a grande hot chocolate because I knew it would be freezing and I hadn't planned on seeing a movie so I didn't bring a coat.
"Valkeryie" was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't really been interested in it but I decided to go and it was so good. The only downfall is if you know your history then you know how Hitler dies and therefore basically know the outcome of the movie (If you don't know how he dies and want to see this movie, and you should, then Don't google it before hand, wait to learn in the movie). I still enjoyed it none the less. It was intense and sad, but good :)
It's hard to believe that now I only have 6 weeks left 'til I go home to America, although it will be just for a little while because I'll be coming back again in June to pay my dues at GES for another year. I just wasn't ready to let Thailand go quite yet and this isn't exactly the smartest time for me to go home and start looking for a job. Also exciting is the week before going home I'll be going to Bali!!!!! I bought my plane ticket this week. We were going to be going to Lao but transportation was just going to be hard so be decided to do Bali instead. I'm so excited! I'm finally going to make it south of the Equator! We're going to go surfing and up a volcano and boating with Dolphins. It should be amazing :)
See why I can't let this place go quite yet :)