Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bangkok Airways

I'm in the airport on my way to Chiang Mai waiting in the Bangkok Airways terminal. They bill themselves as "Asia's Boutique Airline" and they aren't kidding. They have free internet kiosks, free Thai iced tea, and free cookies. Good thing I checked in early! The taxi ride over here was terrifying. I think I've learned NOT to dicker for a good price on cab rides. The level of recklessness on the part of the driver appears to be inversely proportional to the fare. This is only made worse by the fact that Thai vehicles don't have seatbelts in the backseat. Eeek! The worse drivers also seem to be the ones with lotus leaves and prayers taped to the ceiling of their cab. Maybe these are for previous passengers who didn't make it to their destination...

Chinatown


Chinatown
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
Chinatown was cool. The sidewalks were covered with tarps and umbrellas for blocks and blocks. You walked single file between vendors and were very intimate with your fellow shoppers. The variety of goods and people were overwhelming. The smells from the food vendors permeated the air. I saw tasty looking things to eat, but I had already stuffed myself at the mall. After I got back home I read in the guidebook that there is an Indian neighborhood nearby. I have to try Indian food while I'm here.

Food court in a mall, Thai style

After leaving the palace and the wats I walked over to Chinatown. The thunderstorm came back and I stepped into a Thai mall to escape. I was there for about an hour looking at all of the shops and eating in the "food court". During that time I saw one other white person. This was definitely not a tourist spot! I had fun trying to order food. Some of the restaurants were frustrating because all they had to display were the ingredients and you were supposed to tell them what you want. Not so easy considering I don't speak the language.

Reclining buddha


Reclining buddha
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
This is the reclining buddha inside Wat Pho. It was HUGE. It is covered in gold and has mother of pearl on the soles of it's feet.

Emerald Buddha Wat


Emerald Buddha Wat
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
This is an outdoor shot of the wat containing the emerald buddha. yes, that appears to be real gold. The buddha itself was amazing, but no photos were allowed and there were gurads enforcing this. While I was inside ogling the buddha a thunderstorm rolled in. It was cool hearing the thunder echoing through the building and breathing in the incense while staring at the buddha.

Outside the Royal Palace


Outside the Royal Palace
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
I went to the Royal Palace next. I was able to wander around Wat Pho in shorts, but to get into the palace grounds I had to change into jeans. Fortunately, I brought jeans with me just in case.

Kitty at Wat Pho


Kitty at Wat Pho
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
If Rome is the city of stray cats, then Bankok is the city of stray dogs. Poor doggies are roaming around everywhere! The only exception to this appears to be the buddhist temples. There, cats are the norm. There were cats all over Wat Pho. I came by this shrine again later and found two ladies praying with the cats walking around their feet.

Wat Pho


Wat Pho
Originally uploaded by buckyreed.
I woke up early this morning and took a taxi from the hotel to a buddhist temple called Wat Pho. The weather was overcast, but it made it easier to photograph the buildings. The mosaic and tile work on the buildings were beautiful!