The first, best thing about Bangkok.

The first, the best thing about Bangkok is my friend Bryan lives there! Everyone should have a friend in Bangkok! (Never mind that he doesn't remember meeting me… At his wedding and hasn't seen me since!). Bryan had just accepted a job with the US Embassy and moved to Bangkok a month before I arrived. How lucky for me! My flight from Tokyo arrived at 11pm and because of his Embassy job, Bryan was able to meet me at my gate as I exited the plane! Do you remember the good ol days when you could be accompanied right up to your gate? What a luxury.

I had a rest day to do laundry and eat street food, then Bryan graciously hired Sam to take me around Bangkok in his taxi. Here's what we did the first day.

1- The train track market.

This was 45 minutes outside of Bangkok. The booths must be pulled in 8 times a day as the train wizzes by. Here is a photo of me, on the tracks.

There were lots of interesting food booths at the market. Many types of seafood.

This machine processes coconut into a flour-like substance.

What you will not see is a photo of the train. It wouldn't arrive for 30-45 minutes and Sam was not interested in waiting that long when there was so much else to see. Ok. Moving on

2- Longboat to the floating market

We hired a longboat for the outrageous sum of $55 US to take us to the 'authentic' floating markets, as opposed to the ones set up for the tourists, closer to Bangkok. The ride throught the channels was fun. The longtails are powered by automobile engines and are very loud.

Behind me you can see the canoes full of goods for the shoppers. It was fun to order mango with sticky rice and have it delivered in a net from the river.
This tiny primate was so cute! He belongs to friends of Sam so I paid 100 Baht to have my photo taken with him. They said he is very spoiled at home and so he is naughty and likes to bite fingers. This is not my finger in the photo… I did not want a rabies shot.
The monkey thought my necklace looked tasty and he tried to eat it. Naughty monkey.
After the floating markets we took the longboat back to the dock and headed to the resort for lunch. I experienced my first Thai toilet. You flush with the bucket & hope you can pee without getting any on your shoes.
3- Rose Garden Resort.
I had requested Pad Thai for lunch. This was absolutely the tastiest Pad Thai! Later, I learn that Pad Thai is a tourist dish and local people are much more likely to order fish and rice. The riverside restaurant at the Rose Garden Resort was classy but not too expensive.

The resort is famous for their Cultural show- so I (re:Bryan) shelled out 600 Baht ($18 us) for an hour long show of history, dancing, music and mui Thai fighting. It was a very interesting show. Here they show dancing through bamboo poles that are whacked and slid together. (Troy and I did the same with a group of Vietnamese people in Sapa!)

Mui Thai fights are popular entertainment here and I was glad to see one that was just pretend. The fight was so exactly correographed that Sam would tell me to make sure to watch for this next move or the next silly thing the trainer did to rally the 'losing' fighter. Sam saw this show often with his tourists.

The last dance, they ask the audience to join in. Luckily, the dance is easy and mostly involves some hand waving.

There was a 15 minute elephant show after the dance. The elephants showed us how they dragged logs.

4- Giant pagoda

I had been requesting to stop at one of the giant, shiny temples that we were passing along the highway but Sam refused. He would only take me to the BEST temples, the OLDEST temples! Not these showy, new temples that I was seeing. “Is the best OK for you?” he would ask.

Yeah, this was OK. My very first temple! Soon, I drew the attention of the 'Tourist Police' and we had to have our photo taken together.

The temple was the oldest in Bangkok and very interesting. It had many statues of Buddha, in many different positions or 'mudras'. I upset Sam by suggesting that the mudra of Buddha with his hands outstretched and fingers turned down should be called, 'Keyboard Buddha”. (Sorry, no photo- Sam seemed a bit upset by my joke…)

Sam told me that Chinese merchant ships would come into port with these heavy statues as balast.

 

All in all, it was a nice day and I arrived back to Bangkok just before the crush of rush hour traffic. The next day, Bryan and I would both go out to sightsee with Sam!

 

 

 

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