The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around the World (Again) Bangkok day 2


Bangkok Day 2

I was awake at my normal time, 06:00 and decided to go online alas it seemed that the system was down, Nina phoned the house IT engineers, as she was going with the little one to the Docs for immunisations she left me in charge, alas when I left they had not been able to get full internet connection. So that dear readers is the reason that I am way behind on my Blog, honest.

After everyone was out, I got myself ready for the fore, I wanted to go down to the river and take in a few of the main Bangkok tourist attractions. So it was down the street and onto the Sky Train, changing onto the MRT to take me down to Hua Lamphong.

A quick dash across the crossing (this means nothing to no one, I think they just paint them on the streets as aiming points for drivers. It was almost midday so I popped back to the stall where I had eaten yesterday (I had said I would return) and had a plate of Pad-Thai, this is I suppose the  national dish, it consists of stir-fried noodles, tomatoes, spring onions, bean shoots, egg (scrambled and chopped egg omelette) a protein, either chicken, beef, pork or prawn, I had prawn.

It was wonderfully cooked, with a smattering of chilli. It was very tasty and the perfect lunch for people on the move. 

I popped into a Wat to see What was going on (it’s the way you tell them),


it was a reclining Buddha and a lot of others as well, the reclining one very nicely adorned.
















I was quite alone inside of the temple, though out in the court yard a group of workers were putting an advertising hording together.  



The court yards are not considered holy and are used for anything that you fancy, though they more than likely had to grease a few monks hands.








Using my super-duper new water, beer, soup proof map of the city, I manoeuvred myself through the back streets of down town Bangkok, eventually arriving at the river.
I had arrived at the river but at a totally different place than where I wanted or expected to be.

But as luck would have it I had landed at a ferry jetty, from here you can get ferries and river tour boats to all the places up and down the river. I decided to get the cross river ferry to a small market on the other bank, so I paid my 3baht and jumped (there is a gap, so watch your step) on board, the craft (it is not a boat) chugged its way across the river, with the more speedy vessels dodging to port and starboard.















I jumped onto the landing stage (that sounds so grand) and walked up a few steps and was at once engulfed by the typical market place melee. I sauntered through the stalls, as markets go this was a very small one, only two lanes, but containing all of what you would expect of an oriental eastern market; the dust, smells, cats, dogs, haggling, deformed beggars, yes everything was there. I walked down one side and then reaching the end walked back down the other lane, it held nothing that I wanted, I was actually looking for a pair of trekking sandals, I had left mine back home, as I knew I would be able to buy them out here at a tenth of the cost, to date still no sandals, just shows how wrong you can be.
Down the food isle I considered stewed ham hock, but I really wanted just a snack.

I stopped at a small Sushi bar, it looked all nice and clean, freshly prepared and quite a few people using it for a take-away. So taking my life in my hands (I do all the time), I selected my Sushi, paid, took a seat and enjoyed it immensely. Life still intact!


I then walked down the steps and looking along the quay, I noticed a real posh landing stage, now this one was grand, with lots of well-dressed( not backpackers) getting on a boat, it belonged to the Hilton, I sauntered along and had a look, no one was asking for ID or tickets, I was just politely asked was I going on a river trip or just crossing the river, fool that I am, I replied, I was just going across the river, thus doing me out of a free river trip. The white coated attendant said the next cross river ferry is in 5 minutes sir if you would like to take a seat.

I did, it came I got on board this one had a be-uniformed crew of 3, so I was ferried through the criss-crossing river traffic to the other side, but alighting at a different place, this was right in front of a large hotel, shopping complex. As I had a bit of time on my hands I decided to have a look inside, this was a very large complex, but the units inside were almost all empty, there was a large open atrium in the centre, with a few tables and chairs, but not a café or drinks stand I sight. I suppose it had just been completed and was waiting to be filled with all of the stuff that these places get filled with.

I left by the front door and was at once accosted by a Tuk-Tuk driver, you are always accosted by Tuk-Tuks or their drivers, the Tuk-Tuks when trying to cross the road and their drivers when you are not.



I decided to take a one to the Royal Palace and the main water front area, there is actually no other means of getting to or around this area other than Taxi, Tuk-Tuk or if you’re feeling brave on the back of a motorbike or scooter. I was then whisked through China Town along the main road with its mad traffic, this brought me to the area that I had originally set out to walk to.




I arrived at the Royal Palace and the Emerald Buddha who slumbers at the Kings own private Wat, I had aimed to have a look around the palace, but thought better of it when I saw the length of the queue at the ticket booth. I decided to just wander around the grounds and look at all of the buildings externally. it was 17:00 and time for the changing of the guard, I have seen better, but did get a nice smile from the Officer of The Watch, wonder what that meant? 
 






I wanted to see the large reclining Buddha, the guide book said it is a massive statue of Prince Buddha housed in a Wat not far from the palace and it is a vice walk around the palace walls and along the water front. Took a rest in a nice frangipani tree lined garden and watched the river traffic, the magnificent Wat on the other side of the river and a mixture of rock doves and feral pigeons doing what the always do in public places, eating and shitting.

















As you reach the end of the gardens and turn towards the Wat entrance, you pass some market stalls, I honestly believe there is not a piece of pavement in Bangkok that doesn’t have a hawker stall selling something or other. Here was a stall selling golden brown stuffed squid being turned over the charcoals.

Next to this your nose is assailed by the pungent aroma of dried fish, here the fish, squid and shrimps (a basic flavour in Thai cuisine) are being sold by the hand full or kilo the choice is yours.


But then across the road and into Wat Po to see my second Buddha today in the reclining position.

This one is really massive, you can walk all around it and need to, to get an idea of the huge size of the effigy. 

Not only is the craftsmanship on the Buddha of the highest quality.


But the walls and window alcoves are covered with gold guilt work and murals depicting the various stages of Buddha’s life, it was worth seeing if only for the fine artwork alone.






But there you are not finished, Wat Po is a massive complex filled with temples all with their own Buddha’s sitting, lying standing, in groups, in rows, there are many hundreds and all housed inside and out in wonderfully engraved and gilded halls.



The grounds are also worth while just to saunter around and with the except happy clicking bus loads of Japanese tourists and solitary Brit ones, quite empty and tranquil. 






In the grounds and at the gates stand stone sentries to guard against who I do not know (I will return to that theme when I find out, it interests me).

Because of the size of Wat Po it would be easy to get lost, within the grounds (I think I took quite a few wrong turnings, but these turned out to be right turnings).

 

I eventually exited at a different gate than I had entered, but that matters not because outside I guarantee there is a Tuk-Tuk waiting to take you to your destination.

I realised that it was getting late and Nina had said she was cooking that evening, so it was into a Tuk-Tuk and off to Hua Lamphong.


I was able to get some photo’s on the way, an interesting one (to me) was of the HQ of the Territorial Defence Command.
 
No stopping at hawkers stalls this evening, we dined on Pasta and salmon and drank some very nice wine, it was an early night as they were off to the beach for a bit of a break next morning and as I was leaving early on Monday, I wouldn’t be seeing them again for a while, most likely in Ireland or London. Thanks for the hospitality, you are ever so kind
 

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