Thailand Vacation, Part Two: Bangkok               June 2006

After our short delay in Osaka, we were finally off to our original destination of Bangkok.

The six hour flight to Bangkok involved 2 poorly movies, a program on meerkats, and some strange
colorful Japanese treats that looked better than they tasted.

We splurged on our room in Bangkok, staying at the was the sort of place that would be well
out of our price range over here, but the dollar stretches much further in over there.  It was a very modern
affair, all shiny and fancy and flatscreened and modern.  It was also a little off the beaten path, which
would probably bug some folks but I was glad we weren't staying in the center of the beehive - especially
given how cheap the transit was.

The bathroom was amazing.  And interestingly enough, it featured a large window that allowed you to
see into and out of the bathroom.  

The joint also had a rooftop pool we got into nearly every day.  Did I mention how damn hot it was there?
Well, it was damn hot, and very humid.  Any opportuinty to cool off was a godsend.

This was the super-fancy back partof the hotel that was all based around tradition Thai housing.  It was
totally gorgeous.

The ubiquitous tuk-tuk of Thailand.  They don't have pigeons over there, but they have a lot of these.  
They come in any number of fanciful colors, and while riding in one is part of the experience of going
to Thailand the taxis are just as cheap and you won't develop black lung from all of the exhaust you

On our first tourist outing, we took the river taxi up to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.  As you can see, the
water was a crystal blue color, with dolphins leaping in the wake of the boat.  IT was a sight to behold.

One thing you should know about Thailand - they really, really, REALLY like their king.  Signs, posters,
shrines, commemorative shirts, even the sides of skyscrapers covered with his likeness.  It was the
60th anniversary of him being kinged, so maybe a lot of it was because of that, or maybe it's like that
all the time.  Some of the photos they chose to display of the guy were hilarious.  

This is the reclining buddha at Wat Pho.  It is very shiny.

And also freakin' huge.  

This is the bottom of the buddha's feet, inlaid with all of these complicated mother-of-pearl designs.

Some of the outlying structures that surround Wat Pho.  

More of those structures.  The level of detail on these buildings is verifiably insane, and there are so so
many of them.  I cannot even imagine the time and manpower it took to construct them.  

We then took a quick ride down the road to the Grand Palace, the former residence of the king.  It was
even more extravegant than Wat Pho.

Because of the wonders of the camera, you cannot properly enjoy just how sweaty I am in this photo.  

Some details of the buildings inside of the Grand Palace.  Seriously, the whole place looks just
like this with the ornate detail.  It is truly mind-boggling.

Of course, to protect your ornately-decorated buildings, you need a golden dragon monkey dude to
protect it.  They really like crazy guard statues over there.  

I have no idea what this fancy building is called.  Grand Palace joint #3214.

And here is the obligatory "I'm standing in front of the place to prove I was there" tourist shot
of Chelsea.  

On a totally unrelated note, this is an old fort that is near the Khaosan road area, a hectic place that
seems to attract the budget backpacking crowd.  You can't really go in the fort or anything, but it looks
cool from the outside (at least I thought so, Chelsea seemed rather bored with the whole matter).

This is the only documentation of our home-away-from-home while we were in Thailand - The Pizza
Company.  I'm about as far as you can get from being a food tourist, I'm happy eating chain pizza and
sundae's from Swensens (the other joint we spent a lot of time at).  Luckily for me, Chelsea is an easy
going gal and goes along with my picky eating habits.

Other than the tuk-tuks, the other extremely common site in Thailand is scooters.  They don't all
have giant wreathes on the back of them (but they do generally have anywhere from 2 to 5
people on them though)

The other major activity to be done in Bangkok is shopping.  Everywhere you turn, there is a knock-off
version of just about any item you could ever possibly want to buy.  Sometimes its found in stalls on the
streets, other times you find it in giant multi-floored malls.  A lot of it was the typical crap you would
expect in such places, but both of us were surprised at all the hip shit they had, and how "with-it" a lot of
the kids seemed to be.  

Our final notable stop in Bangkok was Jim Thompson's House.  To be perfectly honest,
I wasn't terribly excited to visit this the write-ups it just didn't sound very interesting.  
But it turned out to be quite cool - traditional Thai houses with a western twist, plenty of neat
historical artifacts, and beautifully landscaped grounds.  Plus, giant koi!  Seriously, those two
ghost koi were the biggest friggin' goldfish I've ever seen in my life.