AES’EA – Exquisite Detail

Today was our last day in Bangkok, so we knew we had to actually get out and see the tourist-y parts of the city. It feels a little bit like box checking (which I usually try to stay away from), but so far we’ve only seen things within a twenty minute walk from our hotel. So at least I can agree with the results of being touristy, if not the rationale behind why. We ordered brunch room service and headed down to the river to get a boat towards the Grand Palace.

It’s got an egg in it, therefore it is breakfast
The boat was about the same price as a taxi for a party of two, but faster for the same distance of travel, assuming you arrive at the dock at the right time.

We peeked around the Grand Palace a bit but decided not to pay the 500 Baht entry fee to see the inner parts. It wasn’t so much that the price was high (it’s not), but that there were so many other temples on our list of things to see that we may as well continue onwards.

All of the buildings were heavily ornamented with regal, golden spikes

We wandered back outside and into a heavily populated market square packed with street vendors selling both food and souvenirs. I got a passionfruit gelato popsicle while Ethan opted for a bottle of pomegranate juice. All through these types of areas I keep wondering how street merchant regulation works in Thailand – do people have to get a permit in order to sell goods here, or anywhere else in the city? If so, how is it enforced? If not, why isn’t everyone moving towards the areas with higher foot traffic? I should do more research, both about Bangkok and at home for cities like NYC and SF.

The blurriness of the photo represents the chaos of modern life. It also represents my inability to take a stable photo of moving people.

Happily munching away at our fruity cold refreshments, we walked back to the street and continued to the next stop at Wat Pho. Here we paid the (much) relatively cheaper entry price of 100 Baht to see the whole temple.

The Reclining Buddha. This statue was absolutely massive – notice the people in the bottom right corner for scale. Even more impressively, the detail throughout was impeccable, and the whole thing was in excellent shape. 
Just to prove the point, here are the Reclining Buddha’s feet. I’m not sure quite what they’re made of, but it’s extremely pretty and light reflective.
Up close you can tell that the hundreds of triangular roofs are all mosaics, both on their tops and sides. It’s mind-boggling to think about how much effort went into designing and building all of it.
Here’s an even better look. The attention to detail continues fractally inwards.

We walked around for another half hour or so, but eventually were worn out and decided to start back towards the hotel. We didn’t know enough history to appreciate the differences between the different temples, and so felt that we saw enough from the one and a half that we visited. Moreover, we were quite hot at this point and longed to be back in the hotel pool. It didn’t help that visiting the temples required wearing long pants instead of shorts, which by this point were soaked with sweat. We started heading back, stopping along the way to grab a few more bites of fresh fruit and anything cold.

Coconut ice cream! Coconut here is a much more mild flavor than what I remember from home, which I don’t mind at all. It makes me wonder if coconut flavored things from the US are artificially enhanced or strengthened, like the difference between a banana and banana flavored things.

After walking about halfway back, we became unsure of our exact location, and so hopped in a cab for the rest of the ride. We reached the hotel, changed into swimsuits, and hopped in the pool. We became hungry after a few hours, and decided to walk back out of the hotel towards a small open air restaurant not far away that we had passed on our earlier ventures.

Shrimp pad thai and green fanta. The pad thai was quite good, but nowhere near what we got at May Kaidee. There were three fruit flavors in the fanta, and unless you’re already familiar your first three guesses will all be wrong.

We had a few more hours to kill before we could reasonably go to bed, so on the way back we once again stopped in the little hole in the wall where we had lunch yesterday. Right as we got in and ordered it began to torrentially rain again, so we settled in for a while and slowly sipped our wonderfully delicious drinks.

On left, Ethan’s butterbeer, and on right my iced latte. Both mild, both cold, both delicious.

With the rain slightly thinning out, we paid and continued walking back towards the hotel. Our final stop for the night was a massage shop where we each purchased an hour long leg massage. Mine was heavenly, complete with stress release caused by mild pressure-based pain. Relaxed and de-stressed, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed a few more snacks from 7-11, and holed up for the night. Tomorrow, Chiang Mai!



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