Tuesday, May 25, 1999

Central Bangkok

Today, I'm staying as inactive as possible. I can do laundry at 9am (it's about 7:35 am now), maybe even check email. Paid for another night at the hotel (they do it on a day by day basis). Laundry privileges cost 100 Baht, and I was given 4 round coins and a modified coin for the machines, plus detergent.

Drinking my breakfast slurpee, orange & coke, I hung out in the laundry room. There was a siamese cat meowing and it's kitten was under the washing machine. After the laundry was done, I picked up some jewelry down the block and checked email on the way back to my room around 11 am. I grabbed a bite to eat in the Siam Restaurant, "American Fried Rice" and a banana shake. Thai food pretending to be American. It wasn't that great, which is weird since I like both styles of food.

Into a cab and off to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keo. Lots of gold; bells on the roof line jingling in the wind. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (which is actually one piece of jade) is airy; red ceiling girders and the 2 foot tall Buddha is at the top of a 40 foot shrine covered with gold. Lots of oscillating fans too. A little walk around the outside of the temple grounds, but still inside the walls of the temple, ended with coke and Haagen Dazs Raspberry sorbet. It's funny how often people smile at each other here: 1)I saw a sign in the airport welcoming us to the land of smiles, 2)I don't think they really understand what I'm saying. "The proceeds from the sale [of my coke and ice cream] for the restoration of the temple of the emerald Buddha."








 On the way back to Khao San at 1:45 pm. Took in a Buddhist festival (a real one, not a tuk tuk contrived one) at Sanam Ll'ang. Undertook trying to find a post office. Picked up a Manchester United jersey for around $5 US and a fruit drink. Khao San has the highest percentage of white folk. This is more than just coincidence. Most of the workers speak English, at least enough to get the message across. The international sign-language for 'check' holds true. Despite all the hustle and bustle, you can take your time and still be early around here. I think it's just the heat that makes everything seem far. I finally saw a Thai sweating, a monk no less. Not to say that monks don't sweat, you just don't seem them bead up that often. Back to my room for a shower and drop stuff off.
On the way, I was sidetracked by Wat Chana Songkram, basically a non-touristed out temple. The nuns were cleaning, a guy was mopping the marble floor.
Got back to the room, gave up, laid down and went to sleep after planning stuff for Singapore.

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