Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A balcony ! A balcony ! My kingdom for THAT balcony ! Wat Pho & Bangkok to Penh's Hill

3 am.  In Bangkok. Sometimes I have to force myself to remember in what an extraordinary place I am.   Because I get used to life over here so quickly.

Anyhoo:  3 am.

That's 8 hours of sleep but I feel like crap.  Maybe because my A/C was set to 28 C?  Ah well, grab some coffee and a Nutella croissant (That is the beauty of this guesthouse:  The common kitchen is open 24/7)

The internet is SLOW and spotty this morning.  WTF?  Almost as bad as in my hotel in North Vancouver, LOL.

There is a sign in my room.  Taxi to the airport 400 Baht.  That's CAD$ 15.  No, I usually don't take taxis.  But the walk to the bus stop is 15 minutes and it might be raining. And the taxi takes 1 hour to the airport instead of the 2 hours that the bus takes.  And going TO the airport, I actually have some time pressure to get there on time.  So I'm biting the bullet.    While promising myself to make up for this extravagance by taking the public bus again when returning here at the end of the month.

7:30 am

Oh SCREW THIS.  I've worked enough !  Plus, it's already 5:30 pm in Vancouver anyway, I'm late, so I might as well finish it LATER.    I've been in Bangkok for 5 or 6 nights now and I still haven't seen the Reclining Buddha.  But isn't the reason I came here to experience new things AND to drop the Vancouver employee=slave mentality?

On Y Va !

Detail of the temple across the street

The Democracy Monument

The Giant Swing is not all it's made out to be.  Sure it's big. But so what?
A tiny Giant Swing

I've personally seen the world's BIGGEST BEAVER in Beaverlodge and I wasn't impressed by that either.

Bangkok has Bicycle lanes. 

OK, so they're NOT that functional, but at least they exist, LOL
When I'm almost at the Wat Pho temple complex, Google Maps sends me through a park.  A VERY PRETTY park:

WHAT fountain hardware !

Back in Plumeria-World

I've figured it out.  I've figured out how HE walked on water !!!!

Lotus flower
5 minutes later, I've paid my 100 Baht to visit Wat Pho.   NOTE:  The Reclining Buddha is NOT inside Wat Pho and therefore is FREE to visit.  But they put the pay booth in a spot that is probably designed to confuse tourists, so everyone pays.  

I don't know where to expect the Reclining Buddha until I walk along this long building right by the entrance and look in through a window.  All I see is a golden nipple.   This must be him !
Behold Buddha's Nipple !
I've seen internet pictures before of course, but when I enter the building, I'm still hit with a feeling of awe.   He's HUGE.

When I told Grandma about the Reclining Buddha she somehow must have heard Golden Buddha.  Why else would she ask me to steal his little toe and bring it with me?  

Well, now I have a GOOD REASON to NOT follow Grandma's wishes.  One of his toes is the same size as my entire torso  !  AND the soles of his feet are BLACK.

Of course, the Buddha has a back as well ;-)

Enough with staring at a reclining young man.  There is more to this place ...
There is a glaring light coming through the high clouds today. Not ideal for photograph ;-(

Longing ....

More nipples ;-)
Wat Pho is the last of the stops.  There is actually someone here who asks for the ticket.   I enter and I just can NOT take a picture of this.  Monks and believers are engaged in their rituals and I'd feel like a complete asshole if I took a picture of them.   Unfortunately for these people, but fortunately for the reader, there are other tourists and travelers in this world who don't share my inhibitions (or good manners ;-).

Here are two pictures of Wat Pho grabbed from Google Images:
It wasn't me....

Not this one either ....

I stop again at the street food vendor where I got those fabulous patties last time.  This time it's two patties AND a bag of yummy garlicky saucy vegetables (different mushrooms, carrot, bean, baby corn seem to be the main ingredients). All that for 60 Baht (CAD$ 2.50).

Combine those two things on a slice of toast and you have a FEAST !

At 11:45 I realize that my taxi is already waiting outside, so why not go now.

OK, SIR, We are HERE, is the sound that wakes me up 45 minutes later.  400 Baht is cheap for 27 km (especially considering that I'd paid 200 Baht for 2.5 km in a Tuk Tuk !)

Connecting to the internet at Don Mueang Airport is pretty much impossible with my laptop.

Immigration and security are thorough but FAST and I still have 1.5 hours until boarding time.  Might as well have some Octopus Dumplings with a cold Singha at Fuji restaurant.  It's a good thing I don't live in Asia permanently.  I'd become a beer drinker again and I'd get FAT.   Hard to believe how much better Asian beer is than the North American slosh. 

At the gate I'm finally able to connect to the Airport Wifi.   I just exchanged 1500 Baht for 43 US$.  One thing I noticed is that the guy in the exchange booth just pocketed the 15 Baht left over in the conversion. 

To an ever increasing degree, I am astonished by how many people are unable to match the seat number on their boarding pass to the actual seat in the plane.  Sure, I've been guilty of that myself once or twice, but out of the 6 people in the two rows in front of me only 4 managed to find their right seats and this causes the stewardess to almost have a coronary while she redirects the idiots while trying to let the people pass who just entered the plane and are lined up behind this mess.   Just think, these people are allowed to vote and drive a car. 

Not the actual Mekong, but a flooded area close to it
The plane touches down in Phnom Penh at 16:15.  At 16:40 I have received my Visa on Arrival, have passed Immigration and Customs and have negotiated a US$ 9 fare for the 10 km Tuk-Tuk ride from the airport to my hotel.

Yup, they've been building this for a while now.  But they're making progress !
I can't believe the grin that has appeared on my face and the joy I'm feeling of being back in Phnom Penh.  The fact that I feel at home in this fucked-up city is just friggin weird !

By 6 pm, I have bought a carton of my regular Cambodian cigarettes (Ara Gold) for US$ 4.50 (YES, that works out to about 2.2 CENTS per cigarette ;-), visited my usual family-run mini-mart and scored instant coffee, white wine, and sour-cherry nectar.

By 7 pm I'm watching the day's light abandon Phnom Penh for the night, except for the sporadic lightning from the isolated thunder-cloud towers that I had already seen scattered over the country from the plane.  

The Tonle Sap River (flowing upstream at the moment) What a view ...
On the central table in StarBar which allows me to view down both the Mekong and the Tonle Sap in both directions, is my translation, a glass of white wine, and their version of Fish&Chips (read odd fries and REAL FISH).  I've fallen in love with this dish in January, not because of the good fish but because of the ground pepper and lemon juice dipping sauce that they served with it.  And what do they bring me with the Fish&Chips this time?   Ketchup and Mayonnaise.  WHAT is WRONG here?   People can get Fish&Chips anywhere, even with better quality than here.  It's THAT pepper sauce that set this place apart !  And they don't serve it automatically.  Ts Ts TS !
The Mighty Mekong 
The Pink Lady is serving and when I ask her for the pepper/lime ambrosia, she knows eXactly what I'm talking about and brings me a generous helping.  But what happened to Grandma, Pink Lady's mother?  I had expected to see her up here.  I'll find out at breakfast time, I hope !

No comments:

Post a Comment