Thursday, 6 July 2017

Bangkok, Day 1: a walk, a ferry, and Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)

11 am.   Wow that was a GREAT nap.  Time for another coffee with croissant.  My pet Waran is still doing its thing on the opposite bank of the canal.

At almost noon I foolishly decide to take a 3 km walk.  Think:  Noon. July. Bangkok.  It's HOT.

Pretty !

NO,NOT palaces, but government ministries buildings ;-o
At the end of this street there is a security check-point.  Everyone has to show their passport or identity card.  I have neither. When I tell that to the cute Thai soldier , he says "OK, but you must write your name" and directs me to the next stage, which is backpack-search.  Here I even mention writing my name, but the soldier here is too busy checking my empty backpack. There isn't any stationary either at the third stage (step on a box and get have the wand float around you), so I am admitted into the vicinity of the Grand Palace sans papier.
That's what I LOVE about Indochina.   "It's just a sign", as my Angkor guide pointed out with a laisser-faire shrug of his shoulders.  Sign-obeying Westerners must appear to the residents of Indochina like trained seals.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha): Another day ...
Now THAT is a roof, LOL
The last leg consists of crossing the river.  The ferry fare is 3.5 Baht.  I can't get the theory that this is a Tourist Test out of my mind.  See, there is NO 1/2 Baht Coin, so every single tourist pays 4 Baht and doesn't get change.  I'm not even sure if the fare-collectors get paid a salary; maybe they live of all those very numerous owner-less half-Baht amounts.  
It would be easy for 2 individual tourists to band together and pay 7 Baht, but NO ONE does that, LOL.

Busy River !

The closer we get to Wat Arun, the more disbelievingly disappointed I am.  You see, it looks MUCH BIGGER in the pictures, LOL.
A picture from the internet: doesn't this look HUGE ?

My UNDERWHELMED facial expression ;-)
There is a gentle wind-chime noise about the whole place and soon I find the reason.  There are bells EVERYWHERE.

Just another tower?  Not quite; look at the detail (including bells):

I've had enough of climbing steep steps in the heat.  I also want a cigarette.  Time to leave the holy site, have a smoke, and take the ferry again.
When I get to the other side, I don't feel particularly enthused to continue walking in the stifling heat, so I walk into a restaurant right at the ferry pier with a table on a deck overhanging the water.  There is shade here, a bit of a breeze, and a cold can of Singha Beer.
The fried chicken & vegetable on rice dish tastes a bit bland for my taste.
But then I discover the 'condiments'.   Chili powder and pepper slices quickly fix the lack of Oomph in my food ;-)

Nice lunch, but I'm still too lazy to walk back home in this heat.  I hire a tuk-tuk for 200 Baht to drive me back to Khaosan Road and walk the rest of the way.

I'm back in the hotel at 2 pm and realize why I'm so exhausted.   If the BUM-SWEAT on my pants is any indication, I've lost a lot of water today, LOL.

That's what you get from wearing pants sagger style, LOL

5 pm.
Now there is yet another NEW SOUND !  Not entirely unexpected though since it's MONSOON season in these parts. What I'm hearing is the sound of heavy rain hitting the canal and the tin roofs of various buildings around here.   It's finally RAINING !

But the distant grumbling and the bright haze at the end of the canal tell me that it's just a thunder-shower downpour, so it might just be sunny again in half an hour.

6 pm

Yes, the sun did come out again.  But now at 6 pm it is raining like I've NEVER seen in rain before in my life.  And this time it's not looking like it's going to let up anytime soon.  Click on the following to get a quick impression:  Monsoon Season, LOL.

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