Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Bangkok, Thailand--Day 39

Today I woke up and after getting some business stuff done I caught a cab over to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, but first wanted to stop at the post office to mail some things home. My plan didn’t work though because when I got the post office they would only accept cash and I had a hard time understanding how I was supposed to mail home my package, so I just gave up and headed inside to the Temple.

The Temple is absolutely fascinating. There are several buildings on the grounds of the Temple and consist of this magnificently shining buildings of gold, along with pillars adorned with mosaics and numerous statues, all of which is a shine to the Emerald Buddha, who is located within the larger Temple. This area is joined with the old Grand Palace and so after walking around the Temples and taking many pictures I was able to get in the Palace well which wasn’t as spectacular as the Temples, but still very interesting.

I also ran into a couple from my boat trip yesterday who are actually from England near Bristol, so I spent a while talking with them then the three of us decided to go down to Lumphini Park and take the water bus system and sky train, both of which I had yet to try. We had a wonderful afternoon and despite getting off at the wrong stop on our water bus, we still had plenty of time to find the park and then sit down to have a drink and relax. After this we headed back in the direction of the hotels and then parted ways, as we headed back to our separate hotels. I got back to my hotel and went swimming then got ready to go walk around again much like last night. When I got down to the lobby it turned out that there was this red carpet leading into one of the elevators and security people EVERYWHERE. I asked what was going on and apparently the President of the Ukraine was coming! That was interesting! So I walked out of the hotel but then realized that no really, the President of the Ukraine was coming RIGHT NOW and so I was able to watch from the sky train ramp this HUGE procession of cars pulling up to my hotel and see President Kuchma getting out before I was ushered on my a security guard.

I thought that was pretty neat! Then I got on the sky train and followed the recommendation of my companions today and went to a restaurant called “Cabbages and Condoms” (they promote the use of free contraceptives and community development in Thailand) and had a nice dinner outside underneath a blanket of white Christmas lights. After dinner I walked back most of the way to the hotel then hopped on the sky train the last stop and then walked a little bit more around the shopping areas around my hotel before I headed back to my room. Tomorrow its off to Vietnam!

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.