I guess that most "tourists" in Bangkok will rush around to see as many sights as they can in the short time they have here. Luckily, I don't have to rush. In my four month sojourn, I can make several leisurely visits into the centre of this great metropolis and explore it at my own pace.
This morning I struck out alone. Taxi to the nearest MRT (Metro) station and then I was swished onwards to Hualamphong in a sleek carriage where I was the only visible westerner. Emerging into the heat, I wandered down to the Chao Phraya River and boarded a ferry bound for Tha Tien. After buying a drinking coconut, I found my way to the Wat Po temple complex. The main attraction here is the famous Reclining Buddha but the grounds of the complex are also quite wonderful to behold.
I read that the temple was famous for providing a professional Thai massage service. I paid £5 for half an hour of being squeezed and bent but no**, this massage did not have the "happy ending" that sleazier establishments might provide! **I had already guessed what some of my readers might be thinking! John Gray, Mr Parrots etc..
After some money grabbing git had scribbled with a ballpoint pen on my pristine map of Bangkok, I wandered into the chaotic ambience of Chinatown with a million merchants plying their wares down cramped alleyways and sweaty side streets. How the hell they all make a living, I have no idea. On one particular street I saw numerous women sitting in deckchairs, their faces creamed white as "beauticians" threaded away unwanted facial hair. In another street there were florists after florists - dozens of them. Nobody was pushy, pouncing on you just for stopping to look.
Again the only westerner in a vast commercial floorspace with Chinese tea shops and eateries, I managed to find the humble Peking Restaurant with its promised English menu and ordered, with some difficulty, a beef and spinach noodle soup with steamed "lice" on the side. Delicious and healthy too. For dessert in the street I bought a plastic cup crammed with big, juicy black cherries.
All this me-time ends tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn when five weeks of teaching proper commence. Some photos from today's rambling:-