20 February 2011

Forray

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:-

7 comments:

  1. Interesting time from the sound of it...I do admire your travelling spirit...good luck in the morning when you start work.

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  3. When Bob went to India and then Thailand a couple of years ago, he said that the big difference between the two places was that in Thailand people take personal responsibility. Even poor houses are tidy, and people find all sorts of ways to make a living. In India, he said, the poor just accepted that's the way things are, so why try to improve their situation. It will be interesting for me to compare and contrast your observations with a then-21-year old. Have a great time!

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  4. stunning photos pud...

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  5. Heaven forfend that I should think such a thing Mr Pudding. There is nothing wrong with having your bits rubbed.

    Love the photos, particularly the two of the Budda.

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  6. Yes cracking photographs Mr Pudding. I particularly admire the third one. I love the breaking of the frame with what looks looks like glamorous fingers.

    I too admire your travelling spirit. I think I would've been a bit overwhelmed on my own in such an alien environment.

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  7. LIBBY So far work has been a doddle and the children are so lovely - natural, kind, hard-working, friendly.
    JAN BLAWAT I have been to India too. Like Thailand it is a big country with many facets. I wouldn't like to generalise.
    JOHN GRAY Thank you Blogger of the Year (2010).
    SPARROTS Having your bits rubbed in Thailand isn't meant to involve a tired sixty year old man who has just been reading the "Bangkok Post"!
    STEVE of MANCHESTER Not fingers mate! That' the buddha's toes inlaid with mother of pearl.

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