Archive for April 9th, 2007

A Sea of Yellow in Blistering Bangkok

April 9, 2007

Despite the continuing heat, my camarades and I made our way out to see more of Bangkok today. Our goal: The Royal Palace.

We started out via the Sky Train (which is a train in the sky in case you were wanting of a definition)

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to the Chao Krung River where we hopped on an Express Boat to the Royal Palace. As we were walking and again on the Sky Train, I noticed a lot of people wearing yellow shirts.

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At the school where I work, we have Panther Pride Day where we all wear a school t-shirt in navy blue. Apparently today was Bangkok Pride day because about 50% of the Thai people we saw were wearing yellow shirts. As it turns out, on Mondays it IS Bangkok Pride day! Apparently every Monday the populace wears yellow to show their love for their king, a love so strong that they put up billboards EVERYWHERE that are HUGE.

(Can anyone explain why WP suddenly stopped allowing me to put in full-size photos? I can only add thumbnails yet the ones above were allowed?!)

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Thailand: Thais love their king! They have hats and t-shirts and buttons proclaiming their love for their king. All in yellow. Clearly they consider me into their decision because I look like I have jaundice when I wear yellow. Blue would have been good for me…

Where was I? Oh yah, Bangkok… So we arrive at the Grand Palace and this wonderfully kind and helpful Thai man explains to us that the Grand Palace and its grounds are closed to all but Thai people until approximately 2pm due to it being Monday. He then continues to show the kindness and helpfulness for which Thai people are known by explaining to us what we could do for the 4 or so hours we would have to wait until the palace opens. He draws on our map places where we can go. He teaches us so Thai and explains that if we ask “How much” in English we’ll get screwed, but if we say it in Thai (which I can’t remember!), we’ll get a better price. He goes so far as to pull over a Tuktuk (a small taxi) and arranges a ride for us. It was magnificent.

Until Sylvie told them both “Non” (That’s a French “no” not an English “no”), grabs us by the arm (an exaggeration) and leads us away (not an exaggeration). She then explains to us that she’d read in many of her books that this is exactly how they scam tourists! Laurent and I were appalled. The Thai man was so nice and kind and gentle. SUCKERS! It happened three or four more times! Just near the entrance there was a hand-written sign that said, “Do Not Trust Strangers” with a kind-looking woman standing underneath… Who proceeded to explain that the Palace was closed, blah blah blah…

Needless to say, we were quite relieved to get into the OPEN Palace. By that time I was annoyed beyond belief as my whole trust system had been kaboozled (that’s a psychology term) many times. I was also hot and thirsty. The Grand Palace also contains a huge temple and apparently Buddhists monks aren’t concerned with providing convenient beverage stations for the visiting masses. So I was a touch crabby a the beginning of our visit. But I still managed to take some lovely shots. I’m not one on pictures of big things, I prefer the details, so don’t ask for explanations. It was part of something in/on/around/near a building somewhere in/on/around/near the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

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Sylvie doesn’t normally look like a homeless woman. She had to cover her legs and arms. So her legs are covered with a tablecloth that was in her bag and she’s wearing a rented shirt. The use of the Starbuck’s bag is her choice.

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And then it rained like there was no tomorrow. For an hour we sat beneath the eves of a building on the grounds of the Grand Palace. Without water to drink. But at least it cooled things down. For a while…


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