06/01/10 - 08/01/10
So, long time, no post. I'm still trying to get some photo uploading action happening, but as of yet, I have failed.
Anyways, so what have we done over the past few days? We went to the Grand Palace, on a day that felt very VERY close to a constant sauna. The palace itself was very pretty, I felt that the architects had the pre-requisite to make everything as shiny as physically possible. They succeeded quite well, too. I've never seen so many gold-covered things in my life. Our guide was also incredibly knowledgeable about everything from the origins of the bhuddist religion, to the date of every single significant event that has happened in not only Bangkok, but Thailand as a whole.
We went for another browse around MBK on Wednesday, as well. I find it interesting how each level has a sort of "theme" to it, i.e. One level is ONLY electronics (and alot of stalls at that) whereas another is furniture, and another is cheap clothes and knockoff goods-stalls, etc. We also had some excellent Thai cuisine... If by that you mean Burger King. And, like everything else in Thailand, it cost about a third of what it would cost in Australia.
On Thursday we did a traditional Thai cuisine cooking class (fo real this time, not Burger King). It was excellent. Delicious food and very informative instructors. Definitely a highlight of the trip so far. The traffic afterwards, however, was not. Sitting at one set of lights without moving at all for 30 minutes was not cool. Oh, and when the lights did go green, they were green for all of 20 seconds. Needless to say, it took us ages to get home.
We had awesome ice cream at MBK that night, and it was, much like everything else in Thailand, cheap as chips. Emma also went stationery beserk in one of the department stores. So many different types of pens, paper and other useful doodads.
I got my finished suits last night at 3am, delivered to my room. They fit perfectly, and they are of a very high quality. Emma's dress, however, is not. Clearly they are great at making something simple like a suit, but when it comes to a custom dress, they struggle a bit.
Today we left Bangkok for a place about an hour north called Ayutthaya. The train ride was... Interesting. Not having any of the station names announced made for a very stressful affair. Ayutthaya however, is quite nice though. We're staying at a very peaceful hideaway just outside the town, koi carp ponds and all. A nice change from the thousand-mile a minute pace of Bangkok.
Overall, would I recommend Bangkok? Yes, but not as your only destination in Thailand. The sights and sounds are interesting, but there is a constant feeling that everyone is trying to rip you off. Also, the contrast between walking out of your luxury hotel to see homeless people sleeping on the other side of the street is very confronting and depressing.
Another thing that I have noticed about travel in general is that two things are not conveyed through travel brochures or tv shows: The heat and the smells. Bangkok is always hot, and is also very smelly. The smell of raw sewage and rotting food is highly unpleasant and not something that is ever mentioned.
Tomorrow we spend half a day in Ayutthaya before we take a train back to Bangkok and then a flight to Chiang Mai. It'll be my first time in a Boeing 747 (jumbo jet), and in business class, too. Should be good!
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