July 28th, 2006

Bangkok Day 3

Bangkok is treating Mateo and I well. This morning we retreived his visa from the foreign embassy it was at and went off to see the city.

This was our last full day here until the end of the trip, so we thought we would see the sites before we go. We started with a 7-Eleven.

You folk in Japan will understand the glory and magic of this next sentence, but it might be lost on the American readers: I had a Slurpee! Oh sweet sweet Slurpee goodness. I have not had a Slurpee in over 3 years, and it was as good as I always remembered it was. So good in fact, my picture of the day was me next to the Slurpee machine with a big grin on my face. Slurpee. Good times.

Well, in any case we continued to wander and ended up at "Wat Pho," which is the largest reclining Buddha statue in the world. It is gold colored and laced with mother of pearl, and it is huge. You can find better pictures than I could ever have taken on the Internet, I am sure. That was fun, but it was gaijin tourist central, so the rest of the day we hung out in the much more mundane parts of Bangkok with little to no tourist interaction.

We wandered into the Siam Center, which is a big shopping center that is strikingly similar to any mall in America, but the exception was that there was a full on social gathering put on by Bailey's Irish Creme in the lobby of the mall on the 1st Floor. We filled out a small form and were given small cups of Bailiey's right there in the mall. That was weird. Never been given free booze in a mall before.

We spent the rest of the day wandering all over town, buying food at sidewalk vendors and the such. We saw a wide range of areas, from lower class living areas to elementary school just getting out with street vendors lined up on either side waiting for the childrens' parents' monies.

One fun thing that happens around then was while Mateo and I were sitting around looing at a map, a small kid came up and put stickers of Barbie dolls on our legs. He just walked right up and stuck them on, then looked at us. We smiled and said thank you, but the stoic child thought nothing of the act. Our legs were just another place to put stickers. That was a kick in the pants.

Another hour of walking and a tired Tuk Tuk ride back to the Siam Center, we decided to watch a movie. As we got into the movie theater after a few ads for cell phones and the such, the screen turned yellow, the color of the King, and the symbol of the king of Thailand came on. Suddenly we heard a great russling and all the people around us were standing up, so we standed too. The national anthem was being played to various scenes of the king doing good deeds. You see, in Thailand, the people LOVE the king.

No, I mean they LOVE the king. The British monoarchy are not so well liked, but not the King. People here really think he is the best ever. They don't like the government (the parliment recently disbanded due to partisan protest in Bangkok), but the King can do no wrong. He has been ruling for 60 years (longest ruling monoarch in the world), and the people's devotion to him is unbelievably strong. It is quite the site to see.

Tomorrow we are off to Cambodia and Angor Wat. Until next time, take care.

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