Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exotic Bangkok and Sensational Siam

Burgeoning business, designer stores that rival any in the world, wild architecture amidst worshippers at shrines at the very center of Bangkok (about 20 yards from our gorgeous Hyatt Hotel with every imaginable amenity) and shucks, even McDonalds fill the streets of Bangkok to overflowing! 2008-11-11 Bangkok 3938 2008-11-11 Bangkok 3939 2008-11-11 Bangkok 3949 2008-11-11 Bangkok 3943 2008-11-11 Bangkok 3960


2008-11-11 Bangkok 39612008-11-11 Bangkok 3967 Overhead railways, elevated highways and even subways don't seem to dent the traffic jams.  Some of the stop lights are 20 minutes long!

This morning we went on a lovely day trip to the floating markets.  Even though we had just seen the floating market in Vietnam, this was another story.  Much more commercial and colorful with overanxious salespeople on every site.  "You buy this, just for good luck lady."  over and over.  Dad LOVES boats so we certainly got our boat time in today!

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Next we stopped at the amazing cobra show!  Here we saw venomous snakes of all kinds:

2008-11-11 Bangkok 4042 Golden tree snake!

2008-11-11 Bangkok 4048 Vipers:

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And a very scary cobra show!

2008-11-11 Bangkok 4051 2008-11-11 Bangkok 4053 2008-11-11 Bangkok 4059 Just look at the venom that came out of this poor guy!


Next it was on to an amazing furniture carving shop:

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Here is our cute little guide Tao who just kept talking about the Leever.  We finally realized that she was saying "river".  That and waluable (valuable) were her best words.  She was delightful and filled us in on so many facts:  There are 30,000 temples in Bangkok, the Thai people NEVER say anything bad about their royalty.  The king is 81 and the queen in her seventies. Their son, who has three wives may or may not take over the kingdom.  The Grand Palace (which we visited last time and which we know Eli and Charity visited also when they were here) is probably one of the most spectacular sights on the earth (that was my thought, not hers):

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We took a private boat trip down the Bangkok River (called that because we can't remember the name, nor could we pronounce it or write it).  It was so fun to see life along the river and catch glimpses of that fabulous Palace!

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There were also exotic fruits...also yummy!

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2008-11-11 Bangkok 4084 There is a national holiday tonight and this wild boat race with all women racers was so fun to see (it was part of the celebration). The flags are the finish line!

We look forward to the candle-lighted small boats floating down the river...some say they are symbols of "sending your sins down the rivers."  Others say it is a celebration to say "Sorry" to the river for polluting it.  I think it's both.  Here are the "offerings they send down the river with incense and candles, flowers and festive decorations:

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Fireworks went off like the Fourth of July!  Boats were decorated with lights to the hildt.  Boy, I bet there are a few big bankers who would like to send their sins down the river!  Fascinating Day!


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