Day 17: Last Day in BKK

Last Day in Bangkok 

I narrowly avoided a hangover, I think. I know I deserve one. Maybe it was the street grilled Pad Thai on the way home. Or the full bottle of water nurse Katy said would be a preemptive cure.

Sun is out, 30C, and last day in Thailand. Heading for another market and local Bangkok sites today. First we went to a massive temple, home of The Reclining Buddha. I asked Katy why he's lying down and she said she look it up later. My theory is he got tired of posing in the lotus position and stretched out for a snooze. Kidding aside for a moment, I was struck by the enormity of the statue and the intricacy of the temples' architecture and design. From a distance, colourful, and up close the detail. To think they did not have the benefit of computers or lasers. How many Thai artisans and devotees did it take to create this masterpiece? ("Uh, all of them! Duh." Thanks Kate).

It was sweltering hot and humid in Bangkok, so the iced mango juice from a cart vendor was especially good as we got off the boat. Just wondering, are there many cities that actually incorporate waterways into their city public transit systems?

We hopped in a Tuk Tuk and headed for Kaosan Road night market, but some of the main roads were blocked off, so Buddy drops us off at some corner and explained in clear Thai where we had to walk. There were a lot of hand gestures and words that ended in "waaaah" rising in pitch at the end, which meant to go that way then "tu'n eye" (turn right).

So we did, and although we felt lost, we actually stumbled upon a street opening onto a big square with the Democracy Monument (near as I could understand) packed with people but there was no noise, no horns, no people talking on cellphones, no hustlers trying to get you into their bar, massage spa, or store. Quiet. So we stopped in the middle of this stillness, wondering why. Then the King's funeral procession rolled by, police motor cycles, then police cars, then the stretch limos, then more police. Then, as if ending a freeze frame everything resumed its motion and rhythm. 

We finally found the Khaosan Road market and spent the evening there bartering for things like sunglasses and hats. Always amusing how all the posturing during bartering is forgotten as soon as the deal is sealed. Along the way there are all kinds of food including fried noodles, shrimps, chicken, and one cart with fried grubs, cockroaches, giant spiders, grasshoppers and scorpions. I had to try it. If you were only basing an opinion on flavour you could say it was OK. But what about the crunchy shell, bony claws and segmented tail (the poisonous stinger tip was removed)? Yecch! It's two hours later and I'm still spitting out little pieces of scorpion. (Shudder!)