Last Day in Bangkok

Evening of Day 3 in Bangkok
So last night I finally found a place to drop off my laundry. Afterwords I walked the streets for 45 minutes or say taking in the culture
and some music, (though there isn't too much). I finally selected a nice restaurant and sat outside, despite the fact that there was a/c and fans inside and it was still a scorching 85+ and muggy. I have learned to accept that my clothing will be forever drenched. I hat alone and ordered a nice chicken cashew dish, a side of steamed rice, and a large Chang beer (see picture on right). As I was paying my bill a man sat down at the table next to me, alone. I introduced myself, as did he. I had noticed he had placed a baby monitor on the table as he ordered a large beer for himself. I inquired and it turns out his wife, his 2.5 yr old daughter, and he have been traveling for a littler shy of 4 weeks and fly home to Amsterdam [today]. He organizes papers for the city counsel, and we discussed a problem he was having concerning an environmental problem that has caused a huge project to be delayed for a long time. The projected 2010 completion date has been significantly pushed back. He seemed to have negative views about the developer, and I assured him the feeling was most definitely mutual. I turned in and went to sleep after watching some very disturbing movie on my TV.

Last Day (Day 4) in Bangkok

I enjoyed a nice sleep and did not get up for breakfast until a little after 10. I confirmed my flight out for tomorrow and it is still on schedule. I got dressed and put on my headphones and went outside to walk around. I was planning on going to china town maybe or possibly the grand palace. I ended up meeting a on the street who was visiting Bangkok. He himself was Thai but lived some 40km south of Chiang Mai. He told me to try Wat Theptidaram and make it there before 1:00 pm. He said there was a Buddhist ordination at that time. I hailed a tuk-tuk and told him where I wanted to go. We drove off a little, but I soon told him he could go **** himself when he demanded he take me to a tailor shop first. I quickly jumped off said smiling, "good to you" and walked away. The man who had given me the advise had seen me and ran over to me to ask what the problem was. He insisted on getting a tuk-tuk for me and talking to the driver, I complied. The tuk-tuk driver took me to the Wat, and it was huge (see photo on right). It was 5 or some stories high with one spiraling wooden staircase in the center. I took some photos and left about 15 minutes later and got back on the tuk-tuk, since he was waiting for me (I had not paid at this time). He then took me to two other places right by where we were and I watched some ceremony, which didn't impress. He then said he wanted to take me to an emerald store and that there was a special Bangkok promotion going on right now. Nonchalantly I told him, "Then you better hurry up and drop me off at the Grand Palace so that you can go there yourself". Apparently sarcasm isn't appreciated in this part of the world. Maybe in time they will be ready for me? I finally said I would go since I would have been happy to buy a knock off diamond earring. He dropped me off and I requested his key. He didn't understand so I reached over the back seat and turned off the ignition and pocketed the key and explained to him, "I take your key so you don't drive away". He didn't seem to like that too much, but I was having a ball. I found nothing inside the store and was in-and-out in a matter of 3 minutes. On the road again...not 2 minutes later he tells me, no asks me, that we go to one more stop on the way. I politely correct him and say I will not. We drive and argue for a good 5 minutes. I finally say, "If you take me to a tailor I will not leave this tuk-tuk". If you do not take me directly where I wish to go I will not pay you". He complies, but after another 5 minutes we have the same 'conversation'. I finally drop the politeness and stand ground while I treat him and talk to him like I'm scolding my own child. Hey, it worked. He dropped me off at the Grand Palace and I paid him a total of 60 baht (about $1.7 USD). He thanked me and drove off. I only had to pay him 20 baht, but I know we was banking on making many stops and I definitely had him drive me pretty damn far, typically I would need to hire a taxi and would pay 60 baht just one way.

The Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha (see picture on left) looked amazing, but it cost 350 baht ($10 USD) just to get inside. I went to pay but was turned away because I was wearing shorts, even thought they were way past my knees. I walked to the front office again (about a 10 minute walk) in the 102 degree heat and paid a 100 baht deposit for pants. I bought the ticket and walked inside. First I went to see the Emerald Buddha. Cameras were not permitted inside, but I was able to take some shots just outside the entrance. There was an entire courtyard and everything was wonderfully landscaped, colorful, and just...well.... wonderful! When I walked inside to see the Emerald Buddha I remembered the Sistine Chapel--and this Green Buddha surely wins. I say that not really knowing the work that went into building this thing. One should always judge history by the standard of that time. I say this because if it turns out the sculptures were made from machined parts, I may find it less 'wonderful', though the aesthetics remain unaltered.

Next I walked to the Grand Palace (see video below in the center). I was given a handout with a map and some details, but I was too hot to stay there any longer than necessary. I took 10 or so pictures and left. I was inside the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace for a little shy of 1 hour--I would have liked to stay longer, but the benefit of moving out of the heat won out the cost of leaving earlier than desired.

I walked back and picked up my laundry, which took another 45+ minutes. So much walking, and sweating. I have never drank so many water bottles in my life. I am going to try to get a massage today and book a shuttle to the airport that will leave tomorrow at 4:00 am. That means I have to wake up VERY early and leave my guest house by 3:40 and walk over the the pick-up location. How fun. See you all in India.

I am adding some other photos from today so check out my pictures.

!!! God damn it, after 1.5 hours of f*cking waiting for this video to load, I just got sick of this bu*llsh*t. UGH!

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