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Bangkok

Written on: Saturday April 19th, 2008

A journal entry from: S.E.Asia

We saved Bangkok for the last. That is not to say that we saved the best for the last. The city is a bizarre mixture of the ultra futuristic  alongside the time worn past. Here you see glass and steel shopping malls next to tarp covered street markets, beautiful apartment complexes next to horrific slums and fabulous riches next to amazing poverty. This is a city growing without any sort of centralized planning. The roads are clogged with thousands of new cars and trucks while the sidewalks are so narrow you can hardly walk down them. Nowadays most of the canals have been covered in. Of the couple that are left we found that one was the most convenient way to get from our hotel to the more interesting tourist area. It was quite a ride!. The driver would start out slowly and then slam down the throttle anytime we got near a bridge or narrow opening. I think he was trying to take out the ticket taker who wore a helmet in case he didn't duck fast enough. Bangkok does have some amazing buddhist temples and if we left early enough we were able to see some before sneaking into an air conditioned café or restaurant to escape the heat. April is really not the time to visit this city with temperatures approaching 40c and humidity at almost 100%.

On the way to Bangkok from the national park we stopped for a few days in Ayuthaya the former royal capital. This is again a UNESCO World Heritage Sight renowned for its beautiful temples and Ankor style ruins. We went there for two reasons. First to see the sights and secondly to avoid Bangkok during Songkran which is Thai New Year festival.Sonkram, which started off as a buddhist traditon whereby the monks bless people by showering them with a few drops of water, has basically become a huge water fight. We holed ourselves up in a nice four star hotel with a swimming pool for the three days of the festival. From the window we could see the Thais circulating in pickup trucks with water barrels and water guns battling the Thais on the streets armed with buckets and hoses. The first day we ventured out to see the action we were soaked with water and covered with this mud plaster that the Thais threw on us-all in good fun. On the last day we rented bikes as we really wanted to see the ruins. On bikes we were able to zip through and not get too wet and we had a great view of the fun and ruins as well.

This is the end of our SE Asia sojurn. For our last night we are staying at the Novotel at the Bangkok airport in a style to which we cannot afford to become accustomed.  Next a 3 week break in Vancouver then it's off to do the European part of our trip. Stay tuned!

 

 

From Marilyn & Greg on Apr 21st, 2008

Hello and welcome back to Canada (momentarily!) We have so much enjoyed reading your entries and viewing your pictures. To relive our trip through your eyes was a pleasure! Enjoy your short rest before you're on the road again! Marilyn and Greg Lawrence

From Val & Jamie Sloman on May 1st, 2008

Hi, remember us??? We met in Ko Lanta. We enjoyed reading about your trip and having our memories of most of the same places refreshed. We are looking forward to reading about your next journey to Europe.