The extent of my trip-planning was, “I want to go in generally this direction at around this time and when I get places I’ll figure out how to get to other places.”
And it showed.
By the time my plane landed in Bangkok, it was too late for me to jump on a train/bus to the southern islands. I like jumping. I don’t like planning. *sigh*
They were all booked up on account of Valentine’s Day–which is apparently kind of a big deal. Who knew? So I had a day to waste in Bangkok. (My least favorite place in Thailand, but probably the place with the most photographs? Go figure. Maybe ’cause it was more of the sight-seeing tourism I dislike and less of the doing-tourism I long for.)
Theory about Asian drivers: They are the best in the world. The reason? Because they are all so defensive! Tuk-tuks and taxis weave in and out and cross intersections and drive on the wrong side of the road, and motorbikes are everywhere…it’s ridiculous! You have to constantly be on your guard. In Chiang Mai when I piggy-backed on some people’s bikes, to cross an intersection they just ring their bell, stick out a hand, and hope the incoming traffic slows down long enough for them to cross. Which it always did. Anyways, we didn’t die!
Tuk-tuk ride! They were *usually* cheaper than taxis, and if you let them take you to a suit shop and look around for 10 minutes, they were even cheaper--the suit shops gave them gas tickets for bringing in customers. (Hehe, I'm in the mirror.)
More tuk-tuks! The colorful side of Bangkok.
I wandered through some temples, going in the back entrances so I didn’t have to pay. I was a little peeved at being taken advantage of–a feeling that persisted throughout the entire trip. Oh wells. At the end of the day, you only get scammed out of a few dollars, but it’s the principle of the thing!
Anyways. Temples were lovely. And huge. And intricate. It amazes me how much time and energy people put into worshiping their deities/what-have-you. Basically, I’m a slacker.
Royal outhouse? That was my first thought!
No pictures allowed inside--same as most of the buildings
I like flowers and water.
Hey, fishy fishy! He was incredibly still so I'm not entirely sure he's real...
I went that way. Who goes in the entrance? Lame, honest people, that's who.
If I was this guard, I'd be stabbing some annoying tourists with my bayonet. Would love to see someone dress up as a guard and then go ballistic on people...
This "no entry" had a guard. Darn.
It was a pretty door. That's all. Also, elephants! And another guard who probably had a billion pictures taken with him a day.
Like I said--crazy attention to detail, and the temple buildings went on and on and on, and they were all covered in stuff like this. Amazing. Even if they're gradually falling apart.
Apparently I missed the let's-buy-hideous-pants-with-animals-on-them-cause-we're-in-thailand memo
I see a gate, I want to go through it.
Sadly, this photograph in no way does justice to the muraled walls that encircled the temple housing a large buddha.
Close-up of the detail put into the murals
Crazy amounts of gold!
And this was just a mini-statue-house outside of the temple. They were all about the fancy.
Everywhere you looked, everything was decorated somehow.
Notice how the statue is peeling--made me think of sunburn! Is that blasphemous?
My favorite part of the temples!
It was very quiet inside, and people still come to offer flowers and prayers. These may be tourist attractions now, but they are also very much a part of peoples' lives.
See? Still praying.
In my sneaking around back entrances, I found courtyards and little places undisturbed by tourists. I loved the peace of it all, so I hung out in these corners for a bit!
Monks! Obviously! It was interesting watching them avoiding all contact with women.
HE'S MISSING A HAND. OH THE HORROR. Seriously, not sure why I took this picture.
There were schools in the backs of the temple courtyards, where children were learning things. And taking out the trash. I wonder what it would feel like to be a tourist attraction?
He let me take a picture of his restoration work, and in exchange asked the all-too-familiar, "Where are you from?"
Even HE couldn't keep me out of the No-Entry zones! He does strike an intimidating pose, though...
There was a whole collection of yoga poses, so of course I had to take pictures. Some of them were very interesting, and I'm a bit insulted that pieces of stone are more flexible than I am.
See? This would just hurt. Also of note: he used to be covered in gold--notice the peeling.
Big doors. I hung out in front of them for a while, as there was no one else around. Just sitting, and staring, and sleeping. Ahhhh...
Not quite as intimidating as the last guy...
Notice the sandals outside. So peaceful....mmmm...
Here kitty kitty kitty! Also, if you'll notice, the eyes on these and the endless other statues like these everywhere all had their eyes looking down, so that when you knelt before them and looked up, you were nearly making eye contact.
There's a coin in his mouth! Whoah!
(I didn’t want to crash your computer with the mass amounts of pictures, and since I just discovered the Gallery feature after loading in all this stuff, I separated them into two posts. Sorries! Will be more efficient in the future!)