Upon returning to Bangkok, we stayed with our friend's family. They took us to temple after temple after palace after fortress after other beautiful place, and let's just say I got a bit too camera-happy. Here are just a few of the, oh, hundreds of shots I captured...
Thai architecture really is one of the most beautiful styles. When our friend's mom picked us up from the airport, one of the first things she told us -- in her adorable Thai accent -- was, "I'm your mom," after we tried to thank her for coming at midnight. One of the second things she said, after I told her how much I loved the architecture was, "I don't like it."
I couldn't understand this and it was then that she rubbed her thumb and index finger together and said, "My tax money." Thai people pay out the rear end for such beauty...beauty that draws in foreign crowds by the masses. I suppose that's why, though they treat foreigners (farrang, in Thai, which also means guava) well, they don't hold them up on a pedestal the way Koreans do with their foreigners. In Korea, foreigners are often free and/or get "service" goods (free stuff). They WANT foreigners to come by the masses. But since this is already the case in Thailand, farrang pay higher admission fees and prices than Thai people and sometimes get stuck with things of poorer quality (like buses...).
This was a taxi we saw. The signs state as follows: No smoking, No durians, No drinking, No dogs, No hanky panky, No firearms, and No water buffalo. (The queen, not too long ago, required all farmers to have a water buffalo to farm with. That "law" has since fallen apart. I wonder why? Consider this my "What the heck?!" Wednesday for the week...)
We visited a property of one of the previous crown princes. These three houses sat on the acreage...all of which were his.
Bangkok's Chinatown is pretty awesome. We tried bird's nest soup, which is a Chinese delicacy and is, "supposed to keep you warm during the Winter if you eat it during the prior season." Or something like that. I could only manage a few spoonfuls, more because of the thought of the bird than because of the actual taste of it. There were also shark fin restaurants 'aplenty, which we stayed away from. And you should, too!
"Shark finning is a practice where sharks are caught, hauled on board, their fins sliced off, and then the finless bodies are tossed overboard, often while still alive. Unable to swim or breathe by keeping in motion, the sharks endure a painful death from suffocation, blood loss, or predation by other species."
In Sriracha, we visited the Tiger Zoo. It was there that we got to hold a baby tiger. I also got an "elepant massage." For real.
Back in Bangkok, "Mom" took us to a local market in a residential area. That's were all the LOW prices are. We also had some of the most fantastic Pad Thai. It's apparently famous amongst the locals. I wish I could give you better instructions, other than that its in the market behind the Thai Airways building. Maybe ask a Thai person?
1) Deliciousness from the locals market and 2) a coffee cart. Attached to a motorbike. I think I would own one of these if I were Thai...
I think even "Mom" was surprised by this. We also saw some trucks with things like ladders piled on top and the only things holding them down were men. Sitting way up there on top of the ladders. (Consider this "WTH" Wednesday #2)
In Pattaya, we visited Alcazar for a "lady boy" show. These guys go all out to turn themselves into women. We're talking plastic surgery out the wazoo -- boob jobs, facial reconstruction. And guess what, ladies? Every single one of them is prettier than us. Anyway, the show was fantastic and really quite tasteful, for the most part. According to my friends, Alcazar is the best place to go for a lady boy show! (images borrowed. Click for link.)
These little "houses" are found everywhere in Thailand; next to almost every home and building, really. But contrary to what many think, they are not to worship Buddha. The religion is Khmer, a complement to Buddhism, if I understood correctly. People keep these "shrines" and provide offerings to bless their land and properties.
Mom also took us to a foreigner market to gaze (because she wouldn't let us buy anything.. "Too expensive!!"). We did buy some mangosteens and rabutans, though, 'cause 50 baht (about $1.60) for a kilo is a STEAL...though we did also see some for 30 at other places.
And finally, if you're planning to visit Thailand, do NOT forget to try the orange juice. It's the best. You'll understand when it hits your tongue. Just do it!
Final destination: Chiang Mai