Friday, December 31, 2010

Bangkok & Buddha (Part 1)

As promised, I finally managed to get the photo editor working so I could resize pics for posting. I really do wish Blogger would get a bulk uploader like Facebook has. I prefer being able to set the upload then go do something else, instead of waiting for every 5 photos to upload before choosing more. Oh well!! At least the resizing worked, so uploading them doesn't take as long as it used to (i.e., forever)

I've been doing a LOT of Bangkok flights over the last roster, actually 3 this month and I have one more midway through January. Considering these are 4 days trips that was pretty much my entire roster for Dec aside from 3 (yes three!) side trips to Jeddah in KSA. Which as you probably gathered from my Twitter are extremely busy, and often frustrating flights. Boarding takes FOREVER due to using buses, and with a plane the size of the one I fly on, well, you do the math!!

As always, the first afternoon was spent visiting the famous MBK mall to get DVDs and on this last trip I once again squeezed in a visit to the Jatujak weekend market. I picked up some cute dresses which I hope to list on Etsy, most of them are not my size but were too cute to pass up! One or two have tempted me enough to keep them, naughty me!!! I also got the cutest vintage clock, which I'll need to post about later on.

Anyway, on to the pictures!!!

Just before we started approach into Suvarnabhumi Airport. The river/s looked really cool from the air. I love taking photos when I can but I had to sneak these in the last minute rush to pack up before landing :P

As we flew (and arrived) on Christmas Day, the decorations were in full swing at the hotel and in the public areas nearby. The hotel had cool reindeer-shaped lights in the windows. This Christmas tree was near a shopping center, I actually took this photo on Boxing Day as I didn't have my camera the first time I saw it. (Bad blogger!)

On the second day of our trip (where we fly a shuttle service to Hong Kong and back) I spotted this cute display in the (BKK) airport. Basically it was a way for visitors to vote on which department they thought gave the best service. Again, like everything in Asia, it was totally cute...

On the third day of the trip (the one with the most free time) I went with a batchmate of mine to go visit the temples. Originally we wanted to see the Grand Palace as well, but we got quite tired and it was hot, so just decided to focus on Wat Pho and visit the Grand Palace on another trip. On the walk to the ferry pier we stopped so my friend could buy some street food. I'm always too chicken to try street food (except for that one time in Korea) but she is pretty brave with it, so off she went.

These leaf-wrapped things were some kind of cooked potato snack, I'm not sure what they were called, but she said they tasted pretty good. We continued on to the pier, stopping along the way at a cute stall to buy cheap shoes (as you do) and nearly got onto the wrong pier where men were selling time on private boats. We politely declined and found the corrcet pier for the public ferry. The tourist boat was about 150baht but the public boat was only 14baht for the trip. Of course we chose the public boat!!! It was just as good as (if a bt more crowded than) the tourist boat.

How cute are these boats? They look like little houses on the water. I eventually figured out that these house-type boats are the shuttle boats for different high-end hotels along the river. Cute, and easily identifiable.

These houses perched on the water remind me of Venice. Okay, so a not-quite-so-pretty version, but still... it's very much like Venice :P

At first we thought this white building was a fancy hotel, but on closer inspection I think it was actually very posh apartments. Either way, I really like the detail on the facade. The round windows are very church-like.

After we got off the boat, to get to the temple you pass through a small market area. My companion decided she wanted to buy some fruit. This lady was selling mangosteen and some other fruit we couldn't identify. She told us the name but we still had no idea! Mangosteen is meant to be very good for immunity and things like arthritis; my mum used to order the juice from o/s before it became known in Australia. She said it really helped with joint pain and so forth. (Mangosteen in the back, weird red fruit is the one I'm holding that we didn't know the name of)

We just enjoyed walking around the little market, seeing all the sights and smelling the food. Again, the street food smelled amazing, but was just sitting out in the open (along with several flies) so we decided not to chance it this time, and I took this picture instead. Mmm, hungry just thinking about it though.

The not-so-pleasant section was where the dried (dryING) fish were, it was very stinky but I stopped to take a picture. Something about the orderly rows of fish with their silver scales appealed to my camera eye :P I don't know if it was 170baht per fish (which seemed kind of expensive) or maybe it was the price per pound/kilo.

After a slight delay getting a) lost and b) having some shady guys try to trick us into a "side tour" (I knew better and my intuition told me they were up to something- a local later confirmed my suspicion and said it was good we did not go with them) we finally found the entrance to Wat Pho, otherwise known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha!

It wasn't as busy as I had expected, so we didn't really have to line up for very long, although by the time we got to the actual Buddha there was a lot of people, the line still moved very quickly and it was only the work of a minute to take off our shoes. My travelling buddy was wearing a strappy top so of course had to 'rent' the requisite scarf/sarong to put over her shoulders. Funny how the men can wear whatever they want!!!

Entrance fee was 50baht (about 5-7 UAE dirhams or not even 2 Australian dollars) which compared to the Grand palace is very cheap. I suppose this temple is a lot smaller and thus requires less upkeep.

We quickly looked around the main courtyards and the outer structures, as it was starting to get quite hot and we wanted to see the actual Buddha. While walking around the grounds we saw a small procession with a casket, my buddy wondered if anyone was actually inside or was it a ceremonial casket. We noticed ropes tied the lid on so guessed it must have been an actual funeral. Weird that while they were mourning, all these tourists were wandering around snapping photos of the temple. No one took any photos of the funeral though, which I was relieved to notice.

I really liked all the colours and of course the golden accents on everything. Some of the spires reminded me more of Indian/Hindu temples and reading the poster near the entrance, apparently this style of temple is Thai-Chinese. You learn something new every day!

I'll continue on with some more photos next time, to keep the post from getting too long. Hope you enjoyed this first part!! :)

And Happy New Year to all, hope 2011 is a great year. Do you have any resolutions??

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sneak Peek...

Hello again all!

I know I've been very lazy with updating the blog lately, well hopefully in the next week or two I can fix that. I wanted to post about Bangkok yesterday but my photo editing program wasn't wanting to co-operate. In the meantime here's a couple of photos from my latest Bangkok trip.

Today I'm off on a quick turnaround flight to Saudi Arabia. Hopefully things go well and we get back on time (just after midnight) in which case I'll try again to upload the Bangkok photos. I also have more photos from Seoul and some from around Dubai that I want to share with you.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas wherever you were, and if I don't post before, Happy New Year!!

Lucky me has the rest of the 31st & 1st January off. First time in a few years, I'll be celebrating the new year with my friends. Yay!

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