Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bangkok on Saturday

Today we head out to see the Golden Buddha. We buy our tickets to enter the sanctuary and the museums.  A boys school band strikes up a tune as we get ready to go up. When the Saints Go Marching In? What? 

The Golden Buddha is on the top floor. Up 4 flights of stairs is a puff in even the early morning heat and humidity. 

The Buddha was impressive. It is gold, but not solid gold. Sort of like a chocolate bunny. But still 5 1/2 tons of gold.

A huge temple bell.
The gold travels up around the mold to make the head. The Buddha was cast in many different pieces which were then finished and put together.

Sometime after it was made in the 14th century it was necessary to hide the fact that it was made of gold rather than plaster covered with gold leaf. So it was painted over with black lacquer, covered with fine plaster, painted with black lacquer again and then covered in gold leaf.

It was moved around quite a bit. Finally arriving at the Wat Traimit in 1935.
In 1955 when they tried to winch it up to the 4th floor of the new temple, the rope broke chipping the plaster and the gold underneath was discovered.
The Chinese Heritage Center is a lovely interactive multi media museum with lots of life sized dioramas telling the story of the Chinese in Thailand. More than 1/2 the people in Bangkok, the main center of population, can claim Chinese ancestry.

We leave the temple area to walk around a bit in Chinatown.
Lots of strange foods. Lots of dried fish, squid and unknown things. Lots of strange crabs.
William buys a stomach remedy at a Chinese Pharmacy.
This is a small shopping area with shops close on either side. But motorcycles are roaring up and down.
What is this? A car?
And then a truck?
In addition to the stores where you buy food to prepare yourself, there are plenty of food carts. Chicken in leaves and pomegranate juice.

Plenty of opportunities to play the numbers. Lucky numbers here.
Are all these people in here to buy gold, or are they just taking advantage of the air conditioning.
We head for the air conditioning ourselves at the Texas Sukiyaki Restaurant.

We pass on all the places selling shark fin soup, now illegal in California.

 Texas Suki specializes in cook it yourself meals. You have a dish of boiling broth at your table and they bring plates of meats and vegetables of your choice to the table for you to dip and cook.  Pig intestine, duck tongues, fresh fish heads, 5 mushroom special, radishes, etc.  We choose stand alone dishes. William has roast duck.

 I tried Spicy Thai Jellyfish Salad.

 This is an easy recipe; 2 lettuce leaves, lots of slivered red onion,afew tomato slices, a bunch of precooked jellyfish and drown it all in chopped red Thai chili peppers soaked in rice vinegar. Guaranteed to blow your sox off.  Thankfully the jellyfish, beige feathery, rubbery stuff had not absorbed too much of the pickled chili vinegar. But my mouth was too tender for much of the rest, even with beer.

Before and after eating pictures.  Thai napkins are smaller than Mexican ones.
Taxi's ignore us on the street or claim not to know where Surawong and Patpong is. William finds a tuk tuk that races us back to the hotel for not quite an arm and a leg. Thai tuk tuks are hard for me to get in and out of. The seat is too high and the canopy is too low. The agile fold up and jump in. Me, not so graceful. I heard the tuk tuk driver chuckle as I extricated myself.
Time for a cold shower.

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