Pat & Jenny at the Royal Palace. Don’t let their isolation fool you – it was crazy crowded, presumably a function of the many millions of Asians brought into the middle class over the last couple of decades who are now tourists.
A funny thing about Bangkok. It’s a huge, intense, sometimes overwhelming Asian city. Eight million people crammed into a city with streets that could probably handle two million people. Lots to like about it and lots of reasons to think you’ll never come back. But it’s such a transportation hub for Southeast Asia, and we love Southeast Asia, so we keep ending up back here.
Here we are at the Royal Palace
Our goal for this part of the winter is to explore Vietnam, but the best flight to the region was into Bangkok. When Mark’s brother Pat and his wife Jenny found out we were going to be spending a few days in Bangkok they said “Hey, why don’t we come over and join you?” So we spent five days re-discovering everything we like about Bangkok.
Had Mark & I been there on our own we probably would have been pretty boring, but Pat & Jenny got us out being tourists again and we had a great time. We stayed at a hotel right on the Chao Phraya River – a main thoroughfare through the city – so we spent a lot of time up and down the river. We toured the temples and other buildings that make up the Royal Palace, or at least the parts we could get to through the crowds. We hired a long bow boat to take us through the locks and up some of the canals that run through the city. And we ate lots of great Thai food. The breakfast buffet at the hotel, on an outdoor patio along the river, was a special treat. Most people ate inside and while we were grateful they left us room outside to eat we couldn’t remotely imagine why they would eat inside; it’s not as though it was cold or anything in Bangkok.
Jenny taking pictures at the Royal Palace
These umbrellas were all over the Royal Palace. Now, I get the notion that religious people would rather their religion not become a commercial issue. Still, I thought the examples were odd. Budha is for Respecting, sure, but not … furniture? or tattoo? OK. If you say so.
Three Sullivans. We were all wearing shorts when we went to the Royal Palace, but they have a dress code and so they loan people skirts and long pants. Jenny’s wrap-around skirt was fine, but Pat looked like he’d just gotten out of prison.
We’re out looking for lunch one day and came across this table at one of the restaurants we were considering. There were mixed opinions as to whether a cat lying on the table was a plus or a negative. Guess which side Mark came down on.
Here are Pat & Jenny as we head up the river and off to explore canals. We were all fascinated by going through the locks needed to make it all navigable, how easy it is to level out the water levels as the gates open and close.
Moving up through one of the canals. Houses and businesses all along the waterway, people going about their lives.
We saw a few of these “water monitors” as I understand they’re called. Apparently they’re not scary to people who are accustomed to having them around.
Small scale commercial enterprise along the canal
And of course we need one shot of great cocktails. This is the bar at the Muse Hotel, the place Mark & I typically stay at in Bangkok, though we didn’t stay there this time. One of the highlights here is that every 30 minutes or so they have young opera singers come out and perform; very classy. It’s worth noting that while the drinks here are normally fabulous, these just had too much vermouth. Sad.