Third and final blog of the day


If everybody had a birthday party like the King of Thailand, every day would be a full out bash. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, having already seen what Bangkok is capable of, but this was slightly insane. I stepped out of the restaurant I had dinner at (amazing falafel and hummus) to a busy, but not-unusual Khao San road (where all the tourists congregate). A little farther down, though, I came to a stage where young Thai girls dressed up in fancy, glittering, traditional Thai costumes with perfect faces painted on, performed for a throng of foreigners and Thais alike. I was handed a yellow candle and soon everyone as far as I could see had a lit candle in their hand. After the performance was over I thread my way through the crowd thinking that I’d make my way back to the hotel. As soon as I turned the corner, though, I was met with thousands of bodies swarming the sidewalks and streets, white Christmas lights adorning everything, and fireworks going off above my head. It was crazy. I stayed for a little while to watch the fireworks, snapped a few photos, then squirmed my way between food vendors selling everything imaginable, men in pink shirts, and piles of trash waiting to be picked up in the morning.

It’s the kings birthday


Which means that entrance into all the temples is free, Tuk Tuk rides anywhere in the Old City are 20 baht (about 80 cents), the army marches down the street in full regalia (including 2-foot high furry hats), and everyone is walking around in pink polo shirts – apparently the color of royalty, resembling his good health.

I know I just posted a blog, but after being dropped off at 5:30 this morning and not being able to get into my room until 12 at the earliest, I decided to explore a bit. My plan was to go to Wat Pho, a temple that is also home to a massage school. I did make it to the temple eventually, but is was a circuitous route. Let me explain. About ten minute after leaving the hotel, I stopped on a street corner to consult my map and determine the best way to get to Wat Pho (which I knew included hazardous street crossings, traffic fumes, littered sidewalks, and hot, sticky air). I must have looked lost because a young Thai man came up to me and asked me where I wanted to go. He promptly took my worn map and circled several temples in the area and told me I should visit them because it’s the kings birthday, and they’re free to get into. Then he hailed a Tuk Tuk and told the driver to take me to the sites for 20 baht – no more. I spent the morning riding from one temple to the next (with several souvenir and tailor shops in between because the companies have a deal with the Tuk Tuk drivers if they bring tourists – we “only have to look – no buy”). After four different temples, I finally found myself at Wat Pho and said goodbye to my Tuk Tuk driver – giving him a generous tip that amounted to $3.50. The Wat is quite big and impressive and I was surprised that there weren’t many tourists. I spent about an hour walking around, but decided against the massage since I was hot and tired and wanted a shower more than a massage. So I walked back to the hotel and thankfully was shown to my room.

I’m already going through yoga withdrawal, so I’m meeting two friends tomorrow for a Mysore class at 9 and possibly for dinner as well, depending on what my Gap Adventures itinerary look like. I guess I’m back to my busy life!