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Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bangkok, Thailand....

Thailand was one of my favorite countries to visit.  Granted, we were there only 2 or 3 days, but the variety of things to see was so diverse.  It was on a tour here that we had the best tour guide of the whole trip...  a young woman who spoke English quite well and talked about her country and some of their ways.

Bill & I went into Bangkok 2 times... separate days.  The first day we took a "do it yourself" bus into the city.....  that's a 2 hour bus ride just getting there.  They drop you off at a designated area and pick up up at that same place at a designated time.  

I sure was glad we weren't driving...
As you can tell, this is one of those countries with the traffic in the opposite lanes than we're used to in the USA.  And look at that directional sign!  The language aside, a person would have to know where they were going to follow those arrows!

There are lots of ornamental arches or structures over the highways as you travel in and out of cities.
They are in honor of the Thailand King and Queen.
Our tour guide told us that these monarchs are much loved by the Thai people.  She told us, too, that the king is quite old now and that the photos or pictures of them along the highways are way out of date.  Also, the royalty has only a daughter and when the king passes on laws will have to be changed if a female will be permitted to fill her father's role.

I was in search of a geocache that first day...
As often happens, seeking my little treasures takes us off the normal "tourist" route.  This canal ran right through the city and seemed to divide the high-rise business buildings and a very crowded, ghetto-like area that in the USA would be considered slums.  This is  a Buddhist country and you'll see little (and big) shrines everywhere...  many in front of or beside of a storefront... or maybe just tucked away at the end of an alley...  they'll be lots of marigolds and incense....  and usually these shrines are very neat and well kept.

The area where the bus dropped us off has huge shopping malls.  I had taken enough yarn with me to knit one pair of socks, thinking with the sightseeing and the genealogy workshops I'd never finish knitting that pair of socks on this trip.  By the time we got to Thailand I knew I'd run out of yarn before we got back to the USA so as long as we were at the mall, I'd look for yarn.

I really didn't think I'd find any as these shops were very up-scale and seemed to cater to high-end clothing, shoes etc.  But...  wooohooo...  I found a Marks and Spencer department store.  I think this is a British store as the last time I was in one was many years ago in London.  Anyway, sure enough there was a small needlework department on the 7th floor.  I did buy a couple skeins of yarn to make another pair of socks, but look at this creation....
A crochet motor scooter cozy?
We've all seen a cozy to put over a teapot...  right?  Well, why not dress your motor scooter up in style!  Okay... I'm sure it's just a "work of art"...  but I had to include this for our daughter, Donna, who is always knitting or crocheting something unique.

While we were in the mall we headed to the food court for lunch.
Not exactly like any food court in malls I've been to, the whole top two floors of this huge mall had many, many restaurants...  sit-down type....  with all manner of foods available.  This was a noodle place...  with dumplings and various other foods.  So Good!

The next day our tour guide would tell us a little about Thailand eating habits.  She said that folks don't cook.  Young people don't learn how to cook because their parents don't cook.  They eat out all the time.  One of our fellow passengers on that bus said that her daugther-in-law is Thai and never cooks even though they now live in the USA.  There are food booths everywhere...  all along the streets... openly selling prepared foods.



It's fun to walk along the streets, checking out the vehicles, watching people, smelling the aromas from various foods...  
Just absorbing the atmosphere....
The Thai people do not want to get a suntan...  the umbrellas are for shade, not because it's raining.

The 2nd day we spent in Thailand was to take a guided tour to some beautiful gardens...
The landscaping was fantastic!  That sculpture at the upper left is the "Ant Garden".  Those are huge sculpted ants climbing up that post.  I know these photos just don't do justice to the work that this place must entail to keep so beautiful.

There was also an orchid garden...
Not only beautiful flowers, but interesting artwork intermingling among the displays.  Can you find Bill in one of the photos?  And...  yep...  that's me in the lower left photo.

There were some photo ops if a person wanted to pay...
You could sit down beside this tiger and have your photo taken...
This guy was on a chain and did have a caretaker close by, but...  can you imagine this allowed in the USA?  
Check out those flower pots at the left..  and the arches in the background.  There were lots of "flower pot sculptures" throughout the park.  One was a teapot you could walk in...  another was a pumpkin about the size of a small house.  It was really fun to wander the paths and come across another unique design.


On this day-long tour, we were also treated to outstanding entertaiment...
I don't know exactly what it's called, but I'll just say that it's the folk or traditional dancing of Thailand.  The costumes were stunning!  There was a depiction of a warrior being challenged and the ensuing battle...  lovely women with such graceful movements...
Wait a minute...  our tour guide told us that many of these beautiful women (especially the ones with the heavy head dresses) are "Ladyboys".  Some of these ladyboys are transvestites and some have gone through hormone treatments and other sex-change processes.  Our guide told us that things in life are caused by karma, so there is no adverse judgement.  


Also, we saw a great demonstration of traditional Thai kick-boxing.
I didn't really want to see this until I realized it was all staged...
These boys did a great job of showing off their techniques and style.
I think the boy in the red shorts was the winner, at least for this round.

And...  another Buddhist temple...
More marigolds...  more incense...  more glitter and gold.
This one was rather fitting with all the elephant statues, because this where we had the opportunity to take an elephant ride...

A person could buy a bag of food and feed the elephants.  The little guy at the right is a couple years old.  She'll stay with mom for several years...  never leaving her side.  If Mom is performing in a show, the little one will be right there.  In fact, even the other adults will keep an eye out for the baby.  Pretty neat, huh?

We didn't make it to the beaches in Thailand....  prior to this trip I'd thought I'd like to take a vacation doing just that...  but I think these 4 weeks in southern Asia will do me for a long time.
That's All For Today!

7 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! You're so good at your photo-taking, and then explaining everything we're looking at. Nice work!!

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  2. I am loving these posts--somewhere I will probably never go! I do have a beautiful piece of Bangkok silk brought to me by a friend. She and her husband support a mission in the Philippines and Bangkok is one of their stopovers on the way to Manila. They will spend several days in Bangkok each time and even have medical work done there. I also have another friend with a USAF son-in-law stationed there, they have FOUR small boys and live in a high rise apartment.

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  3. Loved your header picture!!! Yes, a great blog posting. Why didn't you get your picture taken with that tiger. Thank you again for sharing your travels with us.

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  4. Wow! Spectacular sights and photos. Thanks. If I buy a moto, will you knit me a cozy?

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  5. This was another enjoyable trip, glad that we could be there with you.

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  6. Wow, that is fascinating. I never knew Thai don't grow up cooking, but I can see if the food is affordable to eat out, that would be easier. I never knew why the umbrellas, to shield from sun rays. Makes sense. Here we long for sun, it's only rain most of the year. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your travels. Love to see you guys up on those elephants, what great shots!

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  7. Thank goodness the days of rolls of film are over. I can't imagine how many photos you took on that trip. Thanks for sharing.

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