Thai for Two – part 2 (Grand Dehydration)

In the last installment of this tale, we had narrowly avoided being herded into a few more stores where we had no intentions of doing anything but letting the sweat freeze on our skin before venturing back to the dubious comforts of the trike and its ever-angrier driver. I’m guessing he anticipated a fight over his marked-up fee, but we were happy to leave him with the expected $20 and make our way into the ticket line for the Grand Palace. The only tip that driver got from me was WWBD (standard guilt trip, just exchange Buddha for Jesus).

A small sampling of the grand in the Grand Palace.

It should be noted that while this is a major tourist attraction, it is also an active and functioning temple compound. There were several places where you were required to remove your shoes (and hope that the hundreds of other tourists there with you had some concept of foot-hygiene ) before entering. Also, there were several places where they repeatedly insisted that you not take pictures or video. I mention “repeatedly”, because even though the Thais running the place spoke every language on the planet, some tourists chose to act like the spoken words, and multiple placards, asking that they respect the sanctity of the place by not using cameras inside were the gibbering nonsense of a space alien. Those people we’ll call stink-stains. They were legion.

It should also be noted that Achebeyo kept insisting that we see the Emerald Buddha right away. Once we complied with both the no cameras and no shoes requirements and shuffled in to sit on the floor, we stared across the long room at the statue seated atop a gleaming construct that seemed straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure. At least, I did. When we shuffled back outside and retrieved our shoes from under the pile of footwear from people who thought there was only one square foot of room for all 1000 shoes, Achebeyo again insisted we stop messing around and go see the Emerald Buddha. Imagine her surprise to find out we just had.

The buildings were gorgeous, and the landscaping was no slouch either.

I think I had a shirt with this pattern as a toddler.

There was intricate tiling almost everywhere, making me hope no ideas for home improvement projects sprang from this visit. There was even a testament to the kind of patience and attention to detail that I can’t even begin to grasp in this sandstone sculpture of the entire palace:

No miniature shoes allowed in this sculpture.

They said it took something like 40 years to complete, and I believe I immediately suppressed my screw that gut reaction. Making sand castles is one thing when you’re at the beach with a bucket or two and plans on playing Godzilla later, but making it a lifelong career? I’m pretty sure I’d be fired after the first few days, when naps and video games would beg for front row seats in my routine.

While I could show you the million pictures I took of this place…

If that thing comes to life, I don’t want to be on its bad side.

And yet…

you’re really better off visiting yourself and experiencing the beauty and serenity (if there were no other tourists than you) of the Grand Palace. Just make sure you bring water, and plenty of it. Most of this compound is toured outside, and you will lose at least one bucket of saltwater per person.

Continued in Thai for Two – part 3 (Island of Salty Dreams)

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One Comment on “Thai for Two – part 2 (Grand Dehydration)”

  1. Mr. Pig Says:

    I’m current and enjoying! More please!!! 🙂

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