Monday, February 7, 2011
Like all good vacations, mine began by taking entirely too much time getting there. But 12 hours after departure, Jason and I arrived in Bangkok around 2:30am. This actually wasn't a bad time to arrive since 2:30am is when Bangkok seems the most alive. We finally collapsed into bed around 4am.
The next day we immediately headed for the most spectacular site in the city. The Grand Palace is the home of the currently ruling king. The Kingdom of Thailand is one in both name and reality. The King is extremely popular there and his palace befits a 9th generation ruling family. I'll let the pictures speak to the grandeur of the palace but i will add one quick story to illustrate his popularity here. Besides signs proclaiming "Love live the King" which were everywhere, they actually took a moment before our movie began and asked everyone to stand in respect as they showed a 60 second video of the king's life. Even movie theater's choose to honor him.
The next day we went through a few of Bangkok's biggest malls. The highlight of this for me was unquestionably finding a Dairy Queen in the middle of one. It took me nearly a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor. Naturally I got the largest blizzard they had to celebrate my find :)
I think what struck me the most about Bangkok was how raw the city was. Parts of it were clearly first world and modern. But literally next to one of these skyscrapers would be shacks or dilapidated housing projects. The rich and the poor, the spotless and the filthy were not separated here. It created a striking contrast not normally seen in America or Europe. And maybe from this very dichotomy flowed the energy the pervaded every part of the city.
PS. If you ever go to Thailand, get a massage or 3. They're cheap ($8-10) and feel fantastic!