Monday, January 21, 2013

Buddhas in Bangkok

After we spent three days in Cambodia and seeing Angkor Wat, the traveling trio (Jef, Andre, and myself) crossed the border into Thailand.  The border is like being in a herd of cattle.  The "no-man's land" between Cambodia and Thailand is a mishmash of tourists, local merchants, and congested traffic transporting goods between the two countries.  I was happy to finally cross over into Thailand and settle into a vanpool for a three plus hour car ride to Bangkok.

This bicycle trailer is peddled by hand rather than by foot.  This man is hauling who-knows-what across the border from Cambodia to Thailand.

Border Crossing, get in line!!

In Bangkok, I separated from Jef and Andre to meet up with relatives living in the city.  This was a great way to visit this modern place described as the tropical New York City.  I treated myself to three days in a nice hotel where they upgraded my reservation to a two room suite, equipped with kitchen and spa free of charge.  What a respite after living for two months at the alumni house in Dumaguete where I have been sharing the space with two other residents and the occasional, temporary visitor.  I was very happy to enjoy three days alone in a quiet, serene setting and enjoy the modern comforts and time with family.  I recommend those planning a trip to Bangkok to stay at The Silom Serene Hotel.

Meeting up with Scott after a good night's rest, we made our way to the historic old city where all the palaces and temples were built along the river.  Here, I was amazed by the jeweled and gilded facades.  I was surprised to see spires reaching to the sky and equally impressed with the extensive amount of precious materials used to clad the temples.  The temples are like conduits to collect universal energy.  The spires remind me of lighting rods atop tall buildings to channel electrical currents down to the ground, yet, in this case, the temples are all clad in gold - a perfect conducting metallic material for channeling such energy.

 A crowded river boat transports us from the city center to the historic palace and temple district.

 Gilded spires everywhere!

Decorative ornamentation detailed with jewels.

Outside the temple of the famous "Reclining Buddha" is a small shrine to offer blessings and prayer before entering the temple.

This is the largest reclining buddha ever.  The core is made from clay bricks creating the mass of the form and covered in a layer of gold.  This Buddha measures 43 meters long and 15 meters high.  This sculpture portrays Buddha's transition to enlightenment.

Waiting for a river boat to take us back to the city center.  It was common to bump into monks all over Bangkok.  A reminder to stay present, enjoy life, and that there are many different ways to live and experience our world.  

The Japanese District in Bangkok.  The night life here was famous for raucous and risky behaviors in the past, today, it's mellowed quite a bit.

My wonderful hosts: Scott Branson and Mary Baker.  They showed me the best parts of Bangkok.  My taste buds are also Very Thankful! Here we are enjoying a late dinner of traditional Thai food; including, panang curry and tom yum soup!  YUM!!

Enjoying a rooftop cocktail over Bangkok and under a full moon to boot.  Bangkok, I will visit again, soon.

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