Today we got up and went to go look at the Grand Palace. We walked out of our door and again I am hit with the aroma of our location. We are right next to a canal that is quite polluted and smells like it. We walk a little away from our door down the alley and the smells from street food overpower the smell of the canal. On both sides of the alley are people selling food in little carts. Around each cart is at least one little table with 4 little chairs. Each stall has at least one person eating food or preparing food. . There is enough space in the alley for us to walk side by side but with the people coming the other direction and the occasional motorcycle that comes motoring down, it is in our best interest to walk single file. I look over each cart trying to see what they are making; fish covered in some sort of paste, Papayas in hand being chopped with a large knife until they are a fine shred, Pig legs, all type of chicken parts being seasoned. At the very end our alley is a young man with a grill cart with rows and rows of meat on a stick. For 20 Baht (less than a dollar) I get two chicken satay. I walk down the street and eat my chicken and it is so delicious.
Traffic is zooming, there are crosswalks, but not lights for pedestrians or drivers. It’s a little bit like playing a live version of Frogger. We dodge traffic and walk in the general direction of the palace. Honestly I’ve become really dependent on the map program on my phone. I really have no idea where I am. I don’t know which direction is what. My phone is essentially off, still look at it every hour or so for no particular reason. What a strange and annoying habit.Regardless, we make our way to the palace. It is big and can be easily seen from the road.
One of the scams that they warn you about on the internet is there will be people trying to prevent you from going into the Grand Palace by saying it is closed and you should go see this other Buddha instead and they have a friend who will drive you. The goal is to get you to pay for a tuk tuk ride or take you to shop that a friend of the scammer knows. Well hot damn if someone didn’t come up alongside us and try to tell us that Palace was closed, but not to worry he knew of a Buddha that was open and he had a friend who could take us. We politely declined and crossed the street to palace. (It’s open!)
We pay our entrance fee and make our way through the crowds of people some tourists and some worshipers, walk through the archway and there is the palace. It is truly spectacular. Every surface is covered with gold (or maybe bronze), a tiny mirror or something shiny. From the ground to the tippy top. No spaces no gaps. It must have taken years to adhere all these tiny pieces to everything. Everything about this place is what I think of when I hear “Thailand”. Gold pointed roofs, filigree on the tops of buildings, elephant statutes and Yakshas. We walk around and take it all in and so are the rest of the tourists. I cannot imagine how many vacation photos I must be in. (I have left the photos uncropped/unedited.)
*I’ll be honest, when I got back to the hotel and was reviewing these photos, only to find I had 50+ photos of other people taking photos I was a little dissappointed. However after reviewing them many times, I’m finding it more amusing than anything and this may be my new hobby.