September 6, 2010. WAT PHO
We took the liberty of sleeping in a little today, all the way to 9 am. Since we got a late start we ate a little more at breakfast, brunch today, and avoided the need to stop for lunch. The plan for this day was to visit Wat Pho and get a Thai massage. Wat Pho is not only a Wat and home to the reclining Buddha, but it is also home to the origins of Traditional Thai massage. Thai massage involves the therapist working with you in a kind of tandem yoga. The move your body for you and stretch your muscles. It is not in any way similar to a Swedish massage.
After eating we again headed for the central pier and got on an orange express boat (very determine to not use the tourist boat again). We arrived at Than Tien (Tha means pier) and quickly passed the hordes of tuk tuk drivers and other who would want to help us. (Of course by help I mean, mislead us and direct us to a shop owned by their friends) We made our way to an entrance and were quickly intercepted
by an official looking Thai man, who informed us that of course the Wat was closed until 1:30 because the monks were eating. Having learned our lesson we thanked him politely and headed for the main entrance. I should say, that while the main purpose of the so called helpful person, is to direct you to a market, they will impart useful information, such as where the entrance is located or what direction something is in. So take the good information and ignore all else.
It was a hot day, we had purchased hats earlier to keep our heads from frying, Jerry’s more so than mine. But the hats had no ventilation so it made our heads even hotter, but did serve the purpose of protecting us from the intense tropical sun. We toured the Wat, and the reclining Buddha. We checked out the Thai massage, but the price was twice what you pay near our hotel and for half as long. We opted to put the massage off to another day.
I don’t have much to say about the Wat. As I said, a Wat is a Wat as a Church is a Church. What does make each Wat unique is the statute of Buddha it possesses. The Wat at the Grand Palace had the emerald Buddha and Wat Pho has the reclining Buddha. So you could visit all 400 to 500 Wats and see a different type of Buddha, but I can only take so much religion no matter what the variety.
The Wat was our only destination for the day, so we headed back early for a longer bit of pool-thirty and a lovely Mai Tai. And yes Gina the very first drink I had in Thailand was a Singapore Sling at Silom Village. For the rest of you, a Singapore Sling was the only alcoholic beverage I ever saw my grandmother Wright ever drink. So since we just closed her estate, I drank this in honor and memory of her. TAILOR ROUND 2
After our swim we changed and were picked up by the tailor for our first fitting. Now if you have never had clothing custom made, the first fitting can be disappointing. The clothing is of course in a very rough stage (the shirt was basically done) but the suit was, well not like any suit I had ever seen. We tried things on, were re-measured and then set the next appointment. The process took about 45 minutes. Jerry was very pleased with his choices, but I have to admit, I was not as happy. Mainly, because I am not a small person and clothing does not always fit like would like it to or how I choose to believe it does in my head. Robin assured me, that it would all turn out good.
After the fitting, they kindly returned us to our hotel, were we showered and got ready for dinner. This evening’s dinner would be at Thanying. The restaurant is owned and operated by the sister of the queen. It was within walking distance from the hotel, so we once again set out on Silom and the offers of tuk tuks, massages (wink wink) and prostitutes. Not once did they offer us a man, they would still get a no, but they would have at least been on the right track.
The restaurant was located in an old Thai house, very quaint. The cuisine was of course Thai, but also royal Thai. I am not sure if it was royal Thai because the queen’s sister owned it or if it was a higher standard than regular Thai. We started with a rare cocktail, I had a Martini, Jerry a Thai Whiskey and soda (very herbal but not really that bad) I failed to specify a dry Martine, so there fore I got a very not dry Martini, but it was still Gin.
For dinner we went with the set menu 660 bahts a person or roughly 33. It was more food than two people could ever eat. The menu said it was for two but in reality it was enough for four. We started with a spring roll (better than anything I have ever had in the states), followed by Tom Kah Gai soup, the several dishes at once, red chicken curry, sauté asparagus with mushrooms, steamed rice, spicy shrimp salad. All of it was great, but we could not eat it all. We looked at the wine list, but couldn’t bring ourselves to spend 2,600 bahts for a bottle. (In reality it isn’t any more than what we would be at home, but our minds of quickly converted to Thai prices and what a baht can actually by.
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel using a different route; it tried to rain, but did not really do a good job of it. We walked by several other places to eat that were not in the guide books, at last, something we discovered on our own.
We returned to our room and again were asleep by 11. This is truly unlike any vacation we have had. In London, Paris, Rome, Naples, Venice, New York, Spain, we always manage to stay up late and still get up to tour. The humidity really makes a difference. We also have drank less on this vacation than any in history, its almost like being in a 12 step program, well almost.
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