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June 16th 2012
Published: June 16th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Well, downtown Bangkok is living up to it's reputation. It's loud, dirty, vibrant with the pulse of humanity, and crowded with some of the kindest most tolerant of people. There are thousands of tourists on our street in historic downtown Bangkok, Th Rambutti, which parallels the famous backpacker's haven of Khao San Road. The entire street is not much more than open air restaurants, bootlegged goods, cheap trinkets, street cart foods, foot massage places (complete with fish pedicures and couches lined up on the sidewalk, and tour offices. Thankfully, the locals who work here have been so friendly and helpful.

My first evening in Bangkok, and I choose to take a free shuttle over to the Aksra Theatre to see if I could catch a performance of the hun loo-ang (royal puppets). Alas, the theatre was closed for renovation, but the restaurant in the same complex had a buffet dinner, which included a shortened version of the show after dinner. Totally worth the taxi ride back to the hotel.

Before going to the airport to meet Noelle's plane, I took a walk around the neighborhood to the Wat Chana Songkhram. (A "wat" is monasery temple). I was lucky enough to catch the wat at the same time as the monk's chanting. I am woefully ignorant of what was really going on, but was nonetheless enthralled by the ritual and the images of the buddha in the wat and both the female monks in white robes and male monks of all ages in the golden robes.

Today was a slow start and some well deserved rest for both us. Lunch was for breakfast, or breakfast was lunch. We wandered the streets, attempting to do our part for the Thai economy before deciding we needed to book a day trip out to the floating market - that's our big adventure for tomorrow! But the rest of the evening was full of flowers and monsoon rains! We boarded a floating bus on the Chao Phraya river bound for the south of town to see the flower market. It was sure hard going to see the pier we wanted to disembark from due the torrential downpour of our first monsoon style rain of the trip. We had just boarded the boat when the rains hit. We did manage to spot our stop only because we were counting the stops and watching the progress on the map in the trusty Lonely Planet tour guide book. We got to hang out at the "bus stop" - a rocking pier - for about 1/2 an hour while the rain came down! It didn't take long, and we fumbled our way around, not really sure where the market could be, but soon realized all we had to do was follow the men carrying the bags and bags of flowers or follow the hand carts - also full of flowers.

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16th June 2012

This is going to be fun "traveling" with you. I really admire you, Debi for all this travel you do in foreign countries, not knowing the language but willing to immerse yourself into different cultures experiencing and learning all you can. Have a great time. I look forward to your next posting!

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