Edit Blog Post
Published: June 21st 2017
The Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
The flag here shows the emblem of the King. Have I mentioned how much the Thai people love their King? He is getting older now, in his 80's I think, and the Thai people are already devastated as the prospect of losing him. It reminds me a little of how the English loved Princess Dianna, only the love is pungent and palpable in an urgent sort of way even before any kind of tragedy.
Geo: 13.7308, 100.521
This entry is sort of disjointed. I'm leaving the country tomorrow, and sort of tying up some loose ends. Apologies in advance! =)
Thailand only gives US citizens a 30 day visa upon arrival, and mine expires today. So I've gotta get out of Dodge ASAP. I bought my ticket today to cross the border into Cambodia tomorrow. I'll have to pay a B500 ($15) fine at the border for overstaying my visa by a day, but what can you do.
I stayed an extra day so I could get both a Vietnamese and a Laotian Visa from the embassies here in Bangkok. (That's just how long my agents visa service took.) Much easier than standing in lines at the borders; just pay a fee and give'm your passport and it magically shows back up with the visas in a few days. I'm not even sure I want to go to Vietnam and Laos, they weren't on my original plan, but I want to keep my options open for my departure from Cambodia. This way I can travel out of Cambodia in any direction that takes my fancy. My plan now is to come back to Thailand with a fresh
new 30 day visa thank you very much, but we'll see what happens. I've only seen southern and central Thailand so far, and I really want to visit the hill towns in the north, so I think I'll do that on this new visa when I get back in the country.
On a totally other note...The Siam Niramit Show: www.siamniramit.com
It's too bad I don't have any photos of maybe one of the greatest sights I saw in Bangkok and that's because no cameras were allowed in. Tonight I went to see The Siam Show. A huge, theatrical, Broadway-caliber, show depicting the history of Thailand culture and folk lore. It was fantastic. The stage was billed as the largest in the world, and even in the Guinness Book of World Records as such (so they said, but I'd believe it). If a trip to Bangkok is in your future, this is SO a must see. The show gave me goosebumps more than once. This site has some pretty good pictures of the stage and is worth the look: www.summertours.net/show/siamniramit.html
Outside Siam show theater complex, just beyond the Disneyland sized parking lot filled with air-conditioned tour buses, there is a faux Thai traditional
village complete with mock rice patty fields in various stages of growth, a mini-wandering river with a bridge, and a dozen Thai huts with faux villagers demonstrating traditional village life. It's all a bit surreal, and seems odd to walk though when you know you are in the middle of the city, but it's actually done very well - just like the show.
It reminded me a little of Vegas where you can take a gondola ride in Venice and goto the top of the Eiffel tower within 100meters. Surreal, but I suppose if you've never been to the actual places being mocked, and you don't really want to, it's a pretty satisfying impression of the real thing. But totally not the same as the real thing, how could it be?
And another note...
Random thing happened at 6am one morning: My hotel room overlooks Rambuttri Street which resides between a monastery to the north east and a temple to the west. In the early morning hours a slow single-file procession of monks, each walking alone in silence, pass from east to west from the monastery to the temple. They look so serene and exotic in their beautiful saffron robes and merit
bowls. A few times I even saw them receiving merit (food or money) and a deep bow from the merchants on the street who are open that early. This particular morning I saw an interesting dichotomy that struck me. As the monks were walking down the deserted street, I watched as two lady boys (both with a pair of dangerously high heels swinging in their fingers) giggled and strolled barefoot down the middle of the street against the flow of monks in procession. I guess they were heading home after a long nights work on Kho San Road. Of all the things my mind could have reflected on with such a rich scene, the thing that popped in there was, "Well there's something you don't see everyday". =)
Tot: 2.296s; Tpl: 0.14s; cc: 7; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0529s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb