Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pictures from Bangkok

I'm back from not only Bangkok but also Chiang Mai. Yes, I'm back in Hong Kong.

But it takes forever to load these pictures, so you'll only get the pictures from Bangkok for now.

And I rebooked my return flight to January 1 so that will give me a couple of days in LA before I have to leave for New Orleans (Math conference).

First, the skyline. Temples (called Wats) and skyscrapers.

Transport by canal, subway, or river:

Now the King's palace:

Note the mixture of Thai and Victorian styles here.

And now come the guards both human:

and otherwise:

Attached to this is the Emerald Buddha complex of temples. Generally you can't take pictures inside temples so to see the real thing you have to fly on over and see for yourself.

Some of these are demons, and some are monkeys, apparently.

This one is part "angel" part monkey. I put "angel" in quotes because presumably the concept in Buddhism is not identical to the one in the Abrahamic faiths, but the tour guides were using that translation.

They have a model of Angkor Wat (the famous huge temple complex in Cambodia) from the time when Thailand ruled Cambodia:

If you look on the columns of the Emerald Buddha temple, you can see the effects of hundreds of years of people touching the gold plating:

And if you look further up you can see where people can't reach:

Now, here is a photo of the place where the tuk-tuk driver drove me to see: "Buddha standing, Buddha sitting, Buddha sleeping," as he put it. Also where they stationed the accomplice to make the advice about buying silk suits appealing. It is interesting how there was no problem in photographing these Buddhas. Maybe because they're outside. Maybe because they're not mobbed by tourists all the time. If you come to Bangkok and all you want to see is some Buddhist temple, just walk in any direction for a short time and you'll see one, usually in use.

Here's my tuk-tuk driver

And here he is going away, upset. I should also mention that the picture of the canal above is also from the tuk-tuk.

Now, as I've said, the Thai love their king. It's like being in Camelot. See the commoners throng to welcome their king! We love you King Bhumibol Adulyadej! Quite the Romanti c view of the Middle Ages.

And here people are setting out and watering flowers for an image of the king. Nearby they are selling yellow shirts to honor the king. Lots of people are wearing them. I bought one and when I wore it, people thought I was Thai.

And they have a monument called the "democracy monument". With flags of Thailand and flags of the king. No contradiction here--a past king brought democracy to Thailand. Of course, they're a bit under strain, with the military coup and all.

In general, the Thai love to decorate, and their streets are no exception. There are street decorations for no apparent purpose except to make things look nicer:

Also on display in the city: lots of hawkers. That's to be expected. Here's a wholesale distributor, making the rounds. I think it's some kinds of seafood.

But I didn't expect a stall like this. What is this guy selling? Teeth?!

Here's the seller. Also I'm posting this in case one of you reads Thai and can translate the sign.


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