Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bo on Bangkok: Day 1, Canal Tour

Today I took a tour of Bangkok. It was very fun and I saw many interesting things along the way. First, we took a taxi to the Bangkok travel system, a skytrain monorail. On the skytrain we traveled to a new stop where we were supposed to meet our guide.  However, there was a mixup as to where we were supposed to meet and we waited for a while as the problem was resolved.  Then we met the guide and and quickly got on the boat from which we traveled down the canals of Bangkok.  

Our first stop, out of six, was at a traditional market where we were supposed to get ingredients that would be prepared at the restaurant, our fourth stop.  However things changed a bit as Redd developed an itching sensation and it turned out that many of the dishes that we had wanted to eat were either too common or too rare.  So in the end we got some fruit, a bag of boiled peanuts, and a pack of pills instead of the fish, vegetables, and crab that we were supposed to eat. We then got back on the boat.  

Redd took one of the pills, we ate some noodles off of a boat, a "once in a lifetime experience" accordingly to our guide though really we've eaten a lot of noodles already, and we traveled to our second stop, a grand temple. There were multiple floors on the temple; however it was the fourth floor that really amazed me.  The first floor had columns of red paint with gold designs on them and an altar with a gold Bhudda.  The second floor had the relics of the previous monks, either dead or some who had merely stopped their education. The third floor had solid gold statues of the greatest meditators that had came to this temple, including one that weighed one hundred thousand kilograms. He was the idol of most of the people who aspire to be great meditators and many people came each day to meditate in front of him hoping that his wisdom would help them in their quest for internal peace. The fourth floor, the greatest, had a star ceiling engraved with over 50,000 gemstones that had come from Austria.  It had extremely intricate paintings of the Buddha and he was always sitting on a lotus flower. I love these paintings or engravings were not even the grandest part of the room. 

In the center of the room, surrounded by waist high glass walls, was a 3 to 4 m high green glass pyramid. At the top was a small, maybe 6 inches tall, golden Buddha. He was not sitting, as he normally is depicted as, but he was standing with his hands facing outward as if to stop the flood. After gazing at this magnificence, and taking many pictures, we got back on the boat and drove down the canals. The third thing we did was go to a smaller temple called the Forest Temple. There we learned about two things, one being the etiquette especially using the feet and where to point out. Putting your feet in the direction of someone is considered unclean as the feet are, in Buddhism,  the most unkempt part of the body. Sticking your feet toward someone is disrespectful and frowned upon, but it is okay so long as you're not looking or talking to them. 

The second thing we learned about was the different positions that the Buddha is depicted in in the statues. About 70% of them are depicted with him sitting cross-legged, his right foot foot over left foot, right hand on his right knee. This signifies his resistance to give into temptation to quit his meditation and thus, quit his path to enlightenment. About 10% have Buddha depicted sitting with his legs in the same position, but with his hands folded in his lap, right hand over left. One more 10% have Buddha depicted as reclining as this is the position he died in. The last 10% are depicted in other positions such as standing up and breaking the flood. 

The fourth place we went to was a canal restaurant where we had a couple different noodle dishes, such as dry noodles, noodle soup, and a Thai Omlette. We also had a choice for dessert of many different tubs of ice cream, such as blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, and passion fruit. 

The fifth place we went to on our canal journey was an orchid farm where, by far the most pictures were taken. There were orchids of many different colors. There were red, white, and yellow orchids. There also some more kinds, especially the yellow ones, that either had something sort of like flower freckles, or they were just plain old plants. The sixth, and final place that we went to on today's journey was an artist's home. It had puppet shows would play occasionally for free, but today was not one of those days. However we still had a lot of fun there, as we drink our iced lemon tea and fed the ravenous catfish. We went home and I started to write this journal entry.

No comments:

Post a Comment