The Major Players
Trip Start Dec 31, 2004
71Trip End Apr 22, 2005
I could have done it blindfolded: the skytrain to Siam Station, transfer to Taksim to the end of the line and board a boat to Pier 8
I hopped off the boat and headed over to the Wat Pho to see the famous golden Reclining Buddha. Ignoring the touts who are famous for telling people that something's closed and then offering to take them for a ride, which normally ends up with you being scammed into buying "gems" or some other less clever way to fleece the farang. It always begins the same way, "Where are you from?" I normally answer without a break in my stride and a smile on my face "New York -- where are you from?" This normally stops them from bothering you but if they persist I tell them that either a) "I live here now" or b) "Honey I've been coming here for years -- take care and have a good day."
The Reclining Buddha is really awe-inspiring at first sight. Once entering the narrow temple your first glimpse of him ("Him"?) is the top of his head. No sooner are you inside gawking then before you know it you're trying to get your shot and move along to another venue
Well, after my mental disgust at the shoulder-bearing heathens at the Wat Pho our good friends at the Grand Palace were not having my little get up I assure you that. They weren't tolerating around half the costumes they saw and they've got a plan those folks at the Grand Palace. First of all: No Tight or Short Pants (I was wearing nice black Capri pants) and No Backless Foot coverings (I was wearing black leather open toe slides). Well, forget about it. After I'd bought my ticket I got in line and the fashion police -- no, really -- they really are the fashion police and they've got guns for crying out loud. You don't want to screw with the Bangkok Fashion Police because they will blow your damn brains out. White shoes after Labor Day? Don't even think about it. The girl in front of me was sporting denim clam diggers with holes in them and they started pointing at her rips and I was worried they were going to bayonet the bitch in the stomach and I was hopping I could kick her head in when she was down
I want mirrors and I want thousands and thousands of those tiny little colored mirror mosaics and I want them in my bathroom and my the backsplash in my kitchen and I want the kitchen table and chairs covered in them and I want a shiny multicolored blinding-in-the-sun cat litter box and by God I want dresses made out of this shit and underwear and lamps and drapes and George Forman Grills covered in every damn color of mirror you can imagine and for the love of God where there's a hairline of space inbetween -- are you listening?--even the tiniest of hairlines I want that sonofabitching hairline GILDED in 24 carat gold
After my conniption and convulsions I meandered throughout the palace grounds, which were ridiculously over-the-top brilliant but the rest was mercifully less brilliant than the first part because as I've stated I couldn't take much more of it. I had to sit down so I found a nice little snack area and had a couple scoops of Hagen-Daz to sort of cool myself down and then I had to walk past the outside of it on the way out but I couldn't walk back through it without paying again, which is good because I was starting to well-up just thinking about it
As the sun was setting and I was heading back to my guesthouse I knew I'd follow another routine that I've longed for these past several months in anticipation of this journey. I went to my room, showered off the heat and dust and freshened up. I put a thin flowing white cotton tunic with side slits and white calf-length pants and before I left my room I sprayed my wrists and ankles with mosquito repellent. I descended the stairs and a few paces later I plopped myself at my favourite bar.
Ah, early evenings in Asia and the first sip of your first gin and tonic.