Bit of a shock being in the big city !!

Trip Start Sep 21, 2011
Trip End Mar 21, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Thursday, December 15, 2011

We arrive at Mo Chit bus station Bangkok at 5am and taxi to our hotel.  Realise that I booked the wrong place on the internet.  We use a group of hotels and usually stay at New Siam I but for some reason I seem to have booked a room at New Siam II, luckily only a few hundred yards away.  We are given a room upgrade so that we do not need to wait for a room to be prepared at this ungodly hour and we are settling down for a rest by 6am.  Down for breakfast then we take a taxi into downtown Bangkok and the VFS offices to submit Jai's visa application.  Collect a bankers draft from a local branch then I leave Jai to it as I am not allowed inside the room.  Takes about an hour and apparently they are sending the passport right back to the house at Khamnadie this time.  Previously we have had it couriered to Chiangmai if we were going to be staying there or to a nearby city where we could easily go and collect it.  Dont trust the local posties though so am a little concerned.  We take the BTS Skytrain towards the north of the city and back to MO Chit to buy tickets to Chiangmai for tomorrow night.  The ticket offices werent open when we arrived there this morning.  Get tickets downstairs on the 20:30 bus and then taxi back to the hotel stopping for lunch at our usual Chinese noodle shop nearby.  With Jai settled in the aircon in front of the TV I am out on my own for a walk this afternoon and start off with a visit to Banglamphu Post Office to mail some Xmas cards.  Probably too late to arrive on time but thought that mailing them in Bangkok was their best chance of ever getting delivered.  Visit a temple opposite the PO names Wat Bowonniwetviharn Ratchaworawiharn - or something like that !  Built around 1829 it is one of Bangkoks more important temples as Kings Rama IV and Rama VII both spent time here whilst they were monks as did the present King.  There is a lot work going here but the tall golden stupa and ornate roofs are attractive and it was a nice place to sit in the shade for a while watching the locals bring their offerings.  Their was a double Buddha footprint shrine in the courtyards and people were balancing coins on their edge in the footprints.  Walking on I came across a cluster of shops selling royal 'things' such as enormous pictures that would have required enormous houses to hang them in and other stuff that no household should be without.  Some joker then tried to tell me it was my lucky day.  This was the one day that a black Buddha was on display at a certain temple and although it was a couple of hours away he knew a tuk-tuk that would take me for 10Bht.  At first mention of the unusual black Buddha he had got my attention but he instantly blew his chance.  As I waved goodbye he asked me why I was so stupid to which I could only reply that I had obviously been in Thailand for too long and it was catching !!  I began retracing my steps and diverted down a small alleyway into the Ban Phon Thom community on the Khlong Rop Krung.  Originally named as it was the area that specialised in making nielloware for the high ranking elite.  (Thanks to the internet, nielloware is "the ancient art of applying an amalgam of metals to carved portions of a silver object to create silver or gold patterns against black backgrounds").  Apparently there is still one place using the traditional techniques but I couldnt find it - even with an address and a map.  Maybe he was right about the stupid bit.  Slowly made my way back to the guest house being asked if I wanted a massage by a bltatntly gay chap sat with a few like minded others.  Do I look gay I asked and immediately regretted asking.  He replied that after 10mins with him every man would become gay !!  At least thats what I think he said as I had ran a few hundred yards down the road by then ...
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