I'm here, in Bangkok!
Trip Start May 13, 2007
10Trip End Jul 26, 2007
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So, I got to my guesthouse, Big John's Backpackers, its quite sparse but serves its purpose and seems clean.. Whats more, I got free beer tokens on arrival! I decided against going to bed, and thought I'd head straight out to visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. That involved another suicidal taxi ride, but by some small miracle (maybe the amulets do work!) I got there in one piece. If I thought driving in the traffic was bad, its nothing compared to crossing the roads. There are zebra crossings, obviously more to make the road look pretty than to serve any actual function! It seems like you will never get accross the road because there isn't one break in the traffic. But watching other people I learnt the trick is you just step out and hope to God the cars stop, which so far, they have!
When I got to the temple, another scam was tested out on me (thank god for Lonely Planet!)
The one where a man tells you that the temple is shut today, but he can take you to an even better one down the road in his taxi, he just has to stop at his brothers gem shop first, where you then given the hard sell on probable bits of glass being sold as gemstones. This scam clearly only works on blind people though, as the man was standing in front of the gates to the temple telling me it was shut whilst I was watching hundreds of tourists mill around inside!
The temple and the palace were stunning, so intricate in their design and decoration. The scale is just enormous too. Unfortunately I couldn't see the other famous temple, Wat Pho, with the Reclining Golden Buddha, as it was a festival day, so was closed. I'm going to go back tomorrow. I had to admit defeat at around 2pm though and come back to the guesthouse for a few hours sleep. It ended up leaving me feeling quite disorientated though and I wasn't sure what day it was when I woke up. I'm going to get some food now and do some of my homework for my teaching course over a beer!
Take care everyone and keep in touch! xxxx
Where I stayed
Big John's Guesthouse