Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bangkok 4 A Few Wats (6/24/2012)

Sunday, June 24, 2012
After being dropped off by the tuk tuk driver, we resumed our planned itinerary, with a few modifications.
We took a look at the Golden Mount at Wat Saket:
The hill is made from earth dug up to create the canals and a Buddha relic is interred in a chedi on top.
Kent noticed kids sliding down the ramp next to the stairs:
The boy is using a flattened plastic water bottle to sit on while sliding down the painted concrete:
Shops selling carved teak items including lintels: 
We wandered through Ban Baat, the neighborhood where the monks' alms bowls are made:
Baat or bowl makers:
The street of Bamrung Muang has many shops that "rent" Buddha images:
You are not allowed to "own" a Buddha, so people pay to adopt them in all sizes and either place them in shrines or donate them to temples.
Treacherous sidewalk:
Religious images include those of the King:
Wax figure monks, and all kinds of decorative items:
Real and artificial flowers are used:
Hindu gods:
Kent peeked in on the decorations of a bus driver:
We suppose they help keep him and the passengers safe!
Sao Ching-Cha/Giant Swing:
This is a support for a giant swing that is no longer in use. Once during a festival in January, men would swing on ropes to attempt grabbing a bag of gold suspended 15m/49' on a bamboo pole. Unfortunately death was common from falls.
In front of City Hall, a long marble block shows the official name of Bangkok:
In the Guinness Book of Records as the longest city name, it translates into English as: "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam."
The entrance to Wat Suthat:
The wihan/sanctuary is Thailand's largest:
The Ordination Hall is also the largest in the country:
An elephant base:
The Buddha in the wihan:
Note that the walls are covered with murals, depicting the Jataka, the story of Buddha's life.
This section shows Hell:
Can you see that the monk is smoking a cigarette?
A view of the Sao Ching-Cha/Giant Swing:
Back on the street, a trophy shop with an emaciated kitty:
We had hear about soi dogs, but we saw more soi/alley cats. Most of them are well fed.
This Buddha is sitting on Naga, a seven-headed snake:
Temple offering gift basket (for the monks?):
We detoured through the neighborhood of Phraeng Phuthon, which was supposed to have shophouses with beautiful fretted woodwork:
Instead, we found old cars, such as the Morris Mini from the late 1950s or early 1960s:
A 1950s Citroen:
And a 1960s Mini Moke:
The Ministry of Defence:
If you think I am spelling words incorrectly, you have to remember that Thai English is influenced by the British.
Wat Lak Muang/City Pillar Temple:
This temple houses the zero-mile marker for Thailand.
The wall surrounding the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew:
Unfortunately, this area closed to visitors at 3:30 pm! We missed it by minutes!
We plodded on towards the Amulet Market. Well before, we ran into vendors selling all kinds of Buddhist amulets of all qualities. Shopping monk novices:
The Amulet Market:
On Mahathat Road, a vendor selling longans and lychees: 
This street is known for its medicine shops:
Sticks, insects, seeds, roots:
Teeth and tusks:
Tiger skin:
Crocodile heads:
Our last wat of the day, Wat Pho, the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok:
Home of the Reclining Buddha:
The longest reclining Buddha at 46m/151' in length:

A smaller image for veneration by placing squares of gold leaf on it:
Column painting:
Wall painting:
You were supposed to take note of the feet:
Looking back the length of the Buddha, past the toes:
It is the bottom of the feet that is significant:
Mother-of-pearl inlay depicting 108 characteristics of Buddha:
Window painting:
We paid 20 baht/67 cents for a bowl of Thai pennies to dispense in the monks' bowls:
A long row of bowls:
The blue bag is holding our shoes:
The bowls went the length of this corridor:
Thai pennies:
We went to another section of Wat Pho, past an unlikely pair of guards:
These stupas appear to house the remains of lesser royals:
There are 91 of these stupas:
A Chinese rockery:
Wat Pho has the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand:
The galleries contain 394 gilded Buddhas:
Carved relief murals, two of 152 scenes from the Ramakian:
Main boht/chapel window:
A rockery featuring figures of the hermit Khao Mor in various healing positions:
Khao Mor is credited with inventing yoga:
A walk through Saranrom Royal Garden:
 A Victorian fountain, and a Victorian band stand:
The Queen Sunantha Monument:
The queen tragically drowned in a boating accident because it was forbidden for commoners and thus her attendants to touch royalty.
Hand-feeding fish:
A Victorian Conservatory:
Public aerobic classes:
A small lift bridge over the canal:
Kent being bonked by a weight?
What? Bathing and fishing in these waters?
Queen Patcharinthia Shrine:
She was born in the year of the pig:
A typical Thai bus:
A Stumpe shrine?
We then took the Chao Phraya River boat service down the river, passing Memorial Bridge:
The Bangkok River Park Condominiums:
A tourist boat:
The Holy Rosary Church established by the Portuguese in 1786:
The oldest Christian church in Bangkok.
The ferry boat employee who threw out the rope and jumped ashore to land the boat, signaled the pilot with a shrill whistle:
The Old Customs House:
Built in 1880.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel:
Established in 1876.
The East Asiatic Company Building
Built in 1884 with a classical Venetian-style facade.
We had dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which was made famous by hosting the likes of authors Joseph Conrad, W Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, James Michener, and Gore Vidal.
Sunset from The Verandah:
Kent on the Verandah:
Thai beef noodles:
It had both beef slices and those beef meatballs.
Chicken and cashews:
Night view:
Back at our less pretentious hotel, we received the message that the custom-made shirts would not be delivered tonight, but tomorrow morning.

No comments: