Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I was recently in Bangkok and had a couple of hours free and with a colleague went to see the Grand Palace.
There's an unwritten law in Bangkok not widely known but universally experienced: 
When you take a Tuk-Tuk you always make a stop before you get to where you're going. 
Inside western tourists shiver in arctic air con as the sweat turns to icicles down the middle of their backs.
I'm always bemused by the notion that Thailand is a centre of world class tailoring.
Three shirts, and  fitted suit (with extra trousers) made to measure go for a world beating $298.
Fat,(and not so fat) flip flop shod farangs flip through two year old Armani catalogues, fingering bolts of fabric whilst a relentless process unfolds.
Indian guys, smiling but insistent stick to you like glue.
Winter coats are slipped over your shoulders as you smile but shake your head.
 Its a non stop soft sell of special deals "just for you".
Finally you escape back into the heat and wait for the driver to get his petrol vouchers.

Capitalism  with a smile thrives in Bangkok.
Its nice when you finally get to where you wanted to go.
Buddhas , Buddhas everywhere....
The Grand Palace in Bangkok has been the official residence of the royal family in Thailand since 1782.
They live somewhere else now but there's still some official work going on in relation to royal family business.
The complex is a series of buildings housing temples, palaces pavilions and open spaces.
The entrance to the temple looks straight forward enough, but seems to be a magnet for every hustler and con artist in Bangkok.
You are constantly accosted and told " Palace closed now", go with my friend to other Buddha"
You aren't allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts within the complex but don't worry there's plenty of people willing to" rent" you a sarong.
That's what I did.
Pity no one told me they were provided free of charge just inside the gate. 
Beware of "Wily" strangers, indeed.
One of the key attractions within the grounds is the Emerald Buddha housed within the temple Wat Phra Kaew.
Carved from a single piece of jade its 66 cms tall.
No one but the king is permitted to touch it.
He changes the robe draped over its body three times a year to signify the changing seasons ( summer, winter and rainy seasons) a ritual viewed as essential to the country's prosperity.
Originally residing in Cambodia in the 15th century, it moved Laos in the 16th and then Vietnam where it remained for 200 odd years.
It came to Thailand in the mid 18th century and has been there ever since.
Long the source of mystical prophesy, it's said the statue will bring protection and prosperity to the country where it resides. 
Deeply revered in Thailand its seen as integral to the fabric of Thai society and essential to the Kingdom's  prosperity.
That's it for today.
Germany and London to come once I get around to seeing whats in the camera.
Love to all

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