Thailand, Day Two: The Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, and The Siam Niramit Show

July 2, 2017

My day started earlier than the rest of my family’s. I woke up at 4 a.m. for no particular reason, checked my phone, and couldn’t go back to sleep. There’s the one lesson that I can never learn: not checking any electronic device in between groggy stirs. Oh wells, the damage has been done.

I got out of bed at 5:30 to shower, and by 6:30 I was ready for our hotel’s buffet breakfast. Our tour guide wouldn’t be arriving until 7:30 to pick us up for our day’s trip around Bangkok, so I took my precious time in the restaurant.

There was no such thing as Filipino Time in Bangkok, as our tour guide was already waiting outside with our van, even before the scheduled pick up time. I say this because, regardless if I have been exposed to countless cultures, I still falsely believe that it is a South East Asian thing to be late for a couple of minutes. But I digress.

So all 11 of us – me, my family, plus the tour guide and the driver – hopped on the van and proceeded to interject into Thailand’s traffic. Our destination for the day was the Grand Palace, where the body of Thailand’s Late King is still housed, and where the Temple of the Emerald Budhha is conveniently adjacent to.

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The palace doesn’t open to guests until 8:30 a.m. Since we were early, we had to wait together with a big crowd.

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This is the entrance to see the Palace itself, but we needed to see the Emerald Buddha first so we turned left just right before the gate.

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Taking of pictures inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is not allowed. This is the only picture I have with regard to it. But look at the intricacy of those walls. 

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Now here are some pictures of the palace itself

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If you didn’t already know, the entire country is still mourning for their King who died in October 2016. Thousands of Thai still line up amidst the heat, just to get into the palace and pay their respects to the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

After seeing these glorious structures and that majestic green god, I was surprised to hear that there was one more place we needed to go to. We stopped by a jewelry manufacturing company to see how Thailand assembles their most prized gems into necklaces and rings.

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A Jeweler meticulously inspects the rubies

We were then herd into a room full of displays, in the company’s hopes that we would buy a few shiny things. No such purchases were made. Thankfully, we didn’t have to stay long in such a tempting place. We needed to hurry back to the hotel, for a few hours rest, before our next activity that was to happen at 7 that evening – of which events you will hopefully read in my next post.

Love,

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Solo Adventures: Siargao for my birthday weekend.

The following is an excerpt from my personal travel journal

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Day One. Time is 9:37. Check in is at 14:00. Do I wait?

I am seated by the reception table, hunched over my phone, with a cold glass of lemonade in one hand. I am beginning to wonder if this was a good idea – coming here for my birthday weekend. Alone.

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I wanted to celebrate my birthday peacefully; away from those who are more eager to throw me a party than I am about having one. I’m sick of celebrating the fact that I am another year closer to a midlife crisis. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being surrounded by the people I love, but a birthday’s just another normal day for me.

There was just a strong desire to be by myself, really. Here, now, is that opportunity. But whom am I kidding? That particular need’s always been strong. I’ve had plenty of alone time even while I was in the city. It’s become a hobby. And yet, seeing all these strangers talking in groups and some couples seated together, I’m starting to doubt my decision. All of the sudden, I’ve shied away from the idea of a great travel opportunity, and now I’ve taken refuge in my phone.

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I did meet a couple of Dutch men on the plane coming here, though. I believe we’ve made plans to meet up. Still, they’re not staying in my resort, so at this moment I’m still by my lonesome.

I could go somewhere. I did already rent a scooter, for the day, for 250 pesos. The only problem is the thought of me driving it around. I am intimidated by it. As it turns out, the scooter isn’t as light as I thought it would be. But I’ll have to “just do it” eventually. Otherwise, what a waste of 250 would that be.