Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Thursday, June 17, 1999 7:31 AM
Subject: Bangkok - Day 2

Woke this morning and was up and out by 7am...had museli and yogurt for  breakfast (too darned healthy...go figure...didn't feel up to ordering the  chicken sausage...) and headed out.  Went directly to The Grand Palace and Wat Keo Prea (sp?)...I was there at  0830 when they opened...and was literally the first tourist in the door. Admission 125Baht and English speaking guide 300 Baht...well worth it...made  it very interesting, explained the differences in the Budda's ...and let's  face it, they all pretty much look alike...and took lots of pictures of me infront of things...so I didn't have to worry about setting the timer or  bothering other tourists to take pictures of me in silly poses infront of  religious monuments. The Wat Keo is known for the Emerald Budda...which is  actually one 3 foot tall Jade statue of Budda very ornately carved...and  actually has 3 different sets of "clothes" made out of gold that they put on  the Budda depending on the time of year...kind of like sunshine Barbie versus Ski Barbie, they have Summer Budda outfit, Rainy Season Budda outfit, and another which I didn't catch...no, I did not make this up...pay 300 Baht to a guide here and they will show you the pictures...really...this is too good.Then went to the Wat Pho...better known as the home of the Reclining Budda. In this Wat (temple) the Budda is laying on it's side and is enormous...probably 50 feet high and 120 feet long...but the building is probably 60 feet high and 130 feet long...so it looks like the Budda crawled in there and then grew and probably couldn't get out...kind of a Gulliver thing... Went to the Golden Mount which overlooks the entire city...OK...but it is just another big, polluted city. Then went to see the Golden Budda...now to understand this...one would have to appreciate that ALL of the Buddas have been Golden...but this one is SOLID GOLD...kinda makes you want to dance to bad 80's tunes, doesn't it? They discovered this while moving the Budda a coupla hundred years ago...they thought that it was merely a Plaster Budda...but when they dropped it due to the weight (something like 5 tons of gold) they found out that it was Gold...quite the discovery, don't you think? And not being the money-grubbing people that we all probably are, they did NOT melt it down and retire to our own private tropical island, they put it in a Wat on display for 20 Baht...I am not sure they realize the true opportunity costs of having 5 tons of gold bullion just sitting around looking Budda like...but it sure occured to me while I was looking at the darned thing. Then it was off walking around at random...basically walked until my feet protested...I think it is the best way to truly see a city...and have now returned to my hotel. Did I mention the Coconut Milk Shakes here are killer...I have had 3 in 2 days...and will probably consume another one as soon as I send this message...I think I am converting my Coke vice into a Coconut vice that I can't shake. Satwadee Kap for now ya'll,
Doug