Bangkok is the City of Angels. Well, it is also known as Sin City, but hey, so is Los Angeles, right? Bangkok needs several blogs to do it justice, but here’s a fact: my daughter and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was not at all what I expected. What did I expect? A smog infested, no emission standards, hot, hellish place. (It was HOT. And humid.) What did I receive? Flowers upon our arrival at the hotel, Thai Wai’s (the Thai greeting), new cars and motorcycles and scooters, and emission standards so black smoke is NOT coming from the vehicles. One can breathe. Bangkok is a pleasant, large city.
Photos of the King, and Queen, are everywhere. Thailand loves their King, known as Rama IX. There are government protests going on right now, but they are aimed at the Prime Minister, not the King. “Lese Majesty”, or disrespect of the King, is still a punishable offense in Thailand. The protests in Bangkok are not easily explained, but have to do with the continued influence of a former Prime Minister. We did hear and even see the protestors once or twice. Since we were there, the Prime Minister of Thailnd has been removed, and a new caretaker Prime Minister has been installed. Here is a link to the news: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/07/world/asia/thailand-yingluck-abuse-power-verdict/
Bangkok is foodie heaven…the street food is amazing! Mango with sticky rice, grilled banana, chicken satays, pad thai, fruit, fruit, and more fruit….so fresh and sweet, I could not believe it! I have never eaten so much fruit in my entire life. It tastes so good! Mango, watermelon, pineapple, bananas, dragon fruit…. from what I can research, crops are not GMO (genetically modified organisms). If that is the difference in taste, then the USA needs to go back to the “real thing”. Delicious!
There is a shrine, temple or spirit house on every corner. Someone told me there are 30,000 temples or shrines in Bangkok, and I completely believe it! Each one is beautiful. The majority of the Wats (temples) are Thai, but some are Chinese. One can tell the difference immediately as Thai Buddhism is gold, ornate, and intricate. Chinese buddhist temples are very colorful with dragons and Fu Dogs and other creatures.
Something else Bangkok has is plenty of “ladyboys”, or “katoeys”. Alexandra, my daughter, and I decided to go to a cabaret called Calypso, a ladyboy show similar to “The BirdCage” (movie). Ladyboys are men who are transitioning into females, or transsexuals, but also transvestites. In most cases, you would never know in a million years that they have, or had, male parts. Absolutely beautiful! The show was mostly old show tunes, including “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and Ethel Merman’s “There’s no business like showbusiness”, but there were also Thai and Asian themes…the most beautiful was a dance with fans. Headed to Thailand? Be sure to take in a ladyboy show!
From the canals (complete with HUGE monitor lizards!) to the river to the floating market, the temples and shrines and shopping and dining, and the flower and fruit markets, Bangkok aims to please. And it certainly does. More to follow!