11.05.2014 31 °C
After getting to the hotel, on Friday night, we went to a Money Changer as we were carrying around quite a lot of money from other countries. I was excited about this as it seemed like getting free money to me, although Bill pointed out that it wasn't the case. Money changers tend to be like tiny banks with a glass partition between us and the money changer. I pointed out to the man that the cubed chairs they had on our side were upholstered with the Union Jack. He looked very uncomfortable and started to apologise for them disrespecting our flag; he explained to us that in Thailand they never use the flag for anything else. We told him he was fine with ours and they can do what ever they wanted with it, much to his relief.
Yesterday morning, Bill was particularly keen for me to sort my laundry out; it was only as he was leaving, that the penny dropped and I realised he was so keen for the laundry to be done as he uses the taxi motorbikes in Bangkok! He says he finds it so exciting as they weave through the traffic as such speed! The motorbike actually costs almost as much as having the washing done. Things are much cheaper in Thailand than other places (especially spending our free money), the washing was about four pounds and a meal for us both with a beer is around five pounds.
Virtually ever since we started traveling we have been looking for a new electric toothbrush, as we smashed the casing on ours, so yesterday was shopping day. Bangkok is lovely, it has such a buzz to it and all the craziness of a bustling city in Asia, so it is nice to be out and about again. We went to the large shopping centre a couple of sky train stops away from us. Walking along the walk ways to the shopping centre, there was lots of art work which was part of a treasure hunt. The pictures were all done to look like 3D Illusions. There was a competition for the best pictures taken so at each painting I was taking pictures of Bill. This lady began to advice Bill on where to stand to get a better picture. She began talking to us about where we were from and asked us if we were married (I rarely wear a ring, which she looked for) and I said yes, she then began to congratulate me and shake my hand, I think she thought we were nearly weds!
After shopping, we decided to go to the pictures (I have been to the pictures more since we have been away than I do at home). We went to see Spider Man and I actually recommend it as I stayed awake throughout the whole film. Like before when we went to the pictures in Thailand, just before the film starts, they play the King's song. Throughout the song they show pictures of the King doing things and then at the end a sequence of pictures of him sat with two dogs next to him; in the first pictures the dogs are quite young and then they show them next to the king wearing jumpers, but as they go on you can see the dogs are getting older (and the King I assume as I was looking at the dogs). The last picture only showed the King with one dog, I was so upset and cried for about the first five minutes of the film.
After swimming and brunch today we went to Wat That Thong. It is a civil Wat and the land originally had two Wats on it; Wat That and Wat Thong. To use the land these two were demolished and a new Wat called That Thong (we have had so much fun with this name) was built in 1937. The Wat carries out Buddhist cremations and also educates on death and good deads. Buddhist cremations in Thailand follow a ritual where relatives and friends pour water over one hand of the departed who is then interred in their coffin. The coffin is surrounded with wreaths and candles, usually with a photograph of the person. The seven days before the funeral, monks chant for the deceased.
All around the central long building (which had the furnace in it) were buildings where people were paying their respects to their dead. There were flowers all around the buildings. We saw a funeral possession going on, a monk was leading the way and he was followed by someone carrying a picture of the lady, then the coffin followed which was on an ornate cart and there were two monks walking with it, attached to it by white strings We didn't stay to watch as we didn't want to intrude, but the procession then walked three times around the temple in an anti clockwise direction. The mourners were wearing black or white and were taking pictures of the possession.
Outside the Wat, was a man crafting grasshoppers out of palm leaves. Bill really wanted to take a picture, so we had to buy one. I was pointing to the one I wanted and he kept pointing at one and then at himself and then at me and pointing at another grasshopper, we were totally bemused. Somebody nearby eventually explained to us that there were male and female grasshoppers and he wouldn't sell me a male one.
We are becoming a bit confused about where we are and which hotel we are in, such as thinking we are in a hotel from several weeks ago and heading for non existent lifts. Bill was talking about taking something home today, but what he actually meant was to the hotel. We never know what day of the week it is and the time seems to whiz by and my need for an early night has disappeared.
Tomorrow we are traveling to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand by train and this will take us about ten hours. We do enjoy a train journey. We did think we would need to do a visa hop at this stage as we thought we would only be stamped back into Thailand for fourteen days, but we got the full twenty eight days, so a visa hop is not a necessity, although may still be on the cards as between the nineteenth May and the second June we have nothing planned, but we both look forward to what is ahead of us.