Impressions of Bangkok, palace and art

We started our trip to the Grand Palace by taking the ferry from the Central pier and exited at the palace stop.

We then took a diversion and visited the Art University. I loved it – an old building with student artists impressions of Thailand life splattered all over every space that could be used - forcing you to consider and admire it.

Having absorbed Thai art and expressing loads of gratitude to Sumethas (a colleague and now a friend) for taking me off the tourist route, we headed on to the palace.

Before we entered I remembered an ex-colleague of mine asking to send her a postcard from Bangkok. We had just passed a Post Office and a shop selling postcards. I got one and wrote her a quick note on our entering the palace and the general state of things here (i.e. the heat). I couldn’t believe it cost me about 50c to send it and I repeated a few times to the teller that it had to go to South Africa. He must have thought I was slow of hearing because he didn’t change the price. Lee-Anne, I hope you got the postcard!

Before we could enter the palace grounds I had to get long trousers – no-one is allowed to display legs and exposed body parts – the safest way to approach this is to keep your pants on – haha – and put the trousers on over these, because as you return yours the same is passed on to someone else. It was hot down under!

Architecturally speaking, and from a decorative viewpoint, this place was a monumental beauty. The intricacy of the etchings in these buildings must have taken some serious manpower. Sumethas and I surmised it would take, in 2012, amazing technology, loads of manpower, and buckets of money to build such a structure. We concluded that the developer would probably stop building after a while - but of course, the palace is complete.

From a spiritual perspective I am against what Buddha represents, because I don’t believe that Buddha is God. That in itself, however, was no reason for me to not learn about what he represents, and why 95% of Thailand choose to worship him. At times I felt uncomfortable, and I abstained from partaking in any of the rituals, but mostly I was curious and prayerful. I had a lively discussion with Sumethas about Buddhism and I shared about Christianity as well.

We ended the day with a visit to the medical school; Khaosan Road, where we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant locals frequent and I bought cloth, a Thai style pants and gifts; followed by a Thai body massage; and a trip on the ferry back to Central pier.

The day was well spent, and I had learned much, and had much to consider. I think what was important about this day was that I got an insider’s viewpoint of the culture and now had specific things to consider in my prayers.

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