Yesterday (meaning 1 1/2 hours ago) was a pretty good day.Â We started off by switching rooms at the guest house.Â We were in a room with a shower and toilet (650 baht/$20), now we are in a room with a shared shower + toilets (400 baht/$12).Â I have to say that I miss the other room, but at least we found a wireless network here!Â Nik is writing emails right now!!!
After changing rooms, we made our way to the water taxi which took us down river to the stop near the Grand Palace.Â We wandered around the area in search for breakfast, and found ourselves on a small side street eating the best Pad Thai ever!!!Â The portions were small, but so tasty.Â This is the first Pad Thai I have ever had with the dried shrimp, which is the traditional method.Â It is going to be so hard to eat American Thai food after this trip!
Next up was the Grand Palace.Â The PalaceÂ has a huge white wall completely surrounding the grounds with Stuppa-like gates on each side.Â All streets and sidewalks in the area were covered with Thai nik-naks, tourists, tuk-tuks and tour buses.Â You have never seen so many tuk-tuks!
Entry to the Palace was 250 baht/person ($7.50), which is pretty steep, but worth it.Â Nearly every wall, ceiling and surface was covered with very colorful glass tiles.Â And these weren’t large glass tiles, they were very small.Â There were also a couple buildings that were covered in gold leaf glass tiles.Â We took several sitting breaks to rest and people watch.
Also, the Emerald Buddha is on these grounds as well.Â It is located in the largest religious building on site and the most ornate.Â To enter the building we removed our shoes and sat along with the other tourists and devotees.Â The shrine was breathtaking.Â The image (this is what they call the statue) is seated on top of a lavish golden throne that is protected by two golden guards on either side.Â Also, every wall is covered with colorful glass mosaics and the ceiling is painted a deep red with golden motifs.Â We were also fortunate to witness a religious ceremony being performed in the Hor Phra Monthian Dharma.Â The temple itself was closed to devotees only, but several were seated along its perimeter and the proceedings were broadcast on loudspeakers throughout the complex.Â We happened to be close enough to hear the congregation respond, which was beautiful.
Beyond the shrines is the actual Royal Palace.Â The grounds were meticulous and the buildings were impressive.Â They were a funny combination of Romanesque porches, windows and columns with the more detailed roofs that are gilded like the Buddhist temple next door.
As we were leaving, we found heaven on wheels!Â Close to the exit, there was a cold drinking water truck!Â It was so delicious!!
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.Â We had lunch at a little noodle shop near the university, took the water taxi back to the guest house, drank an iced coffee and took a “nap”.Â We fell asleep around 2pm and woke up at midnight…which is why I am writing @ 1:30am!
For more information about the Grand Palace, click here.