The Wat Arun Temple was a fun night of photography. The vantage point for this photograph was extensively researched on the internet in advance. I’m sitting on the second floor of a bar having drinks using a special low profile tripod (Platypod) which fit perfectly on the wooden railing along the perimeter of the bar. I never made the journey across the river to actually visit the temple.
Wat Phra Kaew Temple
One of several incredibly ornate gatekeeper guards at Wat Phra Kaew. It is impossible for me to imagine how much time and effort was put into making such elaborate temples and decorations. The over-the-top ornamentation is everywhere, not just a statue or two and not just a couple buildings, but acre upon acre.
In addition to the numerous Thai guards, there is quite a variety of human and animal hybrid statues with religious and mythical origins. Some are from the Himalaya mountains and are said to be invisible to the human eye. Somehow that did not deter the artists from making apparent life sized statues of these creatures. These statues have combinations of rooster and tiger tails, swan and chicken feet.
I have really done my best to limit the number of otherworldly and unique creatures posted here. However, everywhere you turn in these temple grounds is yet another colorful, imaginative character staring at you. There creatures encircled a whole building, appearing to be hold it up. Despite the heat, it was exceedingly crowded and nearly impossible to get a photo without many other tourists jumping into my picture. To make getting photos without the selfie seekers in my frame more difficult was the language barrier and me doing the unimaginable, trying to take a photo of just the decorative characters.
Keep in mind the temperature is about 95 degrees and the humidity is well above 90. Much more so than in the USA, Asians really protect themselves from the sun’s damaging effects. This reminded me of the old television show “The Invisible Man.”
Wat Pho, Home of the Reclining Buddha
Then just by dumb luck I stumbled upon the temple of a famous reclining Buddha. It is quite a spectacular sight for a tourist who did zero homework and did not know what to expect. I did not ask if it was okay, I just set up my tripod in the dark hall and took numerous photos.
Of course I obeyed all the signs I could read and watched out for pickpockets.
Buddhas for Sale on Walk Home
I could not come close to walking the entire distance to our hotel, but thought I would start out in that direction and see what I might find. Soon it became apparent this was a bad idea. It was hot and very humid. No taxis were visible other than tuk-tuks which are not available for such a long trip. So I kept walking. Along the way there were many stores selling large golden Buddhas. It does not seem possible for this to be a growth market. The statues would never break or wear out and would get passed on from one generation to the next. Maybe more Buddhas are only sold as the population grows or the Buddhists become wealthier.
Some statues were of very different cultures. This is Kali, a Hindu goddess. There are several tales as to why her tongue is sticking out. Rather than make this a religious history lesson, it should be enough to know that if you wish to have such a six foot tall statue as a centerpiece in your living room, they are for sale in Thailand.
Don’t think you have a place for your newly purchased bigger-than-life sized Buddha? Apparently just about anyplace is acceptable for its display.
An umbrella would certainly have helped in this heat. I eventually got into an air conditioned cab and headed home. The cab fare to return home was always much higher than getting to the destination for some reason. Much more so on this trip as the cab driver raised the price on me three times during the drive. This was due to bad traffic along the way. I was in no position to argue and was only grateful for the air conditioning and that he would even stop for such a sweaty tourist in the first place.
Photography Notes: I’m always watching for photo opportunities which best depict the city I’m visiting. I saw these two monks walking toward me a half a block away. I crossed the busy street to get some distance between us. Then I needed a background which was not too busy. Timing of the photo between passing cars and buses was also important.
Thailand Street Treats
As much as I like the spicy Thai street food, I just could not bring myself to walk down and get any of this street fare. I was totally soaked from the heat and only wanted to find an air conditioned cab and get home. But it sure looked inviting.
Not all of the Thai food was as tempting. I likely would have tried some of the bugs if I was with a brother-in-law or some friends daring one another to try such treats. As it was, I would definitely have been the only one to try eating these insects and likely the only one to know that I actually did try them. The rest of my party had walked on… I’m not sure I missed out on much.
The World is Wired
From Romania to South America to Thailand, the world is wired. Wire masses such as these are generally internet wires, not telephone cables. These countries largely skipped the telephone wire era and went directly to wireless phones. Government provided power is generally neatly strung along the top of these poles. The internet providers are left to fend for themselves on the bottom rung. In the hotels and condos where we stayed we generally had fairly good internet connections.
Cooler weather lies just ahead, in Japan.
Great read as usual Harold. To bad you can’t have the stories long.
I could not have tolerated the H & H, would have wilted for sure!
Wondering how much maintenance goes into each of those colorful statues each year, especially with the heat and I would imagine monsoon seasons.
I marvel at your writing details. You must have taken copious notes along the way and having such an incredible travel experience, most memories are likely still fresh in your mind.
Where are the fat Buddha statues? You mean to tell me, my admiration and mimicking the body structure of fat Buddha is a farce? I have no bodily spiritual being to mirror? Rubbing my belly is not good luck ?
Thank you for sharing your adventures, you have made my Sunday mornings with coffee a far better experience than diving right in on the news.
Thanks for sharing this, Harold. I’ve always be fascinated by those statues. I enjoyed your photojournalism and commentary. I can’t imagine the heat and humidity you described. I loved the Rolling Stones reference.
Can’t help but wonder about the bright, beautiful colors. How do they maintain that? Is it paint, is it some kind of mosaic material? It would be a full-time job just keep up with that!
Great photos and interesting adventures! Glad you are sharing your travels with us, I really enjoy all your blogs. ??
Another great write up and image display, Harold.
BTW, I would have consumed bugs with you. ?
That is just the bug eating motivation I was after! Gayle walking on in disgust didn’t feed the bulldog.
Beautiful photo’s! We enjoy the humor of your comments as much as the photos. So appreciate the opportunity to tag along on your travels. May the weather be cooler in Japan as your travels continue.
Harold, I so relate to you trying to get a photo of the thing you came to see when all the selfie takers crowd around in front of it. It’s so frustrating! You did well to get the photos you did and I love your commentary on how you set up a shot. Like the two monks. I do that too. Run around setting up for the people I want a photo of to show up and then a car or some tourist bombs the photo. Ah the joys of travel phototherapy. I love Bangkok and we figured out where to stay and how to use the water taxis but last time I was there in October 2017 I couldn’t take the heat. Is it getting hotter or am I, as I get older, less able to take the heat? 😀
Thanks for the blog! All the best from Bonnie and David in wet, chilly Ireland this August day.
If anyone wishes to read about REAL WORLD TRAVLERS, go to their site: http://www.vagabonandave.com/
You will not find a more widely traveled couple anywhere. They have been an inspiration for some of our journeys. I’m always flattered to hear from you, Bonnie and Dave. Good luck to you.
The Wat Arun Temple photo is simply stunning. If you are still wanting to eat the insects, we have a restaurant serving them in Denver now. It probably won’t have the ambiance, but hey.
So did the temple vantage point internet research include the optimum type and amount of alcohol to consume while waiting for the right light, and the size of the wood railing at the bar?Cool shot!
Grasshoppers and ants I have tried but not crickets or silk worms. Maybe bugs of the world could be a workshop night topic for Rick.