Saturday, March 10, 2007
The locals of Bangkok
Thought I'd put a little piece together on the streets, and people, of Bangkok we've seen on our wanders. Apologies if any of this entry repeats previous ones, it's been an epic week involving computers....don't ask!
So, where to begin? I suppose I'll start with the inanimate and move onto the animate :)
They love their statues. I don't think I've seen so many, and not only that, they're amazingly creative/elaborate/funky/interesting. Yeah, they're statues, but they seem to genuinely 'enjoy' designing these ones.
Another example below, they're really funky.
Found at the temple of the 47metre big buddha
There's also, of course, ALL of the temples. There's something like 300 major sites in Bangkok alone, including as mentioned before, the 47metre Big Buddha, and the solid gold 4metre high Buddha. One of the better photos below, taken from the river taxi after returning from a lonnngggg day walking through the sites.
But what really makes a location is the people, and this place oozes life. I've no idea of the population, I'm feeling too lazy to look it up in Google, but it's a lot. I'd go crazy if I lived here (Dublin is bad enough for me :), but it's got everything here, and they're pretty friendly too. I would've said ultra friendly, but I'm further north now, so they win that award. More on them another time.
How do I describe this place? Again, it's the sheer noise. It's not a jungle, but in some ways it is. Everywhere is the noise of people shouting, people moving, some cars, and lots and lots of motorbikes and skooters.
We were wondering how they paid for the cars. We'd seen in shops that they were at least 10,000euros for a new car, until we found out that you can buy a brand-new scooter here for 200euros! Amazing, and I know the way I'm travelling around Thailand next time. Who cares what insurance will cost if it's only that amount for a brand new bike.....
And to the people who make this place what it is:
Did I mention about the colour yellow prevously? I don't think so. Basically, it's the King's colour, and since they worship the king here (it's mad, if you stand on a bank note here, it's jailtime as his image is on the note). So many people are in the colour it's a bit overwhelming at times, but still pretty amazing to see for a monarchy (he's also the current longest serving monarch in the world at over 60 years on the throne). Saw this cool t-shirt on a kid one day in Chinatown:
And then, while wandering through the madness of Chinatown, there's such poverty, and yet, everyone seems to look after themselves so well and make the most effort. They're amazing, putting us all to shame by working from 8am until 10pm most days. Hardcore. The lady in the top photo of the diary entry was hidden in one of the throngs of street vendors in the mob, and yet was so well dressed. Pretty impressive considering most of them use the river to clean or random buckets of water. We don't know how lucky we have it back home! And yes, Dawid was doing his best to barter down to under 1.50euro for a set of headphones ;)
An attempt to show the madness of Chinatown:
And then there's the kids. Great to see that you don't need a tv or console to keep yourself occupied these days :) One of my faves:
And finally to sign off on this epic write-up, the monks. It's a refreshing change to see how highly revered the monks are held here in comparison to back home. They get free traffic on the river taxis (including 'areas for monks' to stand), and generally have a lot of respect throughout the country.....
O.k., this photo needs a bit of work to clean it up (it's blurry) but it shows just how spiritual they are....... I swear I didn't intentionally make the background look all white ;o)