Saturday, November 26, 2005



I got the sleeper train back into Bangkok. There was a big festival that night, Loy Krathong. A kraythong consists of flowers and incense that can float in the water, and loy means float. During the day, kraythong sellers lined the streets, but at night the crowds appeared. It seemed like all the residents of Bangkok had come down to the river to launch their krathongs, it was heaving! I couldn't really seem much down at the river pier, although they also had a few shows put on. The occasional kraythong bobbed about, but the boats were making large waves and probably drowned most of them. I decided to head up to one of the bridges spanning the river for a better view. It seemed like everybody else had the same idea, but I managed to find a spot to watch the proceedings. I don't think I've ever seen so many cameras in the one place. Everybody was snapping away as the big boats came down the Chao Praya.

It was like a float parade on the water, with colourfully lit boats drifting along. At one stage the river was covered in boats, both floats and tourist boats, set against the backdrop of the illuminated Thonburi bridge. Some of the roads had been sealed off and crowds of people roamed the streets some singing a traditional song, about Loy Krathong. The long day & night took its toll and I retired for an early night.

The next day on Khao San road I bumped into a guy I had met in Penang. Went for a drink, and I made the mistake of trying the cuttlefish from the street vendor. DONT TRY THE CUTTLEFISH! I didn't feel well the next day. Anyway I survived and felt better later on, I had arranged to meet up for a korean barbecue. It was close to where I stayed before. I had eaten there before but didn't realise it was Korean-style. You get a big plate of raw meat (I recommend the pepper-steak!) and slap it on an upturned metal bowl which rests above hot coals. Then you try and cook it, turning (dropping) it with your chopsticks. A tasty meal and you can eat as much as you want for not much more than a quid. No wonder it is popular with the Thais. When we walked it in was full, but they soon made space and grabbed some chairs from somewhere. On the edge of the main dining area actually outside a BMW garage, next to a big group of rowdy students.

I went along to the Royal Palace, it was very busy with tourists. A huge complex with decorative temples and wats everywhere you turn! I saw the emerald buddha, a holy relic with magical powers and some natty clothes, which get changed three times a year, one for each season. It has been discovered inside a clay buddha. At one point, it was in Laos, I had seen a wat there that had been built to house it, but the Thais nabbed it back, much to the annoyance of the Lao people.

Next stop Siem Reap to see the temple of Angkor!

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