Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 1 - Bangkok

Today we had a day of sight seeing in Bangkok before the week of work at the conference starts. It was a rather mixed bag of the day. To start with we went to see the number 1 item suggested in the guide book - The Grand Palace. It seemed like all the other tourists were working from the same book. It was quite grand and palatial. The colours were amazing, jewelled buildings, golden statues and animal gods and gold leafed wall murals. The most precious part of the monastery is the Emerald Buddha which sits proudly at the top of an alter in a prayer room where pilgrims were taking the time to spend a moment in contemplation.

One of the more sedate buildings in the grand palace compound

A small element from one of the massive wall murals that lined the building walls

An unusual statue that stood out because of its lack of adornment

Gold leafed idols
The next phase in our day was to go to the MBK which is a large shopping centre. It was a bustling crowded affair and we walked into a shop that resembled a department store until we realised that once again bartering was expected. This was a bit much for me, I longed for the days of well thought out solid prices that you could complain about because you knew you were being ripped off.

We came out of the shopping centre (which was number 10 in the guide book) straight into the middle of an anti corruption protest. We could hear all this singing and chanting and wondered what on earth was going on. The square below us filled up with people wearing white masks, and they slowly filled the space around us as well. The police were on one side of the road keeping a close eye.

Luckily the police watched and the protest was 'peaceful'

That was an exciting first day - temple worship - shopping - political protest!

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