|Grand prang of Wat Arun|
We learned that the surfaces of many wats around here are covered with broken porcelain that previously had served as ballast for Chinese ships. Up close the details of this eighteenth century site of Buddhist learning and spirituality are almost overwhelmingly intricate. Three-headed elephants, demons, bird-women, and other mythical figures are guarded by Chinese soldiers. Everywhere, worlds beyond our own: the four stages of Buddha's life, the seven realms of happiness, the cosmological center of the world… so much symbolism, it would take a lifetime to understand it all. Many lifetimes, I guess. I settled for a climb up that 266 foot-tall prang, a chance to gaze upon Bangkok in peaceful exhaustion.
|Andy makes a friend in Bangkok|
|108 bronze bowls of Wat Pho|
|Graceful gestures of Thai dance|
|Wat Pho detail|
|Wandering the streets of Bangkok|
It was as if the strangeness of where they were and what they were doing were absolutely ordinary . . . as if it were quite unexceptional to be three Scottish girls drinking Australian beer in Thailand on their way to Laos, and as if the world were the size of a peanut-something as compact as that, something that easy to pick up, shell, consume, as long as you were young and sturdy and brave.Truthfully Jenny would have preferred that we return to the Pratunam Market; the shopping there was better. Oh well. We walked. We looked at shirts. We stopped for ice cream. We walked some more. Then we hitched a ride on yet another tuk-tuk and headed back to our hotel.
|Tuk-tuk view of a world where Sylvester Stallone's Cobra is still cool|