Thailand – Bangkok, Part 2

One night, David and I decided to hop a ferry to see the buildings and temples of Bangkok, all lit up. It was really pretty as we cruised along the Chao Phraya River.

Wichai Prasit Fort on the west bank of the river is now on the grounds of the Royal Thai Navy Headquarters.
Wat Arun at night.

We got off at the Grand Palace pier to walk around and see the buildings lit up.

Gate and wall around the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace with a lone jogger running by. Notice the seven of the eight towers that represent the eight aspects of Buddhism….Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. These steps are a guideline to help you integrate into your life in order to walk closer to the Buddhist’s beliefs.
The rooftop of the building to the left of the photo is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The Thai people love their king. This was outside of the Grand Palace Wall. There were pictures, similar to this, throughout the streets of Bangkok!
Across from the Grand Palace is the Ministry of Defense.
Wat Pho the temple that houses the Reclining Buhhda. Notice the picture of the king to the right.

From the Grand Palace area, we walked toward the Pak Khlong Flower Market which took about 20 minutes. There are many night markets throughout all of Southeast Asia. I believe they started in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907) in China. They are a popular place for vendors to sell all kinds of goods – clothing, vegetables, food stalls, souvenirs and in the case of the Pak Khlong market, flowers.

Night markets are definitely a cultural experience not to be missed when traveling throughout Southeast Asia. I am not 100% certain why they exist but after experiencing the heat and humidity in the afternoons, it makes sense to sell vegetables and especially flowers in the cool nights. They are a place for social gatherings as well. People meander through the stalls and often will have something to eat. It wasn’t uncommon to see whole families sitting around small tables sharing a meal. Some night markets are out in the open and some are in large warehouse-type buildings with tin roofs. I could only imagine how hot those buildings must get during the day with the sun beating down on them.

This was the Pak Khlong Flower Market.

There were several buildings for the flower market but around the buildings, there were many stalls selling flowers.

The yellow flowers in the bags are marigold garlands that are sold and used as offerings at the temples.
More outside stalls selling flowers.

Here are some photos of the beautiful flowers that were on sale at the market. I especially was in awe of the orchids!

Chatuchak Weekend Market

We were looking for something to do one Saturday and I saw in our guidebook that one of the world’s largest markets was in Bangkok and open on the weekends. That sounded like a “must see!” It was a skytrain ride to get to the market area. The guidebook suggested we go early, around 10:00 AM, to beat the heat and the crowds but to expect to spend a whole day there.

We didn’t get there early enough and it was crowded and hot…just like the book said! The place is big! There are stalls inside narrow buildings and the isles can get quite congested. There was the food area for buying vegetables to take home or to grab something to eat while you are there. There was also an animal section but I passed on visiting that area. I could only imagine the kind of conditions they were kept in and just didn’t want to see any of it.

We probably stayed about 3 hours and decided we had enough. Since it was the beginning of our trip, we didn’t want to purchase anything as we would have to carry it for the next 7 weeks. Some of the sights and experiences we had at the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

This is coconut ice cream. It is served in the shell of a coconut. There are unusual toppings to put on top…..coconut gelatin, nuts, corn (?), raisins, shredded mango to name a few. I am not certain about the green food in the bowl next to the nuts but I think it might be some kind of wasabi. We tried the ice cream but without the toppings. I recommend trying some of the toppings, the ice cream was pretty bland and not very sweet.

Have I mentioned how hot is was during our time in Bangkok? The humidity made the warm days that much hotter. Before we left, we went to the nearby Chatuchak Park to relax a little before making our way back to the apartment.



Around Bangkok…..

You never quite know what you will come across while walking around a new and different city. These are some random photos that I took of things I found interesting.

Walking around the city, I noticed these memorials or shrines. They were most often constructed the same way, a small roofed structure on a pillar and surrounded by carved statues of people, animals, offerings of flowers and food. These are spirit houses that are on most properties and are used to give the spirits a place to go and protect the people from any mischief or evil an unhappy spirit might cause.
Some spirit houses are very elaborate such as this one.
Others are more rustic, like this one. There are all sizes and varieties throughout the country. The food, animals and people statues are placed as offerings to the spirits to appease the good spirits so they will hang around and keep the bad spirits away. Notice the red Fanta in as part of the offering. Red Fanta is a popular offering, along with fruit, cakes, and other sweet goodies. It is believed that the spirits like sweet things and that red Fanta attracts a spirit that is a magic and invisible baby.
I actually took this picture the first day that we arrived in Bangkok. This is a guy, “hanging out” on his way to work. We were amazed at how the Asian people, throughout the whole trip, would string up a hammock and take a nap!
Namaste blessings from Ronald McDonald!

Just loved this statue. It was in front of a mall.

Our very first tuk-tuk ride. Tuk-tuks are the modern motorized version of a rickshaw that Asians used to travel in. It is a three-wheel vehicle with two seats in the back for passengers. It was really fun to tool around in.
I cannot believe that of all my photos, I didn’t get one photo of a Thai Tuk-Tuk. I got this one off of the internet to share what they look like. They are popular in many countries throughout the world.
An interesting design for a building in Bangkok.
Bangkok has a certain reputation as being the world’s sex capital. I really had no desire to see this part of Bangkok but “when in Rome.” We actually ventured down to the Patpong area on a rainy, Sunday night – not much was happening. There are three red light districts in Bangkok – Soi Cowboy, Patpong, and Nana Plaza. I guess that Patpong is the least popular. It isn’t anything that I would recommend to see/do in Bangkok.
Part of Patpong Red Light District is a night market.
Beautiful Orchids
I said it earlier, the Thai people love their king. His picture was everywhere you looked!

I initially thought that the “pug” was a mistake in translation on this sign. After going on the smokinpugbbq.com website, I discovered it was no mistake. It is a play on words by the two American owners, who have a pug. If you are in Bangkok and are missing good ol’ American barbeque, this place got good reviews on TripAdvisor…we didn’t go in as we don’t eat meat!
Yes, Virginia, there are swan boats in Bangkok. These were in Lumphini Park which is a popular spot for the locals to jog and escape from the noises of the city.
My parting shot for Bangkok…a sleeping kitten.


I hope that I have done the city of Bangkok justice. The next city we visited was the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.

I wish you joy and sparkles…..

A love letter to Ralphie

 

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Ralphie!

My sweet, dear Ralphie,

What a glorious five months we have had together!

How do I begin to thank you for helping me “step out of my comfort box” this winter?  How do I begin to thank you for all of the laughter you brought into my life? Do you realize what a gift you have been for me?

You have been the best companion!!!  I cherish all the memories of our morning walks in the woods at Great Pond.  There was always something new and beautiful to discover.  Remember the 3 deer we saw the day after one of the many blizzards we had?  They were framed against the evergreen trees layered in fluffy snow.

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Great Pond Woods, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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IMG_1075IMG_1422How you love the snow!  It would be just a matter of time before you flopped down and began making your “snow angels!”  IMG_1027IMG_1024

Thanks to you, my friend, I got outside in all kinds of winter weather and I am so grateful.  I have wonderful memories of big snowflakes gently floating down from the night sky.  Standing in the middle of the backyard, in a snowstorm was something I would not have done by myself.  So, thank you, Ralphie.  It is such a wonderful memory.  As is the night of the full moon shining brightly in the backyard.  The trees were lightly covered with ice and glistened in the moonlight while the snow on the ground sparkled like diamonds that had been spread all over the backyard.   Unfortunately, no photo could do justice to the beauty.

The morning after one of the blizzards was wondrous as the rising sun kissed the treetops.  It is because of you, Ralphie, that I got to see this impressive sight!  Thank. you!IMG_1425

And….these beautiful snow-laden trees in our neighborhood. IMG_1420

Another place you liked to walk was in nearby Scarborough at the Pleasant Hill Preserve.  You, David and I hiked there a couple of times when David was home.  IMG_1018Another time, we had Cailey for a sleep-over and the three of us enjoyed a morning at the preserve.  IMG_1442fullsizeoutput_29eb

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The Portland Headlight was another great memory spending the afternoon walking around the trail close to the ocean!  You are so darn photogenic, Ralphie!

 

I don’t believe you had ever been to the beach before I took you to Higgins Beach in Scarborough!  IMG_0990 You loved it there but you made it a point to roll in the wet sand and splash in any puddle you came across.  It was just too much work to clean you after a trip to the beach, so sadly, we didn’t spend much time there!fullsizeoutput_29d4

We had fun exploring the trails and woods in the Augusta area, didn’t we? We explored the wonderful trails at the Reservoir in Hallowell.  One day, we saw an owl!

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There are so many old rock wall formations throughout the Reservoir Trails.

Together, we enjoyed the art that nature created! IMG_1469

For some unknown reason, I didn’t take many photos at the Reservoir, but I did snap a couple later this spring.  IMG_1483fullsizeoutput_29f4fullsizeoutput_29f6

Also, in Hallowell, Maine, we explored Jimmie Pond Wildlife Management Area.   The walk along the stream was so pretty. IMG_1042Thank you for making me snowshoe more!  If not for you and your need for a good daily walk, I probably would have found some kind of excuse not to go.IMG_1022

Thank you for getting me outside after the rainstorm.  If not for you, I would have missed the beautiful rainbow!fullsizeoutput_29ef

When we weren’t outdoors, we did our exercises inside.  You were always such a help and so encouraging!

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No, Ralphie, you are not in the way!!!

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The “yoga coach!”

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Stretching with Ralphie!  That is my purple top his head is resting next to.

You are such a clown and always made me laugh.  How you loved your “treat balls!”

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This is your “I want some treats in my ball” look!

The red treat ball was too easy for you to get your treats, so I bought you a more challenging one.  Remember the first time you tried it and no treats came out?  You looked at me as if to say “What the heck?”  How I laughed.  After a little practice, you became very adept at maneuvering that new ball to get the treats. IMG_1477fullsizeoutput_29f0

You have such a sweet personality.  I loved “hanging” with you during the storm days!IMG_1016

There was the time that you hurt your hip and you were so patient letting me put a heating pad on it.  I don’t know if other dogs would be so tolerant! I  am glad to say that it did get better!IMG_1004

I love the way you scratched your face each day. IMG_0951

You have such a sweet face!  You are my “gentle giant!”  IMG_1474IMG_1047

People always commented on how tall you are for a Golden Retriever.  When I explained that you were a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees, they understood.  I call you my “Golden on stilts!!!”

Bath time was not your favorite but as always, you cooperated!IMG_0953

I do believe that you loved how soft and fluffy your fur was after the bath, which helped you through the process!IMG_0955

And speaking of being tolerant….how about when I took your picture with the deer antlers for Christmas?  I believe I definitely humiliated you with this picture but you were so darn cute!!!  Thank you, Ralphie!IMG_0958

Through the long winter months, you were a great bed buddy!  You kept me on a schedule, too, by letting me know when it was time to go to bed!

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Are you coming to bed?

Remember the time that Kelly was staying with you while I was on a trip?  Kelly didn’t know which side of the bed was yours.  The first night, the two of you battled for your side of the bed.  The next night, just to make certain she understood, you went to bed early and claimed your side.  Kelly got the message and there were no more sleep issues after that.  Ralphie, you are too funny!

You have been home with Alice, your owner, for a week now.  It was so bittersweet saying so-long to you.  Alice’s shoulder is all healed now and it really was time for the two of you to be reunited.  I was happy that you were excited to see Alice.  She later told me; however, that when I drove off, you cried!  I thought I would sob when I dropped you off but I amazed myself by staying composed.

For me, the worse part of you going home was walking into my empty house.  Although you are a very laid-back dog, your size commanded such a presence, especially in my small home.  Gosh, how I missed you that first night….especially going to bed….did you hear me talking to you all the way at Moosehead?  I just couldn’t walk up those stairs without calling for you to tell you it was bedtime!

You continue to be with me, Ralphie.  Whenever I see the picture of the Golden Retriever on my calendar, I think of you.  fullsizeoutput_29fc

Or, whenever I look at the sweet plaque that Alice gave me as a thank you….I think of you.

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This is so very true!

I miss you more than you can imagine, Ralphie but I know that you will be back to visit one day soon.  So thank you, my dear friend, for making such a long and hard winter so enjoyable.  I love you, Ralphie….you are always with me in my heart.