20120204_Bangkok
Photos of five days in February in Bangkok
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Kim (r) stopped me on the corner by the Democracy Monument, asking me where I was going. When I told him, he took my map and started marking it up, then corralled a tuk-tuk driver (l) to take me around, assuring me by government regulation I only had to pay 20 baht (about 50 cents) for three hours of driving. It turned out to be a scam, or maybe not, but certainly a mystery. See "Culture shock in Bangkok," in my travel weblog.
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The "Lucky Buddha" (accent on second syllable). Can't remember why it was lucky, but DO remember it's the oldest buddha in Bangkok (but not in Thailand—that's in Ayutthaya, a former capital). Below the buddha on the lower right is a photograph of world royalty that attended some celebration at this Wat for King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, including King Mswati III of Swaziland, who some consider to be less than exemplary.
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My tuk-tuk driver, on the move.
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The Democracy Monument, built to celebrate the military coup of 1932 that replaced the monarchy with a constitutional monarcy. Though the origins and precepts are at best murky (see the Wikipedia entry), this monument is often the centre stage for movements promoting democracy of one sort or another. Hard to get to ... it's in the middle of a very busy traffic circle.
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Part of the Khlong Ong Ang, one of the canals in central Bangkok, near the City Parapet/Mahakan Fortress.
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The City Parapet/Mahakan Fortress. Don't know anything about it, will have to look it up sometime.
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Detail, City Parapet/Mahakan Fortress. Don't know anything about it, will have to look it up sometime.
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The King is everywhere (this is not a criticism).
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The royalty are everywhere (this is not a criticism).
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Detail, woodworker's shop, Boriphat Rd, Bangkok
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Public space is often taken up with private business. This is an intersection! (and very hard to cross as a pedestrian).
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Cool pedestrian bridge over the Khlong Padhung Krungkasem canal.
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And there I was walking down a normal street in Bangkok, when over in a ditch I spotted the most enormous lizard I'd ever seen outside a zoo, and certainly inside a city. I'd estimate the length at about 1-1.5 meters, without the tail. Wasn't able to get a shot of its very long, black tongue. Too bad.
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And there I was walking down a normal street in Bangkok, when over in a ditch I spotted the most enormous lizard I'd ever seen outside a zoo, and certainly inside a city. I'd estimate the length at about 1-1.5 meters, without the tail.
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No such thing as public space in Bangkok. This sidewalk is actually 2-3 metres wide, but market stalls have been built on it such that the space for passing through has been reduced to less than a metre.
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On this sidewalk an impromptu restaurant has been built, complete with tables (l) that can seat up to six.
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Khaosan Road, mid-afternoon, not really night-time crazy yet
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On the steps of my hotel, a solid cadre of taxi and tuk-tuk drivers camped constantly, usually the same six or seven (this pic doesn't actually do the encampment justice), so that you couldn't leave the hotel without a chorus of "Taxi??" (Actually, you couldn't walk INto the hotel without one.) This one was the most persistent, so we got pretty friendly, but he was never there when I NEEDed one, so our relationship remained personal, not commercial.
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There are many tiny, scrawny cats in Bangkok. That's a fairly standard brick holding up something or other to the right of the cat.
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In Bangkok's tropical climate, it's hard to keep the rot away. This building's hit on hard times. Note the hydro wires, as well. Doesn't seem to be much of a "code" in place.
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Came upon this opening in the wall of a wat on Samsen Road, and loved the textures.
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Khlong Bang Lamphu, a canal under Samsen Road
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Diamond House, a guest house on Samsen Road. Pretty nice on the inside, too.
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Workers, early morning, Democracy Monument
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View down Ratchadamnoeng Road, taking in a monument to royalty and Democracy Monument. Some of the "red shirt" activity centred here in 2010.
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Not sure what the Queen has in her gallery, but it's quite an imposing building
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A typical Bangkok street—actually, a fairly wide one
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Display outside woodworker's shop, Boriphat Road. Boriphat Road has many, many woodworking shops. Too bad about the reflection off the box, but you can see it in #10.
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Woodworker's shop, Boriphat Road. In many cases where the purpose of a shop is to make things, the supplies are everywhere (no just-in-time delivery here), often piled up to the ceiling, leaving the craftspeople with astonishingly small spaces in which to work.
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Woodworker's shop, Boriphat Road. These guys make doors, gorgeous ones.
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Woodworking shop, retail section
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Inside Wat Saket (or Sraket) home of the Golden Mount, an artificial hill created inside the wat with a relic of the Buddha stored in a temple at the top
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Detail, inside Wat Saket
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A view from about halfway up the Golden Mount
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A view from the Golden Mount, showing the contrasts in an Asian city, and the murky air. In the foreground, a building is draped with the flag of Thailand and symbols of the royalty (yellow).
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I thought these were pretty interesting water towers, if indeed that's what they are
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A view from the Golden Mount, showing some of the contrasts in an Asian city
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Ceremonial bells and gong. I had to stand there a good long time to get a photo without a bunch of farangs madly ringing/gonging/giggling, actions I thought pretty disrespectful of the religion of the locals. Then young Thai folks started doing it too, so.
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A wat on Mahachai Road, not as imposing as most of the others. I think of this group as "Buddha's hillbillies." (Apologies if that's disrespectful.)
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A more traditional wat
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