DAY 7 SUNDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2012
Our hosts took us to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok today. Sirilug and Seng commute to Bangkok like residents from the outer suburbs of Sydney would commute to the city centre. Earlier this week it took Seng six hours to drive the sixty kilometres from his show rooms in Bangkok to home. Looking at the number of cars sitting in traffic jams there is no doubt humans have become addicted to the car.
First thing upon arrival at the Temple and Palace complex was to consider our apparel. Bare arms and legs were unacceptable so if necessary you could hire clothing before entering. We had already passed the acceptability test.
Sirilug and Seng hired a guide to take us around the palace grounds. Prathip was a likeable jolly chap who carried a flag on a pole so we didn’t lose him in the crowd of thousands.
Bev and I had been to the palace before with the boys when you could stroll around without being hunted and shunted, however it was good to come again and be guided. We learned a lot more about Buddhism and Thai culture.
Each of the prangs is decorated in a different pastel colour of Chinese porcelain. Each pagoda is said to represent one of the eight elements of the Buddhist beliefs.
The adornments here are porcelain flowers which cover the entire surface of the spire of the mausoleum. Every one has been individually glazed and fired.
This black stone hermit is considered a patron of medicine. Relatives of the ill and infirm pay homage and make offerings of incense, fruit, flowers and candles to get his favour.
This photograph was taken from about twenty-five metres away using my Olympus E510 SLR Digital Camera with 40-150mm lens fully extended.
There were thousands of people at the palace today and I found the antics of the people and the faces in the crowd just as fascinating as the monuments.
What I like about this picture is the way the photographer is bracing the camera. In the absence of a tripod he has the camera braced against the wall using his little finger and thumb. He is also happy with the result.
Old donkeys like me can’t resist a pretty girl’s face. Pity about the cropped head but shooting in the crowd and being jostled makes it impossible to take the perfect random shot.
Perhaps the arm covering is to avoid getting sunburnt, or maybe it is a fashion statement. Apparently Asian women do not want a tan. In fact many people actually apply skin-whitening creams to make sure they don’t look like a native. Curious, isn’t it? White fellas want to get a tan and people with a natural tan want to be white.
At the end of the day it was back to Sirilug’s parent’s home for a farewell dinner. Tomorrow night we head to Turkey on Leg 5 of our odyssey.