We started the morning with a tour to the Grand Palace. Home of the Emerald (but really Jade) Buddah and home of the Kings up to King #5. The day was very sunny, hot and humid like every day here in Thailand so far. The grounds were beautiful and, sadly full of mourners. Hundreds of local Thai people lined up, in all heavy black clothing, waiting to mourn their recently deceased king. Who, we are told, was much beloved.
Mid day Alex decided to go for a massage and I, being ever so ticklish, decided to stay behind and spend time at the pool. I ran in to some fellow SmarTours travelers and we shared a few beers and some laughs. It was a good thing I was having fun, because Alex's massage ran 2 hours long! Don't worry, reader, I was assured the extra time did not include any happy endings!
After our mid day laziness and pampering, Alex and I took a cab out in to the world so go to a Lonely Planet recommended restaurant which apparently has the most expensive drunken noodle dish. The kitchen was in the alley, the folding tables were covered with plastic table cloths, and the food was delicious. Definitely worth the check of around 1000 baht ($28) for the 2 meals and 2 Singha beers and a water.
Dinner complete, we went looking for the Tower Skybar, featured in the Hangover 2 to grab a drink. Little did we know that this place would be filled with European tourists and the most expensive thing we'll probably do all trip. We get to the top, with a beautiful view of the riverbanks in Bangkok, and grab a standing table, no chairs, to take a look at the menu. We settled on a couple of the lower cost drinks... 1 glass of wine, and 1 neat whiskey (which was basically 2 sips) ...$40 USD!!!! Those are ridiculous even to Chicagoans. Maybe even to New Yorkers, I don't know. But we drank our one drink, and headed back down to grab a Tuk-Tuk back to our hotel. We got shafted by the taxi driver and the tuk tuk driver, but when shafted means a difference between $6 and $10 back home, it's really hard to care.
It was only 9:30pm upon our arrival back at the hotel, but it had been a long and sunny day so we were happy to crawl in to bed.
Today Alex and I took one of the SmarTours provided tours to the Damnoen Saduak floating market about an hour outside of Bangkok. We rode along the canals in a speed boat to get to the market. Once there we saw the canal packed with long tail boats, all wooden, some with live fire cooking soups floating down the canals. People sold fresh produce, rice and noodle dishes, clothing, souvenirs, and anything you can imagine. There were shops up above you could walk through and the boats all down below with the merchandise as well as those waiting to buy it.
We had delicious coconut pancakes handed up to us for 40 baht ($1.12) by a lovely lady who offered a free taste first. And got definitely swindled by a lady selling tiger balm. But she was very friendly, and you can't blame a gal for making a buck! We bought nice flowy pants for me, a top for Alex, 2 tiger balms, and a handful of spices that are hundreds of times more expensive in the states. All told we got all of that, 3 beers and the coconut pancakes for probably around $50. And that's all in an area where they are really used to tourists and prices are marked up. I can't wait to go north and do all our souvenir shopping!!
Tonight we have a dinner and show and I have to start getting ready - so more to come later!