On to the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, Wed, 10/28
Even as we were wilting in the humid heat, our little Road Scholar convoy of 11 (plus our Thai guide, Matthew), continued on to Bangkok's Grand Palace complex. This was established in 1782 and has been the royal residence of the Thai King for the last 150 years. It also houses a number of government offices, as well as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. And the complex is big, covering close to a square mile, surrounded by four walls.
From the bus window, I spotted a Common Myna.
The last time I saw a Myna was on the Big Island of Hawaii, but they are native to Asia.
From the outside, looking at the Upper Terrace, which consists of four main monuments: A reliquary in the shape of a golden chedi; the Mondop, a repository for Buddhist sacred scriptures inscribed on palm leaves, contained within a beautiful mother-of-pearl inlaid cabinet; a miniature of Angkor Wat; and the Royal Pantheon.
We're near the entrance to the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha.
Long pants and shirts with at least a little sleeve were required, and the area was crowded with tourists.
And pretty little girls like this young lady!
Golden warrior statues and some of us! The nameplate below the statue reads: Singhapanorn.
Golden Garudas vs Nagas at the Emerald Buddha (Phra Mondop).
Phra Mondop: The demons that stand guard on top of the stairway are the work of King Rama I period and are regarded as the most perfectly proportioned of all existing classical sculptures of Rattanakosin craftsmanship.
Again, shoeless, we entered the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, which is, in fact, carved from a block of green jade and was first discovered in 1434 in a stupa at Chiang Rai. At that time the image was covered with plaster and was thought to be an ordinary Buddha image. Later, the abbot who had found the image noticed that the plaster on the nose had flaked off, revealing the green stone underneath. The abbot initially thought the stone was emerald, and thus the legend of the Emerald Buddha began. Alas, no photos were allowed inside.
Angkor Wat model.
Matthew carries a purple umbrella, so we can follow him in the crowd.
We're envious of the shade it provides.
Irwin, Bernice, Marilyn and Jimmy.
Statues of the monkey-dragon characters.
How could we tell the monkeys from dragons? Monkeys wore no shoes!
Wat Pra Kaew to the side of the Grand Palace. The entire complex is open to the public. We especially liked the English-Thai architecture mix.
So much detail -- dragon on the roof!
Modeled after English palace guards, young men (the guy on the right!), stand guard at the Grand Palace.
Jimmy asked if picture-taking was ok. The guard said, "Yes."
We were all wringing wet, literally dying in the heat. After walking and touring, I veered away from the group, turned off my "whisper," and sought shade anywhere. I simply couldn't do it anymore. It was about at that point that our guide led us back to the bus (the AIR-CONDITIONED BUS), for the transfer to a restaurant (lunch) across the river. The Grand Palace was, indeed, grand, but 90 degree humid heat in the sun overwhelmed most of us. Everyone was ready for a" cool" boat ride, and lunch in air-conditioned splendor!