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    Bangkok’s Soft Squishy Tourist Side

    December 22nd, 2007 by mary

    Religion is a big part of Thai life. There are always small standing shrines in front of houses and inside businesses. When this pious energy is focused into erecting temples the result is massive ornate structures of color explosion and gold leaf, always topped with pointed roofs. Or sure there’s colored glass, painted cement and terracotta flowers to fill in the spaces. You can’t miss the rows of brass buddhas smirking down at you with their heavy lidded eyes. The statues of various mythic creatures are always interesting. The half girl-half rooster is something to pause at. So is this guy but I’m not sure what it is.

    The old capitol Ayutthaya is a bearable 2hr train ride from Bangkok. It was a glorious temple ridden city, the center of the Thai nation for four centuries until 1767 when the Burmese sacked it. The place was left it in a ruin of rubble so the capitol was relocated to Bangkok. The locals opted to leave the battered remains as they stood as a reminder of the atrocity. So now tourists ride around from temple to temple looking at the mostly red brick remains and beheaded buddhas. It’s a nice day trip and some good exercise if you go around by bicycle.

    Colorful row boats of fruit, souvenirs and other tourists drift past at thefloating market; another popular day trip. Sure the people living amongst the canals may have once conducted their daily lives afloat but now it’s as authentic as the gandola ride at the Venetian.

    The traditional Thai massage is done on a stuffed mattress on the floor. The masseuse cleanses your feet with lime water and does a quick prayer before starting. They rub with rocking motions, elbowing your other cheeks, kneeing your back, stepping on your shoulder. They stretch you out, often in ways that you don’t normally bend. The result neither relieves nor relaxes but loosens.

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