DAY 2 October 24 2011
The hotel we are in is very nice. We have a lovely view of the soon to be flooding
Chao Phraya River. The Hotel serves a fabulous breakfast buffet of very fresh eastern and western food. Pancakes, Omelets, pastries, streamed vegetables, seafood, rice filled the buffet tables at the riverside restaurant. After breakfast we had an orientation meeting and met the other people on the tour. Many of them have been on several VANTAGE TOURS.
Following the meeting we went to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace built by King Rama 1 when the capital was moved to Bangkok (1782). The grounds are an exquisite mixture of sculptures, temple and the elaborate former palace. The palace is best known to Americans as the site where Anna educated the children of the King of Siam. To capture the grandeur of the gold and mosaic exteriors is impossible. Among my favorites is the statue of a hermit, Buddha’s Physician Jivaka. Sick people used to pound their drug here to increase the potency of the medicine.
The Emerald Buddha was carved from a single piece of Jade and discovered at Chiang Ri in 1434. The Abbot who discovered the Buddha thought it was made of emerald, thus the name.
Later in the afternoon we went to a thai massage parlor.
this was not an elegant massage in a quite aromatherapy filled room. We were divided into groups, couples or gender groups. Our group was four women in a dark room, rather than massage tables there are mattresses on the floor. The masseuse uses accupressure and bending of joints. The experience was enjoyable, not as wonderful as a turkish bath but very relaxing.
Dinner was served at a cultural site, Siam Nimirat Theater. The show that followed was a three act play showing the mythological history of Thailand. Mary, Eileen and I will have to take the word of the others about the first two acts because as soon as the lights went out we all feel asleep. The third act was very colorful, filled with traditional dance, music, moving water, flying and tumbling actors, elephants and goats… We were told there was fire in the first act.. scenes from hell, we are sorry we missed it.
IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED!! DO NOT try to save time by taking the stairs between two floors in a thai hotel. The doors lock and you are trapped in a concrete stairwell. Pounding on the doors and yelling help only works if you are lucky and a floor maid happens to be walking by.