Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Big Buddha is watching you

I’d been in the internet place a couple of hours by the time I got up to leave, just before 3am, still wide awake after dozing off at an inappropriate hour earlier in the evening. My session on the computer had been an uncomfortable one due to the presence of a middle-aged Australian who had obvious mental problems and/or was off his tits on drugs. He drifted in and out of the place, ranting at his monitor screen and enthusing about pieces of music he’d been playing. As I was leaving, he bid me farewell. “Are you going beddy bye-byes, you caffeined-up twat? Fuck off. I hope you die in your sleep, you wanker.”

As it happens I awoke in the morning full of enthusiasm, confident that I was gradually acclimatising to Asia. On my way out of the guest house, I noticed another encouraging sign: a cool breeze. Instead of faffing around with bus routes as I normally do, I‘d be walking all day, even if that did mean popping into a 7-11 every hour to stock up on bottled water.

In fact what I ended up doing was visiting a few of Bangkok’s second-division Buddhist temples - the ones most tourists would probably skip for time reasons.

An unusual shop suggested I was on the right track.

Across the road was Wat Suthat, which doesn’t rate a mention in my guidebook but which turned out to be a fabulous place.

The same can be said in spades for Wat Prayoon on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. I really must Google this place to find out what its purpose is, as it consists of a stone grotto and a garden with a pond. Beats me what the religious significance is.

The best part is: it has terrapins!

And people feeding the terrapins!

From there I moved on to Wat Kanlayanamit (I’ve tried saying it and it’s impossible) which has a buddha the size of King Kong. But just as I was about to take photos, my digital camera’s battery threw in the towel, claiming exhaustion. So you'll just have to take my word for it. Now I'm off to get some caffeine.

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