Today was our first full day in Bangkok, so Heather had us going to all the temples in the city - as tourists tend to do. The question was how we were going to get there, there are many transportation options available in Bangkok (taxi, buses, tuk tuk, etc) however Bangkok used to be known as the Venice of the Orient because it has a network of canals running through it. Running through these canals, are a network of boats that act as a bus service, which we decided to use as our means of transportation.
Without any idea of how to pay, determine where we were going or whatever, we leapt on the first one we saw and handed over 25 Baht (about 1 Aussie$ or 35p, not sure how many Euros). The boats themselves are about 6 metres long and have seating for about 50 people, there were about 60 on it when we climbed aboard. As such we spent the journey standing up, leaning out of the side tarpaulin. I don't consider myself to be tall but it was quite disconcerting being told to duck by the boats attendants as we went under bridges, still better than the alternative. Eventually we landed at the centre of town (where we wanted to be) and headed off in search of the temples.
The first stop was the Great Palace, which actually contains a number of smaller temples. The most significant of these is one that houses the Emerald Buddha. This is a carving that is actually made of jasper and was found about 700 years ago. I am not sure of the origin of it, and to be honest I don't think anyone is. Anyway, this is a mecca for Buddhists and we were fortunate to be able to go in to a prayer session so that we could look at it (the Buddha not the prayer session). In addition to the Emerald Buddha, we also a statue of the reclining Buddha in another temple. This is about 15 metres (45 feetish) long and is covered in gilt. Unlike the Emerald Buddha, photos of this could be taken, so we did...
After our religious enlightenment, we decided we needed to become seedy tourists again so we headed to Khao San, which contains one of the major markets in Bangkok. It also happens to be the main backpacker location (and we're not staying there) and so has the cheapest pubs. That however is entirely coincidental. After a couple of circuits, trying to find something to spend our money on, we ducked in to a pub and they were screening an FA Cup Quarter Final match. As it was Liverpool playing, Heather was keen to watch it - so it was with some reluctance that I agreed to stay there.
After the match (and a couple of beers), we wandered to another pub which wasn't showing football but did have a guy playing a guitar and singing. It seemed a nice enough spot, so we decided to spend a couple of hours there taking the sights of Khao San rushing by us. At one point though, I thought the guy was trying to sell us replacement windows or doors, because we was singing about an "eternal frame", fortunately it was not a hard sell.