Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bangkok, Thailand March 2012 (part 4)

On Friday morning when I got up I found out that my Grandma was in the hospital, one of my favorite teachers died, and another good friend working in Africa was having serious complications from surgery. Then at the conference the keynote was talking about our Balcony People- the people in life who cheer us on.  Those three people were/are three of my Balcony People. Well, I was already sad and that made it worse, so afterwards I was not in the mood to go right away to learn. I sat in the room for a bit but that didn't make anything any better, so I decided to go see the Grand Palace. I had been told the afternoon before when we were turned away that it was going to be open all of that day, but closed on Saturday for a function.

Lots of these guys on guard

When I arrived this guy told me I could not go in because I had short pants on (capris) but I had a sarong to put over them. Then he told me that it was closed right then, but would be open at 1:30p.m. and to go see these other places and come back. I told him I had been told that it was going to be open all day and that I couldn't come back as I was on a business trip and had to go back to a meeting. He could tell I was upset, so he told me he would sneak me in. Later I realized he is like the others I have run into that are trying to get you to go to whatever place employes them so they can get money if you go to that place and buy something or spend money with them. They did have clothes that people could put over their clothes if they were not modest enough. One guy was upset because they girls had blow the knee skirts that were the same length as his capris. He was arguing with the lady and said he was a lady boy, so she told him that they had some skirts if he wanted to put one on. He threw a big fit. I saw him later with pants on. I don't know if they were ones he brought or ones he borrowed.
The Emerald Buddha
 It is a huge complex with many temples. Some of the temples were actually closed to the tourists as they had people participating in services and chanting. There was also a temple that has the famed Emerald Buddha, which is made out of a single piece of solid Jade. The temple is very elaborately decorated. No pictures were allowed inside but there is a window where people can take pictures of the Buddha through it. It was really hot that day. I hadn't put on sunscreen since I hadn't been planning to do this, but luckily I had a small umbrella to shade my face. I enjoyed my time. Even though many people were there I was not really interacting with them, just taking it all in and taking pictures to capture the memories. Even though it was busy it was also a calming place, a way to escape my thoughts and sadness for awhile. After I got done I went back to the conference and did the afternoon session. Part of me wished I could have seen this one other place that I really wanted to, but I knew that my main reason was to be at the conference and it was important that I go back. Plus, the session was really good and I was ready to learn again.

The Grand Palace
That night after we got done for the day we went back down to the different shops close to us as my co-worker wanted to pick out some things for her family. After that we went back and I got room service as I was very tired but kind of hungry. On Saturday night was the Gala Dinner. I worked on writing post cards after we got done with the conference. It was lightning so my co-worker could not go down the street and get her Mom more cashews. We went down to the Gala for awhile. It was close to the Earth Hour, so they turned off most of the lights. I wasn't hungry as they hadn't fed us lunch that day and I had a late lunch after I got done with the conference. Most of the people I knew weren't there. Again it was noisy, lots of people and dark. They did have a great band made up of some of the teachers that played good music so I listened to that.  My co-worker wanted to me to come with her to get more cashews after that. It was still raining but no lightning. It was 9p.m. by this time so almost all the shops were closed and the lady with the cashews was gone, so we turned around and went back to the hotel to pack for the next day.

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