Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The McClintocks Take on Thailand (Bangkok)

Our first full day we went to visit the Grand Palace where the Kings of Siam (and then Thailand) lived until the 1920’s.  Our time in Thailand also happened to overlap with some of the major protests leading up to their next election.  We had not put “attend a political protest” on our to-do list, so before we left we asked the concierge if he thought it was safe to go.  He nonchalantly shrugged and said “I think today it is okay.”  You think?!  We prepped the girls that we were headed to the palace, but if we saw anything that made us nervous or uncomfortable, that we would turn around.  EBean said to keep our eyes on the trees and look for bad guys.  I have no idea where that thought came from.  

I am happy to say that the Grand Palace was a very safe place to visit that day.  The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is also on the palace grounds.  During our time in SE Asia I have seen my fair share of temples.  In fact, I have told Jamie that I am about “templed” out.  (Similar to trying to visit every cathedral in Europe.  You can only see so many before they all run together.)  However, I have to say that the Thai temples are just amazing.  The detail work and intricate decorations are stunning.  So far the Temple of the Emerald Buddha has been my favorite.  

Getting ready to go inside.

Men had to wear pants and ladies were
required to have their knees & arms covered.
Clothing was provided, if you did not come prepared.

So pretty!
I've never seen anything like it!
Every historical monument must include ice cream, right?!

LBean took a turn at being the photographer.
After touring the palace grounds we took a tuktuk ride to a the Museum of Siam.  The museum had several interactive portions, which really appealed to our three girls.  We enjoyed wandering through the exhibits and seeing what caught the girls' interest.
Is the road ready for these two?
Pretending to dig for artifacts.
In some "traditional" garb.
Colonial traditional.
Pretending to be on TV.
Do these ladies have their driving licenses?
Pretending to work at a food cart.
In the evening we hopped on the subway to find the Siam Niramit show.  The performance showcased many different songs, stories and traditional dress in different areas of Thailand.  Some parts were a bit scary and intense for our girls, but generally they enjoyed it.  At one point during the performance elephants were walked through the theater and at a different part, the front of the stage was turned into a river where boats floated by.  If we would have known, we should have gone earlier.  Outside the theater was a recreation of several different types of Thai houses, farming practices, weaving looms, etc.  It was really appealing to our girls, but we were rushed to get through it all.

Enthralled with the performers.

LBean receiving a traditional Thai greeting,
which included a string bracelet.

The rest of our trip took a turn for the ugly at this point.  LBean was the first to succumb to a stomach bug.  She spent her last day in the hotel munching on dry toast and watching television.  We cancelled our plans to visit a floating market and I wandered around the mall across the street with EBean.  Things were looking up until Saturday, the morning we flew back to Shanghai.  ChinaBean became ill at breakfast and was not well during our flight and drive home.  EBean didn’t get sick until we returned home, and well...I didn’t get sick until the following Tuesday.  Unfortunately stomach bugs and international flights have become our new norm.  With everyone not feeling well, it was a good time to return home and to our own beds.
In the end we were all smiling.  It was good to be home!

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