Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Continuing on to the Grand Palace in Bangkok

Wow, I stumble onto a huge gathering of people at the Grand Palace.  As I approach, I see large crowds, all dressed in black, heading in the same direction.  It turns out that the body of King Bhumibol  Adulyadej, who ruled Thailand for over 70 years and died in October at age 88, is lying in state in the Grand Palace and the Thai people are coming to pay their respects.  Thailand is in a year of mourning for the deceased monarch.  As I pass through the metal detector, 1/2 mile from the palace, the security guard asks for my passport and I admit I left it in the hotel room.  He tells me to hold an ID to the camera and I show my California driver's license as they let me in.

Grand Palace grounds and crowds

It is about a mile walk to the palace from the entrance and it is hot and humid.  I take a quick spin through, note the long lines for everything, and decide to return on a different trip.

As I leave the palace, a Thai policeman hands me a bottle of water, the Ministry of Justice is providing free drinking water and snacks at the palace.

Leaving the palace and walking along the outside of the palace grounds, I see more of great Bangkok canals and life on the canals.

 Bangkok canals

The streets are full of markets, particularly fruit and vegetable.

 Street markets

And, scattered among the neighborhoods, like a little oasis, are more great temples.  I enter a few. I'm looking for Chinatown and I stumble across more temples, wonderful!  What a treat!

 Wat Rajabopitsathitmahasimaram (under renovation)

 Wat Traimit Witthayaram Wora Wiharn

 Wat Kaewjamfa

 And, I finally find Chinatown, a small maze of alleyways branching of a ceremonial gate.

 Bangkok Chinatown

As I walk, I pass memorials to the former king and see that buildings and fences are draped in white and black of mourning.

 In memory

Soon, I am back at Lumphini Park, a short distance from my hotel and it is time to think about my next meal.

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