Monday, November 1, 2010

Back To Life, Back To Reality

...Back to the here and now, yeah.  After weeks and weeks (just under three, to be exact) in Thailand, the prodigal daughter has finally returned back to her life and reality.  And the reality of my situation is best summed up with this little visual: as my plane from Bangkok was hovering over Mumbai airspace preparing to land, I looked out the window and was completely unsurprised (though no less disappointed) to see a hazy mess of brown cloud saturating the city.  Beneath this brown fog I glimpsed large clustered masses of bamboo and tin shacks, their aluminum roofs glinting in the weak sunlight.  Incredible India, indeed.

Now that I have your attention, let me just say that although my trip was amazing, I was more than excited to get back to India and my husband.  We had a not-quite tearful reunion at the Baroda airport, and he valiantly loaded my huge duffel bag into the auto rickshaw and squeezed in next to it for the long drive back to WelcomHotel.  What a gentleman.

Before I begin the long and arduous process of recounting all of my many great adventures in Thailand in appallingly great detail (false, I have no intention of doing that.  You will be lucky if I tell you any details at all... yup, Thailand made me hard in terms of blogging), I would like to share another little India story.  This morning, after a fairly sleepless night (that one-and-a-half hour time difference really gets you), I opened my curtains to look out upon the "garden", and what did I see but three little monkeys sitting on the ground!  They appeared to be eating something, maybe poop, and when they finished, the jumped up into the tree next to my window.  Lucky me, I had my camera handy, and of course I got pictures.
Indian monkey.  It's okay to be jealous.  I would be.  

Matt assures me that he sees these monkeys every day at the refinery and that it's nothing new to see them in town, but I've never seen them before.  Also, he hates them (I think they scare him).  On more than one occasion I've heard him utter the phrase "stupid monkey bastards".

Anyway, let's get down to business.  Thailand was amazing.  I don't think I'm the first person to feel this way, but I think having gone directly from India to Thailand made me appreciate the fantasticness of the country all the more.  Bangkok is a really beautiful and incredibly clean city - or do I just think that because I came from here?  Who can know?  Anyway, on our first full day in town we (in case you didn't know, I went with a group of roadwives, Mary, Kat and Danielle, who used to work for UOP and is now in sort of transitory state as she travels with her husband but is also doing some contract work) went to a bunch of temples around the city.

Kat, Mary, Me and Danielle.  Despite our best efforts, we were still inappropriately dressed for the Grand Palace, thus the borrowed skirts.   

Danielle and her husband basically live in Thailand (Chris's job is somewhere around the 2.5 year mark) so she acted as our tour guide for the entirety of the trip.  Thanks, buddy.  Anyway, I will not be detailing the history of the temples because I am a lazy mess, but if you want to read about it, check out Mary's blog.  She has done a much better job with the details.  I do know that first we went to the Grand Palace (I think the King lived there at some point in Thai history), which was really beautiful and amazing (I fear I will use those two adjectives in excess throughout my Thailand posts... you'll get over it).
Demons standing guard at the Grand Palace. 
Lots of the buildings are covered in tiny mirrors which gives the whole place a very bedazzled feel.  Also, there are tons of random decorative details everywhere, which makes for nice and interesting pictures, if I do say so myself.  

A mural on the interior walls.  Some of that is painted in gold leaf.  They don't mess around. 

After this, we went and saw a huge reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.  I think it might be the biggest one, or the biggest reclining one, or maybe the biggest reclining gold Buddha with spiky hair and mother of pearl-encrusted feet.  (They have lots and lots of categories for Buddhas in Asia.  I have seen many of them, and they never get old.)

See? I wasn't joking.  It's huge.  Look at those toes. 

Later, we took a ferry across the river to Wat Arun, the porcelain temple.  It is covered with a mosaic of random porcelain pieces, and is very beautiful and amazing (imagine that).  
Demons.  Or monkeys.  I forget the distinction, but it's something about the feet.  The demons wear shoes, maybe?

Ahh, how I love Asians posing for pictures.  The guy in the yellow is demonstrating my favorite: "standing far away from wall leaning with arm outstretched."  I utilize this one many times myself.  

I think that's about enough for the time being.  Fear not, I will return tomorrow with another installment of "Stories from the Best Vacation Ever".  

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