Aug. 26 Gary here. Candy had to fly to the US to move her dad into a memory care unit. I had to fly to Singapore so I could get a 30 day extension to my Thai visa - just a waste of money. Candy booked a cheap room that was smaller than some cruise ship rooms we have had. I highly recommend you explore Changi Airport the next time you are in Singapore. Huge waterfall, butterfly exhibit, and even a movie theater.
Sep 4 - It has been raining so I have only been out to get food. Today I went to the Botanical Gardens - really just a swamp park. Took the Sky Train, the subway, a motorcycle, and a rickety wood boat to get there. Had a nice walk and only got wet at the end.
Sept. 8 - Trip to National Stadium and MBK Mall. The mall is older and shabbier than the great ones in Bangkok. The food court had 100 food stalls and 20 restaurants. It was all Muslim so no beer.
Was greeted by a “gangster” outside that wanted to take me to a restaurant. Of course he got payment from the restaurant that was located on the river. Stopped at a tailor so he could get another payment.
Sept 10 - Historic City of Ayutthaya
Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century.I tried to do this on my own by train and tuk tuk. Turns out it is much cheaper to take a group tour. Went through two bottles of water. Saw six different sites. I am templed-out.
Sept 13 - Went back to Asiatique to explore and have dinner. I have never seen a crocodile on a spit before!
Sept 14 - The second most recognizable market is the Amphawa Floating Market. Had a mussel omlet snack from this woman for $0.66. Very cheap and filling. Took a boat ride on the canal and loved the peaceful jungle ride among the coconut palms. Saw them making coconut palm sugar used in almost every Thai dish.
Went to Wat Bang Kung - a small temple right out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The tree has not only surrounded the temple, it has grown in the interior. It was built in 1720 and the monks encouraged this growth for some reason.
The other famous Thailand market is Maeklong Railway Market. The shops are right next to the track. The train makes 4 round trips a day so the vendors must move their goods away and move their sun awnings out of the path of the train. I was inches from the train when it came past me due to the crowds. Once the train passed, the vendors reversed the process.
Sept 16 - Since I don’t have Candy to talk to I thought I’d share some comparisons of Bangkok over the last 10 years:
There has been an increase of obesity in the general public. There are far fewer porcelain dolls of the 95# range. There are fewer Tuk Tuks out and about with many more scooter taxies around.
The bargain prices of the past are gone. It is far cheaper to buy electronics from Amazon than the famous Pantip Plaza. The government thought the BTS Skytrain would help with traffic. However, since the average wage is $680/mo, many poor earn $300. The Government says the poor can pay 11.7 Baht per trip but the BTS averages 28.3 Baht. These folks take the bus and drive their old scooters and really add to the traffic jams.
Finally, the local markets are declining as locals flock to the supermarkets for the wide variety, one-stop shopping, and labeled prices. I have had a hard time buying good produce near my apartment.