Sunday, February 4, 2007

Temple Overload!

Still haven’t done any science yet. The labs are being renovated so I can’t start setting up the instrument until Monday. Of course you know what that means…more tourism!

Por and Orapin took me outside Bangkok to Muang Boran, “The Ancient City.”

Its an old site of Thailand architecture they cleaned up and made it into a historical site, as well as added some recreations of traditional huts and whatnot. Kinda like Old West Town in Disneyworld.

The Thai like to build their buildings on water when they can, as it keeps the buildings cooler that way.

Funny story. While I was wandering around the temples there was this college-age Thai dude with his girlfriend motioning at me and pointing at his camera. I figured he wanted me to take thier picture, so I went over there ready to do just that. When I got up to him and reached for his camera, he gave it to his school-uniformed girlfriend (maybe sister, I don't know) and motioned that he wanted the picture with me. I was like, "Okay, they must not see a lot of farangs around here." (white people), so I complied. Then I took a picture with his girlfriend. Then another with him. Then they thanked me profusely (in Thai -- they didn't speak any english) and went over to a group of girls all in the same uniform as the girl I took the picture with and started talking very quickly and pointing at me. Por and Orapin happened to be over there (they didn't come over while I was getting my picture taken) and walked over to me. Por overheard them and they thought I was a soccer player (well, she said "football" but I used my extreme cultural plurality to figure it out -- plus I'm way too small to be mistaken for a real football player)! Ha! Evidentally if you're a farang who's not 50 years old and 40 lbs overweight in Bangkok you must be a professional soccer player. Orapin gave me a lecture on being more humble (how was I supposed to know they thought I was someone famous?). We saw the group of uniformed girls and guy two more times and both times they waved at me and yelled 'sa wat di kha!' (which basically means "Hello.") I have no idea what soccer player they thought I was, but Por thought it was pretty funny.

The temples all had murals inside that told various tales of Buddhist culture. This one shows the Angel Lord Rama summoning a giant monkey to overtake a deamon city (its the thing in the middle).

Thailand loves statues.

I want to point something I’ve recently learned. The fat smiling guy that grants luck when you rub its belly? Turns out that’s not Buddha. It’s a monk who was so stunningly handsome that nobody appreciated him for his heart and soul, so he made himself really fat so people would take him seriously. I don’t get it either, but the point is that it’s just a monk and not Buddha. Who knew?

I woke up on Saturday with a serious stomach ailment. Turns out that in all the strange Thai fruit I bought from the Kasetsart Festival (which was delicious), I accidentally consumed a less-than-savory one, which resulted in food poisoning that I’m only now recovering from. Let me tell ya, nothing is more exciting than having serious stomach pains while laying in a sweaty hotel room in downtown Bangkok watching soap operas you can’t understand. Exotic adventure! Fortunately the hotel internet was working peculiarly well so I was able to talk to Mary on Skype to cheer me up.

Oh yeah, here’s some pictures of that market festival. Bangkok is f'n crowded.

Here's the view from my hotel room. Check out how horribly smoggy Bangkok is. I walked three blocks to the grocery store today and it felt like I ran three miles. Now I know why everyone has those paper masks on.

Well, have fun watching the Superbowl, Americans. I'm going to set my alarm for 5 am so I can see if the local sports channel will play it, or if I can get it on the internet (if its working).

Prediction: Bears by 3