The highlight of the day was a visit to the Grand Palace, an intriguing mixture of Thai and European architecture started by Rama I. The Palace Complex contains over 100 buildings including a Coronation Hal, Throne Room and Funeral Palace. Rama l was played by Yul Bryner in the musical "The King and I". He and many of his brothers attended Eton. The movie is banned in Thailand because it is considered highly disrespectful to depict he king in a form of entertainment.
Next we visited the oldest temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho, to see the famous Reclining Buddha. This statue is 15 metres high and 43 metres long. The feet of Buddha are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. 108 panels display the symbols by which Buddha can be identified: flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. In the corridor 108 bronze bowls represent the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People paid for small containers of coins which they then distributed into each bowl as they walked by, to bring good fortune. It was lovely to see but we kept also seeing signs warning us to be wary of pickpocket gangs, which seemed incongruous here surrounded by reminders of Buddha's teachings. We were assured that these gangs came from other countries!
The temple is also the home of Thai massage. For Thai massage therapists, the medical inscriptions inside the temple act as a base for treatment. There are 60 plaques inscribed, 30 each for the front and the back of the body. Full research on the plaques is still ongoing. You can have one of the therapists come to your hotel for a two hour massage.
After a very long shower we revived ourself with a late lunch, and then wandered around nearby shopping malls. Things seemed quite expensive even by European standards. In one mall we saw a very colorful Chinese dragon dance. Outside we wandered through the street market stalls selling clothing and leather.
At dinner time we decided to go to a Food Court that was really like a huge Thai Movenpick, where you went from stall to stall picking what food you wanted. There were so many cooking areas that it was hard to decide what to eat.There were vegetarian, seafood, food from the north, central and southern parts of Thailand and many other cooking areas. I ended up with a very nice clear soup with some vegetables in it and a dish of rice with crayfish and some salad. Unfortunately, it was so hot that my mouth just burned. I ate a little bit, but it was all too much. It was my own fault as I had gone to the chili paste stall.