Happy Chinese New Year! It is now time to experience the year of the Rooster, but not before watching my fabulous Marquette Golden Eagles take down Number 1 Villanova! (Sorry to my Thai teacher for watching the game during class!) Due to censoring in Thailand, the only way for me to watch the game was to FaceTime with my dad back home in Wisconsin.
Got ready for school while watching the Marquette v. Villanova game. It was only fuzzy 60% of the time due to the wonderful Wi-Fi at the house (yes, that’s sarcasm).
We kicked off the year of the Rooster by going into Bangkok and spending the day touring temples under the harsh, harsh sun. (My sunburn and tan line from my necklace remind me that I must keep sunscreen in my bag.) Dressed in black clothes that covered our arms and legs, we took the long bus ride into the city (Bangkok traffic always slows us down). The line to get into the Grand Palace was extremely long, but once we were inside and saw all the beautiful temples, it was worth the wait—and the entry fee when our student IDs did not get us free admission.
You laugh at the selfie stick, but it gets you some good pictures!
We enjoyed “people watching” while at the temple. The number of people who showed up in inappropriate temple clothes made us laugh—while we were sweating in our black clothes. We wore black to be respectful to the hundreds of people who come each day to the palace to mourn the death of King Bhumibol. A never-ending flow of Thai people from all over the country come to pay their last respects.
Each temple was gorgeous, covered in mosaic tiles or gold. The sun shining on them made them sparkle (which sadly doesn’t show up on camera). My friends were so lucky to take my picture with a dozen different poses in front of each temple (somethings will never change!).
Without shoes, the floor was burning our feet—and there was no shade to be found.
After almost bursting into flames from the scorching sun and being constantly knocked into by masses of people, we headed to the next temple of the day, Wat Pho. Wat Pho was my favorite temple of the day. Each design on the temple was intricately executed, and the trees and waterfalls around it made you forget that you were in the middle of the city. Inside one of the temples was the Reclining Buddha. In my mind, I had pictured a little statue, but man was I wrong. This Buddha took up an entire temple from side to side. It was massive and incredibly beautiful. After only two temples, we were worn out and decided to get ice cream (always a good idea) and head back home for a well-deserved nap.
The Reclining Buddha was so large I couldn’t fit it in one picture.
Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex located south of the Grand Palace, known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Saturday night, we again headed into Bangkok, but instead of temples, we hit up Chinatown for some celebrating and eating. When we got there, it was packed! There were people dressed in their traditional Chinese outfits and many people eating in the restaurants, strolling past food carts, and buying rooster souvenirs.
Lorenzo and I decided that it would be fun to try eating bugs that were being sold from a vendor. We got crickets! I closed my eyes because I couldn’t deal with it looking at me, and quickly ate it. It wasn’t that bad—just a little crunchy. It was surprising that I would eat a bug, considering I how I’d rather not even be in the same room as a bug back at home.
Gotta eat those crickets!
The celebration for Chinese New Year was sadly tuned down this year because of the mourning of the king. There was no parade, no fireworks, and limited decorations, but it was still a great time. I ate so much food and was so stuffed that I thought I was going to pop! It was a good thing we had to walk two miles to the train station.
Even though we didn’t travel far this weekend (it was nice not to deal with any van rides, overnight buses, or planes for a while), we had a great time exploring Bangkok. There is so much to do there—we have a lot more ground to cover. Maybe I should have thought about staying for two semesters!
Happy New Year!