This was as close as we got the first try.
The day we after arrived in Bangkok we went to Wat Pho. Trying to respect Thai customs, we wore long pants, regular shoes, and Sea covered her shoulders. It was very hot and uncomfortable. And we noticed that in Wat Pho, few people were dressed that way. Most wore shorts and sandals. I assumed shorts and sandals were OK everywhere now despite what the guide books said.
But they weren’t. Sea and I arrived at the Grand Palace early on the morning of the 15th. We were turned away for 2 reasons. Our dress, and because the Palace was open only to Thai nationals that day. A friendly tour bus driver showed us a few things in the area we could do and marked them on our map. He got us a tuk-tuk for 40 baht for the morning if he could take us to a couple of stores that gave him gas cards for bringing potential buyers. Since we had nothing else to do, we accepted.
First we went to a 45 foot Buddha at a shrine. I don’t remember its name, but on our tourist map it was marked “45 Foot Buddha.” Beyond the statue, there wasn’t
much else there. Sea went around praying. I wandered around taking pics. Then we went to another shrine close by.
Driving around the streets we saw soldiers everywhere. They were especially thick around government buildings. In many cases they had roads closed and traffic diverted.
Then we went to two jewelry stores and a store that custom made clothing. It was interesting, and the jewelry was beautiful, but we were not in Bangkok to shop. All the places were very high pressure. When we walked in a clerk or sometimes two attached themselves to us and followed us around asking how much we wanted to spend. We didn’t buy anything, but stayed in each place long enough for our driver to earn his gas card.
At about 13:30 we grew tired of “shopping” and told the driver to return us to Khaosan Road. He wanted to take us to another store, but we said no. He was a nice guy and I felt a little bad that he couldn’t earn his final gas card. So when he dropped us off, I gave him 100 baht instead of the 40 baht agreed upon.
Songkran was getting started
on Khaosan Road by the time we arrived. We found a cafe and had a couple of papaya salads as we watched the crowd grow. Our waitress had a giant Adam’s apple and nice breasts, a fact that interested Sea immensely.
After lunch we walked around for a couple of hours getting splashed and muddied. Then we went to the room for a shower and a change of clothes. We took a short nap. When we awoke, we went back out on the street where Songkran was in full swing.
We spent the rest of the evening wetting people, getting wetted, and being muddied. We also ate dinner and tried the street food. I drank several beers. We found a cafe close to our guest house and sat there an hour or so. It was open to the street, so it was wild inside there.
Around 24:00 we called it a night.