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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 36

    Sunday, July 26, 2015
    Bangkok, Thailand

    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Arawy Vegetarian Food restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Today, I ventured a few blocks south to a vegetarian restaurant called Arawy (which means delicious in Thai) that I just found out about on Eating Thai Food. Despite raves on that web site and in the pages from a couple of Lonely Planet guidebooks framed on the wall, I was not as stoked on Arawy, mainly because it’s a buffet, and when I went, all of the food was cold and too spicy for me. It seems like they could at least heat it back up before they serve it to you. Also, they should cover up the food, as I spied a couple of flies landing on some of it. The various small helpings the lady dished out to me were delicious, though, but I still didn’t like it as much as May Kaidee’s, who serve piping hot food straight from the wok that was bought fresh at the market in the morning. So, if you do decide to eat at Arawy, try to get there when the food is still hot–if that’s even possible.

    A small, disheveled motor shop in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A small, disheveled motor shop in Bangkok, Thailand.

    An unintentional art installation next to a small, disheveled motor shop in Bangkok, Thailand.
    An unintentional art installation next to a small, disheveled motor shop in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A small Buddha image at Wat Suthat in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A small Buddha image at Wat Suthat in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Next, I continued south a little ways to Wat Suthat, a Buddhist temple built in 1847 that contained the huge Buddha image Phra Sri Sakyamuni, which was moved there from Wat Maha That in Sukothai. On a large traffic island out front was the Giant Swing, constructed for Brahmin religious ceremonies in 1784 and re-built several times since then. Standing roughly 100 feet tall, its photogenic presence attracts hordes of camera and smartphone-toting masses. After paying my 20 baht entry fee (for foreigners only), I enjoyed relaxing inside the mellow, electric fan-stroked and incense-soaked atmosphere of Wat Suthat for at least an hour.

    The Giant Swing at Wat Suthat in Bangkok, Thailand.
    The Giant Swing at Wat Suthat in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A line-up of Buddha images for sale in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A line-up of Buddha images for sale in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A scenic street scene in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A scenic street scene in Bangkok, Thailand.

    At one point, I was sitting on the six-inch high frame of the front doorway (that no one uses), when a local told me to sit on the floor right in front of it instead. I didn’t realize that sitting on a door frame was considered a faux pas. Jiminy Cricket! If you get one eyebrow hair out of place in a Buddhist temple, rest assured someone will let you know! Having said that, a monk was kind enough to let me have a cup of drinking water. A little while later, I found some more sealed cups of water in a huge cooler outside, but I didn’t use the little straws, because they were floating in the melted ice water, which could have come straight from the tap. So, I used my thumb to puncture the seal, which splashed he drinking water all over my pants and shirt.

    The huge golden chedi and a statue at the top of the Golden Mount in Bangkok, Thailand.
    The huge golden chedi and a statue at the top of the Golden Mount in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Offerings of 20 baht bills all strung up at the top of the Golden Mount in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Offerings of 20 baht bills all strung up at the top of the Golden Mount in Bangkok, Thailand.

    My third and final stop of the day was the Golden Mount, a buddhist temple a few blocks east. The main reasons I wanted to return there was it offers a good workout during the climb up the spiraling staircase and there’s always a really strong, refreshing breeze at the top. The funny thing is, as I was relaxing inside the temple up there, I noticed a sign by a small compartment in the corner that said “Way to Top” that I never noticed before. It was then I realized that it was actually a really tiny, steep staircase up to the roof, where there stood a giant golden chedi and more Buddhist shrines! It was really nice hanging out up there in the cool wind, shooting photos and video of the chedi, money offerings, statues and gongs in the late afternoon sunlight, which was luckily peaking through an otherwise partially overcast sky. At one point, a lady asked me to take a pic of her in front of the chedi with her smartphone. She sounded American, so I asked where she was from and it turned out she lives in San Diego just like me!

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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