So, our first stop is Bangkok, and we have been cruising around seeing the sights. This place happens to be known for its Wats. What’s a Wat, you may be thinking? A Wat is basically a place of worship. Buddhism is the predominate religion in Thailand, and so we mostly saw Buddhist Wats.
A Buddha is always present in the Wat. We have seen people offering incense, money, and sometimes flowers at the feet of the Buddha. We have also observed it is important to remove your shoes and never point the soles of your feet towards the Buddha, because this would be disrespectful.
Monks also live in the complex. They dress in orange (or saffron)robes and sandals always. The orange color was chosen centuries ago mainly because it was the dye color available. The color choice has remained the same for Theravada Buddhist followers in Southeast Asia. They generally seem very happy and friendly. The young ones sometimes seem amused by all the attention tourists give them. We have learned you should ask them before taking a picture or filming them, but unfortunately this courtesy seems rarely observed.
We also have been enjoying Thai food. I (Chris) have been super excited to try some street food, since Bangkok is famous for this. I have tasted some great stuff. I’m trying to start with the basics and then advance the issue since, honestly, Thai food is so different than what we eat at home. The Thai people are known for striving for the perfect balance of savory, sweet, sour and spicy. The smallest bite is typically an explosion of flavor.
You can’t go wrong with fire and meat, and one of my favorite snacks has been a simple marinated pork skewer, freshly grilled. The marinade is sweet and savory with fish sauce, sugar and soy sauce.
Tom Yum Soup is a staple. We ended up on Khao San Road, and I had an amazing bowl on the street side cafe. I really don’t know what all is in it, but this dish typifies the explosion of flavor and balance of taste that makes this cuisine special.
Honestly, we didn’t think we would like Bangkok. However our hotel was perfect. We had fun riding the boats up and down the river, and we generally found it a pleasant but dirty and busy city. The areas we stayed in were safe, and we didn’t see too much craziness such as sex industry or excessive partying.