Nov 27:  Bangkok

The tour officially ended this morning.  Amy took some of the girls out to the market, and I did my own sightseeing thing.  First was the Grand Palace.

Grand Palace complex as seen from the street.

Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.  Photos aren't allowed inside, but trust me when I say that it's the most dazzling thing I've ever seen.  Actually the whole area is dazzling, as you see in these photos.  The Emerald Buddha, which is really jade, is much smaller than I expected, unlike the Little Mermaid which was less little than I had hoped.

Wat Phra Kaew area.  Evil clown!

The Upper Terrace next to Wat Phra Kaew.

Phra Siratana Chedi.  A bad photo but backlighting and angles were problems.

Model of Angkor Wat.

The map doesn't explain what this is, but it sure is shiny.

I think this is the Royal Pantheon.

Wat Phra Kaew area.  These photos don't really capture the look.  Everything is cluttered so the camera can only get a piece here and there.

I walked around the grounds a bit but nothing looked as good as Wat Phra Kaew.  The Chakri Maha Prasat, which I think is the main "palace" building, was covered in scaffolding.

It was lunchtime but I had no appetite.  Maybe it was was heat.  That could explain why Asians stay thin.  No one's in the mood to eat when it's hot and humid, and also the required consumption of beverages keeps one's stomach full.

After lunch, which I didn't have (actually I just drank a Coke), I visited Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Dude, he's totally reclining!

The Reclining Buddha is 46 m long and 15 m high.  Murray Head would rather play chess than see this?

Artsy-fartsy shot of Wat Pho through a fountain.

Wat Pho grounds.

Buddha somewhere on the Wat Pho grounds.

Once again I was too hot and sweaty and didn't need to see any more tourist attractions.  I stopped back at the hotel, then did some walking around Khaosan Rd and the hotel street, just checking out the scene.  A t-shirt shop had a shirt that said YOU FUCKING FUCK.  Didn't I use that phrase like 30 times in the same call?  I mean Jimmie Jane said it.  Not me.

I again thought it would be a good day to sit outside, read and drink a beer.  (Not a fruity girl drink.  I salvaged my manhood.)  So I went back to the hotel again, got some stuff, then sat down for a few beers at an outdoor bar on the hotel street.  I finished the Bill Simmons book, then finally did some work on my standup material.  Strangely, as I was reading it, I came to the realization (enlightenment?) that the bits I'd developed were too complex, and meanwhile I had a lot of other one-liners and shorter bits in my notebook that were much funnier.  I decided to junk the long bits and just use a bunch of random bizarre stuff, much like Steve Martin, who inspired me to become a comedian in the early '80s (which I then forgot about for 20 years).  That's more my style.  I don't even have to develop the bits; they're mostly self-supporting.  And I'm a trained improvisational actor anyway, so I can wing it.  It shouldn't be a problem to pack those funnier bits into my head and still meet the self-imposed December goal for my open-mike debut.  (As I type this, December is tomorrow.  Oh shit.)

I determined that showering is useless in Southeast Asia, like Philly in the summer.  As soon as you go out just just start sweating again.  (That's the same argument as the children's favorite "Why should I take a bath?  I'm just gonna get dirty again.")

Khaosan Rd at night.  I think there are more Westerners than locals on this street.  Lots of blondes, spaghetti straps and tan upper-body skin, all of which is good.

I had dinner on Khaosan Rd and then retired to the hotel.  I only briefly saw a few people from the group today and didn't know of anything going on at night, which was good since I don't like to fly with a hangover.  It was only 9pm which was too early for bed, but I took some time to collect my thoughts on the trip.  I do enjoy these group tours where I can hang out with my own kind.  I'm thinking next year I might finally hit Greece (with Intrepid?) instead of the solo trip to Ireland and Scotland.  To be determined.