March 9, 2012

The Grand Palace and a Last Glimpse of Bangkok

Day Three- The Grand Palace

Today we rose early and packed up our things in preparation of our departure of Bangkok. After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we hopped on the bus for a quick ride to the Grand Palace. On the way, we drove through parts of Chinatown and the flower market. Upon our arrival, we were astonished at the sheer beauty and enormity of the palace. After walking around the perimeter of the Grand Palace,  observing the intricate mosaics that covered the buildings, we entered the Grand Temple. Here we were required to take off our shoes and some of us dripped holy water on our heads before admittance. Inside the temple was a jade statue of the Buddha surrounded by gold designs and vaulted ceilings. After exiting the Grand Temple, we continued on to see the Grand Palace. This magnificent white stone building featured a small collection of ancient weaponry. 

At around 12:00, we left the Palace and went to a restaurant on a boat for lunch. Although the boat was still tied to shore, the restaurant provided an amazing view of the river.  After lunch we headed towards Parliament. The beautiful white building with a terrific set of gardens was the highlight of the day for many of us. Inside the palace, we laid our eyes upon chairs covered with gold and precious stones used by the Royal Family to ride elephants. To all of our surprise, these astonishing pieces weren't nearly as breath-taking as the gigantic pieces of cloth that represented the story of Buddha sewed delicately with different colors of silk and decorated with fine threads of gold. Still stupefied by all the beauty, we left the Parliament and our final visit of the day in Bangkok was the mall. Here, many of us had the opportunity to buy some last souvenirs for our family and friends, and we grabbed some dinner to eat on the train. 

We got on the bus for the last time and drove in the direction of the train station to catch our overnight train to Chiang Mai. While we were in the bus we had the opportunity to say goodbye to our beloved tour guide in Bangkok the charismatic Tom, A.K.A "Tom Hanks,"  "Tom Cruise" and " Tom Tom." In the train station we were met by Sa, an Emma alumna, who was there to say bon voyage and farewell as we made our way to the city of Chiang Mai. We entered the train and the energy and cheerfulness of all the Emma girls was nourished by the excitement of our adventure. We spent the time laughing, singing, playing games and writing in our journals. As night time got closer, the train employers came by and made our bed to prepare us for sleep. Some went to bed early, exhausted from the day. Some others joyfully stayed up late chatting, laughing and taking pictures. Our enthusiasm does not cease and every day we spend in Thailand is a precious adventure filled with memories that all of us will hoard for the rest of our life. 

Nicole and Olivia

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