Thursday, August 5
I returned to the Grand Palace to visit the the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion, a ticket to which was included with my original admission. This place boasts a pretty big collection of heirlooms from Thailand's royal family, including insanely ornate, jewelled golden crowns, clothing, rings, weapons, medals and much more. My favorite display contains the original three golden outfits that the Emerald Buddha wears for each season in Thailand: Summer, rainy and cool. In fact, the King himself changes the Buddha's outfit in a somber ceremony at the beginning of each season. The whole concept strikes me as really amusing. Too bad there's a no photography rule!
At one point before I saw the Emerald Buddha outfits, I tried to sneak a photo of a sword, but each display is encased in curved plexiglass, which creates a million different reflections and makes photography impossible. A guard busted me trying to take a pic anyway and made me delete a photo that I didn't even take! The last room of the museum examines the history of Thai currency throughout the past several centuries, mainly focusing on coins. There are some really finely detailed pieces on display, including oddly shaped money that looks like a big lump of metal etched with rad artwork. Imagine carrying around a pocket full of those cumbersome things!
When the museum closed, I walked a half mile under the bright sun back to May Kaidee's. Right when I sat down, I glanced out front into the alley and it looked like night had already fallen, although it was only 4:30 p.m. Needless to say, another bunch of rain descended upon Bangkok, although this sprinkling was much mellower than yesterday's downpour. I accompanied Noi to a really upscale shopping mall a couple of miles away, where she bought some stylish new prescription glasses. Later in the evening back at May Kaidee's, May herself entertained a big group of French students with a buffet and a little traditional Thai dance.