Sunday, August 29
My old chum the Chao Phraya river taxi propelled me downstream a little ways to the Memorial Bridge. On the Eastern side, there's a big, wide promenade that leads up to a statue dedicated to the memory of someone, but I don't know exactly who, because the steps leading down to view it were blocked off with plywood walls and I didn't feel like schlepping all the way around a quarter mile. Therefore, I now dedicate it to whoever invented the wheel. Next, I strolled over the Memorial Bridge and up a scenic walkway that proceeded North a ways to Wat Kanlayanamit.
There was no official prayer service going on, or singing by Buddhist monks, but I witnessed quite a few of the faithful bow their heads and close their eyes in front of the biggest Buddha image I've ever seen. This thing was a monster! It must have been at least 40 feet tall, not including the base. After gazing upon that glinting golden giant for a spell, I recorded myself playing numerous large bells, drums and gongs that were scattered inside the temple and around the courtyard. It's really nice that the monks let people strike them. I'm going to have a hell of a good time splicing together all of my field recordings from this trip when I get home.
The scenic walkway along the river ended, so I had to find an alternate route to my destination, Wat Arun. I had a hellacious time trying to find my way out of the Wat Kanlayanamit compound. I ended up walking as far in the wrong direction as possible, landing myself in the far back corner of a monastery. Finally, I got my bearings and made my way out onto the nearest Northbound street. By the time I arrived at Wat Arun, the main temples were already closed, but I was able to snap a few photos from outside the metal gates. I also made it into an adjacent temple for a nice, relaxing moment with another beautiful Buddha image.
Upon leaving, I found a small pier brandishing a ferry service straight across the river to Wat Pho, where I noticed a bus stop. I jumped on the next city bus that came my way, even though I didn't know its exact route. The fact that it was heading North toward Banglamphu was enough. I figured if it started to veer off in another direction, I'd simply disembark and walk the rest of the way. As it turned out, the bus took me all the way to where I needed to go, just a block from the sandwich stall and my favorite Internet shop.