It is Friday already which means I am almost half way through my trip. It feels like all this happened in the blink of an eye, but at the same time it feels like I went through a vast world of experiences.
Day 2- Monday
On Monday, we were lucky enough to get to visit two temples. One was the Grand Palace and the other was Wat Pho. I was in awe. I had never been to any sort of temple before so it was a lot for me to take in. The colors were incredibly rich with crimsons, deep blues, and a lot of gold. The lining of the buildings were like mosaics, which were incredibly detailed. There were also so many Buddha statues with varied poses. The tour guide had a lot of information to share with us, and to be frank I was so overwhelmed aesthetically and culturally that I can only remember bits and pieces.
One disheartening aspect at the temples was the little stands that explained “Buddha is for respecting. Not decoration. Not tattoo”. The sheer number of times these stands appeared says a lot about the tourists that come to these areas and the ways in which the Buddhist religion has become culturally appropriated by the West. It is upsetting to think that that is a real problem this country (which is 97% Buddhists) has to deal with, considering how intimate and both historically and culturally significant such a practice is to a region.
Although one thing that stuck out to me was since this was the first time I was leaving the home base, my understanding of Bangkok was that of a modest residential area. Although as we went towards the temple we passed the more impoverished areas and we literally turned a corner and I saw some of the most grand hotels, restaurants, and other structures all in our trip to the temple. Now that I have been here for almost a week I have become accustomed to seeing such a drastic change. Although, I am still in awe of how quickly the standard of living in the area can change.