Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Grand Palace

Getting to the Grand Palace might have been more exciting than the palace. We did go past the anti-government protesters but it was so peaceful that we would not have noticed them if they weren’t wearing red t-shirts. But then Dave had a mini-protest of his own.

When we pulled up to the palace in a taxi there was a lady standing on the curb and she reached into the taxi and handed me some little bags of popcorn seeds and said “Happy New Year!” Dave was paying the driver and I was trying to get the kids out as fast as I could so I took the bags and tried to get the kids not to step on the pigeons that were swarming us. Kyla and Cody were not too impressed with the birds and when they started landing on my shoulders I was even less impressed. At that point I threw the bags of popcorn seeds on the ground in order to get rid of them--total chaos. Meanwhile, Dave’s on the other side of the pigeons watching this and the little lady is telling him that he owes her 400 baht, which is about $12 U.S. He kind of laughed at her but she wouldn’t let up so he payed her and we walked away. We talked about it and figured out that we have really been taken for popcorn seeds--in total about 48 seeds--12 to a bag. But not a lot we can do about it because she already has the money. While this is happening the other taxi drivers are watching and are scowling at the little lady but they realize they can’t do much either.

We go to the temple and we have to rent clothes, so while I am waiting in line, Dave tells me he is going to get his money back from the lady. He goes over there and as he approaches the lady, she is doing the same thing to another taxi-load of tourists. So Dave grabs the popcorn seeds from them and gives them back to the lady and tells her to quit stealing money from people--that it’s not right. He then tells her that he would like his money back or he will report her to the police. She refuses and just stares him down so he looks back at her and yells, “Police!” She pulls out her money and hands him 100 baht and he looks at her and tells her that he would like all of it and she refuses him again. He looks back at her and yells, “Police!” and she pulls out her money again and gives him another 100 bat. This happens two more times until he has all his money back. I couldn’t believe it when he came back with all his money. I could hardly stop laughing and I would have paid money to watch him do it. I didn’t know that something like this would make him that upset. While he was having this confrontation with the woman the other taxi drivers were cheering him on!

This was an unbelievable place. It was so big and so many buildings with painting and carving that was very overwhelming. It is the king’s palace but it wasn’t modern enough to live in so they have moved and opened this up to the public. They were holding some services there in one part with the chanting over the loud speakers. There were signs up for tourists to stay out of the temple areas.

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