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2006-11-17 Sanam Luang

Today we wanted to see the temples in Bangkok. Sanam Luang is the district to visit. We got up at 9:00, ate breakfast, and took bus 15 from Mah Boon Krong Center to Wat Phra Kaeo (Images:Wat+Phra+Kaeo) and Grand Palace.

Then we crossed the street over to Lak Muang and looked at the Bangkok city shrine. This is the first time we saw a shrine dedicated amongst other things to fertility, ie. it had lots of young women and men praying and big wooden penises on display. There was also a little play being enacted and a small group of poor people watching.

We walked down the street down to Wat Po and saw some more golden temple buildings, and tons of stone guardians. I loved those! (Images:Wat+Po) If you’re wondering about the foot diagrams amonst all the images, you need to know that Wat Po houses a famous massage school.

On the way back we wanted to catch a bus home but it was quite a walk back to the bus 15 stop we had come from. I asked a bystander and he started talking to us and ended up by suggesting we go see the “Happy Buddha” that was only open today and that today was 250 years Bangkok and I hadn’t heard of it! He was definitely overdoing it and getting on my nerves. By then a Tuk Tuk driver had joined the discussion saying that the Happy Buddha was closing at five and that we would have no time for a bus… We thanked them all and said we wanted to take a little stroll and walked. After covering a few bus stations on foot, I had determined that bus 47 would take us home and asked somebody about the correct direction. And that’s how we got home.

I had talked to Claudia about Bangkok nightlife fifteen years earlier, where the highschool students used to meet in Goldfinger in Patpong and had mentioned the listless movements of the girls in their bikinis. (Images:Patpong) I hadn’t mentioned the live fucking show, the girl pulling razor blades on a string from her vagina, the other girl opening a soft drink bottle using her vagina, and the show where the girls would shoot peeled bananas from their vaginas into the public. Yuck! I think I went twice, once with my parents and a friend, and once with friends from school, just to know what it was all about. I think I was quite traumatized back then. Nothing obvious, but I rarely spoke about this to anyone. I could barely bring myself to speak about it to Claudia.

But Claudia hat heard of Patpong from other people and decided that she couldn’t just not go. And today was going to be the day. With a heavy heart I agreed. We took the Skytrain to Sala Daeng and walked through Patpong Soi 1 to 3. It seemed very tame from the outside. We got asked several times whether we wanted to see that “Ping Pong Show” which must be all the rage at the moment, but at least nobody offered me a girl or a boy or a child… Most of Patpong was just bars and shops and a bustling night market. There were only a few Go Go bars, and they looked like they always did: Bored women in bikins vaguely going through the dancing motions. I bet the back alleys and second floor shows are as bad as they used to be, but at least we didn’t see anything.

I felt much better.

Patpong seemed so much tamer than I remembered it.

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