Thursday 2nd Feb. and we are up bright and early to travel to the National Museum, in the old part of town near the Grand Palace, for a lecture series. I used to be a member of the museum volunteers and a friend told me about the series which was postponed because of the flooding last year.
The first lecture was about the funeral rites of Royal family members as conducted here in Thailand. It was fascinating as it detailed where the belief systems came from; first Brahmanism, then Hinduism and finally Buddhism all play a role in these rites of passage.
Second lecture was a run through in words and pictures of the Ramakien (a Thai adaptation of the Indian epic The Ramayana). A story told in fantastic wall murals painted on the cloister walls surrounding the temple of Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha temple). It is a tale of war and love, loss and redemption with strange demons and monkeys as well as gods and humans all mixed up in a sea of Thai imagination. Fantastic.
On our return to our hotel we were caught in a huge downpour (this is not the rainy season what is happening to the weather) and had to wade through the water to the boat pier. Of course our journeys on the Chao Phryer river were as interesting as always affording an opportunity to both people watch and stare at the huge rice barges being pulled upstream high in the water like a 4 story house, followed by skinny long tailed noisy boats zipping in and out of the other traffic like dragon flies with megaphones. Over seeing all this bustle the prang of Wat Arun, stands in its Angkor glory representing the mountian of Meru; the centre of the spiritual world to Hindus and Buddhists alike, as well as the home of Lord Brahma. Further along the river bank are other tall buildings representing great success in the human world, if you can afford the rent to dwell in any of their oppulent rooms.
In the evening, after a nap, we decide to check out a local bar we once knew. Walking along Sukhumvit we suddenly bump into Moore, a Taiwanese guy Dave used to work with in Taipei who later moved to Bangkok where he got a job with Bombardier and eventually moved to Sweden where he now lives and works. We thought it extraordinary to meet like this so we repaired to the nearest bar to catch up. Later that night we fell into bed still jet lagged