Saturday, February 13, 2016

Flowers and a Sprained Ankle.

At Yodpiman Flower Market.

After visiting Wat Arun, we took the short ferry ride back across the Chao Phraya River.  There, we then boarded another ferry that would take us to the flower market.  After all the ferry rides we've had, we knew exactly where we had to get off.  Ironically, we were on the local ferry this time - the one that I was hoping we would be on from Day 1.  This ferry doesn't have the commentary and caters mainly to locals.  The fare was just 15 baht.....less than 50 cents.  Not that the tourist ferry, at just 40 baht, was outrageous but for us, it was unnecessary.

In any event, we got off at the pier and unlike the one we had just left, this one was new and modern and filled with some pretty upscale looking shops and cafes.  Definitely aimed at tourists!


We asked for directions and then followed the signs to the Yodpiman Flower Market.  Thais love flowers and we were all very much looking forward to seeing this place.  But, given that was almost 3p when we arrived, I was not hopeful that we'll see all that many flowers.  Cut flowers are delicate and I imagine a good lot would have already been sold off by this time of day.



We entered a very large, dimly lit warehouse.  It looked to be a wholesale vegetable market.  The place was not quite abuzz with activity but most certainly there were people were busy at work, moving around pallets of vegetables, packaging vegetables and buying and selling vegetables.



Wild eggplants.  We had a taste of some last night. Definitely an acquired taste.  So far, none of us have acquired the taste.

Mounds of chilies.  Thai cuisine would not be Thai cuisine without some spicy heat!


From the vegetable market, we walked over to the flower market.  It wasn't quite what I had expected or perhaps, hoped to see.  I was expecting dozens of vendors and mounds of flowers of all different sorts. Instead, we had a couple dozen vendors selling mainly the same few types of flowers.   Like the vegetable market, the flower market looked to be a wholesale market and much of what was for sale struck me as being flowers for  the temples.

Marigolds were sold in masses here. The bloom is popular for creating the leis that you see draped around altars.

Lots of marigolds.  Single blooms in bags, threaded on wire for garlands.  You name it, the marigold was there.

Marigold altar displays.

Marigolds everywhere....even hanging overhead.

Creating floral display for the altar.

Dok ruk aka Flower of Love (Calotropis gigantea) is a popular flower used to create Thai
floral garlands because it's long lasting though it's not fragrant.

Have no idea what these bulbs will grow up to be.

The orchid is another popular flower.  Bro, the orchid lover, didn't even pay any attention to these flowers.  Too common!

Pretty bouquets of cut orchids.  If I lived here, I would buy bundles for display at home!

The orchid, my favorite flower!

For the altar - a piece of sugar cane, a banana, an incense cone and some small offerings of food.

Roses!  I didn't expect to see roses here as Thailand is a tropical country but perhaps they're grown in the highlands.

Our time at the Yodpiman Flower Market was very brief.  There wasn't a whole to see.  From here, we decided to call it a day and head back to the apartment.  It was quite a wait for the ferry to the pier by Saphan Taksin BTS but eventually, it did arrive.


Last view of the Chao Phraya.

It was our first experience riding the BTS.  Bro didn't have the small change to buy two tickets so he stood in the line leading up to the ticket booth.  He told the man he wanted to buy two tickets and instead of handing Bro two tickets, the guy handed him the small change instead.  Bro was momentarily confused until Ayşe and I explained it to him.  It took a couple of explanations but eventually it sunk in.  Not the quickest tool in the shed today.  In any case, he eventually got the tickets.


We boarded the tram heading for the National Stadium and got off at the Silom stop.


From Silom BTS, Google Maps took us back to Patpong Market.  We've been here enough times to recognize it.  In fact, when we were trying to get a ride home yesterday, I teasingly told Bro that it would have been easier for him to have told the tuk tuk drivers to take us to Patpong Market than to show them the map.   EVERY tuk tuk or taxi driver, in Bangkok, knows where Patpong Market is!

Patpong Market.  The vendors were setting up their stalls for the night.

We had just a short while to relax and get ready for our night time activity. For tonight, I had gotten us dinner show tickets to Siam Niramit, Bangkok's premier cultural performance.  I found the show online months ago and recently just got the tickets.  With Bro's recommendation, I got the Golden Seats along with the buffet dinner.  For the equivalent of about $65, I think it's a relative bargain - we'd have to pay at least twice that much for similar dinner/show offering in the US.

We decided to take a taxi to the place though we could have taken the MRT and then a shuttle provided by the show company.  Taxis are so cheap here that if you have at least 2 people, it's worth it rather than having to deal with the MRT.  Bro used his best sign, body language to convey to the driver where we needed to go.

It was a longer ride than I had expected - the place looks so close to the apartment on the map.  Of course, the traffic is horrendous in Bangkok.  Getting anywhere by car takes long.  Advantage goes to MRT and BTS.

The Siam Niramit show is held in a very large complex.  My original plan was for us to get there around 6p so we would have about an hour to check out the various cultural exhibitions before heading to the dining room to eat.  But, we ran late getting back to the apartment today so by the time we arrived, there was just enough time for me to pick up our tickets, wander for a few minutes and then eat.  Thankfully, I had the forethought to bring my passport with me as I needed ID to get the tickets.

In the large central courtyard, there were two Asian elephants, a mother and a baby, entertaining the crowd.  There were also some performers from the show posing for anyone who wanted to take photos.




Their unique looking costumes got me excited to see the show.  But first, we had to have dinner.  Bro told me that Thai buffets are worth paying for - they usually a lot of different offerings.  So that's what I expected when I entered the large dining room and that's exactly what we had.  There was pretty much something for everyone!  We each went back multiple times for food. 


The show was scheduled to start 8p and shortly before then, a group of performers paraded through the dining room to let us know.  We kept eating but at the same time, kept an eye on the time.  We had assigned seats so really there was no need to rush off.  We could continue to stuff our faces at a leisurely pace :-)


To wrap up our meal, we each had a cup of coffee.  We're all still grappling with a bit of jet lag and hopefully, the shot of caffeine will let us stay up through the show.

Back out in the courtyard, we walked around for a few minutes before joining the crowd to head inside the theatre.

Statue gracing then edge of the pool.

Colorful banners and lanterns brighten up the night sky.

A few minutes after I took the above photo, I stumbled on a step that I had not noticed and sprained my left ankle.  I am SO clumsy!!!  The familiar pain shot right to my brain.  I've sprained my ankle enough to know that it's not just twisted.  It will be swollen in no time :-(

Of course, Bro and Ayşe rushed to my side.  I knew I could not stand up.  So, here I am, sitting on the sidewalk, in public.  Lots of people walking by. One kind stranger and I have no idea who he/she was handed Ayşe his/her cold bottle of water.  I immediately put it against my ankle.  It felt good. I sat still for a few minutes, trying to ignore the pain.  After a while, I decided to give standing up a try.  With the help of Bro and Ayşe, I managed to stand up.  My ankle hurt but not so much that I couldn't hobble along.  I slowly made my way to the theatre entrance.   Inside, we had to check in our cameras and cellphones.  They want to make sure you absolutely don't take any photos.

The ushers pointed us up some stairs.  I climbed slowly.  At the top, another usher led us to our seats.  Considering that I pretty much bought the tickets at the last minute, I was surprised at how good our seats were!!  We were about 15 (?) rows back but positioned pretty much in the center.  Our seats fronted an aisle so we had a lot of leg room which was perfect for me because I could stretch out my left leg.

The seats were super comfy theatre seats.  The lights went down and sometime after that, all three of us nodded off.  Yep.  We fell asleep.  I woke up a few times and caught snippets of the show - like the act where they had an actual canal (with water in it) on the stage and people swimming about and paddling canoes.  Then, there was the act where the Mama Elephant that we saw earlier in the night not only paraded across the stage but she also paraded across the aisle before us!  There was another act with literally a dozen performers dangling on wires.  Everything I managed to see was incredible!  It's really a shame that we missed so much of it.  In fact, we joke that if all three of us recall what we saw of the show, we would still not come up with all the acts!

So, I'm sure it was a wonderful show and maybe one day, I'll come back to see it again.

When the show ended, I hobbled back downstairs, retrieved my camera and cell phone and headed outside.  We had to catch a taxi home.  This place is well prepared to handle customers.  There was a lot of people who came as part of a tour group so they boarded their buses.  There was another lot of people who waited and boarded the shuttle to the MRT.  Lastly, there were a few of us who needed taxis.  We stood in line and waited our turn.  One of the venue workers came up to us to get our apartment information.  As we waited for the taxi, I tried to ignore the throbbing that was happening in my left ankle.  It was quite a long wait but eventually a taxi arrived for us.  The driver had already been given the address and directions on where to go.  Traffic was lighter and we arrived back at the apartment in good time.  Our driver spoke a little English so Bro and Ayşe were able to have a bit of a conversation with him.  In particular, they wanted to know a bit more about Sukhumvit Road, a place that Ayşe had read had good street food.

When we arrived at the apartment, Bro asked the driver how much the fare was.  In turn, the driver asked Bro how much we paid to get to Siam Niramit.  Bro replied 300 baht and the driver said, "Okay", so that's what we paid him.

Back in the apartment, I immediately grabbed a frozen bottle of water from the freezer and placed it against my left ankle. I could tell it was already swollen.  I'm going to have to see how it feels in the morning and decide how I will spend the day.  Not looking good at the moment as far as walking about and sightseeing is concerned.  We'll see.

Day 2 might not have ended well but seeing the gorgeous phrangs at Wat Arun at the start of the day more than made up for the pain of a sprained ankle!

Goodnight from Bangkok!