tuk tuks, a common mode of transportation in the central chiang mai and central bangkok are notorious. the drivers are aggressive in trying to convince tourists to hop aboard. alas, once aboard, getting to one’s chosen destination is a challenge, as the drivers will commonly take their passengers to the tuk tuk driver’s shop of choice (where they will receive a nice little commission from the shop owner of course). tuk-tuk drivers in bangkok take it even one step further. as we walk from the river to the grand palace, drivers along the way try to convince us that the wat is closed for the morning for special ceremonies, and no tourists are allowed. they offer, graciously of course, to take us to other sites instead…..
we ignore the tuk-tuk drivers and arrive at our destination, the grand palace. next to it, in the wat phra cetuphon (aka wat pho), lies the impressive “reclining buddha”, designed to depict the passing of buddha into nirvana. the gold plated statue is 46 metres long, and 15 metres tall, and has eyes and feet engraved with mother of pearl decoration.
the “emerald buddha”, much smaller in stature, holds more interest for me. made of jade rather than emerald, this buddha was rediscovered in the 1400’s when its mud plaster covering chipped away to reveal the jade statue underneath.
unfortunately, this buddha is perched high atop a large alter, far from the people who come to see it. this buddha was once encased. i sit on the temple floor a while…thinking…