Feb 17th – Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is an interesting city, population 12 million. It took 2 1/2 hours to get there from the ship. We did a small group tour in a mini-van, only 8 of us. It was pretty much a temple tour so in addition to the Golden Buddha, we saw the 66cm Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade) and the outside of the Royal Palace. The city is an interesting mix of old and new, not nearly so many highrises as ’newer’ cities like Singapore or Dhubai. We wished we could have stopped at the 24-hour flower market area or even their Chinatown which looked much more interesting than many of the other Chinatowns we visited.

The traffic was pretty horrendous but the amazing thing was that we did not hear single car horn! There was just lot of ebb and flow between lanes – road rage is not a thing in Bangkok. And everywhere, mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles—90% of drivers wore helmets. Major stop lights also had a countdown in seconds as did the green light. On our return on the freeway, our driver spent much of it driving in the paved shoulder and no one seemed put out by it.

What does US$250 millon worth of gold look like? The Golden Buddha at the temple of Wat Traimit in Bankok – according to Wikipedia:

At US$1,400 per troy ounce, the gold in the statue (18 karat) is estimated to be worth 250 million dollars.[8] The body of the statue is 40% pure, the volume from the chin to the forehead is 80% pure, and the hair and the topknot, weighing 45 kg, are 99% pure gold.

The statue dates back to the 13th/14th centuries, it has an interesting history, check out Wikipedia.

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