The Grand Palace

Our second day in Bangkok was a bit more successful than our first, with regard to avoiding scams. After traipsing around the Sunday markets and trying on my scam suit, via taxi we head to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the only place in Thailand one can obtain Malarone (i.e. Malinil). Now, although the odds of contracting any number of mosquito borne diseases, including malaria, may be somewhat low in this region, if there is any place you should be more concerned it would certainly be in a small office used to prevent and TREAT said diseases FILLED with mosquitos!! Yes! The doctor’s office specifically dedicated to preventing and presumably (based on the sickly-looking people inside the office) diagnosing and treating tropical diseases was virtually filled with mosquitoes. Ridiculous. We apply our bug spray IN the office and wait for the doctor. After 15 or 20 minutes, we obtain our prescription (which, theoretically, will be covered under our travel insurance) and are on our way.

The only other big ticket item on our day’s itinerary is to go see the Grand Palace. We arrive after a seemingly endless walk through exhaust fumes and grey water smells and discover (according to two Thai strangers) there is a hefty price tag attached to a foreigner’s entry ticket. Nay!, says Nanner Noo. We will not be scammed two days in a row on her watch. She enters the Thai side of the palace to go ask the security guard inside if there is, in fact, a fee for foreigners. After a few shouts from the Thai strangers and the security guards, the brave and defiant Nanner is denied entry to the palace and told to go around to the foreign side where there was indeed a 500 baht fee. Ugh. After such a long walk, already hot and dirty, we decide we might as well pay for the attraction we set out to see. We pay up and, despite the heat, add more layers of cloth to our bodies before entering the temple: I put on my long pants to cover up my hairy white legs while Nanner puts on her long sleeve shirt to cover her shoulders and zips on stylish conversion pants.

Much to our relief, the Grand Palace is pretty damn grand. Busy. But grand nonetheless. Naturally, it’s was approaching closing time when we bought our tickets so we make the most of our hour and half and cruise around the grounds and admire the many golden and intricately carved statues and facades.
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Closing time comes and we make tracks towards our hostel via graffiti covered alleys and deserted streets once filled with rioting protestors. We grab some dinner, do some research on the interwebs on how not to get scammed at the Cambodian border, and head off to bed under our bug-net adorned, rock bed. Tomorrow we put our research to the test when we head off to SCAMbodia!

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