SE Asia has very deep roots in Buddhism. I didn't know this when I came here. I'm beginning to see that pretty much everything in the history of Asia revolves around politics and religion. I don't think that there is anything to see that is not modern that isn't a religious site of some sort.
Today we first went to Bang Pa In. This was a collection of historical buildings. There were many buildings called mansions that were as small as a large apartment. Like many important buildings, you had to take your shoes off. And you weren't supposed to use your cell phone. And you couldn't take pictures. All I could think of was "no fun allowed", and that may have been the case since it wasn't really a fun place, but just an ornate and awe inspiring place with a rich history.
We had lunch at a restaurant above a river where big collections of plants were floating by. Afterwards we went to a few more temples, then drove home in the rain with a beautiful sunset beyond the scattered towers of Bangkok.
I saw somebody living under a bridge in a makeshift tent with laundry hung out to dry and pictures hung from the laundry wires and posted on the wall of the underpass.
The next morning My and I got up and caught a taxi to the Sky Train and headed downtown to Siam Square. This was a big departure from what I've been used to as it involved things that weren't hundreds of years old. It was a modern train and modern buildings with modern fashion and chain restaurants. There were people going to work in suits and hundreds of school kids dressed in uniforms. There were big theaters with laser lights in the lobby playing techno.
There was a collection of malls, not just a single mall. It was like six malls, all over 6 stories tall. There was so much fashion to shop for I don't know if some of the girls back home would've come out alive. At one point we found ourselves in a market area on one floor filled entirely of mobile phones. I'd never seen so many mobile phones in my life. Literally there were thousands and thousands of mobile phones being sold at hundreds of little shops that were all exactly the same. I thought I was in tech purgatory.
At one store I saw what I thought was an iPhone for a really cheap price, so I asked to see it. It was a fake. It looked almost exactly like an iPhone, but it had a micro USB slot instead of a dock slot. And it took two SIM cards. And it had a replaceable battery. And the OS sucked. And it required a stylus. And you had to go into the ugly preferences to configure things like UART. It made me wonder why on earth people would go to such lengths to copy merely the physical style of the iPhone yet miss all of the functionality in the user experience, which is where the money is. But then I looked at those oceans of Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung phones and thought "Apple has no market here anyway..." Then I thought "an app store for something like Nokia would be a huge boon for the Asian market."
I saw a guy with a shirt that said "I fantasize about the ups man."
I saw a girl with a shirt that said "I look good when turned upside down."
I saw a man on the street with no shirt wearing ripped up shorts and gold high heels.
On the way home in the Sky Train I told My about the Bart Swing 2009. The Sky Train is too crowded to actually do something like that, but that didn't stop us from dreaming up the next iteration on the idea... Sky Cradle 2009™, the best way to catch up on your sleep while commuting home.