In the morning I was getting my laundry together when I realized I didn't need to do all of it - in a matter of days I'll be home! Some of the clothed were retired, some left dirty, and some were turned in to be washed. The rain has caused the road to be flooded, so instead of venturing out I hit the internet cafe. Then I called the US and talked to Amy (she is going to pick me up) and Wolf (he is going to let me borrow my car). The water on the streets had lowered by then so I went with Stacy and caught a river boat down to the Grand Palace.
We walked the wrong way around the palace so it took us a half hour to get to the entrance - it's a big complex! The palace grounds are mostly temples and old royal halls. There's tons to see and everything is covered in brightly colored tiles or gold gilt - it would be blinding on a sunny day - but there are also tons of people and it's a little claustrophobic for me. The main temple here is the temple of the Emerald Buddha - which is spectacular from the outside, but a little disappointing on the inside. The Buddha is actually very small and very far away. For me the highlight was the support figures at the base of two pagodas on the upper terrace. They're Hindu gods (I think) tiled with mirrored tiles - maybe a little gaudy but still impressive.
We explored the market streets near the palace complex - mostly spices and vegetables. Eventually we got to our goal - a viewpoint across the river from the huge Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn). It's big, and flashy, but not that impressive after the Grand Palace. We caught a taxi up to Khao San Road and spent the next couple hours exploring and shopping. I bought a nice Jenga game and a very cool noisemaker. They were setting up for some kind of Halloween festival so we went to find dinner so we could come back and see what was going on. We searched for a Lonely Planet recommended restaurant - someplace with air-conditioning that we think will be quiet, but it turns out to be an expensive, way too loud bar. So we wandered down the street looking for food, and ended up at Mc Donalds. We only went in for a coke and to look at the guide book, but you can't compete with the air-conditioning and the quiet.
We got lost trying to get back to Khao San Road - but at least it was interesting - lots of real life and not so many foreigners. Back at Khao San the Halloween party was out of control. They were doing a beer chugging contest on the stage - I felt like I was at Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale. There were way too many people for me and I got very tense and had to make a run for it after less than 30 minutes.
Took a taxi back to the lodge. Finished off talking politics and reminiscing with another Seattle-ite.
ATM: 5000 TB.