Bangkok: Parks and Prayers    

A monitor lizard checking out the teritory
We've had a hard time getting a good night's sleep. Last night we had loud music from 2 sides-- the usual riverside bar and a party directly in front of the hotel. Then after all had quieted down I woke up attacked by mosquitoes. I don't know how they succeeded in getting under my sheet or if they just bit through it.

We took the bus to Lumbini Park hoping for some relaxation. It was quiet and is reminiscent of Central Park in NYC with skyscrapers rising beyond the lakes and trees. We had been there with John and Tulay when we were here before but we'd gone early in the morning to see all the Tai Chi and group exercises so we hadn't seen any of the huge monitor lizards. The monitor lizards apparently are late risers. Today we saw plenty. They basked by the edges of the ponds-- some almost 6ft and very fat. They seem to live in holes around the ponds' edges. We saw some babies of only a couple feet.

Lumbini Park

A big fat monitor lizard
There were people as well-- jogging, resting on the grass, exercising, a couple practiced ballroom dancing on a stage while another group chanted Hare Krishna on another stage.

Walking back to the center, we stopped by the Erewan shrine. Built in front of a hotel, the gold plated Brahmin statue was crowded with people praying, lighting incense and candles, as well as others who cleaned up the burnt sticks. There was a stage behind the shrine where a group of musicians played for traditional dancers/singers. People stood in a line to make their orders for dances. Rates stated 250 baht for 2 dancers. The dancers would sing a prayer as requested by the person who ordered the dance.

Erewan Shrine

Dancers at the shrine

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