Lucia writes: After some harrowing experiences, we had a good, exhaustive day of touring Bangkok. Luckily - and by pure chance, since I did virtually no reading about Bangkok before landing - our guest house is right by the top sights of the city.
These are 2 temple complexes. The temples were exquisite. European, Chinese, Nepalese influences (the stupa domes) were worked into delicate spires, and the interiors held beautiful mother-of-pearl panels. There is an interior painted mural that surrounds one entire temple complex, telling the epic of a queen captured by demons, "Harry Potter and Helen of Troy" is what the guide said, and rescued by flying monkey figures. The work on the wooden-paneled mural is about some of the best history and art I've ever seen. Really among my top observations, along with the Hermitage.
The exterior colors, stonework and the interior pictorial depictions are some of the most highly-detailed, breathtaking work I've ever witnessed. We also went to a temple where there is the famous, mammoth recumbent Buddha, resplendent in his gilding. We took many pictures; Jim wanted some to show the dimensions of the Buddha; I wanted to show some of the details of the painted epic. It's rather wonderful to have your breath taken away by beauty when you had no inkling and really no expectations (again, read nothing before landing).