The Grand Palace, Bangkok

It was our 4th day in Bangkok and the one place we were yet to visit was The Grand Palace.  As we were stepping out of our hotel, the lady at the desk gave us a tiny slip that contained a small note about a scam that is done commonly here.. we gave it back to her saying we had been subjected to it the day before but luckily dint fall for it!! 😀 [written the scam tales at the bottom of the post]

Built in 1782 – and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government – the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within the majestic walls you will find the Thai war ministry, state departments, and few other buildings as well.  

Within the palace complex are several impressive buildings including Wat Phra Kaew  (Emerald Buddha temple), which contains the small, very famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. Even though the Thai Kings stopped living in the palace around the turn of the twentieth century, but the palace complex is still used to mark all kinds of other ceremonial and auspicious happenings.




A strict dress code applies

The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves (no tank tops. If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entrance that can provide clothes to cover you up properly (a deposit is required).

We were all set to enter the place when a man stopped us near the entrance and told us we weren’t in the right attire. I was wearing a 3/4th sleeve shirt and capri, and so had to rent a Skirt.. Friend was wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. She had to also pick up a skirt, the guy infact told her to rent a shirt but she decided to cover up with her stole. But alas, we weren’t allowed inside. Ended up going to a souvenir store and buying a Tshirt for her! Oh well, good to respect the rules and follow them! 

  • Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 – 15:30
  • Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Old City (Rattanakosin)
  • Price Range: Tickets sold from 8:30 – 15:30 and cost 400 baht! One ticket includes entry to Vimanmek Palace and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall.
The Scam

So, there we were all set to explore The Grand Palace before heading over to Wat Pho. We got off the tuk tuk and were about to enter the Palace when the guard stopped us and told us the place was closed and open only to locals. It was 4pm and we knew the place shuts around 5.30pm. We stood there looking at all the people [ of varied nationalities] coming out and going in. 

Once again probed but the security refused to let us in. He then suggested we head down the road to Wat Pho & then do a visit to Wat Arun by tuk tuk. The tuk tuk he suggested was for 600 baht and the guy was parked right there on the curb. We knew these places were within walking distance and so told him we will walk. He went on insisting we take the tuk tuk and lowest he would come for was 450 baht.  It dint sound legit, and I dragged my friend and told her “lets get going.. we will come back to the palace another day” and we walked ahead towards Wat Pho… 


Thursday Challenge…. The Skytrain

“LINES” (Linear Marks, Strips, Railroad Lines, Telephone/Electrical Lines, Line ups,…)

I fell in love with the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok- the trains are so well organised, the stations are super convenient, sorted out and it is very easy even for a non Thai speaking person to figure their way out.. 
All we had to do was go to the machine on the wall, pick the destination, drop in coins to that total and pick up the ticket [ which was a black circular coin or a squarish one] and get going.. 

Turmeric Blooms at Home

Few weeks ago one evening when I wandered towards the backyard, I noticed pretty flower in the Tulasi pot.. Called gramma who clarified that it was Turmeric flower…

Am hoping to do up the garden a little more.. Lets see how it goes in the next few months!

Auntie Anne’s pretzel, Bangkok

Me: Hey, am headed to IKEA today.. want anything?
A: You are headed all the way to Megabangna? 
Me: Yes.. Am on the train now.. 
A: Wow, have a Auntie Anne’s pretzel for me please. It is near the IKEA store. You can’t miss it!
Me: Okies.
This is the conversation I had with a friend whilst on the BTS.. And when I reached Megabangna, I discovered it was huge and I kept walking, exploring places, shops and realised it went on and on like a never ending path. Maybe this was the rabbit hole and I was Alice.. 
Finally I took a turn and was told IKEA was down the end and that is where I noticed Auntie Annie’s pretzel stall. I have never had a pretzel, but heard a lot about it from people who have been abroad. So, when I saw one up close, I was quite excited. 
I noticed there were quite a few varieties, but i opted for two plain ones and along with a drink, it costed me 25Baht [if i remember right].. I ate one and put the other in my bag and nearly forgot about the pretzel till we boarded the flight back to Chennai. The pretzel was soft, fresh and yummy.. I thought Pretzels were just the crispy kind, but this is where I discovered a whole different kind of pretzel.. 
What is that one new dish/item that you tried and was pleasantly surprised by? 

Dear Diary, I miss Me

Dear Diary,

It has been 4 months since I moved back to my grandparents place..
It has been 4 months since grandpa passed away
It has been 4 long months since I enjoyed ME time….

I do miss living on my own
I do miss doing my own thing
I do miss having the freedom to cook what I want
I do miss just being Me
I do miss doing up my space the way I want to
I do miss having the liberty to change things
I do miss a lot of little things…

I dont regret the choices I have made
I dont regret the move I made
I dont regret making all these changes to my life..

But I do miss ME time..
There is a constant air of suffocation all around.
Questions, queries and suspicion
Why. Where. When..
Will this ever change? Will people ever understand the concept of “space”?
Or is this going to be a battle that goes on forever with no end in sight?

Sigh. I know it is weekend and I should be out.
But what to do, i cancelled my plans
While others went ahead with theirs
not bothering to update us!!

Oh well…  Alright, am gonna go knock myself out.. thanks for listening to me patiently..

Talk to you soon
Aarti

Desserts – Crazy Evening part II

To read how the evening began, click here… After the initial round of decent food at Holas, we stepped out wondering where to go for Dinner. Got into the car, pulled it out and drove towards the beach looking for a spot to park in. Actually, no we kept looking for Kwality walls or Arun ice cream vandi and found one.. 🙂

Headed for the stall, asked the lady if she had mango, if she had grape, if she had orange.. and what not.. I got grape, the others picked various other flavours [ we also got a boy an ice cream, he kept pestering us for money, and finally gave in and said -ok saar, naan ice cream sapduvein] .. Yumm is how the ice cream was.. Finished it, got back to the car but Doc was loitering about the beach for a while, he then comes back to the car with a perplexed look “Enna sundal ella sapadliya? ” hehe… 

We then got on the road and after much deliberation, ended up at Jonah’s.. Had a bit of doubt if they would be open [was nearly 10.30pm] but was told they are open past 11pm.. Yay!! Waltzed in, attacked the dessert counter. We ordered up a storm.  I wanted waffles, and the staff told us about a fruit waffle, which sounded interesting, and we went ahead ordering a plate of it.. biggest mistake of the evening.. The waffles were stuffed with canned fruits, soaked in that syrup and was yuck.. The others were quite good- eclair, fruit tart, flan, and cheesecake.  The flan was a pleasant surprise, so was the fruit tart. 

The dessert bill was around Rs1200… 

[Picture courtesy- Shady boy]
Wound up for the evening and scooted out onto the night to see where else we could prowl..teehee… Luckily, none of us had a curfew and we ended up at a friend’s house, yapped there till about 2.30am and finally dragged ourselves home… 

Was one helluva night.. Looking forward to the next one already… 

Jonah’s Bistro 
147/9, 2nd Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600090
044 4351 1119

Disclaimer: 
No animals were injured during the evening, well, except maybe for a chicken that landed on the pizza.. We promise we did nothing but have fun 🙂 

Eggless Banana-Pistachio Bread [ bread machine]

I was at home unwell, and it was one of those blah evenings. Couldn’t sleep, wasn’t able to sit on laptop and do any work.. Mom was wandering around when suddenly I asked “shall we bake bread in the machine? We have all ingredients..”.. She was in agreement. Both of us got down to looking for some easy interesting recipes online, I found one and that was it. In about 10mins, I had put all the ingredients together, the machine was set up and we were all set.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Water
2 Medium Bananas, Mashed
1 tsp Vanilla
2-1/2 Cup Flour, Unbleached All Purpose
3/4 Cup Flour, Whole Wheat
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Extra Light
3 Tbsp Honey
1-1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Buttermilk
2-1/2 tsp Yeast for Bread Machine
3/4 C Walnuts, large chopped – I used pistachios since we did not have walnuts at home
DIRECTIONS
  1. I put all the wet ingredients at the bottom
  2. Added the dry ingredients on top
  3. Finally made a small depression and put the yeast in it. 
  4. Set the machine to normal and let it do its job…  Took in total 2hrs 30mins. 
  5. If the dough seems lose, add some dough and if  it seems very dry, add some warm water.. [these I know based on past experience]
  6.  Also add the nuts towards the end of the kneading process, it mixes quite well and remains intact.. 🙂 

Recipe courtesy: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=808932 

The bread turned out beautifully. It was so soft and yummy, the entire loaf was gone in a matter of days. The crust wasn’t too thick either.. I know if Thatha had been here, he would have loved it and gone on & on to everyone who came home about how we made bread at home and it was yummy.. Miss him dearly…