Lots of activity around the house today, as Ma Tuk and her cadre of helpers got the place ready for "a little lunch party." They set up tables by the pool, and ordered enough food to feed an army. We were summoned down to the main house (cell phones as intercom, that's handy!) to watch some of the funeral proceedings on TV. What a huge affair! On par with Princess Di's funeral, methinks. Gigantic parade down the center of town with the body ensconced in an enormous gold boat that is apparently only used for royal funerals. I don't even know how many thousands of peole were involved in the parade -- several squadrons of monks, some high-ranking generals, plus at least a dozen different military divisions, each with their own distinct uniform and silly hat ensemble. My favorite was the tall blue Marge Simpson-looking hat, but the puffy Beefeaterish hats were a close second. It was tough to follow exactly what was going on, except that the beloved Princess, older sister of the king and doer of great charitable deeds, was being paraded verrrrrrrry slowly through the streets of Bangkok.
Around noon, Bruce & Anne arrived along with an assortment of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. We showed them around the estate -- they were suitably impressed -- and then it was time to eat. The usual ridiculous feast, and everything was insanely delicious. The assorted fruits were particularly lovely... everything from mango and watermelon to jackfruit, dragonfruit, star fruit, and Thai pears. Yum!
We hung out for a bit, and then took a trip out to Chatuchak Market. It was about as frenzied as expected, although not as manic as the flower market, which is still the gold standard for completely loco. Chatuchak is one of Bangkok's biggest markets, pretty touristy, with rows and rows of just about anything for sale you could possibly imagine. Lots of cheap clothing, tacky tchotchkes, crafty goodness, and of course tons of food! It was difficult to even think about eating after the afternoon's feast, but I did buy a Thai iced coffee, which was delicious and served with much aplomb. We picked up a few souvenir items, and eventually found a taxi that would take us back to the house for a reasonable amount of baht. Yes, we are walking dollar signs, I realize that, but do we really need to be raked over the coals EVERY time we get into a cab?
Back at the house, it was time for another meal of the leftovers from lunch. Bruce & Anne were incredulous, like "are you kidding me? we're eating AGAIN??" We just shrugged, knowing it's useless to struggle against the indomitable force of Ma Tuk's hospitality, and dug into another plate full of treats. Life does not suck.
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