wat arun, bangkok

also known as the large temple across the river. the actual unshortened name translates to temple of dawn, which sounds quite rather like it belongs in an indiana jones flick (gotta love those) – but it’s nothing so haunted or menacing or treasure-filled (but what do I know).

we took a short boat ride over to the temple to play the part of tourist, but I’m almost ashamed to tell you we were bad jaded specimens: we took a couple of shots outside because it was just so pretty, but never went in. cross the river, clickety-click, and back over the river for lunch.

please don’t judge.

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the grand palace, bangkok

so I’ve shown you two places now where you can eat pretty darn well near the grand palace – but what of that great compound itself?

I admit to a slight amount of jadedness – I’ve been lucky enough to do my turn around dozens of churches, european palaces and town squares such that they’ve started to merge in a continental blur. but the bangkokian palaces and temples were such an immense shake of color and architectural appeal – just lovely.

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reunification palace, ho chi minh

a last one on vietnam, this time on a historical monument right smack in the middle of ho chi minh city. I don’t much want to go heavily into history, but the idea of dichotomies was strong in my mind: the contrast between the pristine white building and the rather violent history of the place as narrated by our guide (they do a few english-speaking tours every hour), and the decadence of the lounge and entertainment areas at the top of the building against the war-rooms underground.

there is a room below that holds a chart about the number of casualties from various countries, and it makes you think long and hard about the way the world is evolving – and how we don’t seem to learn from past mistakes.