Colours of Barranco

The bike tour from the day before opened my eyes to the Bohemian district of Barranco. While most parts of Lima look dull and grey, and Miraflores and San Isidro are well-manicured and modern, it’s Barranco that carries the labels of Bohemian, artsy and old-worldly.

The district has been preserved, mostly by the artistic community, not to the glossy levels of its upmarket neighbours, but in the most charming manner in its riot of colours. I had pre-conceived notions of what South America should look like, and Barranco satisfied some of them. I’ve also noticed that there is a concerted effort to make some of the districts safer, especially for tourists – there are information kiosks in a number of street corners, and quite a few tourism police keeping an eye on everyone. The results have been great for me – I’ve been able to walk on streets, camera in hand, without facing any trouble so far.

Enjoy!

I lunched at La Bodega Verde, close to the Puenta de Los Suspiros – a happy meal of quinoa burger with hummus. Seriously, I am now in love with quinoa.

I was lured into the MATE museum, that houses the photographs of Mario Testino. He is a world renowned Peruvian photographer, and I was fascinated by his work. I had bought a combination ticket to 3 museums, but the other 2 (Pedro de Osma & MAC) did not hold the same attraction for me, as one has a collection of religious art, and the other is contemporary, but I could understand neither. Still, the walk was fun. Gotta go back into Barranco in the evening to get a glimpse of all the colours of the night.

Advertisements

Walk through Ko Ratanakosin

A very interesting walk to see the major sights of Bangkok. We followed the Lonely Planet walking tour, taking the river taxi, and starting our walk at the Silpakorn University, past Wat Mahathat, through the Amulet market, to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. It was a good thing we hadn’t seen pictures of the Grand Palace, because the visuals were absolutely spectacular! I suppose it flouted all rules of art & architecture, but it kept us agape for the entire duration.

Personally I think it would better suit a Bollywood movie set than a Buddhist temple, but entertaining all the same.

 

Walking past Wat Mahathat

Name your lucky colour!

Guarantee your luck with an amulet 🙂

Wat Phra Kaew

 

An eye for detail

 

Taking 'ornate' to an entirely different level

The Grand Palace

 

An extravaganza!


The glory of Buddha

Magnificient idols of Buddha, many with their personal histories, made for a grand view of the ‘other’ side of Bangkok – away from the malls and markets. The touts did their best to drive us away to the ‘gemstones’ but the real gems were here.

Wat Traimit: Buddha in solid gold. The Wat is surprisingly boring for such a stunning idol - the grey marble building looked like cement from a distance!

 

 

 

Wat Phra Kaew: Emerald Buddha (actually carved in Jade). This Wat was so ornate all over the interior and exterior, you could be forgiven for missing the Buddha inside. Here the idol is in winter clothes.

 

Wat Pho: Reclining Buddha; my favourite of all the idols I saw. The flowers didn't need to be there.

Wat Pho: The size of the Wat housing this Buddha is disproportionately small, and it's impossible to appreciate the size and pose of the statue.

Chatuchak market selection: In every colour imaginable!

 

Boggled in Bangkok

Our holiday of the month was in Bangkok. After the first day of foul, humid weather, and some light drizzle, it seemed like an aircon was turned on, and we got out on our Friday morning excursion to heavenly coolness that stayed put for the rest of our stay.

I have always associated Bangkok with ‘dealer conferences’ and, being a snob, was never been tempted to visit. This time, we went to meet Krishna, hang out in cafes, enjoy spicy Thai food, and catch a few sights. Managed all, and a bonus foot massage as well, and had a jolly good time.

Our Lonely Planet cautioned us about touts at the pagodas, who would ‘helpfully’ inform us that a Wat would be shut on that day, and our time would be better spent shopping for gems. We were prepared. And approached by at least half a dozen of them! They all seemed so friendly and helpful, approaching map-toting tourists like us, and give the same spiel. One of them posed as a ‘tourism authority’ and even gave us free advice on what all we could see with one ticket, except that the monks were beginning a long fast on that day, so the wat would be shut in the afternoon, and a tuktuk could take us to see something else, conveniently located near a (what else!) reliable gems shop! There were many who pointed us in the wrong direction, for no reason ‘wat’soever, without even being solicited for help. Finally, we decided to only rely on other tourists for help, and managed quite well. After that, every plan we made we put off by saying – “Oh, that place closed today; buy gems instead” – a great source of amusement!

We did a couple of walking tours, starting with Chinatown. Typically, each frame contained all primary and secondary colours. My only regret was that we did not head to Chinatown at night to see the madness, though we wanted too. Guess that’s a good reason to head back for another visit.

One of the joys of Bangkok nightlife for us was the live bands. Krishna picked out some restaurants with good live music, and reliably great Thai food including veggie options. One of the places he chose was called Cabbages and Condoms (a public service outfit) that was also recommended by Lonely Planet. The decor seemed to focus way more on condoms than cabbages :-), but the food was lovely and so was the ambience.

Street food was everywhere, and I could have none of it (all meat, you see!), except fruit, though Souvik enjoyed himself.

For the bizarre in the bazaar, we headed to Chatuchak weekend market, and it didn’t disappoint!