Our last few weeks in Bangkok, January 2016, part 2

  Fiercely and I went to a wonderful half-day Thai cooking class. We started out at the market with our instructor, who showed us Thai herbs and other ingredients. Here is lemongrass:

  And cilantro and Thai basil: 
Next, we went to their adorable classroom building. 

    
 We made coconut cream and coconut milk. She showed us a special stool with a type of coconut grater on one end. We squeezed the grated coconut meat with water to make the milk. After standing for a while, the cream separates on top, just like it does with cow’s milk. 

    
 The rest of the day we cut veggies and cooked on gas stove tips. We made five dishes, including mango sticky rice for dessert! 

    
    
This is a green curry (right)and the dessert:

 
Koh Larn

We went back to the island for more snorkeling. It was just as nice the second time, but it was relatively cold and windy. The water was nice and warm but it was downright chilly getting out! We had a great time. Those are the twins in the foreground:

    
We rented motorbikes again and explored some areas that were new to us. It really is a nice getaway, and so close- under four hours from our apartment to the island beach. That includes the 40-minute ferry ride and everything!

  
 

Biking We spent a day on rented bikes at the “lung of Bangkok”. I loved it so much I wrote a separate post about it to help others find and enjoy the place! Relatedly, we went for a THIRD time on the Bangkok bike tour with GoBangkok. It is just such a great way to spend a day and it never gets old. There’s Really in the center wearing bike helmet in Chinatown market:

  

There’s Truly and Cleverly, also in helmets:

  
  

Here’s a lady with her baby in backseat basket who inadvertently joined our little bike parade for a block or so:

  

The gorgeous Wat Arun:

  
Here’s a decorated Bodhi tree ficus religiosa believed to be the species under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment. Large ones are often decorated with fabric.

 This one happened to have a shrine at the base as well. You can see a picture of the king at top left,  lots of flower garlands, a Thai flag at center, and offerings of drinks to the Buddha (complete with straws!) at bottom center:

 

Other than moving out of our apartment and finding the right bus station, that’s about it for Bangkok. We’re sad to go, but excited for our next stop- Myanmar!

Some random notes that didn’t fit anywhere else:

 Thais stop what they are doing and freeze in place at 6pm in train stations for a playing of their national anthem.

We heard of this and saw it in our last weeks in Thailand: the child angel phenomenon. Adults are buying dolls and treating them like babies or deities, buying them food in restaurants and airplane tickets, for good luck. It caught our attention at the subway.

3rd gender: Thailand has a noticeable number of transsexuals, known as ‘kathoeys’. They seem unremarkable in day-to-day life and we often saw male-to-female ones working in shops and restaurants as women. Thais don’t seem to give them a second look.

Orange robed monks: they are all over Thailand. When we got to Myanmar, the monks wore scarlet colored robes.