We went down to the buffet breakfast, which is included with our room. It was pretty good -- they have both Western and Thai dishes. We checked our email (didn't post because we had nothing to say yet) -- there's an internet cafe across from our hotel, luckily. After that we hung around the hotel for a little while, had lunch at the hotel restaurant (another buffet, very tasty), and got ready to go out.
We went to the Palace and its attached wat (a Buddhist temple). The Palace was built in the 1700s by a King who decided the last palace wasn't good enough. We got pretty lost on the way there, and were broiling in the heat, so we stopped in 7-11 a couple times to cool down in the air conditioning. Finally, we made it! The Palace/wat has a pretty specific dress code (long pants or skirts, closed toe/heel shoes, shirts that cover your shoulders), but we had prepared in advance.
The place itself was really awesome. It has these huge buildings and spires and such that are covered with gold and colored stuff. There were some really awesome murals all over the place, as well as sculptures of lions and Buddhist images. Inside the wat is the "Emerald Buddha," which is actually made out of jade (a really really big piece of jade!). The Buddha is at the top of a very complicated golden altar, and the rest of the room is covered with murals depicting Buddhist legends.
We didn't linger too long, because we were baking in the heat and about to die of heat exhaustion, but I took a lot of pictures! We grabbed a taxi back to the hotel and paid way too much (think of it as a lesson in bargaining -- next time someone tells us it will be 150, we should respond with "10" instead of "75"), but at least it was air conditioned.
We stopped by 7-11 (there are like a million 7-11s here -- sometimes there will be two across the street from each other!) for some soda and ice cream, then went back to the hotel.
After our brief foray into the heat of Thailand, we decided to stay in the rest of the day (it was around 4pm). Luckily, we have a choice of about 3 TV stations in English (as opposed to 1 in Beijing), so we watched TV and sat around. In our extreme laziness (and feeling like we were in the lap of luxury with a nice shower, soft beds, and air conditioning), we ordered room service for dinner (which was actually cheap, like less than $2 per dish). Unable to stay awake, we went to sleep around 10, and slept until 8 this morning.
Our plan for today is to make it to the National Museum, which is supposed to be the biggest museum in SE Asia. Here's hoping we don't get lost on the way to this one!