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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Bangkok Part 1

April 23: We head to Victory Monument to find the Mini buses to Hua Hin. We will spend a couple of days in Hua Hin, a beach resort, before leaving Thailand. We have trouble locating the bus but we ask enough people and eventually find our way. By then it is so hot (100 degrees) and humid we cancel the rest of our plans and head home to cool off.

April 22:  We walk around the neighborhood and then eat brunch at Spanish on 4 for all you can eat tapas. Delicious!

April 21:  We are on our way to Sukhumvit.  We change skytrains at Siam and see the great ad on the roof of a building for Halls. Mr Strawberry and Mr Lime move the lady’s mouth up and down. Ohhhhh city life. We exit the skytrain at Asoke to walk Soi 23 of Sukhumvit. This part of Bangkok is made for farangs (generic Thai word for someone of European ancestry, no matter where they may come from.)  The area is so tame we decide to head back home.

April 20:  Gary’s Asus Transformer Prime tablet has arrived. He spends the day learning it’s ins and outs.

April 19: Chinatown  We are wandering around the many alleys of Chinatown, full of frenetic activity. Business no matter how small or large is on the move. The alleys can’t accommodate a car so motorcycle or dollies are the means of transporting rice, shoes, tape, mushrooms, dried squid, cashews, you name it and they are bringing it in to sell.

April 18:  I wanted to visit the area around the Siam skytrain stop. The stop had an exit that went right into the Siam Paragon Mall.  The basement is the aquarium which was very nicely done. By 1 PM we were hungry but didn’t want a food court. The lady at the information booth directed us to Manna for good Thai food.  The food was very good, reasonably priced and they make a WONDERFUL Mai Tai. We then discovered the Gourmet Market and found our Jiffy extra crispy peanut butter.

April 17: We took the skytrain to Jim Thompson’s House. He devoted himself to reviving the the cottage industry of hand weaving silk and gave Thai silk worldwide recognition. His home is the combination of 6 ancient teak Thai homes dismantled in the Ayutthaya area of Thailand and moved them to Bangkok. His house is next to the San Sap canal so we caught the canal taxi to the Golden Mount. Thank goodness the steps were only 4 inches high but it took too much effort on a hot and muggy day for me to take the steps two at a time. The view at the top was wonderful. We were hit up by a Thai gangster. A gangster: speaks English very well, usually says he has a relative living in the USA, will say some attraction is only open today and is trying to convince you to take his recommendation - in this case, take a tuk tuk to several temples. We believe he is working with the tuk tuk drivers to drum up business. Mai Ow Ka (I don’t want)

Imagine our surprise when we went to thaw our salmon and discovered it was a TV dinner. Haven’t had a TV dinner since we had kids at home.

April 16:  We took the Ferry from the Central Pier to Pier #8 and then caught the Ferry across the river to Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn. It is a beautiful temple and is the most elegant landmark  n Thailand.  However you take your life in your hands when you climb the steps to get to the upper levels. The risers seemed to be 12 inches high and the tread was only 5 inches wide. Thank goodness for the handrail!!!  We then made our way to the flower market. Many of the flowers are used for temple offerings.

April 14: Happy Birthday Gary.  We celebrated with the young Thais (under 30) at the Songkran Festival.  Songkran is the Thai traditional New Year. The streets of Bangkok are basically closed down for Thais to roam the streets with water guns of various sizes, buckets of water and dishes of a watered down gray/brown paste (makeup used by the Burma ladies) which is applied to other people as they walk. The fire departments hoses are even used to spray the crowds. Music could be heard from every alley which really got going after dusk. Even with the large crowds it was very tame (again we went during the daytime).

April 9:  Big Adventure Day. We caught the skytrain to On Nut. A big Tesco (like a super WalMart) store is there. We then flag down the 511 bus. All we can tell the conductor is our destination is “Ancient City”.  We are are on the bus for what seems like 30 minutes and then the bus makes a stop. She is waving at us and pointing to a mini bus and saying “Ancient City”. The mini bus is a flat bed truck converted with seats and a roof.  It does not leave until it is packed full of travelers.  We are on this bus for awhile. A gentleman on the bus tells us where to get off - thank goodness for nice people.

“Ancient City is the reflection of the old-day cities, bringing the Thai back to touch and feel the ancient Siam Kingdom” with full sized replicas of temples, market towns, and gardens.  It truly is amazing to see the craftsmanship, the variety of cultures and the harmonious environment in which it has been placed. Ancient City is on 240 acres, (if I did the conversion correctly). Walking is out of the question. We get bicycles. I know, I know ... We haven’t ridden for 30 years but it works out well. Thank goodness it was flat as the temperature is 93 degrees and plenty of humidity. We only see a fraction of the park during our 2 1/2 hour stay. We are tired and sweat soaked by the time we leave.

April 8: Happy Easter  Our Sunday brunch was at King Kong, a Japanese restaurant.  The middle of the table has a circular hole to place charcoal grill. We ordered several different kinds of meat and salmon and shrimp (the shrimp was very messy to get at - we won’t do that again.)  We flavored our soy sauce with garlic, chilies and lime juice. It was yummy. All you can eat for $15 per person. We will be back.

April 7:  We walked to Lumphini Park not far from the apartment. It is a lovely park. I had read about the Komodo dragons that roam the park and we found a huge one and a tiny one.

April 6: Good Friday  We had a big lunch at Spanish on 4 On Patpong 2 road. It is a Tapas restaurant - delicious. We stayed close to home as it is a holiday.

April 5: I had a one hour Thai massage for 5 bucks.

April 4:  We had lunch at the Beirut Restaurant just up the street.  The food was very good if you like Middle Eastern cuisine. The Greek salad was especially good. That salad always reminds me of Heidi and Steve and our sailing trip through the Greek Islands.  Gary went to the grocery store and was propositioned twice for sex. See what happens when I’m not around?

April 3:  We are back to Pan Tip Plaza to price out the top 3 computer tablets. We then hop a tuk tuk to get to a restaurant I saw on Trip Advisor. The restaurant was not worth the rave reviews it received on the Internet.  Guess I will have to set the story straight.  We then went hunting for DMC floss for my cross stitch. We finally found a store and they had a glorious selection. I have their business card so I can find them again.

April 2:  I started my water aerobic program in the apartment pool.  The water is cooler and in the shade in the mornings. I remember enough to get a good workout.  We had dentist appointments for the afternoon for teeth cleaning. Gary had a cracked filling so that was repaired as well all for $133.

April 1:  Sunday is a big day for Buffets at the hotels. I convinced Gary we should try one. We walked from the BTS station (skytrain) to the Shangri-La Hotel on the Chao Phraya River. We sat outside by the river (it was muggy but we handled it quite well). After brunch we walked up to the Royal Orchid Sheraton.  Along the way we visited a temple collecting money for cattle purchased from a farmer. Each cow costs $533. If enough money is collected, the cows won’t be killed for their meat but sent to another farm where they will get a second life. I feel good about that. Gary takes another dip in the pool once we get to the apartment and I finish reading The 6th Man by David Baldaccci - very good.

March 31:    We head out early to the weekend market at Chatuchak. We are just out to enjoy the Entrepreneurial spirit the market has to offer.  It has changed from 14 years ago.  Now it’s everyday items that anyone might need. Before it was unusual Thai items.  We are a little disappointed but still enjoy the outing. It is like a sauna walking thru the tin roofed buildings. By 11:30 we’ve run out of steam.  We get back to our neighborhood for a Thai lunch and then it’s back to the apartment and jump into the pool right outside our sliding glass door. The afternoon is spent reading and surfing (the Internet) and watching the rain.  Bela and I have made friends.

March 30:  We move in. The cats are unsure of our presence or missing Servio and Cassie.  After I unpack we have a very late lunch. Salt crusted fish over a charcoal fire. The fish pieces are wrapped in lettuce leaves along with a hot sauce, basil leaves and vermicelli noodles. It was very yummy. We they head to the grocery store. Our refrigerator is very small and the cooking possibilities are limited. We only have two burners and zero oven. We mostly purchase snack kinds of food since the street vendors can supply the rest. Bela tries a couple of times to jump into bed with me during the night.

March 29:  The four of us take a taxi to Kao San Rd. Everything is sold along this road as there are many hostels close by. We visited the temple at the end of the street.  We ate lunch at the Shamrock restaurant - more great Thai food.

March 28:  We wake up and it’s 11 am!! We missed the hotel breakfast so we get street food from one of the vendors on the street. Udon Noodle soup and ice tea for both of us for $3 - I can dig this! We take the BTS (Sky train) to Ratchathewi and walk to Pan Tip Plaza. The building is 5 levels of electronic equipment. We stop for an A&W root beer - it has that frosty mug taste. On our way home we stop at a printing shop to order for 100 Wanderlust business cards for $16 - yes! And then I get my hair cut for $10 - double yes!  We meet Servio and Cassie for dinner at their favorite seafood place. It’s located in an alley. The food was out of this world! We had squid with garlic, clams in a tamarind chili sauce, Som Tum (green papaya salad), dried pork, chicken fried rice and a whole king fish. We will definitely be back.

March 27:  Our flight into Bangkok was a long one - definite jet lag. We meet Servio and Cassie and their kitties. They are wonderful people. They take us on a quick walk around the neighborhood to get our bearings. We then exchange euros for Baht, print and scan a document at the Kodak store and buy water (not safe to drink the water from the faucet) at 7-11. We meet up with Servio for dinner which was very good. After dinner we walk the night market and Gary & I find a pair of sandals for our hot feet.

March 26:  We are arrive at the Pyla bus stop to get the bus into Larnaka. We wait and we wait and finally we ask another person waiting for the bus “Where is the bus?” Well guess what? Yesterday was “daylight saving” time change. We have missed the bus and so need to wait for the next one - 2 hours later!!!  Thank goodness we are not in a rush. Everything works out fine. We get to the airport with plenty of time. We change planes in Bahrain.

Ancient City