Bali Hai : Bangkok

Our arrival in Bangkok (GMT+7) signaled the bursting of our relaxing vacation bubble. We exited the airport to find a loquacious taxi driver who whisked us across town, far away from the airport (the airport is like Dulles, not really in the city) and past blinking lights on ghostly high rises in the distance. Lit car emblem mods and other showy LEDs winked at us from passing vehicles. The instructions in Thai that our hotel gave us for the cabbie got us most of the way there. A phone call got us the rest of the way. We hopped out of the cab onto the back street sidewalk, and entered the 15 foot wide hotel, tucked in between two other establishments like Harry’s safehouse in one of the later JK Rowling books.
20120407-072518.jpgAfter checking in to this egragarious French expat’s hotel (Hansaah) we found ourselves schlepping our luggage up four flights of stairs and collapsing in the well air-conditioned room with a large bed and small mattresses on the floor.

The following morning, we were treated to an amazing breakfast in the small cafe on the ground floor, the grey backdrop of Bangkok’s skyline spitting rain outside. We decided to put off our Klong River cruise until the next day, instead opting for Siam Paragon Mall. Let the consumerism begin!
Arriving at the mall a bit early, we watched people; beautiful Thai women, metro-sexual expats, people of slim shape and all sizes. Once inside, we made for the fabric stores, only to discover they weren’t yet open, so we wandered, getting our Starbucks fix and window-shopping. We enjoyed the scenery, the functioning escalators, and watched The Lorax in 3D in luxury. A spicy Thai dinner and we were set for the hotel again, having acquired new luggage for the journey home. Our faithful duffle of 15+ years blew a wheel, so new bags were in order.
The following morning, another fine breakfast, and a river cruise. The Klong River isn’t so much the canals of venice or the Seine of France, more of a maze of estuaries with residential docks backed up to it, and the occasional church and shop. Jean and I soaked up the local flavor, and the kids variously tasted and saw it, getting splashes in their eyes and mouth…yum.
Later, off to the Grand Palace after lunch at Au Bon Pain (oh how we’ve sunk…not as far as Mc Donald’s though), then back to the MALL. Wrath of the Titans in 3D IMAX. Umbrella shopping (despite Nepal having an insane monsoon rain season, the umbrellas here suck), gift shopping. Another spicy dinner. Ice cream. Everything we needed it to be.

Our R&R wound itself down on the last morning, our taxi stuffed to the bumpers with luggage and we poured out into the airport. Of course since this was the daily flight to Kathmandu from Bangkok, and spring break was winding down, we were treated to greetings from other Lincoln School families. We said good morning to the Principal, and palled around with our Danish neighbors. Lucas and his good friend swapped stories. The flight had individual TV screens, much to the delight of our children. We caught up on our western world entertainment, and descended into the valley, back home again.

Next year we’ll be in Zimbabwe and plan on doing Europe!

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