Work went well in BKK. This time I did not lose my voice from talking all day. Should learn how to speak from abdomen, less strain on the vocal cords.
Dear husband flew in to join me last Friday. I checked out of Sofitelus horriblus, but not before eating a a most dreadful and overpriced lunch at their Vietnamese restaurant Le Danang. The F&B outlets at this hotel are quite dire, besides Le Danang, the Chinese restaurant and Japanese restaurants are just as bad. The only good meal we enjoyed was the Thai place Suan Bua. Will upload photo later.
We checked into the Ascott Sathorn, a shiny new serviced residence, all glossy and shiny with marble and granite. Huge bathroom, sitting room, kitchen and dining room plus utility room for washing machine. Duvet, yes, hard pillow no. It is not really that near the BTS, but taxis are plentiful so we usually taxied to the nearest station which is Choo Nongsi.
Moona the massage therapist at the Centara (at Sofitel) spa was very wise, she said the locals cope with the bad traffic by planning their journey ahead, and they adopt a Buddhist philosophy of not getting too upset with things they cannot change.
The taxi actually can function as a little sitting room on wheels. We conducted quite a bit of our holiday in the car.
umami: Where are we eating dinner tonight?
husband: Sirocco. It is a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the city.
umami: The guide book says the only good thing to eat is the steak and dessert buffet. I can't fill my stomach by eating the view. Let's go somewhere else.
(Husband then calls up alternative #2, he knows my flippant nature and came prepared with a long list of hot new places.)
While flipping through guide book for Hong Kong tourists (better than Lonely Planet IMO)
umami: Oh look I can have my teeth whitened.
(Husband calls the Dental Hospital and makes appointment. Their treatment is less than half the price quoted by my Singapore dentist. My teeth is now whiter by 6 shades)
umami: Massage tonight dear?
(Husband calls Body Tune and makes appointment. Scene repeated almost nightly. It is next to the Sala Daeng Skytrain station. The therapists there did a wonderful job aligning my spine and loosening the tight knots in my shoulders. Functional, clean teak and bamboo cubicles, very reasonable prices e.g. 550 baht for 2 hours)
umami: What are we doing tomorrow?
Husband: Lunch at the best Italian restaurant in town. Gianni's. Must wear long-sleeve shirt and tie.
umami: I don't have a tie. Let's go wash our hair instead. Have facial. manicure. Pedicure.
(The nail place at Central is equipped with massage chairs and inbuilt foot basin. And personal VCD player to view movies. Better than pretentious Italian restaurant right?)
That seems about it. Bangkok is great for a short break of shopping, eating and self-pampering. The shopping malls,for example, are all linked to the Skytrain stations so there is no excuse not to shop really. But better bargains are found at Chatuchak and Suan Lum night bazaar. My colleagues love MahBoonKrong too, where they bought up three years' supply of bras, yes, bras are very cheap in Bangkok in case you don't know.
The city itself, well, I have to say it is quite the ugly one with its unstructured town planning, hoardings and untidy tangles of electricity cables.The air is also heavily polluted so all the best things to do are indoors. At the Suan Lum night bazaar we sat outdoors; while we ate I was myself dinner for blooducking mosquitoes.
Bangkok is a city of many contrasts. Many Mercedez with drivers and sleek rich people inside. The more senior men wear four-pocketed short sleeve shirts, their female counterparts wear armour of stiff silk suits and poufy big hair. While street vendors crisscross the heavy traffic and wear weatherbeaten, resigned faces. A meal can be had for 30 baht or 3000 baht per person.
Everyone so polite and gracious, it made me feel quite a clumsy clod sometimes. Sawadeeka and gentle smiles everywhere we went. The guards in the hotel even salutes when he sees us. At the nail salon, husband was sitting in the waiting area while my nail polish was drying. All the girls that went past him bowed their heads and walked in a deferential manner in front of him. Men get better treatment, definitely.
The society also seems more permissive. Gay men walk about openly like in San Francisco. Male-turned-females and cross dressers flaunt their extravagant makeup and gesture dramatically in shopping malls. Foreign men walking about with girls half their age. Nothing seems impossible, or improbable here.
Isn't it a good thing Bangkok is only a 1 hour 40 minute plane ride away?