Sawadee Krung Thep

Posted on September 23, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We’re here! Well, to be accurate,we’ve been here two nights and
three-ish days now, but we’re still here; here being the marvellous,
mystical, magical and entirely homely city of Bangkok, more properly
known as Krung Thep. It’s currently 22:00, and we’re sitting in the
living room of family friends, listening to the warm rain sheeting out
of the sky. It’s calming.

We arrived to gray skies on Monday afternoon, having left Sunday
evening. The flight itself was pretty good, except Rachel’s movie
screen kept malfunctioning and BA kept us running on British time,
even down to serving us breakfast at 14:00 Bangkok time, just before
we landed. Having lived in Bangkok for a few years when a wee young
thing, I was unduly excited by landing at a new airport. Much cleaner,
much more nicely designed, and a lot further away from town compared
to Don Muang (now used for internal flights and freight). We should
have some pictures up of that later.

We were picked up by Khun Niwat, and driven (again through rain – it
is the start of the rainy season here) to our friends’ house. After a
tasty meal and some unpacking, we decided on a course of action for
the next day and went to sleep.

What we’ve done since then shall be written in slightly more shorthand
(Rachel reminds me that I’m tired and only have a finite time before I
collapse at the keyba;lkht.

What? Hmm? Right – on Tuesday we went into town with the intention of
walking me down memory lane. We went and had lunch at the rebuilt
department store that was at the top of the street we lived off, and
walked down the street itself (see the photographs above, which
include pictures of our apartment block and road signs :->). We went
down to the park at the bottom of the road where my mum used to go
jogging – it’s far cleaner than it was, and now includes monitor
lizards. Note for my immediate family: the picture of the lizard in
the water doesn’t show a monitor lizard swimming does it? Dad says
that would be impossible. It’s clearly standing on the bottom and
just..hovering (repetition of family in joke – ah, the troubles with
reading a blog).

After this, we mozied over to Jim Thompson’s House,
again newly refurbished and looking great, and also went by the
Bangkok Art & Culture center (this is where the picture of the large
bin comes in). After that, we stumbled (tiredly) homewards – jet lag
taking effect.

Today, we got up earlier and were more tired. As a note, this way
around jet lag means we should be asleep in the morning and awake deep
into the night. If you get up on time, you’re tired but if you force
yourself through a tiring day you shouldn’t have much trouble
sleeping. We decided to head to the world’s largest weekend market: Chatuchack.
It’s now partially open during weekdays. It was *supremely* hot this
morning though, and we only found rows after rows of closed shops and
plant sellers, so eventually stumbled back to the Sky Train/BTS
(another innovation in Bangkok – fast, modern public transport).

After a bite to eat, and a meander through some shopping malls, we
went down to the other end of the BTS and jumped on a river taxi up to
the the Grand Palace complex, where sits the Emerald Buddha. It’s an astounding,
humbling collection of buildings, even more so this time than when I
had visited when I was young. I’m sure Rachel can give you a better
first time impression of the place, but the peacefulness of the
building which houses the Emerald Buddha is all encompassing.

In the evening,, I walked us through another childhood memory – the
hotel formerly known as the Regent (now the Four Seasons), and the
adjacent Peninsular Plaza. Oddly enough, they smell the same now as
they do in my memory. We had some tea in the atrium at the Four
Seasons, and then jumped back on the BTS to head home.

So, it’s been a packed couple of days. Tomorrow we head out with
another local family friend for some more sightseeing before heading
up to Chiang Mai on Friday. Phew. Didn’t mean for this to be such a
long update. I’ll add pictures as I can to our Flickr pages, and hope
that the ones included here will give you a taste of life so far.
Speak again soon!

James

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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