Our hearts, home and life are in Southeast Asia for the next five weeks. Our plans are not plans. We have a ticket to Bangkok and a flight leaving Bangkok. That’s all we know. For two hard driving sales people this is a big challenge. We plan, we execute. On this adventure we let things go, and check out our surroundings, we talk to people, learn and make adjustments. Come to think of it that is a solid sales trait as well.
Bangkok where we find beauty, the hustle of a big city and the peace of the Thai people.
The traffic here is intense and it only takes us one trip in a taxi to learn that the streets are not the place to be in a car. We learn the sky train and everywhere we go we find our way to and from on the train. Caroline is a transit genius and has taught me to appreciate public transit and how to understand systems all over the world.
We tour the Chao Phraya River in a classic long boat. Our skipper is proud of his brand new boat. It’s only one month old, with a powerful 6 cylinder engine. The boat is at least 50 feet long and holds about 15 people. Our driver skips us over the water through the middle of Bangkok. We see beautiful hotels like the Mandarin Orient, The Peninsula and the Lebau Tower where the movie Hangover II was filmed. We turn from the main river to a side channel which winds us deep into the underbelly of Bangkok. We see small ramshackle homes on the channel some with beautiful Orchids dripping from the decks right over the channel. Catfish boil in the water and giant lizards lounge lazily on the decks below the Orchids. In this back channel away from the city is where I see a hand painted sign.
“To do no wrong is to do nothing.”
We make mistakes. We have to move on.
On our way back to the train we walk by a brand new condo building with an open sign so being the real estate addicts that we are we pop in for a look. The materials are beautiful. Cool white marble floors and well crafted doors and windows. It’s small about 600 square feet with a small kitchen a nice bathroom and a great bedroom with views to the river or the city. The pool sat on the 18th floor and looked out over the city. Price tag was about $260,000 US or $9,000,000 Thai Baht. What do we think? How exciting to think what it would be like to live here for a few months a year. We decide if we are to do that renting is the best option. So fun to look so fun to dream so fun to stop before you make one of those mistakes we learned about.
On day two the heat intensifies and we jump the train back to the river to tour the temples riverside. This is the Wat Arun temple built in the 1700’s. Across the river we visit the Wat Pho temple which is an amazing campus of temples and tombs. Monks mix in with the tourists from all over the world especially China. The Chinese travel in groups, large groups and take over almost every tourist area. It becomes too much and we beat it away from the temples and to the comfort of the sky train.
Back to our neighborhood in Sukhumvit we find an hour long foot massage for 250 Baht or about $7. The foot massage is magic that finishes with a strong shoulder and back massage.
Day three we grow to love this city! The coffee is amazing and today we find the Siam Paragon mall. Every brand, every shop that you can imagine. In the basement much like Harrods in London is a gourmet grocery store with rows and rows of beautiful food, produce and like Harrods lunch counters serving champagne and caviar. We skip the caviar but enjoy a few nice glasses of champagne and seared tuna. Where are we?
There are many neighborhoods in Bangkok of course. We are staying on Sukhumvit which is a large thoroughfare through the city. The Sky Train hovers overheard and hums with efficiency. We like it here and love to explore the Sois which are streets that stream off Sukhumvit. On one side the even numbers on the other odd. Sois 2 and 4 are in the Nana district which is known as a red light district. Bars and foot massage parlors are the flavor of these Sois. We wander up 4 and over to 6 winding our way to 8. Each So has it’s own personality and it is so fun to find your favorite Soi. At night we head to Soi 11 which at first looks seedy. Then the restaurants, hotels and apartments appear and the vibe is fantastic. We sit at the bar at Oskar’s and enjoy a few drinks and soak up the local flavor.
Day four becomes night four for this story. As we explore doing something even if it is wrong. We head out for sunset at the Lebeau Sky Bar. Yes, Hangover II filmed a memorable scene here. The view is spectacular and the people are beautiful. The circle bar is 64 floors above Bangkok with the river winding through the city below.
They are serving Perrier-Jouët Champagne and it is amazing. Rick’s family name Jewett is from the French name Jouët. We are told the story of the Perrier and Jouët love affair. We laugh, drink champagne and imagine the year 1811 and being Jouët. We enjoy a bottle and a few more glasses as the sun sets and the music begins. By the time we get the bill it is enormous. We didn’t ask the price or look at the menu. If you have to ask you shouldn’t be here. Right? We learned the next night that there is a 400% import tax on wine in Thailand. “To do no wrong is to do nothing.” I don’t think we did anything wrong. Next time a glass not a bottle.
“One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.” This Murray Head song is stuck in our heads, and we had four nights in Bangkok. We may have more? The trip now shifts to Chiangmai, Thailand in the north. Stay tuned…More to come.