Back to Bangkok

Trip Start Jan 13, 2006
Trip End Jan 29, 2006

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Monday, January 16, 2006

I was awake and alert with no sign of jet lag at 7am, but Karen and Ben managed to sleep until 9 or so, when we all trundled down to the Buddy Restaurant for a buffet breakfast. Ben was comical with his fear of the food (and ice), but we all managed to stuff our faces. I especially liked the shrimp curry and pandan rolls. While the two of them were getting ready for the day, I headed to the lobby to call our hotel in Pai (Belle Villa) for Tuesday night to confirm the reservation which I'd attempted to make online. This proved easier said than done, as it took help from 2 Thais from the front desk and approximately 20 tries before I could make the connection. When I did, the long distance call ate up the money so fast that I was disconnected before I could get my name out. I tried again, and managed to confirm my reservation while plugging 1 Baht coins into the phone every second. Phew!

We set out in the late morning for the Grand Palace. I was amazed and proud that I still knew the neighborhood and could find my way there without a map. En route we were saddled with a Thai "student" who had been walking the other way but suddenly turned around to chat up Karen when we passed. He was not a very good con artist... after feebly trying to tell us that the Grand Palace was closed (ha), he skulked off. We sweated our way around the Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha for a while, took lots of photos, and then made our way to Wat Pho and the giant reclining Buddha. I was reminded not only of my last visit, but also of the "Amazing Race" episode where teams had to drop coins in the offeratory buckets as is the local custom.

We decided to take the Chao Praya River Ferry back to Banglamphu instead of walking, and it was nice to relax and take in the scenery for a bit. There was a restaurant right by the ferry, so we took the opportunity to grab some lunch and a few Singhas before heading back to Khao San Road. The route back took us through some tiny alleys and up a staircase through a bar, but we made it back and spent the remainder of the afternoon by the pool on the roof of Buddy Lodge. The pool was a little sketch... the photos online and in the brochures made it look like a beautiful blue oasis in the middle of chaotic Bangkok, but in reality the water was dark green, and it looked like an algae-filled cess-pit. I refused to put my head under, and got freaked out when I thought an eel (or some other critter) brushed my leg.

We had dinner at a swank new place around the corner on Thanon Chakraphong; between our awesome waitress, some cute Swedes, and the good food and drink, it was a fun experience. We had to wake up insanely early on Tuesday to fly to Chiang Mai, so Ben & Karen bought small green & pink beach towels (with the inscription "Happiness is a Dream"), and we had a bucket of Sang Som at a bar on Khao San and checked out the scene (lots of drunk Europeans and some funny ladyboys) before calling it a night.
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