Visiting old haunts and some new ones

Trip Start Jan 21, 2013
Trip End Apr 05, 2013

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Where I stayed
ballys studio suites
What I did
Saim Paragon, Emporium. Cocos walk

Flag of Thailand  , Krung Thep,
Monday, January 28, 2013

Well in the less than a week I have been here in Bangkok, I have stayed in 3 different places (two at the airport), the Saphaipae hostel in Silom and moved to Balleys Studios and Suites in Sukhumivut today.  I have gotten lost a few times and learned my lesson to ask a  kid in school uniform as they are all learning English and are shy to offer to speak it, but if you ask them a question they are glad to be able to answer and are very articulate.  A couple of memorable events, my first day I took the Lilac hotel shuttle bus to the airport and got the airport train to Thaya Phai to connect to the Bangkok train systems (BTS) as I was planning to scout out where I was moving to the next day (Saphaipae Hostel - Saphaipae in Thai means backpacker)。 THe directions i had written down were wrong for some reason as I thought the hostel was near Robminson store.  So I asked a caucasian guy on the street if he knew where RObinson store was and he didnt but since he knew some Thai, he asked the next person that came along.  She didn't either but she stopped another guy, with his young son, and the guy knew some English.  So we spoke and he was telling me where he thought I should turn etc. and then he said, "come with me" so I followed him and his son to his SUV, and they drove me to Robinsons (which turned out to be the wrong place!)  Anyway once we got to his very nice SUV, his son kind of relaxed and I could tell he knew what we were talking about so I asked him some questions.  The dad as far as I could tell owned a coffee shop.  So nice. I then said I figured I should just ask questions from the school kids and he agreed.
Anyway later on that afternoon, I needed further directions and asked someone in the throng of kids massing the streets after 3 p.m. and it turned out she was sbright and smart, she was finished grade 12 and planning to go to Buenos Aires to University in the fall!  I told I was there last winter so that gave us a connection and I joked that my Spanish was certainly better than my Thai, and we exchanged a few words in Spanish then! I happened to have a few Argentian pesos on me as I was trying to find an exchange place that would take them (no luck!) so I gave her 10 pesos and she gave me a Hungarian florint! as she had been there earlier this year.   She wanted my email address. which I gave her, as I was running of the skytrain we had both taken on my way to getting sorted out as to where I was.  Some of these instant connections are amazing and what really makes travel such a grear experience and to balance off some of the not so great experiences.
So I visited my old haunt Siam Paragon, looked at the cinemas, didn't go to any movie, but just thought it was teeming with more people than ever  before  and not so comfortable. I went to Emporium shopping mall which is near where I am staying now, and it is much less crowded and a flood of memories came back to me of the food court, cinema area, and the Thailand Center for Art and Design on the top floor.
A hightlight of my trip has been able to meet up with someone I met when I was here 6 years ago, Kim, from Texas, who is teaching in a school here.  She doesn't teach ESL anymore, but Home Ec and swimming etc. but lessons are in English.  We met up for dinner last night in a new area to me, Ratchathewi and a covered area known as Coco's Walk full of outdoor restaurants.  We shared 3 dishes of an amazing meal and I will upload a photo.   Today I need to get my picture taken for my CHinese visa.  Tomorrow Kim and I are going to try to meet for lunch as she has three days off work.  She has done some amazing trekking in Nepal and pictures are awesome.
I have booked my flight to Chiang Mai  (Feb 18 - 20th) and back to visit my cousin Barry and his wife Lek who live in Manitoba and who will be there then.  It will be such a treat to be able to stay with relatives while visiting this country! 
anyway it is January 31 now and I have to update this and send it off.  I have been preoccupied with trying to get my Visa to China - very trying indeed!  lots of hoops.  China has made it harder, as of this month, for people to get visas, go figure.  more on that later.
Every day I have an encounter or two with the locals who want to speak a little English.  A couple of days ago it was two pharmacists from Pattaya who were in town for meetings.  They worked for "Boost" pharmacy - the English one - and then it clicked, they meant 'Boots' and so I taught them how to place the 's' at the end, not before the 't' - see my ESL training is paying off haha.
Yesterday it was a woman on the BTS who started talking to me, she was all dressed up, about my age, with very spikey heels and she said she now works 7 days a week and no longer has time to travel now that she is no longer a full time mom!  I couldnt quite figure out who she worked for but think it is real estatel.
I bought a cheap Nokia cell phone mainly to keep  in touch with my dad and it is slick - i called him a couple of days ago and got right through - no more chasing phone booths with the right phone and instructions or fast disappearing internet cafes.  With WIFI and smartphones there is apparently less need for internet cafes.  Thank heavens for my tablet and IPod.   On my cell though I now get a Thai recording when I try to dial a local number (a travel agency to help with my visa letter of invitation) and of course not sure what it says but it may be I need phone card topped up.
I had lunch with Kim on MOnday at Siam paragon mall at Subway.  A treat to be offered whole wheat!  Found on Kims advice a great supermarket at Central World that sells all kinds of different breads.  She has a US friend coming in this weekend and so plan to meet up for dinner on Sat. night. It is sure nice having a contact here.  well better mail this off or it will be a perpetual work in progress!
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Cleo Prellwitz on

Linda, you never cease to amaze me with the people you manage to connect with! Keep safe, and keep well.

Paul Reddy on

Hey Linda. My last day of work here today. Heading to Yuma, Arizona on Tuesday. It was minus 53 here yesterday with the windchill. Going to St. John's , NL in April for a week (will be taking in the LC concert while I am there.

dianne sjoberg on

So glad you made it safely Linda ! You could write a travel book I'm sure.

The climate there must be a drastic change from our Sask winter weather.

Enjoy ! Send us a little heat !! d


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