Bangkok first day

Trip Start Jan 28, 2013
Trip End Mar 02, 2013

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hard to describe how I feel about the first day here in Bangkok ....

We met the Warrens for breakfast around 8:30. Good breakfast buffet, lots of choices and excellent fruits! My plan for the day was that I wanted to go to the Indian market near Chinatown to see if I can find the fabric and get myself an Indian sari dress. Then get an authentic Thai massage at the famous Wat Pho. So Bob, Ira, and I set out to do all this around 11:30am. Fran could not deal with the air pollution here, so she stayed in the hotel.

We took the nice Peninsula boat across the river to the Oriental boat dock. Then walked a couple of minutes to the ATM machine to get some cash (our hotel does not have an ATM machine). Then we walked back to the boat dock to take the public river taxi to the "N5" stop, which was the Chinatown stop. That public river taxi experience was pretty awful, can be compared with my bus experience in China 35 years ago! It was CROWDED! People were squeezed together like sardins. And the weather was HOT! When the boat approached and left the dock, it spewed out dark smelly smokes, ugh! The scene along the river was depressing .... some horrible huts lined the river bank. The water in the river was quite filthy.

It was a short boat ride but it felt LONG! We got off at the China town stop, then walked along the narrow sidewalks crammed with stores and food carts and tables. The food smelled good, even though I would not think of eating there. We kind of pushed our way through the streets, stepping into air-conditioned stores to ask for directions to the Indian market. Finally we got to the Indian market. There was a 4-story building called the Indian Emporium and we were told that's where they sell fabric and can have dresses made. The 2 boys followed me in and we wondered around for a long time, very disappointing! Most of the sari stuff there was very cheap and junky. I was about to walk out empty-handed, until I went into the last store just to have a look. And that's where I actually found something I liked, and the lady owner seemed very nice. Any way, I coughed up $220 and the dress is being made for me - will pick it up on Thursday. Enough said about that!

After the Indian market, we got into a taxi to go to Wat Pho. I tried to get into 2 empty taxies, but they would not take us. Then Bob approached one which took us. Go figure! I don't like this place!!

Traffic was SO BAD. The taxi could hardly move. It was the same as I remembered back in 2000. But we finally got to Wat Pho. After buying the tickets into the Wat, and walking all the way to the back, we found the massage place. There was a waiting line - there were the choices of body massage and foot massage, 30 minutes or an hour. There were 2 big rooms with individual beds side by side for the body massage (they DO change the sheets after each person or I would not have done it). We chose the hour-long body massage, which was very very nice! Bob and I may do it again on Thursday if we are in that area. Wat Pho is next to the palace where we will go on Thursday. We've seen the palace, so we may not do it again and will do the massage instead.

Wat Pho was close to the river, so after the massage we walked to the dock to take the river taxi, which was the quickest way back. Oh boy! That taxi again! Even worse than the morning! I swear to god I would never ever take that taxi again!! I felt so relieved when it finally got to the Oriental boat dock, and we got into the Peninsula boat! And the shower back in the room never felt SO GOOD!

Lucy got the recommendation for the dinner buffet at the Oriental hotel, and that's what we did tonight. The buffet did live up to its reputation. We sat by the river. The weather had cooled off quite a bit. In darkness, with the lights from the boats and buildings, Bangkok looked quite beautiful, very different from the day time ....

It'll be short night tonight - need to leave for the tiger temple at the horrible hour of 4:30am! We told the hotel to pack box breakfast for all of us. We need to get up before 4am ....

I did not take many pictures today. I could have taken some street scenes, but it was too hot and I was absolutely not in the mood.

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