April 8-12, 2007
We are back home in Bangkok. We flew from Miami to London on Friday night. After spending about 10 hours in London we flew on to Bangkok. Due to the 11 hour time shift I woke up at 3 AM this morning ..... OK, I went to bed last night at 9 PM so I only have myself to blame.
The British Airways lounge in London is one of the best in the world. It used to be the Concorde lounge before the plane was put into mothballs ... but, it still has its name. The dining room offers complimentary meals.
The long flight from London to Bangkok was uneventful (we did not crash).
Once we reached River Garden we ordered up soi food for dinner.
Last night I unzipped both our Bangkok cars (S and SLK) from their protective coverings. Both started perfectly. I don't have a trickle charger for them (unlike what I have on the SL), as our house keeper starts them once a week while we are gone.
Right now I am killing time until the Shangri La hotel opens for breakfast. As we live right next door to the Shangri La it is more convenient than going to the market. (Yes, we had nothing in the fridge but cheese.)
And in just 5 more days Songkran starts. My very best holiday!
A very heavy rainstorm swept across Bangkok at a little after 12 noon.
PS: A night shot of the Athenee Residence:
My friend, Dan, from Shanghai and Taipei sent this cute piece from Japan.
ONLY IN JAPAN
PS: After Sunday's soi food we went off Thai at the Next2 in the neighboring Shangri-La hotel. Everybody had a little something from everywhere.
PPS: This afternoon I drove over to the Athenee Residence. IT HAS TAKEN ON BULK.
A warning from my minder:
A small explosive device was detonated at approximately 11:30 PM on April 9th in front of the Major Cineplex near the intersection of Phahon Yothin Rd and Ratchada Phisek Rd in Bangkok. No one was hurt in the explosion, which caused minor property damage.
Thailand will celebrate the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran) from April 13 to 17, 2007. While the Embassy has no evidence of any specific threats during the Songkran celebrations, Thai officials have previously warned of the possibility of increased attacks during holidays and other special occasions. A series of explosions rocked Bangkok on New Year's Eve 2006, and two grenades were fired at the offices of a local newspaper along Vipayadee Rangsit Road in northern Bangkok and a nearby hotel car park on January 30, 2007.
An integral part of the Songkran holiday celebration involves throwing or squirting water, sometimes mixed with powder, on cars and pedestrians. This, combined with increased traffic, is likely to bring about a marked increase in traffic accidents throughout Thailand, especially those that involve motorcycles and pedestrians. Water-related Songkran festivities, increased holiday traffic, and large crowds of revelers are also often exploited by pickpockets and other scam artists. We urge all Americans to be extra cautious in public places and to pay particular attention to road safety during this holiday period.
Worldwide, the Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas, but does not have any specific information indicating an increase risk to Americans in Thailand. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.
On April 9, 2007, the Department of State issued an updated Worldwide Public Announcement with regard to the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against Americans and interests overseas. The worldwide public announcement can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1161.html
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at ACSBKK@State.gov. For additional information, please refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” found at http://travel.state.gov
Last night we took Watcharee's uncle to the Shang Palace in the Shangri-La hotel. Each of us had a different soup (fish maw, pork, shark fin). Then we shared a Peking Duck (*). Watcharee's uncle had never tasted any of the items.
(*) Technically and historicaly, the skin of Peking Duck is served with a little meat on it (a). However, in Shanghai and in parts to the south the skin is served alone. The meatless skin version is the one found in most Chinese restaurants around the world (b).
(a) Peking Duck originated in Beijing long before the new transliteration of the Chinese capital took place.
(b) However, China House at The Oriental hotel serves the duck according to the original receipe.
Last night the four of us went to Salathip, the Thai restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel. We are always treaded with special dishes because the head chef knew Watcharee and Pom from her days at The Oriental hotel.
PS: After dinner we passed a do-it-yourself "barber college". These women cut hair on the street in the evening for free so that they can put this on their resume when applying for a job at a traditional hair salon. Notice the newspaper that is placed on her client's shoulder to protect his shirt.
Next: Part II