Bangkok, April 2012
Part III

After Part II

April 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Ariysomovilla Hotel is a small boutique hotel located near the top end of Sukhumvit Soi 1. It was converted from a 1940s home into a hotel about three years ago. The 4th floor suite has a walk-up bedroom. The place is but a 200 meter walk to or from Bumrungrad hospital.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Friends enjoy oysters and lobsters at the Rain Tree buffet in the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok.

PS: Also, desserts from the chocolate fountains.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eggs Benedict, Pate Foi Gras and Salmon Mousse with Caviar ... not a bad way to start the day.

PS: And, much better than North Korea's Kim Jong Un's morning just the other day.

PPS: From the Onion:

Trusted Sistine Chapel Janitor Convicted Of Sexually Abusing Last 4 Popes

VATICAN CITY—Bringing to a close a scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church and upset millions of its followers, trusted Sistine Chapel janitor Giuseppe Falduto, 78, was convicted Thursday of sexually abusing four popes between 1965 and 2011.

The widely publicized trial revealed that Falduto, well regarded and affectionately referred to as "Beppe" by Vatican City residents, had over a period of six decades frequently exploited his position to compel Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI to engage in unwanted sexual activity.

"The crimes committed by Mr. Falduto are of course shocking and deplorable," said Dean of the College of Cardinals Angelo Sodano, adding that he had never previously suspected "kindly old Beppe" of any wrongdoing. "But perhaps most upsetting is the fact that this man gained the trust of high-ranking church authorities and then betrayed that trust by secretly defiling innocent popes."

"These appalling acts caused tremendous psychological trauma for his victims, and we are currently reexamining our internal policies to safeguard the current and future papacy," Sodano continued. "Even one pope molested is one too many."

In June 2011, after receiving a tip about suspected pontiff abuse from a Vatican groundskeeper, police raided the Sistine Chapel and discovered hundreds of sexually explicit Polaroid images of popes in a shoe box Falduto kept under his cot in the basement.

Investigators confirmed the incriminating materials included distressing photographs of Pope John Paul II in his underwear lifting up his robe, Pope Paul VI engaged in sodomy, Pope John Paul I wearing sunglasses and posing nude in a beach chair, and a crying Pope Benedict XVI covered in semen.

Police also reportedly seized a garbage bag full of old miters apparently collected by the elderly janitor and kept hidden in a broom closet.

Richard Blevins, a psychologist and consultant to the International Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the decades-long cycle of sexual abuse likely would have continued if no one had reported the misconduct, because in most pope abuse cases it is often difficult for the Vicar of Christ and Successor to St. Peter to speak up about what has happened to him at the hands of a trusted adult.

"Many popes feel deeply ashamed and are afraid that if they try to talk about the abuse, no one will believe them," Blevins said. "It's important to keep an eye out for the common signs of papal molestation, such as the Holy Father avoiding direct eye contact while saying mass or becoming shy and withdrawn during an audience with foreign dignitaries."

Added Blevins, "I've talked to cardinals who say that in hindsight, there did always seem to be something wrong with each of the last four Popes whenever the janitor was mopping up nearby."

Despite physical evidence collected from the boiler room of the papal residence, the prosecution's case against Falduto hinged on Pope Benedict XVI's emotional testimony, during which he told the jury the custodian had on numerous occasions lured him downstairs with the promise of gifts such as original manuscripts of the Gospel of St. John or Mars candy bars.

Benedict described in graphic detail the molestations that occurred behind the Sistine Chapel altar, as well as Falduto urging His Holiness to touch and kiss his penis. The pontiff also said that he felt powerless, claiming the janitor threatened to tell everyone in the Catholic Church about what he had done.

Longtime coworker Salvatore Bianchi, 63, told reporters he never would have guessed Falduto was engaging in inappropriate acts.

"Old Beppe was a hardworking, reliable employee who put in long hours and appeared to really love his job," Bianchi said. "He usually stayed late enough that he'd still be there poking his head in the door whenever I was trying to give the pope his nightly bath."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Circle" is the name of a restaurant in Soi Ruam Rudee. Until yesterday I never really noticed the place's sign in the parking lot. But, on Wednesday there was a traffic snarl at the gate and I had to do a double-take on what I read.

PS: Yikes!

Friday, April 20, 2012 (Pre-journal)

PHUKET: — Phuket Governor Tri Akaradecha on Friday ordered that a complaint be filed with police against persons spreading rumours that doomsday will arrive in Phuket by April 28.

The rumours have been spreading like wildfire ever since a quake rocked Phuket on Monday causing panic among many locals. Several aftershocks have followed, with a tremor of 3.2 magnitude felt at 2am on Friday.

"Messages are have posted on Facebook and leaflets distributed warning people to evacuate Phuket by April 28," Phuket's disaster prevention and mitigation chief Wiroj Suwanwong told police.

He filed the complaint at the Mueang Phuket Police Station on behalf of Tri.

"We want to see fast action against the individuals who are spreading the rumours," Wiroj said. "Such actions are punishable by both a fine and a jail term".

Tri said he was ready to give up his post if Phuket were to really disappear from the world by April 28.

"Please have confidence in the authorities. Rumours are just rumours. Aftershocks will continue for seven more days but they won't cause any big shaking," Tri said.

Tambon Si Sunthorn Municipality mayor Worawut Songyos meanwhile disclosed that the quakes had damaged more than 170 houses in his area.

"The number of complaints from people keeps rising," he said.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Post Songkran finds Bangkok in a quiet and reflective mood, unlike our neighbors in Phuket.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Athenee Residence as seen from a soi next to the Okura hotel and from the Phloenchit SkyTrain station.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our newest neighbor, Park Ventures (also the home of the Bangkok Okura Hotel), has a close link with our closest SkyTrain station: Phloenchit.

PS: As a bonus Park Ventures also sports an "iStore".*

* Sort of.

PPS: I forgot about the sushi place.


Next: Part IV

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