One Night In Bangkok

5 Mar


(I had no idea this song was about chess. WTH?)

 As a person, I like to think I’m sorta well-traveled. I’ve seen a lot of the world, thanks to my parents. I’ve also seen the insides of a lot of airports. We mostly travel space-available in my family, since Mom’s a flight attendant. If there are empty seats, we can get on at a reduced fare. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it fails spectacularly.

My flights to and from Sydney were relatively painless. After a while of crossing the Pacific on a semi-regular basis, anything less than a 15 hour flight is a non-issue. (What do you mean, I can’t sleep for 10 hours and still watch two movies?) No, what really instils fear in the heart of an SA is the dreaded connecting flights.

I saw a lot of the inside (and outside!) of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. You see, Thai Airways only has one flight to Chengdu a day. I managed to pick a week when the flights were full. No empty seats, no SA’s. The Space Available Gods giveth and they taketh.

I can think of a few worse places to be stuck for five days though.

Despite the uncertain nature of my stay in Bangkok, I had a really good time. My first morning at the airport, I ran into some other SA’s, a pair of flight attendants also from United on vacation, who actually knew Mom. Small world, huh? They gave me a couple of hotel recommendations, before hustling off to another airline in hopes of connecting to Laos, their final destination.

I did not get on my flight. I got a room at the Chaba Hotel for the night, and headed into downtown Bangkok for the afternoon, despite the disapproval of the hotel staff of a young girl going out on her own. For the record, I was not carrying my passport, and only had a thousand baht or so on me, tucked into my shorts pockets underneath my dress. I’m not stupid.

The Grand Palace, from the outside.

My first night was spent wandering around the old district of Bangkok. The Grand Palace had already closed by then, but I took the water ferry along the Chao Praya River. The water ferry is the best way to get around Bangkok and probably the fastest, given the stewing rush hour traffic jam. A very nice ladyboy pointed out my stop and I got off at the Royal Orchid Sheraton.

The water ferry stop across from the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun).

No idea what this is.

I wandered around the western-style mall next door to the hotel and noticed the signs for a dinner cruise on the river. Last year, Mom and Cathi had been in Thailand, and had spent their layover evening in Bangkok on a river cruise. It looked decent enough, and hey, I might be on a plane tomorrow back to Chengdu, why not? I signed up and spent the next hour or two wandering around and looking at the expensive knick-knacks. They did manage to separate me from some of my money: I have a fatal weakness for scarves and I bought a beautiful wine-red silk scarf.

Our boat. I was on the upper deck, right next to the railing.

The cruise was actually quite fun. I was seated next to a very nice party of four other Westerners, who joined me for some pleasant dinner conversation. The younger couple, Tara and Barry, were living in Bangkok, and Barry’s parent (? I think it was Barry’s parents) had come to Thailand for a month-long visit. The scene was endearingly awkward, like a wedding or bat mitzvah on boat: mediocre food, a bunch of strangers, free cocktails, and people embarrassing themselves on the dance floor. Despite that, I had a blast talking with Tara and Barry.

The Temple of Dawn at night. Sorry about the shitty resolution.

The Grand Palace at night, I think.

I’m on a boat! (Hi Barry!)

After the two hour cruise, I headed for the Sky Train, and then for the Airport Link back to my hotel, a good 40-odd kilometers from downtown. I had an early morning wake-up the next day for my check-in, and I felt entirely pleased with myself for finding a good way to spend my only night in Bangkok.

if only I had known.

On Wednesday, I visit the Grand Palace!

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4 Responses to “One Night In Bangkok”

  1. shardsofchina March 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    The song’s from the musical; “Chess” so that would explain why; “Siam’s going to be the witness to the utlimate test of cerebral fitness.” :-)

    I love Thailand, and I love Chess (the game and the musical strangely) – and this is a cool post – thanks for sharing. :-)

    • Jane March 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      … there’s a musical about chess? The mind boggles.

      I’m glad you liked it.

  2. cathi green March 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Oh Jane! I finally get a mention! Ha!! I cannot tell you strongly enough how much I LOVE your posts. You are an exquisite writer, a brave explorer, and an amazingly brilliant young lady. This one I am sharing with my kids and hubby.

    You seem to have inherited the very best qualities of both of your parents and I can even sense a bit of more distant relatives quirks shining through in your personality… all the good ones. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how incredibly lucky and blessed your life is and how very much I am happy to be sharing it with you; albeit electronically!

    Thank you:)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pony Pony Run Run | In the Country of Heaven - June 12, 2013

    […] This is their biggest hit, “Hey You”. You really can’t go wrong with a fun pop song. I was also really amused by the music video, if only because I kept thinking that everything looked suspiciously familiar and then there was an establishing shot of Wat Arun twenty seconds in. Oh, Bangkok. […]

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