Craig and Jeane from Bangkok 2007

Feb 28th, 2007, 06:37 AM
  #21  
 
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looking forward to hearing more....have jeane's knuckles returned to a pinkish color after hanging onto the balloon for dear live?? haha
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 06:55 AM
  #22  
 
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Sounds wonderful, Craig. I'm looking forward to hearing more!
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Feb 28th, 2007, 08:01 AM
  #23  
 
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Craig, the balloon ride sounds fantastic. Can't wait to hear more about that and your guide Joyce as we are considering Myanmar next year.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is online now  
Feb 28th, 2007, 08:41 AM
  #24  
 
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Can't wait to hear all about it!!!!!
Femi is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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I haven't had time to read your whole report, but keep having a great time! Happy Travels!
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Feb 28th, 2007, 09:52 AM
  #26  
 
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Dear Craig & Jeane, reading your posts revive such wonderful time we enjoyed last time in Myanmar..keep it up pls! thks.
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Feb 28th, 2007, 05:00 PM
  #27  
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Craig & Jeane, Have been checking & waiting for news of your Mayanmar trip. So glad you had a good time! Anxious to hear all the details.
Carole
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Feb 28th, 2007, 06:19 PM
  #28  
 
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I'll add my name to the waiting for Myanmar details list. I may have missed this info in the planning stages but did you book things yourself or have a tourist office book flights, transport between places, and how did you work the $$, and as I know you both shop, bringing things back ?
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Mar 1st, 2007, 12:07 AM
  #29  
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Now in Bangkok at Nana internet (next to Soi 4 off Sukhumvit) - 3 baht/minute. Waiting for very minor adjustments on 3 suits from Rajawongse. From here we go to T Silk Place for Jeane's stuff. Its wonderful to be back at the Penn although we are only there until 10 PM tomorrow night. Doing Harmonique for dinner for the first time tonight (Sky Bar afterward), Blue Elephant cooking school tomorrow while Jeane visits the Prasart Museum and takes some photos at the flower market in Chinatown - I have hired a driver for her through Ratt.

Will start posting the details on the Myanmar portion of our trip and answering your questions starting on Sunday, hopefully.
Craig is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 05:45 AM
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look forward to it
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Mar 1st, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Craig,
Go just a little further down soi 4 and you'll pay 1 baht per minute (with a minumum of 20 baht)... Left side of the street, near the "alley" that passes through (on the right) to the Majestic Grande.
Carol
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Mar 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM
  #32  
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Jeane, You'll love the Prasart. Looking forward to your wonderful photos.
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Mar 3rd, 2007, 10:38 PM
  #33  
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We are back in Connecticut, having arrived early yesterday morning on the Thai BKK-JFK flight. Everything went pretty smoothly at the airport - had to pay the departure tax for both this trip and for the Myanmar trip as it was not included in the price of our tickets. The business class lounge, one of 2 in Terminal C was adequate. I was disappointed that it was stocked with beer and hard liquor but no wine.

Its a little after midnight. I am sitting here enjoying my "morning" coffee after about 7 hours of solid sleep.

First, let me answer some of the questions that people have posted. Note that I am going to do my Myanmar report on a separate thread.

Bob - we found that the Kukrit house was definitely worth a visit, part of Bangkok and Thailand history. The IC is a good hotel with a great location - no complaints but I think we will stay on the river exclusively from now on.

Joyce - I hope you had a great JFK - BKK flight. I just read your report (forwarded by Bob) on your school visit in Laos - fabulous.

Winter Travel - Rajawongse has an excellent selection of very high quality fabrics. You do not have to bring your own. Suits are $300 although because of the weakness of the dollar, they are now charging in baht so it may be more. They also make sport coats.

Carol - we did not make it to Bumrumgrad to register, next time for sure. Thanks for the tip on the Soi 4 internet.

On to more reporting on Bangkok:

Our Thursday dinner at Harmonique was quite good. Although we found that the stir-fried morning glory was not to our liking, the crab in yellow curry and the pomelo salad were excellent. Great atmosphere too.

Our visit to Sky Bar was disappointing. We went last year and Jeane wanted to return to take some photos of the night skyline. Unfortunately we found out that tripods (needed for good night time photos) are prohibited. After admiring the view for a short time, we left without buying drinks.

Our last day in Bangkok was a pleasant one. Jeane and I rarely go out on our own while traveling but we each had things we wanted to accomplish. I wanted to do a cooking school and Jeane wanted to visit the Prasart Museum since she missed it last year on account of not feeling well on the day we were supposed to go.

I chose the Blue Elephant restaurant's cooking school. There are several cooking schools in Bangkok - there is Baipai and the Oriental has one also. I chose Baipai because (1) cost was not a factor - it was almost US$100 for one person (2) the morning course included a visit to a local market not far from the Taksin skytrain stop and (3) the class was held indoors i.e. the class room, kitchen and restaurant had air conditioning. Even though it is billed as a half day course, the class takes up the better part of the day. I left the Penn at 8:15 AM and returned just before 3 PM. The restaurant and school are located in a beautiful building that is right next to the Surasak skytrain stop - very easy to get to. The market visit was very interesting. Although we did not actually purchase ingredients for our class, our instructor spent about an hour and a half pointing out many of the classic Thai ingredients - kaffir lime leaf, galangal, tamarind etc. We saw coconut milk being made and learned about the different heat levels curry pastes used in Thai cooking. We did not see any other Westerners at this market even though it is within walking distance of the Shangri La hotel. After the market, we returned to the Blue Elephant. There were 8 of us in the class - an eclectic group of 3 men and 5 women - a good mix. Everyone seemed to have some cooking experience - I think basic chopping skills are all that is really needed to enjoy the course. We were given a set of recipes for a total of four dishes. Our instructor showed us in the class room how to prepare each dish and then we would go into the kitchen and prepare the dishes ourselves. It was good that we did one dish at a time. Afterwards we all went down to the restaurant to enjoy our creations. The food was delicious: Thai beef salad, stir-fried prawns with curry powder, salmon with ginger soup and chicken satays. As a bonus, the restaurant prepared mango with sticky rice for dessert. It was a nice social group - we had a great time eating and talking about food and world travel - I really didn't want to leave. All-in-all, a wonderful experience.

Meanwhile, Jeane was to meet her driver at the Peninsula pier. To Jeane's surprise, it was Ratt herself that showed up promptly at 9:15. Some time ago, Ratt had had a run-in with Mr. Prasart but apparently they have patched things up - Jeane thinks the reason is that Ratt and her drivers are bringing him a lot of business. Jeane enjoyed both her 2-hour tour and her tour guide. She was easily able to fend off Mr. Prasart's sales pitches at the end of the tour, especially after she priced the Benjarong china at 6 times what she had paid at the Pinsuwan factory near the floating market. After the Prasart Museum, Ratt took Jeane to Chinatown to take some photos of the flower market. Jeane spent about 4 hours or so with Ratt - 1800 baht for her services and 1000 baht for the Prasart.

I met Jeane at the Penn in mid-afternoon. I don't think I mentioned that we had been upgraded to a 33rd floor GRAND DELUXE SUITE(!) shortly after we arrived since our non-smoking regular grand deluxe room absolutely reeked of smoke. This was the finest hotel room we have ever stayed in - flowers everywhere, tons of space, unbelievable 180 degree view of Bangkok - we are now so totally spoiled. We WILL return to the Penn. So...we chose to spend our last few hours in Bangkok at the hotel. I was absolutely stuffed from the cooking school so I decided to skip dinner. Jeane ordered a cheese burger, fries and ice cream from room service - it was 1000 baht total but she says it was all very good - and much cheaper than the dinner at Jesters we were considering.

In the evening we packed and showered. AAC Limo picked us up at about 10 PM and we were were whisked off to the airport, a 25 minute trip with no traffic.
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Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:02 PM
  #34  
 
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Welcome home, Craig. Cooking school sounds divine. Can't wait to hear about Myanmar. Just spoke to someone who said that in spite of the govt, it's the new hot Asian destination. Did you have any problems bringing items back through US customs?
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Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:15 PM
  #35  
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crosscheck - no problems with US customs - we were waved right through.
Craig is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 04:56 AM
  #36  
 
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Welcome home. You missed some cold and snowy New England weather while you were gone. We got back from our trip as you were leaving for yours. Ratt took us to the Prasart Museum also. She was such an asset the day we used her. Can't wait to hear about the Myanmar part of your trip. Could you include your impressions of the political situation there, and also if it impinged on your trip?
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Mar 4th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Welcome home. Glad you arrived without a hitch. Friends who flew back from BKK to ORD on Thursday had to take a shuttle to PIA instead of a flight, which was canceled due to weather.

Have fun recovering from jetlag.

Carol
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Mar 4th, 2007, 09:17 AM
  #38  
 
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Welcome home. I'm looking forward to your report.

Crosscheck, it makes me cringe to hear that someone is saying that Burma is the "hot new destination." I've agonized over going for years, and while I respect people who make informed decisions about going to Burma, the idea of all sorts of people who respond to "hot, new" designations going to Burma (which no thought of the implications of their actions) turns my stomach.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 4th, 2007, 10:52 AM
  #39  
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Myanmar is not at all the new "hot destination". Growth in tourism has been modest and will continue to be so, mostly for the reasons that Kathie gives. Quite honestly, Myanmar could not handle a huge influx of tourists so maybe the status quo is best.
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Mar 4th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Craig, I am reassured to hear that. We are again researching a possible trip to Burma...
Kathie is online now  

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