Guenmai in Bangkok summer 2006

Old Aug 28th, 2006, 10:16 PM
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Guenmai in Bangkok summer 2006

So folks...Have been in Bangkok since Sunday. The weather is nice and cool...about 88 degrees. At home we had three weeks straight of 100F-119F...averaging 112F where I live. And I live upstairs with no central air...just a livingroom air conditioner. So, this is winter for me! Smiles.

Anyhow, I just finished talking to one of the managers here, at Emporium, that I know quite well. I asked her to come up to my apartment so that I could confirm my Dec/Jan reservation and put in a reservation for August 2007...well Emporium is quite busy and booked solid to say the least.

The latest news...I was JUST told... is
that Emporium is opening up a building on the river scheduled for about the middle of next year...Shhhh.....The complex sounds VERY interesting. There will be three buildings...1)Serviced apartments 2)Hotel 3)Condominiums(Kathie!) and all built by Emporium's company. Boy, do I wish that I could purchase a condo right now. I might even be willing to move to the river just to live in one of Emporium's buildings.

The new complex will be about a kilometer down river from the Shangrila and on the convenient side of the river...the Shangrila side. The plan is to either have a boat to taxi folks up to the river skytrain station or a shuttle bus. The plans have not been finalized yet...this is all tentative...hot off the press news. So, the manager said that if I wanted to try the river location, then my reservation could be transferred over there when I return in August 2007.... I could sort of christen the place. Smiles!..... As for Dec 2006/Jan 2007...if the new building has opened by then, I still plan to stay at the Sukumvit location. I don't want three weeks on the river...one week I might do, in August 2007, but three weeks are out of the question.

Oh, yesterday I was out running around since the electricity was shut off, in my building, between noon and 4:30PM for the annual electrical and emergency inspection/update to the system. They were giving folks free movie passes and food for the inconvenience. On September 1st, there will be no phone service between about midnight and 3 AM because the Bangkok phone system is changing so the system has to be updated. If you need to call a mobile number, in the future... as of September first I suppose... you will need to dial 081 first instead of 01. So, make a note of that.

Central World Plaza/World Trade Center news...I went by there yesterday to pick up a shirt that Central Chitlom was sold out of, but the salesperson checked the system and said it was available at Central World Plaza/World Trade Center. Anyhow, Carol(Simpson510), we've got our wish and the walkway from Chitlom to Central World Plaza is open now. No more having to walk down and then back up that awful flight of steps! When you get off the skytrain at Chitlom and walk in the direction of Central World Plaza...right after you pass the old steps, there will be a sign that says...Central World Plaza...and there's another flight of steps.. Well, just forget those and keep walking past that sign...towards Paragon....and then you'll notice the side entrance of Central World Plaza...make a right and the walkway will lead you right inside. You'll see Aldo shoes to your right and Kipling luggage to your left. So much easier...what a relief.

When I walked into Central World Plaza, I didn't even recognize it. Remember, in Dec 2005/Jan 2006 in my "Siam Ocean World" thread, I wrote about the battle of the malls between two of the most powerful mall families in Thailand...the woman who built both Emporium and Paragon and the man who built Central World Plaza. There's such fierce competition now that there's this HUGE renovation being done at CW Plaza. It looks NOTHING like it used to look. The goal is to have it looking like Gaysorn, but with more medium-bracket stores. The floors are white and so shiny that you can almost see your reflection in them. And there's a brand new, free-standing British India store in there. That's why I went over there. Bangkok is long over due for one...although the ones in Singapore are still better.

Up on the top floor...to your far right...if you enter through the front entrance of the mall..the old entrance...there's a huge office supply/bookstore that's great. It's called B2S. I have never seen such a selection of pens in my life...just hundreds of them. Plus, they have UPS and all sizes of mailers and envelopes which can be difficult to find in Bangkok.

As for hotels...the new buzz is the Eugenia boutique hotel that's barely been open 4 months. It's at 267 Sukumvit Soi 31 Tel.(02)259.9010. Rooms go for from 5400B-6400B. It's owned by a Taiwan-born man who's based in Bangkok


. It's a 19th century colonial style house in the heart of the city and has 12 guests rooms with copper bathtubs, French windows, 4-post beds, and an emerald green swimming pool on the premises. There's also a London cab. I've seen pictures and it looks very interesting. The place is also filled with antiques from all over the region. I'll try to go there personally, if I have time. Remember, I'm only a week in Bangkok this time, not three as before.

The other buzz hotel is the Luxx Hotel which has been named the smallest hotel in Bangkok. Another boutique hotel. It's at 6/11 Decho Rd....Bangruk,Bangkok 10500 Tel:02.635.8800. It's near the buzz of Silom.It's an old converted apartment building and the aim is to provide 5-star service in a small, intimate hotel. The bathrooms have folding walls. It's all of 4 stories...no elevator...has a small bar/eaterie which serves Asian food and has wooden bathtubs. It's very modern looking and looks quite hip.

So, that's all for now folks. I need to go back to my apartment, get my stuff and get going. It's a little after noon and I'm still here at the Emporium mall internet cafe typing. I have a lot to do today. I'll probably stop by the Sheraton Grand on Sukumvit to see the chef at Basil and sign up for a personal 3-hour cooking class. He's so nice....and the food is amazing.

I've tried this paragraphing and have made a mess of it...Excuse the mess and hopefully there are no typos. This internet cafe has gotten new computers, but the keyboard is awful...the letters stick. That's probably how they make their money since it's taken me double the time to type this as it would to type back home. Take care. Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 03:25 AM
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Great report, Guen - easy to read, lots of good info. Thanks for taking the time...
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 05:08 AM
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Thanks Guen-you are a great source of info. It's ironic that the river beckons even to you.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the advance notice on the river location... maybe it's time to save my baht for that condo! Let us kow if you see any plans, etc...

Enjoy Bangkok!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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And, Guen, if you get a chance to check out the Eugenia give us a review. I'm really excited about the Emporium by the river. I'm hoping some units will be view-able in November!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for the live, on-site report.

www.theeugenia.com .... looks very nice.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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i'll send you a dollar tonight...please put it as a downpayment for a condo on the river at emporium....

that is great news....i will keep my eyes open for its opening...for our winter 2008, that might be the perfect place...

who should we ask for at emporium in november when we go for a tour of the svcd apts??

enjoy the rest of your stay...
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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you did good kid....the paragraphing is perfect

your grammer and spelling is far better than gpanda's
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Is anyone else struck by the irony of Bob criticizing my "grammer" and spelling. Nothing I've ever written does as much to damage his shakey "reputation". I know he claims to have attended Needham High School, but did he graduate? Did they then speak Middle English?
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Sawadeeka!
Great report, great information, and really appreciate the hot off the press News!

And Love love love those paragraphs! I too have taken up that modern convenience too, thanx to the suggestion of CRaig! Not bad at all...

Wow!!!..The new development sounds superb! As u know, I am a huge fan of serviced apartments myself, and definitely prefer riverside or Silom locations. Have they actually started construction, own the site, etc, etc?

What else..Oh, yes, interesting about the shiny bright renovations at Central World. Maybe i will now go there now. And thanx for the info about the British India store opening, as their meager selection in Central was not cutting it.

*But Guen***, if u really want Indian clothes at good value and bigger selection, there is a much better place than British India...Need i say more..

Cooking class at Basil? Sounds interesting. Do tell a bit more.

And Guen, instead of spending all your Money at the internet place over the years at Emporium, why don't u go into that lovely Sony store at Emporium and pick yourself up a little cute computer..They have adorable stuff in there! And they look/fit great in serviced apartments...

Sawadeeka. Oh, I am off to Bangkok end of the month..I will stop in for a week and then continue on to Delhi. I will report from both locations...Namaste and happy travels.

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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Guen:

Love all the tidbits of info.

Ratt showed us that Emporiom complex being built when we were there in March. Prices for the condos started around 475K US if I'm not mistaken.

Sounds like you have your plate full as usual. Eat some banana bread at Four Seasons for Linda and I.

Did you "adopt" the other three monks for the boys at home yet?

Aloha!
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 01:00 PM
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cruisin - I looked at the website - very tempting!

HT - 425K? Ouch. I can't do that until I'm ready to sell my house in Seattle. It doesn't cost to look, though.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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That is great that Central World Plaza (formerly World Trade Center, and still World Trade Center to most BKK cabbies) is open again. It was closed for quite a while. The plans for the renovation looked impressive.
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Old Aug 29th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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guenmai
Your report is terrific!!! Thanks for taking the time (and yes, your paragraphs are just fine).

I should have landed in BKK "tonight" (Tuesday) for my 9-day visit, but BKK will just have to wait, for now. I had so looked forward to meeting you once again... but life has its way of changing plans sometimes. I am still hoping to be at the GTG in BOS.

Thanks for the info about the walkway to WTC. I can't wait to see the new look. I'll have to check out the Brit India store and see if their stuff is something I might like to wear.

Please keep reporting (even tho it makes me homesick for BKK). Reading your posts is a nice diversion for me at this time.

Carol
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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Ok folks...I'm back... First...yesterday I went over to check on my "children" the other 3 monk statues so that mama could possibly bring them home to be with their siblings and the Buddha. So, I went into the antique store and the woman recognized me right away and started smiling and greeting me in Thai. Then I told her that I'd come for my other three statues and then the smile was suddenly dropped. She just looked at me sadly. She had JUST sold my other three...THREE weeks ago... and to a British family who came in and demanded the other three pieces and especially the Buddha upon which she told them that the Buddha and other two monks were living in L.A. area. So, they took the three monks...MY three monks... and carried them out of the store.They said they'd carry them on the plane. I had mine shipped. They paid 5,000 baht more than I paid and without the shipping. I paid 85,000 baht. But, I drove a hard bargain. It took me two days of trips to the store just to get the owner to break the set and then I had to get the price down. He walked into the store yesterday as the saleswoman and I were talking.We talked a long time.He said that he could try to hunt me down 6 new pieces and even grander than the ones I had bought and then I could maybe sell mine to a friend or e-bay them.....SELL or E-BAY my children? Never! So, they both said that I should have contacted them and they would have held them for me. But, my plan was to get there and try to fiercely bargain them down again...but that plan failed. Now they're living in England...in fog and dampness....instead of sunshine and smog...poor things. They've probably lived in sunshine and smog most of their lives in Bangkok...so L.A. is like second home to them.... The saleswoman and owner felt really bad about the situation.The statues had sat at that store for 8 months without being sold and then 3 weeks ago...going....going....gone....weep...weep...


Oh, yesterday, I went over to Jim Thompson's at Paragon and the store is beautiful...split level modern with wooden floors. I found everything I needed there and now don't have to go all the way to the Suriwong store...thank goodness. There are still some things that one must get at the Suriwong store...like crystal and luggage...but I need neither. Plus, rememeber I had a piece of luggage custom made there on the Dec/Jan trip.

What was really great about the Paragon store was that I was the only person in there. It's at the very end of the mall...the north end I think that would be...the side with all of the restaurants (NOT foodcourt side) and the river...but up some floors.You go to the very last escalator...the restrooms are also in that area....and then up the escalator.I can't remember what floor I got off on, but you can't miss it as it's right to your left after you get off the escalator...so you can see it while going up the escalator.

As for today, well I went over to the Sheraton on Sukhumvit and the absolutely wonderful Chef Chulavachana gave me a one-on-one cooking course. The restaurant was closed between lunch and dinner so it was just the two of us....The other chef...the one that I talked to for quite a while...in December... has resigned, moved to Virginia, and opened a Thai restaurant. Good for him. So, the regular chef is back after about a year in Jakarta. She's really great.We had a ball cooking and laughing today. She was telling me that she sent her daughter to the States to study in high school for a year and a half and now her daughter's English is excellent. She also said that the dream of many Thai chefs is to move to the States and open a restaurant...but it takes a lot of money.

We cooked Pla Gung...a spicy lobster salad with huge pieces of lobster...Tod Manpla....deep fried fish cakes...made from fresh,fileted fish that was food processed to look like meatloaf texture...At first I had chosen to cook deep fried crab cakes, but when I got there I noticed a big clump of something that resembled meat which I haven't eaten in 30 years. Well, it was ground pork which is added to the crab. So,we had to move on to plan B and she had the sous chef prepare the makings for the deep fried fish cakes. Then we made Tom Yum Kung soup...Hot and sour prawn soup which I eat a lot of in L.A. I love the stuff.It had huge shrimp in it. Then it was on to Pad Thai...which was perfection. And to end we whipped up bananas and coconut creme. You have to boil the bananas first. I was eating between dish preparations. You cook it all yourself. Then I mentioned that my favorite Thai desert has always been sticky rice and mango. It wasn't on the menu for us to cook, but she disappeared and came back with a plate of absolutely beyond delicious sticky rice and mango. I had it there back in December.

After it was all over and I could hardly breathe from having eaten so much, she wrapped all the extra food up and sent me on my way to fill my fridge. I have a huge kitchen at the apartment...and a nice size fridge.

She cooked up the whole mixture of fish cakes which looked like a mountain on a plate. I told her I'd eat them for breakfast tomorrow with scrambled eggs and toast. She looked horrified...absolutely horrified...and then we both started laughing hysterically. She and I had similiar senses of humor.

I paid 1950Baht plus a service charge and VAT for this experience...but it was worth every baht...priceless...Total...2295.15 Baht. When I ate lunch there in December I spent not far from 1900 baht so I figured this time it would be cost saving to take a cooking course and have tons of leftover food to take home. The telephone number is (02) 649.8888 if you're interested. The course is for three hours or until you pass out from overeating...whichever comes first. I arrived at 2:45PM... She starts at 3:00PM. I was finished by 4:45PM and was back in my apartment by 5:00PM.It's a minute and a half on the skytrain from my building.

As for your questions....I have to type fast as the internet cafe is closing at 9:30PM...and I spent an hour typing one letter to a friend before I got on the forum. I've been typing for exactly two hours now and am even more blind than I normally am.

Bonita...I don't buy British India clothes for Indian clothing. I can buy Indian clothing in L.A.We have a huge Indian community with a whole city in L.A. County that has a central shopping district that's all Indian. I buy British India clothes for that Catherine Deneuve look in Indochine...or that kind of cool, sit on the verandah with a straw hat...sipping limeade look....As for the computer....I don't have one at home.I surely don't want to travel with one...headache...monthly charges...possible theft...repairs.

Bob...I'll try to remember to send you my contact's name on your personal e-mail address.I've made a notation of it.

Well, I think that's all for now. Tomorrow, I will probably try to go to Kathie's jeweler although I have no idea what part of the city it's in. I'll figure it out though. I can sniff out a sapphire miles away. Bye all for now....Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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guenmai
It sounds like you are having a wonderful time in BKK! Your writing style feels as if you and I are sitting in a tearoom or bar somewhere, on a comfy sofa or side chairs, and we're just talking, you and I. Do keep the report coming.
Carol
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Guenmai, if you want to go to my jeweler,(ask for Lily) call them for pick up at your apartment. It's free! It's in the Dusit area, near the Palace (the one the royal family lives in whne in Bangkok, not the Granbd Palace).

So sorry to hear about your monks...

The cooking class sounds great!
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Guen - the cooking class sounded pretty cool - is Chef Chulavachana associated with the restaurant Basil? Too bad about the monks...
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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thanks guesn....kathie's jeweler is located next to the Chitralada Palace, not far from the zoo and parliament building..

you are near to my jeweler however....thai stone jewelry in the back of the nana hotel lobby, soi 4 sukhumvit....just down from the nana station....ask for porn, she is fantastic...you would love her....use our names...

i think we may look into the cooking school if we can fit it in...

we are eating at basil one nite early in our trip so i may ask then if we like the meal....that is very cheap for bkk cooking schools...
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Old Aug 30th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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SAwadeeka,,
Guen, thanx for the continuous coverage! Wonderful and i am getting so excited myself to go back, in about three weeks...

The cooking class sounds/tasted delicous! I may try it too.

And yes, i know the British India store, aka, Indochine look..I see what u are going for. I have a few pieces myself. That said, if/when u come to India, i will send u to shops to get more of that oh so casual, "sipping limeade on the veranda look"...Also, great comfotable clothes for long train journies too, while the coolies carry your big trunks on their head....

And by the way, in the mist of all your explorations and shopping exploits, anytime for a massage or Spa?

take care..happy travels..
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