Guenmai in Bangkok summer 2006

Old Aug 31st, 2006, 08:16 AM
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Guenmai -- Thanks for the info on the cooking school. We will be there in Dec and Jan and this sounds perfect for us as we are staying in Sukhumvit. Will you be there at the same time? If so, you can contact me at [email protected].

mcb
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Old Aug 31st, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Guen- definitely call SJ for a ride! It is free and they will not refuse to take you home if you don't buy anything (although once you see their quality and prices, I doubt you'll be able to resist!)

At our GTG last week, Mrs Hawaiiantraveler had several of her SJ pieces on...Absolutely gorgeous!

I can't wait to go there in December. I need a necklace to match my bracelets.

The cooking class sounds fun. Did you book far in advance?
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 06:40 AM
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Well folks...I'm back. I tried posting last night, but the Fodor system wasn't working.

Craig...The chef at Basil who does the cooking class is THE chef at Basil. She's been there for 6 years.

Bonita...You're a crack up.Smiles. I'd be sipping that limeade on a veranda either in L.A. or in the south where some family and friends live.... not in Catherine Deneuve's world. A few years ago, British India did a T-shirt that said,"Repressive times..fabulous clothes" or something to that extent. I bought one for a best friend.I figure that "I" can now sit on the verandah and sip that limeaid and fabulously dressed after all of those decades of my ancestors working in those southern fields.

McBeanie...Yes, I plan to be here in Dec/Jan if nothing comes up. I have a plane ticket and one of the managers at my building told me yesterday which apartments I could choose from. So, I'll have my same apartment.


OK...folks as for the adventures today...It's been a VERY busy non-stop day. I got up at 6AM and cooked breakfast and watched TV. Then later I thought I'd go to the internet cafe here in the Emporium Mall, but forgot that the mall doesn't open until 10:30AM. So, I decided to go back up to my apartment and thought I'd wait until 10:30. As I was walking back to the apartment, someone in the lobby started smiling at me and said,"Hello Madam". I looked at the person a bit bewildered. Then I asked if he was the guy in the bank who always speaks to me? He said that he wasn't, but that he was from Saladang. So I thought...Saladang...as in the BTS Station? What is that about...then it hit me...oh...Saladang...the restaurant. Well, he is my waiter at one of the Thai restaurants which is owned by a Thai friend of mine back home in the States. I eat there about once a week. I had no idea he was in Thailand. I thought he was at the restaurant.

So, I asked him what he was doing back in Thailand and in the lobby of the Emporium Suites and he said that he came back to Thailand 3 months ago and is in the warehouse building business and that he had to come by Emporium to pick up some clients. He was all dressed up in a suit and his hair was combed business style...so I didn't recognize him. My friends have teased me for decades and said that I can be anywhere in the world and run into someone I know.

After I talked with him, I went back to the apartment and waited for the mall to open. Then at 10:25, I started getting my things together to go to the internet cafe in the mall...when...the phone rang. I was informed that a guest was by to see me. I had NO idea who it could be. So, I asked the name and it was my Thai friend. Well, I thought she'd told me...days ago...that she'd call me if she could come by today...since she works. But, she said that she'd told me the opposite. But, she'd never mentioned a time...which she agreed that she hadn't. So, she just spent the hour getting here to visit me assuming I'd be home. She almost missed me. So, I told her I had made a list and was on my way out to do my LONG list of errands. So,she came with me which was great because we just laugh hysterically all day while hanging out.

The first stop...walk over to soi 31 and check out the Eugenia Hotel. Well, soi one is just down the street from me...it's the street that the Le Raffine condo building is being build on...you know..the one that has a private swimming pool for each condo.

Anyhow...we started walking and about 7 minutes later I asked if we were at least around the 50th numbered block....the hotel is at 267. Well, we looked for a sign only to find out that we were at around number 9! We just looked at each other and started laughing hysterically as I said to her..."Well, this ain't workin'...it's tuk-tuk or taxi time." So, we flagged a taxi and sped off.

We got to #267 and she jumped out. I told her that we were not letting the taxi go until we were 100% sure that we were at the right place. I said that the place did not look like a hotel, but an apartment complex...although it had the #267 on it. Then an elderly woman came out and my friend asked if it was the hotel. She said it wasn't, but that the hotel was on the other part of soi 31 which is behind the apartment building. So, we had to jump back into the taxi...turn around and head back in the direction of Sukumvit...When we got to the first street we turned right and then it deadende and then we went right again and there was the hotel...a very colonial style place with an old car that looked like a Rolls or Mercedes outside. So, we walked in and we were immediately swept back into a very decadent era of many decades ago. BUT, as we entered the parlor area...there were BIG dead animal heads on the wall. Our mouths just dropped and we couldn't help but laugh and wonder what we had gotten ourselves into this time....Lucy and Ethel...Thelma and Louise... And there was a sitting area under the stuffed animal heads. Then on a self next to the sitting area was a stuffed animal that I didn't recognize and wasn't about to get close enough to try to figure it out. But, it looked kind of squirrel/rodenesk...Then we entered the large room and there was the reception area. We were taken upstairs to the rooms...passing a sitting area that had animal skins draped over the chairs and a table with a huge alligator skin draped across it. OK...

Anyhow...we then went up to the rooms which actually were quite nice...unfinished wooden floors, antiques, 4-poster beds, old-style light fixtures. And some rooms have a terrace that has an adjoining room to it...for families....rooms 204/206 and 203/205 are set up like that.

We then were shown the outdoor pool area which was nice and very tropical looking and then taken to another downstairs area where a huge stuffed peacock greeted us. There was one more common-area room around the corner, but I told my Thai friend that I wasn't about to venture around it because what was left...maybe stuffed reptiles? I had been surprised enough.

The prices for the rooms are 6200baht,5800baht and,5400baht. This price includes breakfast,minibar,phone bill...unlimited overseas calls...yes, you read it right...wifi internet...10% service and 7% VAT. If it weren't for the dead animals and skins I would give the place two thumbs up. It is very unique....but I can't have animals looking at me...although there were none in the guest rooms.

I'm going to post this and then continue ...just in case there's a power failure or something. Last night I spent an hour typing part 2 of a letter to a close friend when some idiot guy who was at the computer next to me decided he wanted to plug in his cell phone. So, he went behind the computer area and started unplugging stuff to let up a plug for himself when all of a sudden my computer screen went BLANK. Now, this was a customer doing this. I lost ALL of my "Thai" cool and went off on his --- He just walked away quickly. Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 07:24 AM
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never loose face...
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 07:28 AM
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Now to continue...at least you have the first installment. The internet cafe closes at 9:30 and it's 8:45 now...so I'd better peck faster.

So, after we left the Hotel Eugina, I decided to whip by Sukumvit soi 16 to check out two serviced apartment buildings...The Somerset Lake Point at 41 Sukumvit soi 16 and the Garden Grove at 51 Sukumvit soi 51.

They are both about 400 meters into the soi plus one long block from Asoke skytrain station. They were both quite nice. The Somerset has daily rates, but the Garden Grove only monthly rates. At the Garden Grove, if you contract for a year, it's less per month...for example a 2-bedroom...130 square-meter apartment for 65,000baht per month if contracted for a year, but if not contracted then 85,000 baht per month. For those of you planning on long stay, you need to look into these kinds of things. Also in many buildings if you have or are connected to a corporation then you get a discount.

The facilities were quite nice at the Somerset and the pool was a decent size... one that one could do laps in. Plus, the building is renovated and well kept so things look very new. There's a lot of activity on soi 16...folks cooking...people sitting out on the sidewalk with Singer sewing machines doing alterations on the spot...and construction. This soi is the side soi to one of the brand new condo buildings I checked out in December 2005. There's one section of the Somerset building that's older and is about to be renovated. It overlooks the pool and the lake. I think it would be great to have an apartment in that section as the view is quite nice....but after the renovation.


Continued below...I've messed up the paragraphing.




The other building was the Garden Grove at #51 soi 16. I liked the calmness as soon as I walked into it. Plus the building is only 2 years old.

I asked the girl at the reception if she was from South America...possibly Brazil...due to her accent on her English. She said that she was Thai, but that there are a lot of South American guests that stay at that building. She's definitely got the accent.

This building was very boutique style. It had a very comfortable terrace-style restaurant in the front of the building and the swimming pool was painted a deep torquoise blue. The rooms really varried. I saw a one bedroom with a kitchen that was very strange in that the refrigerator blocked one whole section of the kitchen drawers and cabinets...so you couldn't even use them in that section...Duh...

But, I also saw a 2 bedroom,116 square meter apartment that didn't have this problem. Plus there was a pool view. Anything under 116 square meters will lend you a view of the parking structure across the way. But, it was a very nice building.

The last serviced apartment building I went to was the Centre Point Wireless...let me collect myself. Well, the person who showed us around was very cold and I had to really fight hard to keep cool. It was a beautiful building...lobby and grounds...but so chee...chee...So, the person took us up to the apartments kind of ordering us around.."No not that elevator...this one.." Then we got to the apartment which was an 82 square meter...two bedroom...remember I live in an 80 suare meter studio...so I wasn't that impressed. Then before we walked into the apartment, the person said,"Remove shoes". This is the first of this in all of the many serviced apartment buildings I've been to and you all know that I have seen so many until I'm nearly crosseyed. Well, I had on lace-up Rockports with custom arch supports inside that are difficult to reposition. But, I removed my shoes and went in and looked. The apartment was very nice...wooden shutters...new looking and well kept. The pool was built so that one could do laps in it...unlike the Garden Grove that had a hip...cute...pool, but with a strange design...more for relaxing than swimming in.

The Centre Point Wireless was the only building that handed out a hardback book of its facilites. After we got outside of the apartment I asked the price of it upon the person answered,"It's in the brochure". I then asked again the size of the apartment upon which the answer was,"The 82 square meter one that you asked to see". OK...It's time for me to leave....Taxi...I bit my tongue and called for a taxi and went off to do some errands.

Now, the other hotel I went to was the Luxx on Decho Rd...right between Silom Rd. and Suriwong Rd...a one block street just past the Samboon Seafood restauarnt on Suriwong and almost the side street to the Sofitel on Silom. It was difficult to find. It is the smallest hotel in Bangkok..But, we found it. I saw two rooms...nice...modern...boutique, but I would say the 20-30 somethings would probably like it more than the 40 upward group. But, the reception girl was very nice...smiling, laughing, and jsut downright pleasant...what a change from the previous place.

Anyhow, after all of this running around, the final line, as far as I was concerned is I don't plan to move out of Emporium anytime soon and nothing I've seen in all of these trips even comes close. I've got to go. They're kicking me out...closing time...No time to edit...Happy Travels!

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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 07:33 AM
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Guenmai, that's so funny about the Eugenia. I looked at their lovely website, but I had the same reaction to the dead animals. The rest of the place is my style, but all those dead animals??? yuck. The question I was going to post for you today was whether there were really dead animals everywhere! Thanks for answering it before I posted.
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Guenmai, when I was staying at the Peninsula I was taking a peek over the wall at the Pimarn as the pool area looked quite sleek. I just did a search, wondering what it was (it is serviced apartments btw) and noticed in the picture that there appeared to be 6 monks with alms bowls on the window. Now, I have read about your monks many times but never known what they look like! Are they like this? - actually - having looked at the picture in close up I think this might be 5 monks and a buddha.

http://www.cbre.co.th/cbre_thailand/...PropertyID=186
BB
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 10:54 AM
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guen---if you could possibly fit it in go take a look at marriott mayfair....they are the best we have seen.....they are on ruan rudee i think...let me look to make sure
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 10:56 AM
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i'm wrong they are at 60 lang suan---same area basically....your old stomping ground....they are really nice and so are the people...

i will make sure i go to centre point wireless and see if they treat me the same way....if so i will just punch the guy in the face and say..."that's not from me, its from guenmai" and then i will punch him a second time from me...

hapyy travels!!
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 11:22 AM
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Guen...If u like it, stick with It! Sounds like Emporium is your almost perfect place..

As u know, I too have done the apt run around and still do. I have stayed in many: to name a few the Somerset Suan PLu, The Somerset Suan View, The Ascott Sathorn and Centre POint Silom.

And yes, Centre POInt folks can be strange..It seems/feels U are working for them at times..

Have u seen The AScott Sathorn?..It is a wonderful property and has big Studios too, only problem can be location on busy Sathorn..Might not be your cup of tea/limeade for veranda sitting..One of their other properties has been rencently renovated called Somerset Suan PLu. Nice new rooms, but no studios. however, they have big 1 bedrooms and balconies too. Again, u may not like location..

When i go back this time, i think i will try the Natural ville or will stay at one of the Somersets again..Natural Ville has a nice boutique feel and wonderful spa too!!!. However, studios are small and no balconies, so i will go for 1 BR. Oh, and it is on Soi Lang Suan, and i remeber u do not like that Street, rather strip...

Well, happy travels..And what about a Spa or a massage for u, Madam???
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Old Sep 1st, 2006, 09:47 PM
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Bella... Yes, that's the idea, but my monks are much nicer than the ones in the photo. Mine are about 3-feet tall and are of solid teak, 60+years old, with perfect faces and wearing orange robes...just stunning....And yes, a complete set would be a Buddha and 5 monks...although I only have three pieces...weep...weep...They are VERY hard to find at times unless you want the big gold ones...no thanks. And complete sets can also be hard to come by.

Bob...I went to Mayfair Marriot in January 2006...remember? I reported about that building. It was nice, but just not for me and I really don't like Soi Langsuan.

Bob...as for the punch....it was a woman who showed me around and as Bonita stated...they act as if you are "working" for THEM. I had to just exit that situation with as much dignity as possibly before pulling the person aside and straightening her out. When my Thai friend and I were waiting in the lobby to be shown around...we were sitting in a part of the lobby quite a distance from the reception desk. Well, the person who showed us around just gestured to us to "come". She NEVER came over to us to greet us face-to-face. She then walked FAR ahead of us...never looking back... as we were going to the elevator area. I really got more ticked off about the situation as the day went on and I'm one that usually writes letters of complaint if I'm ticked off about something, but this one I'm going to let go....which is unlike me. but, it's not worth all of the stress...Now when I was shown an apartment here at my building, the person came and greeted my Thai friend and I face-to-face...had a smile...stood close to us...not a distance so far away that it might appear that we had Leprosy or something...and took us to many apartments, sat down with us in the apartment to go over more details and then booked me in for the coming months, gave me a considerable discount, and then a card with her cell phone number to contact her if there were any further questions or problems. Now, that's what I pay my hard-earned money for!

Bonita...Yes, I've been to Ascott Sathorn...did that in August 2005. Beautiful place, but it's not my kind of neighborhood....just a bit too quiet and remote to what I'm used to.

Oh, there's a talked about spa called, Waiora Spa...Waiora means,"healing waters" in Maori. I haven't had time to do the spa thing, but next time I think I'll try this one....waioraspa.com. The concept is taken from the thermal reserves in and near Rotorua in the Maori part of the north island of New Zealand. I have spent time there and seen the natural thermal reserves that bubble up from underneath the earth. There's steam everywhere and the smell of sulfer in the air. Well, there are hundred of healing minerals in thoses thermal reserves, but it's impossible to recreate them all, so the spa has taken some essential ones to use in their spa mineral pools. There are three mineral pools at the spa...a moisturizing pool...a cleansing pool...and a pool to irradicate free radicals and the crap built up by living in air pollution. There's also a sauna with soft lighting and music.

Oh, I forgot to write the other day that as of yesterday, September 01st, one lane of Sukumvit Rd. was closed from 10PM-5AM and between Sukhumvit soi 77(Onnuj) and Sukhumvit Soi 107 (Bearing). Then in mid-January, there will be two lanes closed. Also as of October 01st, the lane will be closed around the clock. It's going to be a traffic mess...so for those of you who go to Jim Thompson outlet at Sukhumvit soi 93...well good luck. You'd better check with your hotel to get the updated traffic situation. The skytrain is being extended and power lines are being moved and there will be the construction of the elevated railway including foundations,pillars,beams, and elevated platforms. This will go on until 2009...but as we know, things are seldom finished on schedule in Thailand. What I'm hoping for is that new condo and serviced apartment buildings will be built along the new line. I can't imagine them not being built. If I were to have a condo, I wouldn't mind at all living farther east of Emporium. There's a lot of land out there that I don't think it will stay not built upon for long.

Anyhow, I'd better go. It's 11:40AM and stitchintime is coming by my place so that we can go out to lunch. Carol, we'll have a toast to you! Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:33 AM
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guen...don't ever expect me to remember anything past the time i began to read this thread, and even then that is a problem...glad you have seen marriott as it is the best we have seen thus far, imo....
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Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Guen
I hope you and stitch-in-time had a lovely lunch together. Thanks for remembering me... I really DO wish I was there! But Bangkok will be waiting for me another time.

You mentioned the thermal baths in NZ (north island)... I've also been there. Quite an amazing place! That's the only place I've ever been, where the jungle atmosphere made me feel as though some giant T-rex could reach right through the trees and steam and pick me up and gulp me down!!! Very eerie, I thought. But loved the steam baths!

Enjoy the rest of your time in BKK, and keep the report coming.

Carol
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Carol...Stitchintime, her husband, and I had a very enjoyable time. They are great conversationlists. We met at my building and then I gave them a quick tour and then we went to lunch. After lunch, we taxied to the Emporium Mall where they caught the skytrain. A very pleasant time. Got to go. I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Singapore. It's after 9PM and I'm very tired. I fly home tomorrow morning. Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Guenmai
Have a safe flight home to LAX. By now, you are on your way.

I look forward to seeing you in BOS next month. I am determined to fly out to the GTG, even if it's only for a couple of days. My flights are on the 5th and 11th, which allows for 6 days in New England. However, I'll shorten it if need be. Sis' condition is like a rollercoaster ride. One day is very grave and the next is showing some improvement. One day at a time...

We'll talk soon.

Carol
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Thanks Carol. I'm back home now,jetlagged, and at work. Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Welcome home, Guenmai!
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Thanks Kathie. So, I stayed at the Raffles Plaza for one night on my way home. They have renovated and had a special on upgrades. So, when I got there, they said that for an extra S$20.00 or S$30.00 Singapore dollars...I can't remember the exact amount, I could get an upgrade in the north tower and with a Marina view...and of Esplanade. So, I thought...why not? The room I got had just been upgraded two weeks before I got to it....They have a mustard-colored chaise longue in the room which is quite comfortable...but I didn't like all the buttons that have to be pushed to do everything from opening and closing the curtains to turning the lights on and off. How in the world is one to turn the lights on, in the pitch black, when one can't see the panel with the tiny little directional icons on it? I had a heck of a time getting up at 6AM...to get ready for my flight home...and try to turn on the lights in the room. I almost strapped my head flashlight on to find my way to the bathroom.
The bathroom was nice except for the shower. They put in a glass partition that's about a third the size of the length of the shower/tub area. So when I got out of the shower my slippers were soaking wet as was the rest of the floor... They also need to have some place to rest suitcases on...like at the Four Seasons Bangkok which has a bench. At the Raffles Plaza, there's nothing except that little foldable luggage rack. And...the safe is in the closet on the floor...a back breaker. But,it was a nice experience and the service was excellent and the staff was very upbeat...so I would recommend it. Happy Travels!
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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SAwadeek ka!
Welcome hOme Guen!
Now it is time to dream and plan your next trip!
happy travels.
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for the report on Raffles the Plaza. I stayed there back in the days when it was a Westin. The electronic controls for everything are a bit hard to get used to. If they haven't rewired, there is a master switch on the nightstand to turn everything on when you wake up, and a master switch at the door for when you come in the room. Also, the lights turn off if there hasn't been any movement in the room for 15 minutes... I was reading in the room once and suddenly all the lights went off! Very funny.
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