Thailand Trip Report

Nov 26th, 2004, 05:05 PM
  #21  
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Back into a cab over to Cenrtal Dept. store (Chitlom). The newbies had been taken with our description of lunch. I bought a pair of swim goggles, while Beth returned to the artificial flower dept.. This time she pulled the trigger and bought a facsimile orchid by Permaflower. Very Nice. They packed in it bubble wrap and then placed in a box. The newbies browsed the housewares dept.

We met for lunch at noon. It was more crowded than last time. Previously, I had black lobster ravioli and Beth had dim sum and a chicken dish from the Chinese station. This time, I went with Vietnamese Fresh rolls and Pho (a soup). Beth had dim sum and a vegetarian Chinese dish. The newbies foraged on their own, but seemed quite pleased.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 05:10 PM
  #22  
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One of the newbies remained at Central and the other took a cab with us back to the ROS. The cab went east around Lumphini Park instead of west. This allowed hime to get on the highway for an exit. It may have saved some time.

I had the cab drop me at the Nelson Hays Library to search for the Elephant House in pursuit of Burmese bells. I looked around and could not find it. I eventually decided just to walk back to the ROS thinking I had a 50/50 chance of running into it. I did. There was a sign at second floor level several blocks from the library. The store is very nice, but did not have interesting bells. Just a few that did not strike me (excuse the pun). I took a tuk tuk back to the ROS.

Pool, cigar and a massage at Sala Thai, next door to the ROS. It was just head and shoulders and I felt cheated out of the rest of the deal.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 05:18 PM
  #23  
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I had big plans for dinner, but got overruled. We returned to Harmonique. Once again it was superb. We got a deep fried fish in sweet and sour sauce that was very nice. It's not the red sauce so familiar in the US for sweet and sour. It's derived from Tamarind and is a complicated blend of tastes. Also, the chicken in green curry was very good.

Walk back to the ROS. Beth and I spent about an hour packing for tomorrow's trip to Chiang Mai. We split our stuff into take and leave piles. We left two pieces of luggage with the hotel for our return on December 2. This packing raises an interesting question. I had read that the domestic weight limitation was 40 pounds per bag. Last time, however, we dragged 68 pound bags on Thai air to CM and down to Phuket. This time I tried to get the travelling bags down to 40 pounds (that's why it took an hour). I was unsuccessful, but I had a carry on back up plan. I'll jump abhead to say they never looked at the weight when checking us in.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 05:27 PM
  #24  
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Day 5-hotel transfer to airport. Ride took 45 minutes. Check in was a breeze. Thai Air seems to do a much better job than the American carriers. Uneventful flight. We were met in CM by Noi and Soi from Sergeant Kai. I had read of him on this site and decided to use his services in CM. Noi and Soi, a trainee, were holding a sign that said "Andrew Levine and Family". This caused great amusement among the newbies.

We went to the Shinawatra Factory and the lacquer factory on Sankamphaeng Road. Again I was outvoted. There was much browsing through the housewares items. Not a single piece of clothing was large enough for me. Consequently, I was on the receiving end of countless "Isn't this beautiful" (s).The lacquer demonstration was done by a woman who clearly did not speak English. Her monotone presentation was done at a constant speed with no inflection whatsoever. That was interesting. I could not do that. her English was understandable.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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this is the Mr Bob Kimball in the flesh....you did good so far....i can't get the damn things to load either so in exchange for doing my errand i will type them in for you and for the pleasures of fodorites the world around...

those newbies are learning....put their feet down on your neck....harmonique rules and they know the real thing when they taste it....kathie told me i always choose the chinese dishes....she must be having a good time as she has not posted once since she left....

how is that terrible place chiang mai???

i will print out your posting and then type it in a few minutes

continue to enjoy...our love to beth!!

K&B

EVERYONE IS DYING TO KNOW HOW WAS THE "TOWERS" ?????????
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Nov 26th, 2004, 05:33 PM
  #26  
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I'll break from the chronology to give my highest recommendation for Noi and Sergeant Kai. Setting up the tour was easy. He responded promptly and helpfully to my E-mail assault. I contacted him through ChiangMaiTours.com. Noi was the best guide we have ever had. She has a very conversational way about her. When she provides information, she does it in a very friendly manner. She quickly gets English jokes and responds in kind. She brought along her very little dog "NudanT" which means red rat in Thai. It was a conversation item anmong the Thais wherever went. I strongly recommend that anyone going to CM use Sergeant Kai and his services. It's GREAT>
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TOWERS??????????
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:31 PM
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i just typed the whole thing out and it is gone?????
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:34 PM
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i will type in small batches... this is day 1 bkk as written by gpanda

i slept not a wink and was out of bed at 4:30AM. wandered around outside our hotel, the royal orchid sheraton. very quiet. a 7-111 was open and there was a street vendor selling breakfast to early risers, but little else...i ran a few miles at the fitness center (not bad) and took a sauna.. upstair to waking wife.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:37 PM
  #30  
 
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we ate continental breakfast at the towers lounge, it was nice not a full "american breakfast" but plenty of variety and fresh fruit...met the newbies in lobby and were greeted by pong our guide from last nite.. he was a little worse for wear, but completely capable...we had used him on our first trip to T-land 2 years ago and thought that he could provide a good intro to the newbies...
we took a river ferry to the grand palace and went in.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:40 PM
  #31  
 
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we first went into the museum, where you could get a close up view of replicas of the emerald buddha, wearing each of his three vestments. this should be included in any trip to the GP grounds. i was struck by the beauty and magnitude of the complex. each turn brought a new vista full of interest. pong provided ongoing commentary concerning what we were looking at. i was glad he was along.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:45 PM
  #32  
 
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otherwise, the newbies would have had interminable questions that i couldn't answer and we would be looking up the answers in the guide books. from there we went to wat pho and the reclining buddha. this time we were able to walk around it, we could not last time due to rehab of walls. pong arranged for a 2 hour thai massage at our hotel from the school of massage at wat pho.. an elderly gentelman took great pleasure in telling the women in our group that it would not be he, who was giving the massages. he giggled profusely...
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:49 PM
  #33  
 
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we then were driven to baysoke tower, the tallest hotel in bkk.. we had a medicore buffet lunch, but did get to go on the revolving roof deck. that definitely made it worth it.

back in the van to chinatown.. walked through soi issanarnphup (sp) where there is a tumult of market activity. one newbie inquired concerning hanging items and was told these were deep fried fish entrails (more on this later). this soi is a must see. it's fascinating and alive.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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back in van to flower market. it was afternoon and things were slowing down, but there was plenty to see. still an explosion of color and texture. the women string jasmine blossoms onto a metal wire...its a sight to behold... the orchid piles were lower than in the morning, but still pretty high.

we then went on a trek to a pier, where we took a long-tailed boat into the klongs of thornburi. it was different than last time in that we did not have to go through a lock system to enter the klongs. last time it took 15 minutes each way. this is another "must see"..
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Nov 26th, 2004, 06:57 PM
  #35  
 
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The houses and people are amazing. i had seen them previously and was still struck by the beauty and simplicity of their lives. one of the newbies commented later that it was similar to riding through the ghetto of Detroit, but i believe she is mistaken. it did not feel as if we were vouyeuristically impeding on people's destitute lives. i don't have enough information to make an informed decision, but i did have fun. back by boat to the hotel.
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Nov 26th, 2004, 07:03 PM
  #36  
 
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at 5:30PM the two women from the massage school appeared at our room. this is one of my primary reasons for returning to thailand. these two women were the best my wife and i have experienced. all of my jet lag kinks were ground out.

dinner for 5 at the gallery cafe. ordering with 5 different palates can be tricky, but the food there was so good, who actually cares. the spicy fish salad, a must, contained some of the afore-mentioned deep fried fish entrails and was ignored by several... the crispy pork with chinese brocolli was a hit.

there have always been republicans in cambridge. {ed. he runs over them as often as possible} we keep them as pets. little did we know they would use the entire country as a litter box.

more later
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Nov 26th, 2004, 07:09 PM
  #37  
 
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Day 2 BKK

up early (3 hours sleep), gtm (??? gym), sauna and continental breakfast at towers lounge.. {ED. SAY ANDY, HOW ARE THE TOWERS??????}

cab to jim thompson main store on surawong rd (thanon). very nicely displayed items, but little in XXL... beth bought one small thing. walked down to JT outlet, but selection was small {ed. this shop is primarily fabric--go to soi 93, sukhumvit rd for greater selection}
the main store is good, but outlet not really worth time.

cab to gaysorn plaza, an upscale mall. the first several floors have stores like gucci and burberry with prices similar to US. on the top floor there are stores with thai items. a store right off escalator has beautiful wall hangings..
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Nov 26th, 2004, 07:20 PM
  #38  
 
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in another i saw some wonderful burmese bells, but did not buy because i thought i could get them cheaper at a store that did not pay such high rent. i may have outsmarted myself. the top floor is worth the time investment.

walked down sukhumvit to central deptartment store (chitlom)...this is a mid-high end place with nice stuff. i went tie shopping (thinking of the internal pun). i was inundated with sales staff. $ were dedicated to my shopping "pleasure". they would pick out a tie, knot it and mention that is was "very beautiful". i'm relatively impervious to this, but did notice each time i would pick out a tie someone would be driven to mention that i was a "very handsome man". {ed. don't let it go to your head...cambridge is full of much more handsome men who are available}.
i was willing to suspend reality and go with the flow. i did buy 2 ties, but i had to make sure that they were long enough. there seemed to be two lengths. one made me look a little like oliver hardy a "very handsome man" indeed. {ed. excellent actual comparison}
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Nov 26th, 2004, 07:59 PM
  #39  
 
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meanwhile beth had captured in the artificial flower department. she was taken by the beauty, especially those made by permaflower. when i arrived, she had several favorites, but decided not to buy because she was not sure how we would get them home undamaged

cab back to ROS {ED. HOW ARE THE TOWERS?}. Pool, cigar and massage for both by same women as yesterday.

beth and i were joined by one newbie for dinner at tongue thai, in an alley across for OP Place. walked from ROS down charon krung (new road) . this is a very nice place in an old house. the corn fritters were particularly tasty. the newbie, a vegetarian, was agast that the river prawns, in curry sauce, still had their eyes attached. i guess she could have closed her eyes when she ate them, but she passed. she said that she was "bonding more closely with fish these days".. don't ask

walk back to ROS {ed. who cares how the towers are?} with only two offers of tuk tuk rides....

that's it, now you are up to date with gpanda's trip....the above sections are obviously earlier than the ones he has posted above...


andy---we look for more
bob
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Nov 26th, 2004, 11:32 PM
  #40  
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Onto Doi Suthep, the Wat at the top of the mountain outside Chiang Mai. The drive up is twisting and nausea inducing, but well worth it. This is the most stunning individual Wat that we've visited. The Grand Palace is collectively more impressive, but Doi Suthep wins single honors. I shook the sticks to tell my fortune and it was wierdly in line with ongoing life events. I made the newbies walk up the steps. We all made offerings. It was very nice. The view of the city was good. It's right by an enormous Bouganvilla tree that was in bloom. I refrained from ringing the bells. This is an absolute must see im CM.
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