A March 2002 trip
to Bangkok by Jeanne Travels
Quote: During my 10 days in Bangkok I traveled all the local transportation systems, Skytrain, bus, longboat, city boats and LOTS of foot power. As long as you have a map, you can navigate even the most foreign of cities.
Restaurant | "Bourbon Street Bar & Restuarant"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 11, 2002
29/4-6 Soi 22, Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
+66 02 259 0328-9, 2
Restaurant | "Cabbages & Condoms"
They take the standard credit cards and don't drop your teeth as you receive your receipt. Instead of a mint, you will be presented with a foil wrapped condom. All in keeping with the education of AIDS/HIV awareness and education. Toward the back near the restrooms there is a center where they hold classes on the transmission/prevention of the HIV virus.
The gift shop on the premises will provide you with some unique souveniers that will amaze your friends back home.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 1, 2002
Cabbages and Condoms
6 Soi 12, Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
+66 02 229 4611
Day 1, I spent chilling it in the hotel
room, a little overwhelmed by the 12
hour time change and the total of 24
hours of travel. Stayed in a little place
called Bourbon Street. Owned by an
American who is married to a
Thai/Chinese wife, very clean, kind,
considerate people. Room was priced
at 880 Baht.This included a full American breakfast of pancakes or eggs and toast. Can't keep me down too long however, and
day 2 it was off to the races. In a
manner of speaking, you don't race too
fast at that temperature and humidity.
I was off to visit the home of Jim
Thompson, who was an American who
revived the silk industry after WWII by introducing the bright color fabric
that we associate with the area. He
also collected art and architecture.
How do you collect architecture, you
dismantle old teak homes, float them
on a raft through the jungle, and
reassemble them at the side of the
canal? There are 5 homes thus
assembled and this is where he lived
and displayed his art collection. There
are stores all over the city selling his
fabrics, designs in the form of sofa
pillow cases, scarves, sarongs
handkerchiefs and napkins.
I went to the local temple, which was
so covered with gold, jade and
reflective mosaic squares that it almost
made your eyes hurt. I took a lot of
pictures for myself and slides that will
be part of an hour of travelogue which
I'm scheduled to give to the senior
citizens on May 30 here in Atlanta. At
then end of the walk through the
complex, I was assisted by a young
guard who negotiated with a TUK-TUK
driver to take us to several of the other
major sights so we could see them
quickly. A tuk-tuk is a motorcycle with a
2 man carriage attached. It has 3
wheels for stability and is noisy, hence
I went over to the complex where a Catholic priest named Fr.Joe Maier has the center of his 35 schools, hospice for men, hospice
for women, orphanage for some 75 or
so young Thai children. One child I met
had been living on the street for some
6 weeks by himself before somehow
finding his way to the facility. The
amazing thing is that he was only 3
years old. A child can go to school
there for the nominal cost of 10 Baht
per day. For that the child receives two
meals, safety, education and love.
Remember 10 Baht is approximate 20-25
cents. And you know that there are a
great number of the children on
'scholarships." While I was there the
reporter from the Bangkok Post was
interviewing him on the educational
system. Fr. Joe patiently explained that
these schools 'don't exist'. As in: no
formal government system has them in
their structure. He said he has a dream to educate every child in the slums, he hasn't succeeded yet, but then 60,000 so far have come through the program, andit is called the Mercy Center.
On the weekend in Bangkok there is
this HUGE weekend market. It covers
acres and acres of land at the far
northern end of the skytrain. I saw
everything there from animals for sale
to parts of temples that had been torn
down. Ancient Chinese vases, artifacts,
food, hand embroidery, teak boxes,
jewelry, silk, cotton, artificial flowers,
real flowers, stones to make your
patio, furniture, books, you name it was
there for sale.
I bought some gorgeous hand
embroidery done on black silk that
looked like fine paintings until you turn
them over and see the thread knots.
One day in BKK, decided to take the
city bus that is actually a boat. It goes
from pier to pier in the old city. Fare is
about 30 Baht based on distance
traveled. I missed my intended stop,
and got off at the next one, with my
trusty map in hand. It was in the old
Chinatown area, specifically the old
market. Did you ever see huge burlap
bags of dried shrimp, much less six of
them at one place. amazing sights and
sounds and most importantly smells.
Smells of raw fish, cabbage, people,
barbequing chicken all mixed together
to form one amazing nasal effect.
There is one shopping street which is
lined on both sides by small shops who
are separated by at most 3 feet of
space from the front of one to the front
of the other. In that yard, are people
going both ways (on foot of course), an
occasional motorcycle, an occasional
person carrying the baskets hanging
from the pole across the shoulder
holding merchandise for sale. Then too,
you have the shoppers negotiating for
the wares that are laid out on racks or
pallet. This is not standard tourist stuff
but fabric and food. One lady I met
from Iran was trying to figure out how
much embroidered batisse fabric to
buy to make a blouse. The silks were
brilliant, the cottons varied and the
prices ridiculously cheap.
As 3 o'clock came around I searched
for a lunch spot, finally asking at the
gold-chain store (of which there must
have been 30) for an idea where there
was a restaurant. Imagine my surprise
when I was directed to a place called
Texas Suki. The specialty was Chinese
food and it was as clean and modern
as any Burger King could hope to be.
Speaking of which, yes, there are
McDonalds, Pizza Huts, Swenson Ice
Cream, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts,
Kentucky Fried Chickens. And there are
7-11's on nearly every corner. After
more shopping (mostly looking) I asked
someone if they could tell me how to
get back to the skytrain from which I
could find my way home. Directed to
the local bus line, I then experienced
that mode of transportation. Fare is 15
Baht. Buses are not air-conditioned and
that was the most 'in the economy' that
I felt during the whole trip.
The Academy awards were broadcast
while I was there so I saw them at 8
am, and had to go see a movie too. I
saw that "A Beautiful Mind" was playing
at the local theater in English so I went
to see that. The entire audience stands
while they play the Thai National
Anthem. Each theater has different film
they play during the music, one was a
collage of pictures of the Thai people
that as the song went on, the camera
slowly backed out and the eventual
picture was that of the Royal couple,
each pixel being a different picture that
you had seen in detail.
Returning to Atlanta, I broke my glass
frame's nosepiece in the airport in
Bangkok waiting until I got to Hong
Kong for repairs. There was a frame
shop at the airport where I waited while they
ground down my lenses to fit.
Never know what sort of souvenirs you
will come home with, do you? If I have a
favorite souvenir, it may be the hollow
wooden frog that croaks as you run the
wooden rod up the ridges on his back
or perhaps the painted umbrella or perhaps the elephant hide purse.
These chairs had a small belt across the lap, though I don't believe that it would hold you in at all. It is amazing in the way the chair is anchored to keep it from sliding forward when the elephant is going downhill. There is a rope loop that comes from the back of the chair and loops under the elephants tail.One or two persons are placed on an elephant for an
hour ride through the jungle, crossing
streams, and stopping for a banana
treat for the elephant. Look for the huge spiders and orchids in the trees as you bounce along. I've never ridden a horse but I can imagine you would be using the same technique to balance - constantly shifting your body ever so slightly.
We had lunch at the prepared buffet
and the half who came on the
elephants transferred to oxcart, the
others had come by ox, and went back
by elephant. During this time period we passed a village of Hmong people who were originally from Laos and now live in northern Thailand. The oxen took us to the
river’s edge where we were transferred
to the river raft. The first raft we were
on started to sink, and we cautiously
tiptoed over to the next raft. These
rafts were nothing more than a dozen
bamboo poles in one direction with 3
cross bars to hold them together. We
had benches only about 6 inches high
to sit on.
It was beautiful going along with
the current with only a young man at
the front and back 'poling' us through
the shallow rapids. Quite safe. The sad
thing was the farmers burn off the old
vegetation each year prior to planting
and there was so much smoke in the
air from one fire that had gotten out of
hand that it scratched your throat. At one place in the river, was an enterprising 'Coca Cola' dealer as well as some children selling Friendship bracelets as you go by. Oh, the ubiquitousness of the Pause that Refreshes.
One child I met had been living on the street for some 6 weeks by himself before somehow finding his way to the facility. The amazing thing is that he was only 3 years old.
A child can go to school there for the nominal cost of 10 Baht per day. For that, the child receives two meals, safety, education and love. Remember 10 Baht is approximate 20-25 US cents. And you know that there are a great number of the children on 'scholarships."
was there the reporter from the Bangkok Post was interviewing him on the educational ystem. Fr. Joe patiently explained that
these schools 'don't exist'. As in: no formal government system has them in their structure. He said there is no effort to make
the children Catholic, but then again no ffort is put out to NOT convert them to Catholicism. The focus is to prepare the child for true success in school, ready to read and write.