Bangkok Bound!

It was time to say arigatou and sayonara to Tokyo — thank you and goodbye.  Thank you for a most wonderful introduction to your country. The hospitality shown to us  and your humility gave us all a very different perspective.  I was truly humbled and yes I would love to return some day. They hooked me with being greeted at every turn with the bowing down of the head and clasped hand gesture.

We had a very early flight to Bangkok but excitement was in the air as we were all ready for part 2 of our tour.  Our flight on ANA (All Nippon Airways) was Sweet. They are part of Star Alliance which entitled those of us with status to enter the Lounge. Cousin Darryl and myself with Gold Status were allowed 1 guest each so Diva Sue and Alisha got real comfy with us as we charged up our devices and caught up on emails.   It was early but that didn’t stop some from having a few complimentary  alcoholic beverages.  I stuck to my usual Tonic water and was just fine.   Now the food spread was more than you would imagine at 9 o’clock in the morning, noodles, curry dishes, deep fried chicken bits with a sweet chili sauce and homemade French fries cooked to perfection. Of course there were plenty of breakfast items presented.

The smooth flight was about 5 hrs though slightly delayed which caused us to rush for our dinner cruise.  I for one was happy to say “sawasdee” (hello in Thai) and be back in Bangkok as it had been a few years. I believe it was November 2013 on a 14 night cruise to Singapore, Bangkok and several cities in beautiful Vietnam (part 3 of this tour).  Our 5 Star Sofitel was proof that when it comes to hotels Ms Kat does not play —- only the best. Since we missed the pick up point, the boat deviated and picked us at some random place en route,  which was quick thinking on the part of our guide. The cruise gave us the best view of the city’s legendary riverside buildings lit up at night as we traveled slowly along the Chao Phraya River. The courses were traditional Thai dishes made with the freshest, top quality ingredients and the service impeccable; down to the details paying attention to those with allergies.

I hate to begin this paragraph with breakfast and I just described dinner.  Oh well, hells bells… it is what it is.  Breakfast started at 6am and we were there ready to do this.  The spread had EVERYTHING!!!  One of the chefs was at the waffle and pancake station whipping out miniatures of both, eggs cooked to order, roasted meats and I cannot begin to describe all the freshly sliced fruits on display and also stocked  in this huge see thru refrigerated case.

Our tour bus was departing at 7 o’clock sharp because we had to travel 110 km to the DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET; thee most famous. We had to first stop at the Mae Khlong Station where we visited the famous Railway Market.  It had to be timed just perfectly to see this wild and crazy occurrence on the tracks.   It only happens a few times throughout the day.  We followed our guide past street vendors selling and cooking up fragrantly seasoned Thai dishes.  She made a slight left and entered down a 15ft darkened alleyway that was about 4ft wide and we ended up on a railway track. This was truly a trip back in time to the Siam of old.  What we saw on this track amazed us and yes we had to be very careful as the train approached — as my 4 yr old Sakari says, “Safety First”.  We had to get out of the way for real.  It was mind blowing to see the vendors frantically packing away their stalls from the track as the train approaches.  Once it passes— it’s business as usual. Unfreakinbelievable!

Now on to the Floating Market, but first a stop at the “Happy Room” also known in this culture as for men: “shooting the rabbit”  and for women: ” picking flowers”.  Our guide said when she was a little girl she often wondered why her dad left the vehicle on a road trip  but never came back with a rabbit.

In addition to shopping at this very large market at the rivers edge, we were treated to a 35 minute speed boat ride. These boats are fashioned after the boat used in James Bond’s, The Man With the Golden Gun which by the way was filmed in part in Thailand.  It was a most enjoyable experience.  Water baby, Cousin Darryl wanted to go again but we had to be on our way.

Next stop, some needed to have clothes tailor made — suits, shirts and dresses and  the serious shoppers also needed to  take a look at some Jade jewelry.    We dropped  them off with the guide and our driver took the remaining half of us back to the comfort of our Sofitel Hotel on the lively SUKUMVIT STREET.  I Overheard that tonight  some would be  hitting  the night markets and the triple X rated joints — smdh.  My advice: Be safe and behave responsibly.   Tomorrow:  The famous BLUE ELEPHANT COOKING SCHOOL…. Stay tuned.



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