Sorry about the delay in posting to my blog - as I mentioned, I am not a fan of the touch screen typing on my iPad and have been searching, albeit not very vigorously, for an external keyboard, to make my bloggin & emailing much easier. Unfortunatley I haven't found one yet, but I did find a computer :-) so now is time for a BIG update on our trip. As I mentioned, this is a "spoiled Heather & Diane" holiday and the avails of all of my work travel are paying off. What I have learned is that my Elite status allows me to bring a guest into all of the lounges with me, and all I can say is that I far much prefer hanging out in a lounge during our layovers! Right now we are in the Royal Thai Silk lounge in Bangkok - awaiting our flight to Chiang Mai but I will get to that in a bit!
We have a fairly uneventful flight from Tokyo to Bangkok however we were on United Airlines and that is enough said. Happy that we are flying with Thai Airlines from Bangkok to Tokyo on the way home :-) Managed to make it through customs very quickly, grabbed our bags and were in a cab all within 30 minutes of landing. We got to our hotel - the Le Meridien Bangkok at about midnight - what an amazing 5* hotel. We were both a little peckish given that we had just been travelling for about 20 hours, so we went to one of everyone's favourite haunts - the Golden Arches for a quick snack. Yep - sad to say that our first meal in Thailand was a set of chicken nuggets. Our hotel was in the Silom region (?) which is the main business district but also fairly close to the red light district. Although we didn't "see" a whole lot, we were asked a lot if we wanted to "see" various and assorted sexual acts - we both passed.
Bangkok is famous for both it's night market and it's weekend market and given that Diane is a huge shopper, and I persuaded her to come to Thailand with grandeurs of shopping, we opted to go to the weekend market as our first activity. We hoped on the subway (great system by the way) and headed out for a day of shopping. Let's put it this way - we only lasted 3 hours at the market - partly b/c of the heat and humidity - it is about 34C and about 95% humidity - but also because the market was SO overwhelming. If you wanted to buy it, they probably had it. There were 8000 stalls and it covered about 35 ha. It just reinforced to me that there is far too much "crap" in this world. In the end, we covered maybe 10% of the market and missed out on some of the good parts like furniture and house stuff but I saw enough. I did manage to get something and bought myself a pair of Havianas (a type of flip flops) for about $10 and that was about it. After about 3 hours, we both admited defeat and decided to head back to our hotel and go for a famed foot massage.
Now all along the roads are places that specialize in massage. One tradition that Diane and I started on our trip to Hawaii was to go to the spa in the Vancouver airport and were planning on doing that on Friday, but there is no spa in the international departures level - go figure - so I was a little bummed. Now, not so much after seeing how cheap massage is here! A 1 hour foot massage is running you about $8 :-) Diane and I loved our foot massage so much, we both decided that we wanted to continue our relaxation and opted to each have an oil massage and this is where the violation began! Let's put it this way, every bit of me was massaged short of the lady bits! She even did both the girls. Humility was thrown out the window when she had me on my back with my arms above my head with the girls hanging out as she massaged my stomach (which by the way feels really good) She did my butt, she did my legs, my back - you name it, she massaged it. And then when she was done, she said "have a shower now" - there was shower in my room and pulled my towel off me - so there I was buck naked - she was waiting for me to get up so she could change the table. Oh well, I am sure she has seen white cellulite before - just not sure she has seen girls like these though! :-) Both Diane and I agreed that we were equally violated. I have to admit though, I am now addicted to foot massages and went for another one yesterday. I think that this might be my daily trend.
Yesterday we spent the day touring Bangkok. We both agreed that it was probably best to hire a guide to take us around and asked the conceige for a recommendation. The hotel lined us up with a tour guide and driver - her name was Ning and our driver's name was Mr. Wat. I found it interesting that they provided us with a female guide and she made it very clear when we got in the car that they were insured. We had a brand new Toyota Camry - with air con, which became so essential! Ning took us to a bunch of temples - now for those of you who know me and have read previous posts - if I have seen one temple, I have seen them all. Well let's put it this way - I saw a lot of temples and was amazed by each and every one of them - not sure I need to see too many more though on this trip ;-) I learned how to tell the difference b/w a Buddha statue and a monk statue and how to tell the different cultural influences on the temples. (when I can upload some photos I will and I will show you) We also went to the Grand Palace and on a long tail boat down the river. By the end of the day, both Diane and I were exhausted - mainly from the heat and humidity - it was so hot even the front of my shins were sweating! No tour would be complete without the requisite stop at some place to go shopping. Here it was a gem and silk shop. Diane found a set of ruby earrings and pendant and I bought 5m of some beautiful blue silk. I have a couple of weddings this summer and figure I will have it made into a dress for those.
As I mentioned, we are heading up to Chiang Mai for about 5 days. We are staying at the Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa -which looks devine on the website - another 5* resort. I think tomorrow is our Thai cooking school and on Saturday we are going to the Elephant Farm to be owners for the day. Not sure what will fill our time in between but I am sure we will have no problem making the most of it. Once again, there is supposed to be some good shopping in Chaing Mai!
Well - gotta run - flight is boarding soon. Until my next posting. . .have a good one and remember to smile!