Our stay in Thailand began with three days in Bangkok. I was still recovering from a nasty GI bug when we arrived in Bangkok, so I spent hours in bed while Theo and the girls spent hours at the pool. They had so much fun and came up to tell me they had met a really interesting couple who wanted to go out to dinner with us. I felt well enough to accept, so we met them in the hotel lobby and walked together to the pier where we could take a boat across the river to the restaurant. The couple - a German man and a Japanese woman - lived in Japan for decades and just recently moved to Germany. Their careers brought them to Bangkok several times a year, and they love to visit even now. We had a delicious dinner by the riverfront, but as I was still somewhat ill and not yet adjusted to the heat and humidity of Thailand, I wasn’t much of a conversationalist. Still, they gave us good tourist advice for our short stay in Bangkok and wrote down some notes to help us plan our future visit to Japan.
Wat Po is the temple famous for the Reclining Buddha, but there is a lot more to the complex. The entire space and is beautiful and peaceful. If you arrange it ahead of time, you can even get a massage there! We did not, so we just walked around taking pictures before sitting in the main temple for awhile in contemplative silence.
We took the public boat up the river to the temple, not realizing the fare was such small change. They couldn’t give us change, so we asked around and had our too-large-for-the-boat bill broken by some very nice British tourists. People are so helpful if you just ask. To get back to the hotel, though, we took a tuk-tuk, which gave us a nice first glimpse of one of the markets, passing through the garment section and automotive parts section before reaching the produce section and street food vendors close to our hotel.
On our last day in Bangkok, we decided to walk to and through a market. There are many markets in Bangkok, and we went to the one in Chinatown. Normally, I don’t like walking with the kids in crowded streets and markets. I feel uneasy when I can’t see ahead of me. In this market, however, I was taller than most of the other patrons. At 5-foot-2, that’s not a common experience for me. We ate some street food (grilled meat on a stick) and bought some flip-flops for Tori, then went to a Chinese restaurant for a sit-down lunch and some air conditioning.
That night we had dinner in the hotel. After we finished, we heard some kind of party going on in the bar. While Theo spoke with the concierge about something, the girls and I went to check out the party. The bar area was filled with women in party dresses singing and dancing to an Elvis impersonator. Before I knew it, I was right up there with them dancing and singing to “All Shook Up”. I later learned that the women, who were from China, were in Bangkok for a cosmetics convention. My children completely failed to record the event (“Mama, but you said no phones at dinner!”) but I am sure video of my smooth moves made it into the social media feeds of a few of the partiers.