Sunday, August 5, 2012

The one where mom and the girls visit: Thailand: Part 3

Landing in Bangkok was a bit nerve wrecking. First of all I freaked out mid-flight after I realized I was in a metal cylinder about 7-10 miles in the air going at 500 mph. Not sure why that hit me then after all the travelling I've done. It was also a bit of a bumpy flight. Turbulence and I go together like oil and water.
Obviously we landed safe and sound, got through Customs without any issues, except for a crazy woman who ran away from her handler/babysitter/warden and tried to grab a bag away from a guy in line next to us. He looked as terrified as we felt. It was probably the most exciting thing that happened on our trip. Well, aside from my sighting of a Haagen Daaz and subsequent purchase of a Dulce de Leche ice cream cup. More on that in a minute. Or thirty.
I changed money, bought a sim card, broke the sim card within the first 10 mins, fixed the sim card, patted myself on the shoulder for being able to fix my mistakes and then found a taxi service. We were tempted to use the subway system but it was also late at night and we were tired so we gave in and took a cab. I shouldn't be allowed to talk to people when I'm tired, as my family can attest to. I yelled at the cabbie in Bangkok who took us to our hotel because he refused to turn on his meter. He set the price at 400 baht and insisted on that. I insisted on getting out right there and then because I'd read and heard too much about cab drivers setting a price and swindling you. The woman at the front desk it shouldn't cost more than 300 baht to our hotel from the airport and she was part of the taxi service. He yelled and I yelled some more and finally he turned the meter on. The total fare, including airport/highway tolls, was 260 baht. That is a big ole' 'I told you so'. This is meant as advice to all readers and not as a big spotlight on my bad behavior. Stick up for what you believe in. If you feel that you're right, especially in a foreign country where the consequences mean you get ripped off or outright robbed, listen to your gut. Always. It's not a matter of being a foreigner and thinking you know better than the locals. It's a matter of staying safe. I can't emphasis that enough. I can't tell you how many times I've regretted not listening to my gut feeling about a situation.
Anyways, enough preaching. We decided to stay at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong. It was without a doubt the most amazing hotel I've ever stayed in and I've stayed in some pretty nice ones. What made the experience so special was the treatment we received. We showed up with no reservations and at first they weren't the warmest. I mean they were definitely nice but once they realized we were Marriott Rewards members their attitudes completely changed. It's nice to be a member. I felt like they went out of their way to be helpful. Okay, I'm sure they do for everyone: they found us places to eat, mapped out a way for us to get around town using the rail system, 
they offered us a special tea, (which I could drink all day every day), etc. That. Bed. It was ah.mah.zing. I can't even begin to explain how amazing it really was. Note: Stay there if you can! (Marriott, if you read this and want to reimburse me for advertising I would appreciate a free stay. Just a thought.)
We spent our first and only full day in Bangkok doing the touristy thing. Mom and the girls ate breakfast at McDonald's. We took a picture with Ronald McDonald in front of the restaurant. We found the subway/metro/train stop we were told to find. The Bangkok Mass Transit System known as BTS or the Skytrain is amazing. I know I really over use that word. I apologise. It's efficient, easy to use, clean. In a sense it's everything that Western train systems aren't. Especially New York City. I've heard that Singapore's is even better. We took the train from the Ratchadamri Station to the Saphan Taksin Station. Caught a river taxi up to the river from Central Pier to Tha Tien, where the King's Palace and a huge Wat, that I cannot remember the name of. Note to shopping addicts: The pier where you get off to see the Palace is rife with places to shop. Really, really cool places to shop. That's where mom bought her awesome (not amazing) slingshot...that she no longer has...because it was confiscated...because she could have used it as a weapon. ::sigh:: Long story.  So basically we skipped all the cultural stuff because I think we were kind of all cultured out from Cambodia and we shopped until we dropped. Or at least until we thought "we'll sink the boat if we buy anymore."
We headed back to the hotel after eating amazing Thai food. The girls used the really cool swimming pool while mom and I chilled in our awesome room. We passed out super early in preparation for our early departure for to Koh Lanta.

More to come when it's not 3:15am.

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