Published: February 2nd 2007February 2nd 2007
Astrid with Local School Girls
The girls co-opted Astrid to help them with their english studies.
We got an early start this morning. We are staying at the Century Park Hotel in Bangkok. It is a decent hotel, but it has seen better days. No Starbucks immediately at hand, but the coffee at the hotel was quite good.
We were scheduled to go on a group city tour. No others had signed up, so we ended up having a private tour. Our tour guide, Tom, was an affable fellow. I am not sure how reliable his facts and figures were, but we were able to get a sense of life in Bangkok by quizzing him on his routines. The general consensus is that the military coup was a good thing that headed off a potentially violent clash between the supporters and opponents of the former, democratically elected prime minister. The tanks were in town for a couple of weeks and were quite the tourist attraction. Even the local school children lined up to have their picture taken with the tanks.
During our tour, we caught a number of temples and the Grand Palace (the former residence of the Thai king). Wat Timitr houses the “golden Buddha” - 5 ½ tons of solid gold. Wat Po, the most extensive temple in Bangkok, has the colossal Reclining Buddha. Suffice it to say, we saw a lot of Buddha. The Grand Palace was very interesting. There was a mix of Buddhist, Hindu and Western themes in the buildings.
On our return to the hotel, we had time for the kids to have a swim in the rooftop pool. Astrid and I took the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the local culture with a Thai massage. It was unlike any massage I have had before. It was certainly a “full” body massage. I was waiting to hear about the happy ending options.
Dinner was at an Italian restaurant at the hotel. My recommendation is not to travel to Thailand to eat Italian food. On the other hand, our Thai lunch was fabulous.