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Published: December 3rd 2007
Well, we did it. We finally left Vieques! We had a great flight from Los Angeles direct to Bangkok on Thai Airways; very comfortable seats and attentive service. Having been culturally deprived the last 5 months, we were excited to spend time in Bangkok, welcome the Thai hospitality and start enjoying food again. We haven't been disappointed.
We started out each getting medical checkups at two different hospitals. We are very impressed with the quality of care we each received, technology and not to mention the cost differential.
Once we settled in, we found it very easy to get around Bangkok with the river ferries, the skytrain, metro and cabs. We usually take the river ferry on the Chao Phraya River for the 20 minute ride to the skytrain. It's the most entertaining ride for .30 cents. We've made the obligatory visit to the Grand Palace but found it overrun with tourists and one of the least peaceful places in Bangkok! We're pretty content wandering around different areas of the city, like finding the flower market. Dennis has found a great spot for getting his foot massages. We each had the traditional Thai massage which was a bit painful as
Visiting the Wats
we were being stretched and pulled to the popping sounds of my joints. This type of massage is done fully clothed and with knee length cotton shorts worn, instead of our long pants. Overall, a great feeling once it's over.
The shopping malls are crowded and offer most of what you can also find in the states. The food courts can compare with what you'd find at the Harrod's food court in London.... sumptuous food at every corner. We've been researching food recommendations on Chowhound and have had some great finds. The food prices are very reasonable as long as we stay away from the tourist oriented restaurants which tend to be bland and not as authentic. Did I mention how food is an important part of Thai culture? There are food stands set up everywhere, day and night. Our current favorite here in Chiang Mai is a couple that sell a filo pastry grilled on order and then stuff it with banana and topped with chocolate. Last night was a special Sunday market with the streets closed off to vendors selling all types of handmade products as well as a special food court. The sticky rice and mango
topped with coconut syrup reminds me of rice pudding with sweet fruit. We really have been enjoying some of the spicy dishes that give great lip burn even after the dish is gone. I could go on, but I'd only make you hungry.
We took an overnight train on Tuesday evening to visit Chiang Mai in the north. We've been exploring the area for about 4 days and rented a motorcycle to take a drive into the countryside. We will fly to Bangkok in the morning. As it's the King's 80th birthday on December 5th, Bangkok is celebrating with numerous festivities, including the Royal Barge procession which we want to see. Wishing everyone well.
We're able to check our email here and we can also use our Skype account for calls.
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