Jim Thompson's House & MBK

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June 27th 2012
Published: June 23rd 2017
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Geo: 13.7308, 100.521

Our first breaky at the Manhattan was very nice but a little disappointing after being spoilt at the Grand China Princess! After breaky I had a nana nap then we headed to Jim Thompson's House. Walking to the Skytrain station we stopped in to see George the Tailor quickly, who Nana and Pa have become friends with over the years. Although it isn't really relevant now, George told us that the average Thai annual wage was 10,000-12,000B ($333-400 AUD!) We caught the Skytrain (BTS) from Asok station, opposite Terminal 21, to Siam Central where we switched over to the subway (MRT) to the National Stadium station. It was a short walk to Jim Thompson's House (500m) down a dainty old road with no sign of other tourists and only one sign indicating that we were heading in the right direction. Halfway down a man came up to us telling us the house was closed until 1pm, I'd read previously of these scams but they were all for temples. It was only when he asked someone walking down the street who spoke better English did I believe him, although as it turned out it was a scam.

we bought the tickets we had to wait 20 minutes for the next English tour to start; so we walked around the small garden. When the tour started we had to put all our belongings into a locker (including phone and camera – no photos again!!) and then could start the actual part of the tour; we were with 10 other people. My details may be a little off as it was very hard to understand our guide who spoke little English and spoke very quietly. The first thing we were shown was a wooden thing with fish carved into it which was used as a press. On our way inside his actual house a bird either poo'd or dropped the inside of a seeding onto mum and I which went everywhere and absolutely stank!

Jim Thompson was an American architect who got deported to Thailand during his time in the army and he fell in love with the place and moved here. He was very keen to bring back old Thai traditions, particularly Thai artwork and silk. He bought silk from a small village and took it over to Vogue magazine in America to make it world-renown. He decided to buy land and move next to the small village that continued to make the silk. In 1967(?) on a holiday to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia Jim went missing and not a trace of valid information has been found. He vanished when he was 61; the same age as he was warned to 'be careful' in a horoscope which holds much significance to the Thai people.

The inside of Thompson's house was quite amazing; it reflected all Thai traditions. His rooms were all on the second story and connected by hallways, a bit like the Kings Summer Palace in Hua-Hin. He had sculptures of Buddha that dated back as early as the 7th century and paintings to the 14th century which were pretty impressive. His house contained a few Western aspects like a dining table and stairs inside the house. All the doorways of the house had a small wall at the bottom which helps hold the house up and keeps the spirits out. The rooms we were able to access were the guest bedroom, his bedroom, his office, the pantry, the living room, entrance hall and dining room. The house had been designed in a very practical way, an example of this is the entrance hall which had a door on either side, one for visitors who arrived by car and the other for visitors who arrived via the khlong (river). Keeping with the Thai tradition outside was a 'Spirit House' which was a smaller version of the house on a stand; every morning they put food and incense on the house as an offering to the Spirit which lived in the ground. It's amazing how long these strange beliefs have lasted!

After walking up and down stairs to the Skytrain in an attempt to get to MBK and then repeating the process with 54 more stairs we finally arrived, very sorely for me. Our first port of call was to get the carved crystals like last time, we got one of just me, one of Nana and Pa and one of Mum and I, then went to get lunch. Nana and Pa were very satisfied with their sticky rice and mango, which I think they had for the first time this holiday. Our crystals looked amazing, but I personally prefer the crystal from two years ago to todays. Nana and Pa decided that they would go back to the hotel for a swim and leave us shopping. We went to the ground floor which gained its reputation as the ‘bargain basement' - unfortunately it didn't live up to its name with handbags selling for up to 7900B. The other levels were much better, we found two shops with all handbags selling for 199B with a good 3,000 bags! The store was fairly crowded and then a clan of Indians came and overtook the store. For some reason their husbands all decided that they would come in as well so there would have been 30ish Indians in a store with two lanes and you can't fit two abreast; it was crazy! None of the Indians were afraid to have their elbows out knocking out whoever was in their way, I did get one back on the way out! We came home with 3 bags from this store.

We went up to the 6th floor where the food court was and mum got another handbag she had been drooling over and then a skirt and t-shirt at another store. They lady who owned the store was running after mum getting her mirrors, other clothes she might like, a seat… it was absolutely crazy and by the time we left there was stuff everywhere.

On our way back to the train station we saw a Thai boxing competition but there was no way I would be standing on a bridge for fifteen minutes until it started. When we got off the train we went into Terminal 21 to avoid going down the stairs. Inside was very busy as there was an opening of some sort of cosmetics, Mona Vie possibly. The VIP's were everywhere acting like HMP's (high maintenance princesses) as dad calls them.

We went for a quick swim then went out to Tops for dinner. Mum and I had McDonalds, the rule has always been that we can have it once just to compare. Just like every other time the nuggets were ‘real', the actually tasted like chicken. We ordered the extra-large drink and chips just for the fun of it. We ate down in Tops with Nana and Pa, halfway through mum spilt water all over Pa's pants making him look like he wet himself; he wasn't very impressed, needless to say mum could barely breathe from laughing too much. It may have been a ‘you had to be there' but in Pa's fight for an ice-cream he made the comment that "you can take it out of my allowance''- Mum and I loved it!

Before going back to the hotel we walked through the market stalls for a while and came home with season 1 of Revenge, a TV show. One section we went through had around 10 prostitutes, many of whom looked very insecure and like they didn't want to be there, even though it's their option I did feel sorry for them. One had an elderly man hanging off her who gave us an incredibly creepy smile.

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29th June 2012

Good to see you still fight for yourself Mel,just had to get one in didn,t you re indians,and to anyone who didn,t know Kate has always talked about accidentally tipping water over Pa, makes you wonder doesn't it,play nice Kate

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