Some “Down Time” in Bangkok

We had to catch yet another early flight, this time at 8:40, so we had asked for a 5:30 wake-up call in order to leave the Boddhi Tree by 6. We were told that although no one would be on duty, the security guard would wake us up by then. Luckily, we awoke by ourselves, since no one came by our room at the designated time. When I walked through the courtyard to the kids’ room, I found the security guard fast asleep on a couch. We were finding that hostels and guesthouses, although they provided affordable places to stay, were not always the best with wake up calls. I had to bang on the kids’ door in order to get them up, and I was finally forced to wake up the sleeping guard in order to have him unlock the front gates of the guesthouse, which had been chained shut during the night.

The Boddhi Tree had called us a cab the previous evening, which was waiting for us outside on the mostly deserted street- apparently it was too early for even the deformed beggars to be awake. We arrived at the airport about 30 minutes later and ate breakfast at an internet café while we waited to board our plane. Soon, we had left Cambodia behind and, within one hour of taking off, had arrived at the brand new international airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

Once we arrived there, we made the mistake of actually following the signs in the airport to find a taxi. My guidebook had warned me about the flat rate, high priced taxis provided by companies working out of the airport- but it was packed in our luggage, and I couldn’t remember what it had said to do in order to hail one. We ended up paying $13 for a ride to our hotel, twice what it had cost us for an equivalent trip in Cambodia that morning as well as twice the going rate in Thailand.

We arrived at our hotel, which was very nice, considering that I paid the same amount for a room there that I did on the cab ride from the airport! In fact, the rooms were so reasonable there- I had decided to get two of them when I booked them over the internet. Since the rooms came with either a double bed or two singles, I had gotten one of each so that everyone would be comfortable. After checking in, we walked down the road to the shopping mall and ate lunch at Pizza Hut. Once again, we were ready for some Western food, and pizza had sounded really good to all of us.

Back at the hotel, we all took it easy in our respective rooms- Trudy and I in the double room, and the kids a few doors down the hall in the room with the single beds. I napped, while Justin and Trudy watched T.V., and Brennan used the internet. Nobody really felt like doing much, we all needed a little down time after all of the travelling we had been doing.

As evening neared, though, Justin and I were growing a little restless and wanted to check into seeing a movie. I asked at the front desk where the nearest movie theater was and they told me there was one a 20 minute walk away. I tried to find out what was playing, but that particular theater did not have movie listings in the newspaper. I considered walking over there but didn’t relish the 40 minutes round trip that it would take me just to find out what was playing. Then it hit me that the “20-minute” walk to the theater might be equivalent to the “20-minute” walk to the second terminal at Changi airport in Singapore. I therefore decided to chance it- and set off in the right direction, reaching my destination within 7 minutes. When I returned to the room, Justin and I decided to see “The Bourne Supremacy”, a spy movie, later that evening. Unlike in Japan, movies were a much more reasonable $4 in Thailand.

For dinner, we ate at the hotel’s restaurant. They had a special “noodle fest” going on, where one could pick a type of noodle as well as your toppings, along with whatever sauce that they wanted. I, of course, ordered spicy noodles, while the rest of the family opted for milder fare. Brennan decided not to partake in the noodles at all and stuck with fried rice, one of his favorite dishes. After we enjoyed the authentic Thai food, Justin and I walked to the movie theater, while Trudy and Brennan returned to the kids’ room.

The theater was indistinguishable from those found in America, except that, after showing the previews, they played the Thai national anthem and showed a picture of the king and his family on the screen. Justin reminded me that I had previously read to the family out of my guidebook and that it had said that one was supposed to stand, arms at one’s side, whenever the national anthem was played. We soon joined the rest of the theater in paying our respects to the king, who, after more than 60 years in the role, was the longest serving head of state in the world. We both enjoyed the movie, which was in English with Thai subtitles, and soon returned to the hotel- walking through the light rain that had started while we were in the theater.

Since everyone was hungry for a snack when we returned, we ordered fried ice cream from the hotel restaurant and ate it in our room before turning in for the night.

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