Bangkok means 'a city of angels' and 12 million people live in the capital of Thailand. Although it is only in the high twenties the humidity is a killer and my hair could not possibly get any more curly!
I have come to Bangkok to attend the international rotary convention. I arrived two days before the convention started and stayed in the backpackers area as Sean suggested I might like to experience this area. I managed to secure accommodation for a mere $18 a night and although it was clean except sheets were not so white, the one towel was like paper, there was only about a dozen sheets of toilet paper and the door was a push button lock that even I could open with a credit card! Not to mention the sign on the back of the door (see picture and note no narcotics and no prostitutes). Hell what can you expect for $18! I did feel safe walking around the area as it was quite nice and relatively clean. So being back in the land of treatments, within 24 hours I had an hour long back massage, two one hour foot massages and a facial all for less than $40 - how I love being buffed and puffed! I was also able to savour a lovely calamari salad and some mango sticky rice which I bought from a street vendor for 30 thb or $1. I love walking the streets and smelling all the street foods!
After two nights at this lovely accommodation I moved into the area where the Rotary hotels are located so I could catch the shuttle bus to the convention centre. I am now at a boutique hotel $70 a night - it is lovely and the staff are so helpful. I am looking forward to a good night sleep without listening to the loud air conditioning unit that made more noise than cold air.
Getting around Bangkok can be a bit of a challenge as most taxi drivers do not understand English, so when you write out the address in English they have no idea where the place is but they pretend they understand - a couple of my cab rides have been over an hour long and they should have been more like 30 minutes - thank goodness cabs are cheap here- apparently there are over 150,000 cabs in bangkok. I now have a system - my new hotel writes the address for me in Thai to give the taxi driver, this seems to be working well.
Today was the opening of the convention ( over 35,000 people) and we were treated to a visit from the Thai Princess (I was able to get a picture of her getting back into her car). Unfortunately she is apparently sick with cancer but really wanted to attend today's opening even after her chemo session.
I have met up with Joan and Donna from my club and also ran into Judy Byron and her husband. On the shuttle bus to the convention centre I sat with a doctor from Egypt. She has invited me to Cario and told me to email her and she will make all the arrangements. Then I met three people at my hotel from Cape Town south Africa we chatted for over an hour and I found out they are Muslim and they were very open to me asking them questions about their religion and what it is like for muslims to live in south africa. They would like to come to canada one day for a vacation. So we exchanged emails and they want me to contact them if I get to south Africa. There is no doubt the best part of traveling is the people you meet - you quickly find out we are not all that different.
Tonight was the reception for our rotary zone at The Orchid Sheraton - armed with the directions in Thai it was only about a 15 minute cab ride that cost $3 for Joan, Donna and myself. The food at the reception was very good and a lovely variety. The evening also included Thai entertainment. Great day in Bangkok.