Sawatdee

Hi Friends!

We finally got our internet set up (sorry so late!), but after getting settled in, sleeping off the jet lag, and figuring out how to survive eight hours as a pedestrian around here, we have some beginning adventures to share.

The flight over was fairly uneventful, thankfully. Aside from a medical emergency towards the end of our Dulles to Tokyo trip (not to make light of it, but “drink your juice, Shelby” moments are scary in person!), the flights went smoothly. We shared a few rolls of sushi in the Narita airport with our seat mate, an army commander who’s lived in the SE Asia area for 12 years. He showed us through security, made sure we knew where we were going, and gave us the Bangkok skinny.

The Tokyo to Bangkok flight tacked on another seven hours to our journey, but for all our weariness, I have to say the Japanese flight crew and attendants were amazing. They were kind, patient, helpful, hospitable, and overall just plain pleasant! I wish I could always fly ANA. Plus they served Kobe beef on the flight. It felt like I was eating beef for breakfast, but it was worth it!

We landed in Bangkok at 1 AM, and were picked up right away. Once we checked into our apartment, I made up our beds while Colby researched how to get to work the next morning…by 9 AM. And by research, I mean he looked at a map and translated what he could from our pocket dictionary (we hadn’t internet or phone at this point). Smarty pants caught the tuk-tuk in time, made it to the sky train, got off at the right stop, and showed up bright and early for Tuesday’s work at the Embassy. Way to go, babe!

Meanwhile, I saw a few Bangkokian (yes, that’s the adjective) sites while Colby was a work. The first was the Erawan Shrine, which is one of six Hindu shrines around the Ratchaprasing intersection. Established in 1956, this shrine is home to Brahma, and started as a more humble Thai spirit house. Apparently, after the hotel on the property experienced too many misfortunes to handle, the proprietors took the advice of a Brahmin priest: build a shrine to assuage the bad karma associated with the building’s auspicious date of first ground breaking. Thank you, Lonely Planet.

Worshippers leave marigold garlands, burn incense, and offer bottles of water and soda (with straws) at the shrine. Once their prayers are granted, they commission the shrine dancers and musicians to perform. I happened to catch this performance, and it was so neat!

We’re planning on seeing Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace, the Jim Thompson House, and possibly Chinatown this weekend. Until then, here are a few other fun Bangkokian (I will never tire of that) images.

Indra Shrine at Ratchaprasong

This tuk-tuk driver has the right idea.

Here, most every taxi is pink. Yesss.

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5 thoughts on “Sawatdee

  1. Love the apartment, such clean and simple lines- yoga zone-like. Shrines are so ornate and beautiful. So proud of you for venturing out on your own and enjoying the sites. Thanks for blogging
    –travels with Natalie, Love, Mom

  2. Doh! I just inquired on Colby’s post as to what your living accommodations are. I initially read your post from my Hotmail account, Natalie. Your photos aren’t visible on Hotmail. It’s a MUCH better experience to read your posts from your blog website. So many pretty and colorful pictures. Thank you for those. Thailand looks like a feast for the eyes based on your photos.

    Nice apartment! Which floor are you on?

    Do many of the “Thais on the street” speak English? Is getting around “idiot-proof”/user-friendly or not so much?

    I’m enjoying your dispatches from Thailand very much. Love, Aunt Chris

    • Aunt Chris, I can’t remember what thread I responded to part of your question on…but now I’m realizing I didn’t answer all of it! The 23rd floor is high, especially when Thai code doesn’t call for high guardrails or secure window screens (more on that in another post!). As for getting around, it’s not easy. I mean, public transport is swell, but tuk-tuk (rickshaw) and motor taxis are a bit, shall I say risky? Yes, VERY risky. Walking on the sidewalk requires full attention, at least for me! Motor taxis come out of nowhere. Luckily, many above-street crosswalks are around town, because as we learned today in our Embassy welcome brief, being a pedestrian is the greatest health risk in Bangkok. And I believe it! Also, many if not most of the Thais speak some English. And to my surprise, the signage is in both Thai and English (lots of icons too). Thailand relies largely on tourism for its industry, so people are very accommodating. Plus, the Thai people are nice to begin with. I’m liking it more here each day! Love, Nat

  3. The house looks great – so excited that you are getting settled and out and about the city! The pictures are great and love hearing about your bangkokian adventures! Love Dad Potter

  4. Thank you for your reply, Natalie. Very interesting. That’s terrific that the Embassy gave you a welcome brief. I’m very glad to hear that you’re enjoying Bangkok more each day. I did a time zone check. You’re 12 hours ahead of us. I imagine when you’re that far away, there’s quite a culture shock factor.

    Last night, unrelated to you and Colby, Juan and I were discussing how he’s spent almost his entire career in the Central time zone. Even when he lived in Panama, he was in the Central time zone. He didn’t intend for that to happen when he got in the AF. Just the way it worked out. Ve

    I’m so pleased that you and Colby are experiencing this great adventure.

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