Friday, August 14, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 12

Thursday - two more days in Bangkok.
Today, we decided to explore downtown on our own - Andi still wasn't 100% and didn't think he could do the Absolute Explorers countryside bike tour. Already in the midst of downtown, we took a "tuk tuk" -- an open-air taxi that's more like a speedy golf cart. Bangkok's pretty polluted so I didn't want to take it, but Andi said we weren't going far and we should hop in rather than waiting around for a regular cab. So we jumped in ... check out how excited I was. I was even more happy when Andi promptly said "you're right, this was a bad idea" as we were blasted with charter bus exhaust. Ah, fun times...
We took the tuk tuk to the Jim Thompson House. Jim Thompson was an American CIA agent who moved to Bangkok in the 1950's. After WWII, he started the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company, realizing the great amount of world-wide selling / trading power the silk industry could bring to Thailand. He build his residence in downtown Bangkok and lived there for 7 years before disappearing in Cambodia in the mid 60's. Today his estate is a museum. Upon recommendation from and many locals, we went to check it out. It was interesting to see Thai architecture (especially the blending of Thai and Western styles) and learn about his history - especially since there isn't really any American ties to Thailand. As interesting as it was, Andi and I thought it sounded awfully fishy ... a former American CIA agent who suddenly disappeared never to be found? Have a feeling he was into something bigger than selling silk....

Jim Thompson houseThis is the canal next to the Jim Thompson house. This is where Thai silk goods were sold in floating markets back in the 50's ... although no floating markets happen here today.
Next, we went to the Siam Center which is a pedestrian shopping area. We wanted to get some souvenirs for family so we went to the MBK complex. Another gigantic shopping center with everything from arcades to bookstores. One nice thing about shopping here - all prices are negotiable. And, we finally realized why the shopping centers are so packed all day and all night long ... they're air conditioned. It's so flipping hot here ... no wonder everyone flocks to the malls!

Downtown Bangkok (BTK skyway / subway system)

Downtown street vendor
Inside the shopping area - I made Andi snap this photo ... these are the clothing manikins here. Aren't they creepy??We went to the furniture floor and to a department store called Index Living Mall. Or, what we coined "ThaiKEA." This store is Thailand's version of IKEA!! We couldn't believe it. Check out the photos ...
Even though we went to one yesterday, we decided to go to another movie. This time we saw The Taking of Pelham 123 with Denzel Washington and John Travolta. The movie was playing in the cinema's VIP theater. Totally the way to watch a movie! For 300 Baht (or $7 US dollars/each) we got a complimentary drink before the movie (see me enjoying mine below) as well as huge lounge recliners in the theater and a comfy blanket for each chair. And, the movie was good too ...
After the movie, we went back to our hotel room and ordered room service. Can't believe tomorrow's our last day here. It feels like we've been here forever and yet and it's hard to believe our honeymoon is almost over.

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