Bangkok was fun! It is big and dirty and crowded but also exotic and exciting. Unlike lots of European cities, it actually smells good, like a combination of incense and spices, and there were flowers everywhere.
Our apartment was great, a two story penthouse on the 30 and 31st stories of a building with a view of the river. It was new and modern and had good English cable channels and speedy reliable wifi. It also had a convenience store in the building, which was great on the one hand but bad on the other, as we never worked at finding a proper grocery and so were shy on actual food in the apartment the whole week.
That was us in our apartment - way at the tippy top
The Hilton and the Peninsula were just a block or two away, as was the sky train station that you could catch for a little over a dollar per person into the center of town.
The most important site in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, the original home of all the Thai monarchs. The large complex has lots of gorgeous buildings built over the course of hundreds of years. It is also home to the Emerald Buddha, the most revered worship icon in Bangkok.
This is Emerald Buddah, he's actually made of Jade. They change his clothes 3 times a year.
We also visited Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn.) It was a steep climb to the top.
On Saturday night Mark and Wilder went to one of the famous Thai kick boxing stadiums. They really enjoyed this splurge and called it a good cultural experience and lots of gory fun. While they were gone Peyton and I were treated to a fabulous fireworks show, performed twice. The explosions shot from a boat in the middle of the river, once in front of the Hilton and then again in front of the Peninsula. It felt just like the 4th of July!
Just riding in the boats on the river (used for transportation since traffic can be hellacious) and wandering the streets of Bangkok was excellent entertainment. Everywhere there were people on the street selling just about anything you could think of.
Fun too was riding in the tuk-tuks, which are made for three passengers. They didn't mind though when we squeezed in four.
We ate lots of street food. Some good - some not. My favorite was the spring rolls.
We were really excited when we took our mending to a lady with a sewing machine on the street right outside our apartment. For $2 she hemmed Mark's new jeans, patched Wilder's old ones and sewed up a big hole in my sweater.
On our last day we went to cooking school. It was lots of fun, and the food we made was very good. The lesson included a trip to the local market to pick out all the fresh ingredients for our dishes - that was my favorite part.
Mark loved all the chili peppers, and the chef was kind enough to help tone down the spiciness for me (they like it hot!) We made Pad Thai and even our own curry paste for a chicken dish, among others. Besides cooking, we ate until we were stuffed. Wilder called it the highlight of his week. We have promised our gourmet cook friend Sue (who is forever dishing up amazing things for us) a home cooked Thai meal when we get back.
The biggest down side of our time in Bangkok was just that we are fighting (or rather not fighting) travel weariness and therefore laziness. After more than 6 months now, getting excited about going out and seeing another tourist attraction is sometimes hard. The plus side of this though was that the kids got a lot of school work done and I finished uploading our giant backlog of pictures.
Next we head to Cambodia where we move from posh apartments to cheap guest houses, so hopefully hanging out in our digs all day won't be quite such a temptation.