Sunday, August 4, 2013

Downtown Fun

Today, my son and I ventured to downtown Bangkok, while my husband got to spend his entire day at day 3 of his three-day training for school. I was to meet a friend there. She and I met a few months ago in the U.S. through a mutual friend. Since she is half Thai, was born and raised in Bangkok, and spent her school years in international schools, our mutual friend thought she could give me some pointers about living here. She comes back annually to visit her family and friends, and we both happened to be free today, which also happens to be her second-to-last day here. Good timing (and lucky me)! 

You'd think I'd be wary about going "out there" again, what with our trouble with taxis the last time we ventured out, but 1) I wanted to see my friend, and 2) well, when Bangkok calls, you just go. It did take me 30 minutes to get a taxi, though, and the only reason I did was because the guard at the gate of our neighborhood took me and my son on his motorcycle out to the street and got us a taxi within 5 seconds.

Once we got inside the taxi, I immediately received notice of what I'm not allowed to do while in the taxi:

My son asked me what the third picture from the left meant, and I had to lie and tell him that it meant "no wrestling" in the taxi. He thought it meant "no diaper-changing." I liked his answer better.

So since we've been here, this has been the seat belt situation for my son while riding in a taxi (glad we didn't spend the time and money lugging his booster seat across the world because it would've been useless here). The seat belt is required only for the front seats here, so sometimes a taxi wouldn't have any seat belts in the back at all. Or if there is a seat belt, there wouldn't be a buckle. I was pleasantly surprised when the taxi that took us home had BOTH (on my son's side, but not on my side).

[Side note: Holding up the camera and taking this picture with my left hand while my right arm provided me with the illusion of safety was no small feat either.]

The traffic was horrible as usual, even on a Sunday (and yet, there is absolutely no road rage as is so common in the U.S., at least where we lived).

Saw some interesting things en route. A tree decorated with lanterns at a yoga place:

A very tall double-deck bus, which isn't so unusual in and of itself...

Until you see that the lower level has a couch!

A taxi full of people.

Downtown Bangkok is just like the song says....Lots of traffic and traffic noises and lots of tall buildings. You definitely forget all your troubles and worries while there because you're so distracted and overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds. And I'm sure the lights would be brighter there than here if we had gone during nighttime. There are even pretty flowers.

This is where my friend and I met. It is one of several upscale, giant mega-malls (no, that's not redundant, trust me) here that has everything, including a huge supermarket on the top floor. There are guards in spiffy uniforms at the door that open the door for you and salute you as you walk through.

There are at least five stories to the mall. These pics are just from right inside the entrance.

A cute tea shop.

A view of half of the mall from the elevator:

So of course, since we're at a mall, we had to do a little shopping (which my friend had already done in the month that she's been here). I bought these cute shorts that my friend actually was wearing. When I admired them, she told me she got them at the mall for half off. The sale was still going on, so I got a pair too! My friend got another pair in orange.

(She and I actually wear the same size, but she's tall, skinny, and lanky, and I'm...not. And hers was loose on her! Made me feel downright stumpy!)

After we worked up an appetite shopping, we headed upstairs for some lunch at this place called Greyhound Cafe.

We ordered some cool drinks. My son ordered the Pink Cooler, which is a smoothie made with strawberries, pineapples, and watermelon, and I had the Thai tea grenada. Yummy!!

Lunch was so delicious too! My friend and I shared this interesting dish that came with square rice noodle (looked like wonton wraps, but much thinner and softer) and two sauces (one spicy) that you put on the rice noodle. You're supposed to then roll up the rice noodle to eat. The flavors came together so perfectly. It was amazing.

After lunch, we promised our boys some ice cream. As we were going up the escalator, my friend's son fell on the escalator and scratched up his shins. A mall employee immediately appeared out of nowhere and took us to the mall nurse office, where the nurse spent about 20 minutes tending to my friend's little boy!! Inside the office, there were even beds and a nursing room! Neither one of knew such a thing existed. What don't they have at this mall?

The rest of our afternoon was spent at this place called Funarium. We seriously need something like this in the U.S. I know many American parents would kill to have a place like this. There's a play area for the kids to entertain themselves while the parents can choose to get a massage on the side.

So there are the usual things like tall slides (bumpy and in-the-dark), climbing areas, and ball pits. There also is in-line skating, biking, zip lining, and rock wall climbing. My son had a blast trying everything (except the in-line skating). One hour was too short for the kids!

And the massage. OMG. For an hour, you can choose to have just a foot massage or a foot and shoulder massage. We both chose the latter. But it was way more than that! The woman worked on my head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, feet, and legs up to the knee!! And it was hard core! Sometimes the masseuse would dig her knuckles into my feet. At one point, she was pulling on my arms so much I thought they would come out of their sockets. AND then she pounded on my head and back, like she was punching me! Ouch!! Even my friend, who grew up here, was surprised. But I was so relaxed afterwards. I was prepared for the taxi ride home!

The taxi ride home was uneventful (so thankful to have my friend's Thai language skills to help me get a cab!). A nice way to end a fun and fabulous day for all before heading back to reality on Monday!


  1. Wow! Thanks for another amazing post! I am so jealous--we need a Funarium for sure!


  2. I am going to refer my ex-ex-pat daughter to your blog. I understand why she didn't want to give up the ex-pat life!

  3. I would just like to say that I "like" both of your comments, Chante and Mary. ;)