Day Two and Three in Bangkok

Sky train ride

Sky train tickets

We took the Skytrain to Chatuchak, known as “the world’s largest flee market,” in the morning. The girls are now fully able to use the Skytrain. They can decide the direction we need to go, purchase the tickets at the electronic kiosk, and put their ticket into the machine. I just think that is pretty cool.

Guns Matt bought

More market

More market - fish in the bags

Big Market

From the moment you get off the Skytrain (BTS) at Chatuchak the market seems to come to you. The market itself is a massive maze of vendors with covered stalls separated by narrow alleys. It extends well beyond its boundaries into the streets and sidewalks around it. There are very few maps of the place (we found one at the end) so getting lost is essentially inevitable for rookies. We got lost in the pet section. It was interesting to see the first twenty or thirty stalls with thousands of fish in little plastic bags with a hint of water, worms and critters of all sorts, and even things like iguanas and baby crocodiles. A half hour in the pet section was overkill, but we couldn’t find our way out.

We bought a couple of fake designer bags, some thai tee-shirts with stitched animals on them (Hinckley had to have the one with the monkey) some flip flops and these rubber-band guns. My sisters-in-law won’t appreciate this little gift for my nephews, but you can’t pass these up for $.50 each. Our bartering, a prerequisite for effective Thai shopping, is quite lacking, but I felt pretty good about this gun purchase.

The combination of the dizzying day before, the overwhelming sensor experience of Chatuchak, some severe jetlag left most of us struggling to find the energy needed for further adventure. We took the train to the Sukhumwit area and just ate some crepes at a gorgeous mall called Terminal 21. To go from Chatuchak to Terminal 21 in several minutes shows the fascinating variety that makes Bangkok so enticing. One the one hand it is purely authentic and on the other it can give all the comforts and luxuries of the finest malls in Singapore or New York. Across a small street you can find most cosmopolitan and modern international style and comfort and on the other a deeply original Thai cultural experience. This same juxtaposition plays out over and over again making this the most interesting and intriguing place I’ve ever been.

After all we’d done in a day in a half I was a little disappointed that their favorite part of Bangkok was the swimming pool at the hotel. Surely nothing different could be expected from 3,6, and 9 year olds.

Jet lag was so severe that the girls essentially slept through an amazing Italian dinner. The owner was from Venice, as he had to be based on how amazing the food was.

Everyone was up by 3 AM again the next morning. We lounged around the room until we could take to the streets for a bit before church. We did a lot of walking and enjoyed seeing the streets with few people on a Sunday morning. To get to church we took the subway, yet another great form of transportation in The Big Mango. Hinckley loved Bangkok’s nickname, The Big Mango, and decided that I would have the same nickname. I’ve only encouraged it as what dad wouldn’t want to be referred to as “The Big Mango” by their three-year-old?

Sky train coming

Sign pointing the way church

Walk to Church

Attending church in faraway places is uplifting. We attended the Bangkok International Ward where English is the common language. An announcement was made that they had started three new Sunday School classes on that day, one in French, another in Tamul, and even another in Nepalese. The ward had plenty of Americans, Europeans, Japanese, Pilipinos, Nepalese, and others from all over the world. Despite a wide range of backgrounds and cultures the spirit, songs, messages, format, and friendliness were the same you could find in any LDS chapel across the world. An emotional Nepalese man spoke of how the gospel had completely changed his life and that of his family and how he had finally been able to bring them all from Nepal where they could be together in Bangkok. His English was broken, but his emotional message carried great power. For future family memories I have to at least make sure I document the “singer guy” at church, but I don’t want to make fun of him on the world-wide web, just behind his back in our own home. He’ll provide us some good laughs for decades.

Ebey getting fitted

Emily getting fitted

Hinckley getting fitted

A walk from Asoke to Sukhumvit led us to Briole’s Tailoring where we were all fitted for some custom clothes. I ordered a suit and some shirts, Kathryn got a couple skirts and we had dresses made for each of the girls. I can’t imagine them ever feeling more like a princess than in that tailor shop where they meticulously studied each fabric and dress style and then were measured by the tailor for a perfect-fitting dress. We’ll go back on the way back through to have them adjusted as needed. Of course, unlike the other thousands of tailors in Bangkok ours had the “best fabrics” and does the “best quality,” and offered us the “best price” and “best service.”

After a little pool and massage time in the afternoon we were picked up by our friends the Songpaiboon family and the Thai National Golf Coach to go to an amazing Thai dinner right on the Chao Praya River. The quantity of food was excessive. We ate ostritch, fish, pad thai, various shrimp creations, papaya salad, tom yum soup, and several other things, all while sitting on the water outside almost underneath the gorgeous Rama IIV Bridge. A cool breeze blew off the river and the Thais complained of being cold. A live Thai band played traditional Thai ballads with a few Western covers while we ate. Then it was off to the train station.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy Thurmond
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 07:07:47

    This trip is amazing and it is so much fun to follow what you are doing. What an opportunity for all of you, but especially the girls. Being fitted for dresses! How fun is that! That is not a question…just pure excitement for them. They sound like experienceds travelers. And of course the food sounds heavenly. Keep those letters coming. 🙂
    Mom

    Reply

  2. Dixie Williams
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 06:39:48

    Church in a foreign country is a must! Amazing how the gospel is so cohesive! And what a fun experience about having suits and dresses made especially for you. I was happy for the explanation. Looked like each of the girls were getting fitted for braziers. 🙂

    Reply

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