Thursday, January 21, 2010

World Traveler Part 5: In which we deign to leave the plush confines of our tower and descend into the street alone and unsupervised

We just jumped right in. Bleary and jetlagged, without so much as a map of the area, we staggered down to the front desk and said "point us in the direction of Silom Market".

"Like taxi ?" the sweet girl at the desk asked - to which I frantically tapped my blackberry and scrolled down for reference. "I thought we could walk. Hm. Silom Market - we need a taxi???"

"Yes, taxi." she replied, nodding enthusiastically. I looked at Sami, he shrugged, and we smiled and nodded. "Uh, sure. taxi."

At this point, did it really matter? We had no idea where we were going, or how far it actually was.....the person who said it was walking distance didn't have kids...maybe he didn't realize how far it was? So, alright. Taxi it is, then.

We went out the door, where a cab had been hailed for us and was waiting at the stairs.

"Silom." we said as the kids crawled in.

"Silom?" the cabby replied.

And welcome to yet another experience of trying to communicate and being made to feel like a total idiot. Jesus H. I should have taken one of those damn Berlitz CDs after all. This was just not going to work.

We made it the whole 3 blocks to Silom without any trouble - the cabby drove around the block a few times, just to make us feel like we got our money's worth. He may have thought I wouldn't notice, that I was too much of an "oh gosh golly gee aw shucks" asshole american to realize that we had driven past the same train station 4 times.

We finally got him to pull over, and he parked in front of the one establishment he knew in his heart I would recognize.

So there we were, in the middle of Bangkok, at a fucking Dunkin Donuts. Disgusting. We fly halfway around the damn world, to experience something new and exotic, something magical, something uniquely Thai.

Hell yeah we went in. Did you see that sign? There's THAI writing on that sign, and so it clearly qualifies.

Plus, their donuts look weird.

So after setting ourselves up with iced coffees and funky donuts, we headed back out, into the Bangkok morning. We went straight to Boots - the British pharmacy - to get some supplies. Then we stopped in 7-11 to get a phone card.

I wish I was kidding. At least we didn't pick up any KFC. Because we COULD HAVE.

I was sensing that perhaps we needed to get out of our comfort zone in baby steps. So I hung a hard left and disappeared down an alley packed with stalls, people, and some very weird smells. That turned out to be the fishmonger - but we weren't looking for fish. exactly the opposite, actually. We needed shoes for Lucy. Because as we discovered about 20 minutes into our first flight.....Lucy's shoes smelled like that alley.

We rushed past "the really stinky smells" that Lucy was complaining about loudly, while dramatically pinching her nose shut, and headed deeper into the chaos. And then, we came upon the most beautiful thing a four year old girl with a serious Disney Princess problem could possibly imagine. An entire display of Princess Jelly Shoes.

Be still my heart.

The choices were considered carefully. Options weighed. Pros and Cons calculated. And then the bargaining commenced, because the Thais like a good bargaining session as long as everyone plays by the rules and the salesperson gets to behave as though I have asked for their firstborn rather then a 20 cent discount.

And so, we left that alley with not one but TWO pairs of shoes that just really defy explaination. Even photos do not do them justice. Suri Cruise would be green with envy. We walked out with a stunning pair of black and gold slingbacks with diamond clips on the toes, AND we have pink shiny sandals with enormous heart shaped GEMS on the top for formal affairs.

Hoe-Lee Shit.

With our little Imelda floating in a cloud of smug satisfaction, stopping every few steps to admire her new kicks, we headed off to the grocery store, where I proceeded to spend the equivalent of all of the rest of our meals for the entire vacation COMBINED, on one basket of overpriced groceries from an american-style grocery store that clearly no one else ever shopped at.

Dude, the PASTA was moldy.

Clutching our spoils, we trooped back to the apartment on foot, and headed directly for the rooftop pool for some R&R. Until the jetlag kicked in. We barely made it back to the the room. The kids faded so quickly, we had to talk to them throughout their showers so that they wouldn't fall asleep standing up. I ordered room service, which cost more then the groceries (hard to believe) and soon we were sound asleep scattered throughout the apartment. Max fell asleep lying across two armchairs in the middle of the living room, and almost flipped them both over when he awoke with a start and tried to get up, but found himself stuck under the armrests. We were all a bit out of sorts, and bedtime came very early - which was a good thing.

7 hours later our hosts arrived from Australia, and the party began in earnest.

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