|~ Hello Everyone ~
Or as the Thai would say :
Sawadicap ! ( not sure of the spelling, but... )
Here we are in Bangkok, Thailand and arrived 22October,2005.
Always heard it was a sparkling bustling city - and it is!
First off, at the airport we were lucky enough to bump into someone who could direct us to this particular hotel we were interested in, called Babylon Resort and Spa. ( and this guy also had transportation door to door ! )
Pulling up to Babylon was odd because the hectic, bumper to bumper traffic consisting of thousands of motorbikes, tuk tuks, bicycles and taxi's was completely lost when he turned onto a small road... almost "back alley" feeling. We thought: "oh, ok, the name of the hotel sounded good, but just another dive".
It was like an oasis!
Behind iron ornate gates, we entered a property with sounds of birds and waterfalls cascading into tropical fish ponds surrounded by lush hanging gardens.
Automatically, we thought we canot afford to stay her for the 10 days needed as we also had to apply for our Vietnamese visa.
Reception was marble and raw silk and a most welcoming smile from the gracious Thai staff.
We sheepishly approached and asked if they had a "standard" room for two.
"How much per night, please" ?
To our surprise, it was most reasonable, however too much for us for the 10 days we needed to stay. It was 2000Baht / night, which translates to just under $60 Canadian dollars / night. We have come to expect to pay about $15 - $18 Canadian, each / night, so this was above our budget, but a great rate otherwise.
Just out of curiosity, I asked if they had a weekly rate, as we needed to stay about 10 days... guess what ! they did ... :-)
We told them we love the hotel, we are travelling for one year and poof, they were so impressed ( more like felt sorry for us !) they offered us 1600Baht / night, "including" breakfast ! YIPPEE !
We took it ! This place was decadent. There was 3 pools, spa, jacuzzi's everywhere, 2 formal dining rooms ( dinner for 2 for about $12 Canadian total !) very attractive staff everywhere, massage for one hour @ $10 Canadian ! ( how many did I have ? don't remember!)
A hotel of this magnitude in Vancouver would be at least $200 / night and that is being generous. We loved it.
We met this Australian girl / woman, Kim, on our EGYPT tour back in August, who was now living / working in Bangkok, who said, when you arrive in Bangkok, give me a call so we can hook up again and do drinks and dinner.
So we did, gave Kim a call and it was such a nice reunion, to see a familiar face in this hectic frenzie of 9 million inhabitants. We met up and we also met her Burmese boyfriend, Ali, and we cliked like time ! They brought us to the trendy backpackers row of Koh San Road, it was a hoot ! LOVED it !
~ a bit off topic, but ... ~
it was now six months into our journey and for the first 4 months, I (Marc)was desperately homesick ( as some of you know ).
Having Kim and Ali as a contact AND meeting up somewhere else after Egypt made me a little less jaded about meeting people and then just having to say "good-bye" in a few days. That was hard to do after a few times; being homesick, then meeting some nice people, then saying goodbye. We would do dinner with these people, perhaps the next night we would meet up for drinks and exchange travel stories, laugh, shooters and shaking... so fun, but then, goodbye. They would be going "home" but we weren't. Not for another 6 months. :-(
You have to experience it. It is hard.
So my point ?
It wasn't always good-bye, as now here was KIM again, we were starting a circle of great new friends, from around the world, and it didn't have to be "good-bye" just perhaps, "so-long" ! Kim,Ali, thank you for everything, you were so kind to have us in your home and feel so welcome and comfortable. Love you both.
We applied for our visa for Vietnam, and it took only 1 day...? (thought it would take 7 working days )
We had a wonderful time at Babylon Resort, including a bizzare Halloween bash !
We were scheduled to leave for Ho Chi Minh City on November 01st, but only booked into Babylon until the 29th Novemeber...
but kind Kim, invited us to come to her home and stay until our flight to Vietnam on the 01st December, AND she had "Puss", a tiny kitten that needed extra loving AND right by the airport ~ convenient, cozy and NOT a hotel !
Kim is a teacher and her home is on campus, therefore I was also surrounded by children !! How cool is that ? ! ( and thanks Helen for taking me into your classroom full of babies!)
We went to these very colourful night markets, I finally got my roots hidden, not to mention to hide the *ucking grey ! and a good trim. ( not cut short, yet !! ) so, hilights and a cut and some leave-in moisturizer to take home with me, $175 at home, here in Bangkok, $25 ! DEAL !!!
On the sunday morning we, Kim, Ali, John and I, got up early and went on a day trip to see 3 sites... the Floating Market, where we shopped from dug out canoe's !! very cool, then to the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, and a monk - run, tiger sanctuary, where I went into the canyon, where they all lived, ( john would not come in ! ) and had my picture taken with me sitting by a sleeping tiger, then the monk put my hand on his chest ( the tigers that is ! heheee ) he took our camera and took a couple of shots, it was pretty frightening, this cat was HUGE. "then all of a sudden, this tiger yawned, stretched and before I could move, his head landed right in my lap. I did a little poop.
The monks eyes were popping out of his head ! He made gestures for me NOT to move.
I was getting a little worried to say the least !
But here I am, chatting about it all ! It was very cool, now that it is over ! (see pics)!
Well, that is all I can think of for now.
We were lucky enough to be able to leave one of our backpacks at Kim's, made travelling to Vietnam and Laos much easier; as we had to come back to Bangkok anyway to make our way to Phuket Island for the Christmas / New Year holidays.
Thanks again Kim !
Hope you like these photo's, hope you are all well and know that we love hearing from you when you have time.
Next stop, Ho Chi Minh City ( formerly called Saigon ),
until then, give yourself a big hug !
Marc and John xo