Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Now that we've been safely ensconced in Switzerland for a couple of days (Mrs. TBF is actually on her way to the U.S. right now), I've had a chance to reflect on our week in Bangkok.
Let me start by saying that it's good to be home. I didn't like Bangkok, I'll probably never go back there again, and I'm glad the week is over.
While we were flying home from Singapore, we saw in the current issue of Conde Nast Traveler that the readers' poll rated Bangkok as the "Number One City in Asia". They certainly didn't ask me for my opinion.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I went along with Mrs. TBF on her business trip. I was exposed to something new, and that in itself made it a worthwhile experience as far as I'm concerned. However, Bangkok has an overabundance of things that I just do not like. Namely: heat, traffic, and pollution.
It was HOT and HUMID!!! You can't walk anywhere in Bangkok. I would begin sweating ten seconds after stepping out of the hotel while waiting for a taxi. That's MY problem...I've always been a heavy sweater. But, the heat is just relentless!
The heat makes it necessary to take a taxi everywhere, and it seems like everybody shares my sentiment because the TRAFFIC IS HORRENDOUS!!! I'm talking one-mile taxi rides taking twenty minutes. I would guess that Mrs. TBF's meetings were in a hotel that couldn't have been more than a couple of miles from our hotel. The concierge told her to allow FORTY-FIVE MINUTES for the taxi ride. I rode with her one morning, and it took at least a half-hour.
The traffic contributes to really bad pollution. The city smells like car exhaust, and there's a smog that kind of hangs over the city. I could feel it in my throat when we were out and about. The policemen directing traffic wear facemasks while they work. It's just very unpleasant.
These were just the big issues. I won't even go into the little things that I found annoying. Do I sound like a big baby? Maybe I am, but I'm just calling it like I saw it.
Let me switch to the positive things. Our hotel was nice. It wasn't great, but it was adequate. One thing I found out is that "minimalist design" is not very comfortable. I'll avoid it in the future. TBF needs a big comfy chair.
The spa at the hotel was excellent. My Thai massages were great, and so was the Metropolitan Bath (I'll blog about that one later). I even asked Mrs. TBF if she thought there was any way we could hire a Thai au pair at home. She would only have to clean house, bathe me, and give us massages. I'll have to begin looking into that one.
The food was good...and cheap. Bangkok, overall, is pretty cheap. Even when you're paying high hotel prices for things, it still seems cheap - at least compared to Switzerland. That might be why it rates so highly as a travel destination.
Our hotel had ESPN, so I was able to watch every game of the World Series live at 8:00 a.m.! We'd go down to breakfast (Excellent! There's nothing like fried rice/noodles for breakfast!), Mrs. TBF would go off to work, and I would watch the second half of the game. Then, I'd go work out in the gym. After my workout, I'd rest a bit, then I'd go to the spa for some "treatment". Hey wait a minute...maybe it wasn't so bad! Really, by the time Mrs. TBF would return, I'd be climbing the walls. I guess my biggest disappointment with Bangkok was that there just wasn't that much to do. Sure, you can go see a bunch of temples, but once you've seen a couple of reclining buddhas you've kind of seen them all. We saw Wat Pho, and there are a bunch of other places that pretty much look the same.
Our daytrip to Ayutthaya was excellent. Although it was a little temple-heavy, it was nice to get out of Bangkok. It was pretty amazing to see all of these temples (some looking like they might topple over at any minute) in such a concentrated area.
So, there you have it. I could ramble on and on about everything, but I've gone on long enough. I'm not going to post any additional pictures of me standing in front of a Buddhist temple sweating my butt off.
I'll just end this post by saying that even though I didn't really enjoy Bangkok, I still appreciate the fact the I was able to go see it. I don't take that for granted.