Well, because of the absolutely torrential rain last nite, our plans were scuppered and we did not get to go to Patpong/Silom as planned. But I did pop out to China at lunch time. Instead we headed for Central World Plaza (or World Trade Center as it also known) to the shop with the luxurious stationery department, Zen. Sadly, it was closed for renovations - sorry Mar-c (but I got you a different calendar today, more of that later!). Anyway, here's me getting way ahead of myself. I must set the scene first:
The rain was literally bouncing off the pavements again, worse than i have seen it before. I tried to take some photos out the office window (we are on the 24th floor, so the view is quite spectacular), but not sure how they will turn out (yes, I still have not remembered the data cable for the camera, so you'll have to wait til Monday now). The roads were flooded and the pavements nigh on empty, as everyone sheltered from the rain. So, Phop and Panny decided to come with me, Ammie and Mee to Central World and as Phop has a car, he decided to drive the short distance. It took us TWO HOURS to make it through the traffic! TWO HOURS! I didn't realise it at the time as we were having such a good time, but that is surely some sort of record. The 2 hours were taken up with them trying to teach me some Thai (krai kai kai gai!) and me teaching them some English tongue twisters (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers) and generally chatting.
When we got there, we headed to Fuji for some dinner and I managed to speak a little Thai and a little Japanese all in one meal, so I was feeling pretty good about myself. We then had a stroll round a different shop for Hello Kitty things (yes, I spent too much money on what is essentially rubbish) and then Panny introduced me to possibly my new favourite shop on earth, B2S. It is like a giant stationery and book store and I was in my element. Again, I spent way too much cash, but I enjoyed it which is surely the main thing!
I headed home after that and shared a taxi with Mee back to Oakwood, as it turns out she lives just 10 sois away from there (a soi is like a side street - so I am on soi 24 off Naradiwhas and she is soi 14). I got back to my room to discover an ironing board and iron in the middle of the lounge with no explanation provided - maybe they are trying to tell me something. They have still not taken the hint and taken my pool towel back to the gym for me, so the iron will remain where it is. I reckon some poor Japanese businessman is probably waiting patiently to iron his shirt for some important meeting or other in room 5055 or something. I had a chat with Lee and then went to bed.
This morning I was up early again and headed for some more pineapple and bacon. Yesterday, I braved the french toast, which turned out not to be the American, sweet, disgusting version and was actually proper french toast. I was quite looking forwards to it this morning - and lo and behold, they had none left. So I thought the pancakes would a good substitute. Only to discover they were made with possibly condensed milk - ugh.
Anyway, after breakfast, I took what was probably one of the longest journeys of my life to the office in yet another taxi. I surreptitiously took photos on my mobile of the highlights of the journey, so I hope to be able to post those when I get back. The taxi journey was rounded off by a nice security guard man opening the door to the taxi for me and stopping the traffic for me to cross the road when I got to the office - what a nice guy.
No sooner than I sat on my chair (which is broken - it keeps sliding down til I have practically got my chin on the desk) than I was asked if I fancied a trip to China Town at lunchtime. Does Hello Kitty love apples?! (clue: yes) It was suggested that we check out a huge jewellery store there that we got some stuff from before, so off we went in a taxi, me, Visit, Ammie and Mee and relatively sped across town.
China Town here is pretty much the real deal - much more authentic than Glasgow's that's for sure. I saw some pretty phenomenal sights - including an authentic Chinese man with the balancing-scale carrying thing on his shoulders with lots of raw fish in (photo to follow). And some strange things in the Chinese medicine shops - shark fins, jars of whole dried seahorses, dried fish stomachs ... I am glad we have the NHS.
Visit took us to a Chinese place for lunch which seemed to specialise in dim sum. I could understand very little on the menu apart from something called "fried goose foots" which was served with cabbage. We opted for noodles and a selection of about 8 different dim sum things, some custard buns and some banana fritters. Oh and some truly disgusting chrysanthemum juice. It tasted a bit like Night Nurse and was so sickly and cough medicine-y that I had to water it down before I could even pretend to enjoy it. This princely feast for 4 people, which would probably have been around £40+ at home cost under £6 in total.
After this feast, we set off for the enormo-jewellery store along the road. We walked the half mile or so down to the store and I must becoming acclimatised to the heat as I was not suffering too much (and my hair is still mostly straight - it's been wilting in the heat). It was great to walk through China Town and I am only sorry that there is no way to capture the smells and the sounds at the same time as taking the photos. A great experience.
Now we're back at the office, having picked up some more stuff for MF. It's my last day at work now, so we are finishing off the training things, sipping frozen raspberry tea from Starbucks (delicious) and eating a strange concoction which may or may not be what tapioca is made from - it tastes like coconut cream biscuits, has the consistency of boiled potatoes and grit and looks like a giant barbecued parsnip.
Tonight I think we will be once again attempting the Silom/Siam area if the rain holds off (touch wood, so far it has) and my last full evening of shopping before heading home tomorrow.