Culture Shock: Bhutan to Bangkok

We like slow transition days, so Monday we rose to a late, leisurelybreakfast and then we dried and folded last night’s bathroom laundry.  We had the morning to wander downtown Paro, in search of souvenirs that we ultimately couldn’t bring ourselves to buy and haul about. We spent our last Nultrum on candy, crackers and water before boarding an uneventful flight to Bangkok by way of India.

After a few weeks of modest travel Sue and the boys looked forward to a cosmopolitan day in Bangkok. The airport was efficient and we had our bags and Bhat in hand within 30 minutes of landing. Our first taxi had a trunk full of propane tank and the driver’s personal items; he was disappointed when we rejected his suggestion that we travel with suitcases on our laps. Moving to a lager SUV taxi was the right choice, and we arrive at our hotel comfortably but late.

Sue swooned us with a splurge on a suite at the 4-star Chatrium hotel, on the river away from the horns and heat of Bangkok’s interior and tourist district. Perched on the 24th floor, our two bedrooms and large living room had balconies and sweeping western views across the river spanning from the swank Asiatique shopping center to the south and over the Sathom bridge to Bangalamphu to the north. We scouted the gym penthouse bar and pool, and quickly decided that we’d need to alter our ambitious touring plans to make more time to luxuriate poolside tomorrow. While the boys relaxed in suite, Sue and I wandered down to the riverside café to take in a cooling Chao Phraya river breeze, watch the night traffic, share a beer and call a travel audible: we dumped the planned Wat Pho visit in favor of a klong (canal) tour through Bangkok’s backwaters. The night grew late so rejoined the boys, showered off the city’s sweat and collapsed.

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