Taken from an email sent to friends and family to share summary of this day in Thailand.
Friends and Family,
Greetings from Bangkok, Thailand!!! WOW!! I made it!!! And, it looks like this is going to be a great adventure, even if there were some challenges getting to this point… Some people fear the very thought of travel, and if all you hear are the bad stories, then your fear may forever keep you from trying such a thing as we are doing here.. But, for the most part all is going very well, for the first day!! On the ride over here, which was some 17 hours of flying for me, from Los Angeles!!, 30 minutes into the flight, the man next to me dumped a cup of hot coffee in his lap!!! Yes, that was a mess!!!! Then, when we got here at midnight, we were missing 5 people, who missed a connection, or something, but they arrived today.. And, about 12 people did not get their luggage last night when we arrived!!!! Yes, that is very stressful for the ones affected.. At dinner tonight, I learned that all the missed flight people are here now, and all the luggage is here now… SO, we are good to go!!! Look likes we have a GREAT group of people, which is the real magic in an adventure like this..
Our hotel is very much an upscale place, by my standards, but even this place has challenges and surprises.. Most of us did not not get to bed until after 2:30 this morning, and some like me did not get to sleep until 3:30 or so, then it was back up early to do breakfast and get started on the tours.. The breakfast here, like all the hotels, is a buffet. This one was very good, but we were warned that the remaining buffets on the trip might be lesser in quality, so be prepaed!! Also, the sink in my room does not drain properly.. I called for help, the maid came, checked the issue and left.. Here at 10 PM, the sink still does not drain.. And, at our welcome dinner, I think I finally broke the beer price record for my travels.. I have gotten some beers that got up around 8 or 9 dollars, but tonight at our welcome dinner, which was nothing more than just dinner with the other guests of the hotel, who all shared in an evening buffet… When offered to order beverages, since only water is included, I passed on the order, but then decided I wanted one of my favorites, a dark beer.. Took a bit of doing to get one ordered as the waiter could not understand English.. With my guides help, I ordered a dark beer, whatever that means… When I got it, it was not really dark, but… From the drink menu I remember the highest priced beer there was 200 units of local currency.. That would be near 7 dollars.. That is okay.. When I got the bill for my near dark beer, the total was 306 units, I think. This comes to a little over 10 US dollars.. That is now the new record for a 12 ounce bottle of beer.. The beer was about 260 units, the rest was gratuity and Value Added Tax!!!!! For a total of 306, I think… So, if you ever come to Thailand, calculate your costs and multiply by two, or more… I was seated this evening with three really neat ladies who are world travelers, and they told me that if that seemed high, try NORWAY!! The prices there are just off the charts!! My friends in St Louis told me of their trip to Norway, and said it was one of the most awesome places they had ever been, but they remembered lemonade costing 10 dollars for 12 ounce glass, also they got two burgers and a soda for 90 US dollars!!!! Amazing!!!
This morning we all did a general tour of the town, which included a near solid gold buddha.. AMAZING.. The story that goes with it, I will tell later, but for some four hundred years, it was thought to have been destroyed and lost to history, but only a few years ago, it was accidently found hiding in plan view of all… !!!!! Its gold value is just off the charts!!! It weighs in the tons!!! After the general tour, we came back to the hotel, and after a short break, some of us took the optional canal boat ride.. Not anything super, but was good for me, as a traveler, I like to see things, and on this trip we go to see more stuff!!! And, it included another temple.. Seems there are a lot of those here!!!
After the canal tour, it was time to relax a bit, then get ready for dinner!!! We met at 7 PM, local time, and once all were accounted for, we started on the buffet.. As I said before, I had the good fortune to be seated with three fun ladies who have traveled a lot, so they had good things to share, to include another challenge they had in getting here last night!! It would seem that some fellow on the flight got very drunk!!! And, he caused a lot of problems for the people around him.. Surprisingly, the flight crew did almost nothing to control the fellow!!! There is more to the story, but….
Ok, it is getting late and we have a very early tour in the morning, so I want to attach some images from our first day, get them sent your way, then I am off to bed.. I am still short on my sleeping requirements!!!!
I hope you enjoy sharing the memories of this day!!!
Happy New Year!!!!
Sample photos shared here.. Full set to released soon…