Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 2 - Bangkok

I like brunch as much as the next gal. And I've been to quite a few, some Ritz-Carltons, dim sum 'round the world, brunches after weddings ...

Neeracha has long told me that a nice brunch in an Asian hotel trumps everything. So yesterday was her chance to prove it. We met up with her parents for Sunday Brunch at the Sukhothai Bangkok. I was sorry that Dave wasn't with me. From the live music to the made-to-order sushi to the Italian carving station to the Peking Duck to the dim sum to the entire room full of desserts, this was a spread! Bob would have loved every minute of it. There were European, American and Asian specialties, all done very well. The presentation was outstanding. I've posted a picture of the macaroons, which rivaled Laduree, and the inner courtyard of the Sukhothai. Neeracha posted many more pictures of the incredible spread than I did. Go to her blog to see more and find out what she thought of our experience.

The chocolate fondue area offered white, milk and dark dipping options. There were Crepes Suzette and a gelato bar. Truffles. Traditional mango and sticky rice with coconut sauce. I love sweets so the bulk of my caloric intake this day came from creme brulee, tiny lemon tarts and their version of the Oreo. I also did some good damage on the cheese display, restraining myself to only eat the 11 ones there I had never tried.

We were there 2.5 hours. Neeracha and Sean's daughters, aged 8 and 10, were very well behaved. The Sukhothai itself is beautiful -- modern Thai architecture with traditional details. It was quite the international crowd at brunch - many Americans and Australians, with some Chinese and a few Middle Easterners and Europeans. It was great people watching.

After brunch we changed into grubbies, put our jewelry in the hotel safe and took the Skytrain out to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. The Skytrain is the easiest way to get around Bangkok, which has legendary traffic.

One of the things I really like about Thailand is that it's relatively safe, even in the big cities. Street crime is minimal so ditching our jewelry was more about strengthening our bargaining position rather than fear of theft. Bargaining is expected in markets. It makes Neeracha nuts how little I bargain (what's an extra 50 cents to me?) so she mostly negotiates my purchases. It also helps that she speaks Thai and my vocabulary consists of Good Morning/Afternoon, Please and Thank You.

The market is Bangkok's largest, and had 6,000 stalls taking up more space than five football fields. I envisioned an open air market but no, it's mostly enclosed. So it's 90F outside, humid and crowded.

We browsed the animal section (quickly, it made me sad and nauseous) and went into the clothing, antiques and handicrafts areas. I bought a few things for the kids and one piece of art. It was stifling hot and overwhelming. The aisles were narrow, it was smelly and also filthy dirty. I loved every minute of it! Neeracha got the score of the day, a tote bag made of an old rice bag. As much as I wanted one, too, I just couldn't envision when I'd use it since I'd already invested in a very cute pool bag this year.

I'm fairly wimpy when it comes to smells but for some reason, I really enjoyed the strange food smells in the market. Much food is sold there from food stands, both hot and cold. And whiffs of the spicy things I liked although I would never eat them. I hate spicy food. These particular smells made my eyes tear and my heart beat fast and it was a fun, temporary high. (I'm so easily amused.)

We made our way back to the Skytrain station around 6p, walking through a park that reminded me a bit of the Boston Common, and took long showers back at Emporium. We had a late dinner of surprisingly good pizza at Basilico and crashed.


Kelly said...

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the great descriptions and the beautiful pictures. Love to read your updates.

Paris said...

I hope you are having fun. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Paige said...

laduree is my favorite place in paris. I could live there. And be fat.