Marv's 1998 Trip to Thailand

Marv here. This trip to South-East Asia was a wonderful experience. The map to the left shows Thailand and the two bordering countries that we visited; Burma and Laos. Bangkok is at the bottom of the map and Chaing Mai at the top. I will be posting pictures from both places.

I was travelling with Fred Piellusch, whose wife, (my sister Helen) couldn't travel with him because of teaching responsibilities. Tsk, tsk. Retirement has some benefits. My journey involved a 9 hour drive to Greenville, SC; a morning flight on March 4 to Detroit, Mich. followed by a 12 hour flight to Tokyo. From there, it still was a 6 hour flight to Bangkok and we didn't get their until 11 A.M. Thursday, which was 11 P.M. Thursday local time. I didn't even bother changing the time on my watch. I just tried to remember which day it was without consulting the watch, which was wrong half of the time.

Thailand -- Table of Contents
Exploring Bangkok below on Day 1, Day 2; Day 2 - Cont.
Day 3 - Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok
Northern Thailand
Elephant trip
Wrap-up One more look at Bangkok
Page Last. Some personal and family notes

Bangkok is a big, polluted, noisy city. We stayed at the Holiday Crown Plaza, pictured to the right, and the view above is from the 23rd floor of that building. It shows the general direction of our first walk on Friday morning. This was to be to the American Embassy, since Fred knew of a couple working there who could give us travel tips.

On the way, we walked through a pretty, flowered park, pictured below and went by an exercise area (above) hosting some amused Thai muscle builders.

Across the lake, looking back from where we came, was a very impressive view of the Bangkok skyline, pictured below. Here in the park, it was very quiet and peaceful, a marked contrast to the conditions of most of our walks. The city is full of cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks, (pronounced "toook toook"). These were motor tricycles with a little seat in back that holds two persons, at least. The fare was very low in these things and that is appropriate since one feels a little life threatened in them. I didn't get a good picture on one, but later in the Chaing Mai portion of this travelogue, I show some pictures on a ride we took. The pollution is mainly because there is still leaded gas being sold for automobiles.
We found the Embassy, and the picture Fred took of me was wrought with danger. Just when he took the picture, I notice four Thai guards coming up to Fred gesturing fanatically. I knew then that we weren't supposed to be taking that picture and I was about to stop him and profusely apologize. Fred kept fumbling with the camera giving the impression that he had not taken it, and we were able to keep the film. Why were we not allowed? Embassies are like that, all over the world.
The picture to the left is a view of the street where the Embassy was located taken from a bridge over the street. Some day, I will learn to hold the camera vertical. Thank heaven for Photo-shop. Our eventual destination, after a very long hot (95 degrees F.) walk, was the beautiful teak house built by Jim Thompson. He was a CIA agent that lived in Bangkok He started the silk importing industry and built a fabulous teak house near a river. It is a trak house, built in six separate pieces, brought separately to Bangkok and put together. The house contains many relics, pots and even a Buddha statue which I couldn't photograph. In 1967, he vanished in the Cameroon Highlands of West Malasia, on some sort of mission.
Above, an English speaking guide is describing one of the wooden relics he left in the house.
Upper right & left: Two exterior views of house. Upper middle, pots and wooden print frame. Lower left; a little house in the garden that had to never be in shadow of house. Lower right; Fred and feet. Most houses demanded that visitors take off shoes before entering. Nice rule, eh Kris?

After our relaxing drink, we decided to walk west to the Chao Phraya River, which bisects the city going north and south. The lady at the Embassy said that all the primary tourist attractions are located near the river. Fred's guide book told of a very efficient river express boat system so we thought once we walked to the river, we could get back to our hotel easily without much more walking. It was very hot. In fact, I thought when I took the picture to the left, I would entitle it "HOT".
For a while, we walked through a neighborhood with shops like the one below that seemed only to sell Buddha's, some shrink wrapped like the picture below.
What we were looking for was the Grand Palace, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the whole city. We walked and walked, and must have misread the map and thought we were very close to the river. The elaborate temple to the left looked grand, but there were not enough tourists around to be the thing we were seeking.
The gold Buddha in a great temple to the left , and all the spires on the grounds in the picture above looked promising, but still there were few tourists.
And what do you think of the Buddhas lined up in a row which was inside of one of the temples in that complex. I even saw a picture of something like that in my book.
Well, Fred and I never really found out where we were that afternoon. We found a place to eat lunch, decided that we simply hadn't walked far enough, and plodded on. We found the Grand Palace surrounded by a huge wall, and were suddenly pestered by tuk tuk drivers to take us there but it was so late in the afternoon, we decided to head home and come back the next day for the Grand Palace.

We sucessfully found the river, went back to the Holiday Inn and collapsed in air conditioned comfort.
If you wish, you may continue with
Day Two.

Table of Contents