Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Final Day in BKK

Up early three taxis refused to go to the place we were meeting for the grand palace tour, so I walked to the JW Marriott, chatted up an tipped one of the valets and in about 10 minutes a cab finally arrived which was okay with the trip. I don't know what the problem was, it's tourist central, they would have no problem getting a fare back.

It was a long ride, almost an hour, lots of being stuck in traffic, but the meter only said 86 Baht. And I was there just in time, except only a handful of others were there, and the tour organizer didn't show for another hour. After beating us up previously about being on time.

But it was gangbusters from then on. We were driven in posh vans by Army guys, to the privy council chambers, where we were greeted by three high-renking officials including the King's personal secretary and one fellow whom I think was a former ambassador to the US. Very posh room, they serve a variety of juice - I had the green one.

Then the vans took us right onto the grand palace grounds, through at least 3 "no entry" signs,  with the guards saluting us as we went through. 15 minutes to hang around the main plaza and take pictures, then we were met by our personal guide, an army officer, whose English and sense of humor were pretty good. He was only about 30 or less, and when we left the main plaza a very elderly officer with a chestful of service ribbons tactfully added himself to the tour. We were let into places which few people get to see, including at least three throne rooms, and each time the younger guide was cautious about how far into a room we could go, the older man quietly made sure we were given first class treatment. It was awesome.

I took about 300 pictures, will upload those some other time.

Back into the vans at about 12:30, a 20-minute drive the the Bangkok Royal Sports Club, which is the clubhouse for the race track which also includes a golf course. Buffet lunch was amazing, western and Thai food, lots of desserts, very nice view.

It was tempting to stay forever in the freezing air conditioning, but I bailed at about 2:30, mostly to get back to the hotel and become horizontal for a while.

Got the photos onto the laptop, packed about 90% of the way, took a nap, then at 5 headed for the skytrain, took the water taxi to the conference hotel, and attended the final dinner. Again a great buffet. Listed to a lot of conversations, did not take any photos because I already had everyone's, and many others were snapping pictures. The organizer had put together a very nice slide show DVD wrapping up the week's activities both formal and ad hoc.

After, she passed the mike around, with the suggestion that everyone say a few words. Unfortunately, the first person was the formed PC country director, who had been a volunteer 47 years ago, and he went on for 15 minutes, which set the tone for everyone else. I had to bail by 9 to get a cab back to the hotel. By that time maybe half the room had spoken. 

Back at the hotel I booked a 9 am cab to the airport for way too many baht, but it's hard to get one on the street which has a license for the airport, and the skytrain/airport express train thing with luggage is not any fun.

So, plans for tomorrow:
9 am to the airport
noon flight to Phuket
cab to Karon Beach and settle in for the duration

Tags: friends of thailand, peace corps, thailand travel
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