Sunday, February 07, 2010

The best thing to do on a long haul flight is eat & drink everything proffered and watch back-to-back movies, instead of getting angsty about being unable to sleep. Eleven hours melted by, till was happily melting too in 33 degree sunshine at Suvarnabhumi Airport which looks like a sci-fi space city in the devouring coils of a massive mythical metal snake. My instructions were to take a taxi to Plaza Athenee, possibly the biggest hotel in Bangkok but unheard of by my driver who hung on his cellphone for directions while zigzagging at speed along the 7-lane highway into the city.
This is quite the poshest place I've ever stayed at: a Land of Smiles at every turn, with people to gesture to the people who gesture at the lift. I met up with my Chiang Mai hosts, Stephen Whitehead and his wife Mam who are currently participating in a British Council event here, for a meal in one of the elegant restaurants. Spacious as ballrooms, gamalan playing discreetly, every dish dressaged up like an entry in a flower show. At Mam's suggestion I had Pad Thai - a kind of noodle omelette with prawns and sticky peanut sauce which is a national dish - she had something spicy, and Steve's rice dish arrived in a pineapple. All wondrously out of my league, as is my deluxe room where I can sit in robe and slippers nibbling from the complementary fruit bowl and looking out over the night skyline of Bangkok at 3 am. Which is the best thing to do when arriving in another time zone, instead of getting angsty about being unable to sleep...

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