November in Bangkok, Part IV

After Part III

November 23-30, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This 43 year old edition of The New York Times was delivered by Andy Page:

Where were you when you heard the news? Holy shit! Anyone not now in his or her low 40's was not even born yet. Forget that question!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My friend/editor/publisher Paul writes:

Alf, I just noticed that, as of a year ago, the Millennium Hilton was scheduled to open in "October 2005."

Did it? Have ghosts been spotted yet?

This afternoon I drove to the place on the map where the driveway into the once-Sofitel/now-Hilton was/should-be. Nothing but construction stuff. Next I went to The Oriental and asked around. The consensus was that the Hilton would have a 'soft opening' sometime in December.

My guess is that it will be a very soft opening ... sort of like the one Thaksin had at our new Bangkok airport: his plane softly landed about a year ahead of when the first paying arrivals might expect their own soft arrivals.

I took these photos from The Oriental's Verandah. The outside of the Hilton looks largely finished ... but you know what they say about the devil and the details.

PS: I am glad I sold the PCC Club Rooms to Paris, her dad and that sexy Ritchie girl.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Do you remember Tick and Tong? A clue: Tick was once captioned in the THOCBDC diaries as the 'sleeping' girl. When you first saw her on these pages she was still only 18 years old; but that was more than four years ago.

Give up? OK, click here.

Tick just celebrated her 23rd birthday. For the occasion Watcharee and I took her, her brother Tong and their parents out to dinner at the Thai restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel.

Tick is Watcharee's niece; it's a no-brainer to figure out the relationship of the others in the picture.

PS: Reader Elwood Parsons from Orange, New Jersey (USA) writes: "Do you really believe that people come here to view a branch on a family tree? It's skin and gore they want."

PPS: Reader Heinz Futzman from Wetzlar, Germany writes: "Some of us are more interested in cars ... German cars. We Germans also like Thai food. Do you have a recent photo of your SLK parked near a Bangkok restaurant?"

Well, yes, I do.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 (my cultural Saturday)

I haven't been to River City in over a year. Probably it's been closer to two years; maybe even three. I think the last time I was there was when I was taking some photographs of the then abandoned (err...never occupied) Sofitel Hotel. Paul might know; he was there once ... but that might have been before I became obsessed with the Sofitel and its awful plight.

Whatever, River City is a multi floor mall that houses most of the best antique shops in Thailand; its lobby is also the forum for an almost never ending procession of exhibits. This fortnight it is "BKK Art Show 1" ... contemporary paintings.

I am amazed that River City thrives. It always seems empty of people. Yet its parking garage was doing a good business; I had to drive to the 3rd level to find a spot.

PS: Reader Woo Lee from Shanghai: "ZZZZZZZzzzzz........"

PPS: Wake up Woo!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fifty six kilometers from our place there is this amazing seafood restaurant: it can feed 3,000 guests at one sitting. This afternoon Watcharee's Chinese cousin, her husband and his daughter took us ... (including Watcharee's 'cooking cousin' and his wife and their two daughters) ... to Sawang Kitchen for a three hour lunch. We were seated at table #333. Surprise, I was the only farang in this enormous shelter that must sport the acreage of at least two football fields lying side by side.

Aside from hundreds of dining tables the place also offered rides for adrenalin fueled children and karaoke booths for bored teenagers.

Being a restaurant for just Thais, the price for everything was very inexpensive: less than $60 (*) for 9 people ... and that included enough take home food to feed everyone of us a later-on dinner.

(*) The dozen fresh oysters that I had would have cost almost that much in a New York restaurant.

Monday, November 28, 2005

More pictures from yesterday. Granted these are only going to be of interest to those who were there and ... maybe ... their friends.

Changing gears:

Some of you may know that Thailand is approaching a crisis point. Every Friday evening the crowd of 'listeners' in Lumpini Park has been getting larger and larger. It started with several thousand a few weeks ago; last Friday 80,000 were there. On December 9th 500,000 have been asked to come to the park.

This coming weekend the King will celebrate his birthday and the 60th anniversary of his ascendency to the Crown. At that time it is expected that he will make a major speech to the Thai people.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

People not planning to move into this building will have no interest in being here ... unless they are fans of re-bar and poured concrete.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yikes! I underestimated the regenerative power of Thai temple trees. Well, some more than others.

Next: December

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