August 16-24, 2010
The Mandarin Oriental (or, as we know it, The Oriental) is getting a partial lobby fix. The Reception, Concierge and the Cashier areas are being totally done over. For the next month or so these spots will be located in a smallish corner area of the lobby (in a niche located just before the stairs leading to the Author's Wing).
There are no immediate plans to do anything to the exterior of the hotel; and no tampering is planned for the Sala Rim Nam.
Our 1410, the Gore Vidal suite, still has a great view of the river.
The face lift at River City is almost complete. The replacement of some of its internal organs will take a little longer. But, when all is complete this should be a cool mall.
But, the adjacent Sala Thai massage parlor needs no improvements.
PS: Grand daughter Ellie is in this photo.
It's that time of the year again.
Beloit, Wis. - Born when Ross Perot was warning about a giant sucking sound and Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage, members of this fall's entering college class of 2014 have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow.
Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit's Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. The Mindset List website at www.beloit.edu/mindset, the Mediasite webcast and its Facebook page receive more than 400,000 hits annually.
The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since "digital" has always been in the cultural DNA, they've never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who's that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.
Nonetheless, they plan to enjoy college. The males among them are likely to be a minority. They will be armed with iPhones and BlackBerries, on which making a phone call will be only one of many, many functions they will perform. They will now be awash with a computerized technology that will not distinguish information and knowledge. So it will be up to their professors to help them. A generation accustomed to instant access will need to acquire the patience of scholarship. They will discover how to research information in books and journals and not just on-line. Their professors, who might be tempted to think that they are hip enough and therefore ready and relevant to teach the new generation, might remember that Kurt Cobain is now on the classic oldies station. The college class of 2014 reminds us, once again, that a generation comes and goes in the blink of our eyes, which are, like the rest of us, getting older and older.
The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014
Most students entering college for the first time this fall-the Class of 2014-were born in 1992.
For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.
Copyright ©2010 Beloit College
Bangkok's weather for the next week or so is expected to be lousy: rain, thunder storms, wind and lightning. Tonight will probably be the last clear night until the end of the month. Today, I actually drove around town* with the top down (or, should I say, with the mechanical hard roof stored in the boot?).
* Town? A place with 12 million neighbors?
THE GARAGE is a fabulous burger joint in All Seasons, a shopping mall very near us. You can eat in-house or call for a delivery and expect one of their special bacon burgers at your door within 30 minutes. The salads are to kill for, too.
The predicted rains are here.
OK, Nana may look inviting at night...especially when its workers are in harness ... but, on a Sunday morning, even in the best of times, the place looks really awful. But, now that an ordered 'face lift' is in progress Nana has the appearance of being a disaster area.
Nana has facelift to stay young
Beer bars torn down to ensure hot spot doesn't go up in flames
One of Bangkok's most notorious nightspots, Nana Plaza on Sukhumvit Soi 4, is getting a facelift. Many of the mostly foreign customers who frequent Nana Plaza have been surprised to find that all the beer bars on the ground floor in the middle of the complex have been demolished.
The open area in the centre of the three-storey complex is now a construction site, and the hundreds of bar girls and ladyboys who work in Nana Plaza have to skirt around bags of cement and building material to get to the many go-go bars and other businesses that were set up there in the early 1990s.
A tall foreigner, who some of the bar girls called ''boss'', has been directing workers at the construction site.
He was reluctant to talk, as was a Thai manager of the construction firm doing the work.
But according to a source, the demolition of the beer bars at Nana Plaza was prompted by a visit by officials from the Klong Toey district office.
"After the Santika pub fire on New Year's Eve in 2008 that resulted in many deaths and injuries, officials came to the plaza to check safety issues such as fire exits.
"They want to prevent a similar accident happening here," said the source.
"They expressed concern about the fire hazard caused by those beer bars because they were blocking the way for fire trucks to reach any of the buildings behind them.
"If fire broke out at Nana Plaza it would cause another tragedy, so the officials ordered that those beer bars be torn down."
When the "boss" was asked if the reason for the facelift was due to safety concerns by local authorities, he simply answered: "Maybe. But there are also other reasons."
Ms Pen, a bartender at Nana Plaza who has worked there for many years, said the square in the centre of the complex was originally a car park, but someone decided to open a small bar and more were added later on.
"Many foreigners have complained for years that Nana Plaza is a fire trap, posing a danger to hundreds of customers and employees alike, because there is only one way to escape - and that is through the narrow entrance from Soi 4," she said.
The demolition of the beer bars and the reconstruction work started at the end of last month and should be finished within two months.
She said the new set-up will also feature live music and a dance floor.
"One construction worker told me that the new chairs, tables and other fittings are designed to be easily removed after closing time or during an emergency.
"The new beer bars being built there will be covered by a high roof, so that even a large fire truck will be able to drive under it."
However, few patrons are convinced the renovations will make the place any safer if fire breaks out.
"The beer bars which are under construction won't solve this problem," said a regular foreign customer who thought the whole thing was a gimmick.
He prefers to sit and drink close to the entrance to Nana Plaza instead of at outlets on the second or third floor because of concerns about a fire.
Several talkative bar girls said they were also concerned about the fire hazard issue.
"We have to wait and see how safer the new beer bars at the square are going to be than those previous ones," said one bar girl.
The River City face lift, though way behind schedule, is getting close to completion. Most of the delays were caused by difficulties encountered in refurbishing the core multi-floor inner lobby*.
* OK, so it's not part of a technical face lift it; it's more like a heart transplant.
This morning's Bangkok Post had cartoons for both cat lovers and cat haters; and, they appeared on the same page.
Next door, at the building site of the Novotel Hotel a worker spent his lunch hour (12 to 1) napping in a sky high hammock.
Yes, it has been an action filled day for THOCBDC.
Next: Part IV