March 31, 2017
Well we spent more on our breakfast at the French café than we did for a full cooked breakfast but it was definitely worth it. The coffee was really good and the croissants and choco-pain were so flaky and rich, we could have stayed there all day and eaten our way through the whole selection of croissants, brioche, tarts, and breads.
However, we had to go to the bike shop and give them some of the packing materials for the bikes. Surprise, surprise it was before 10:00 and they were not open! C’est la vie.
We took a taxi to the MBK shopping mall. The MBK mall is huge it covers seven floors and has hundreds of retailers.
There is one floor devoted to electronics and phones and everything you could possibly want for your phone or not want for your phone.
Now we are not ones that usually enjoy shopping malls, we were actually looking to buy a phone. With Ralf’s garmin going pear-shaped, we decided to get a new phone and use that in Korea for maps. When we get back to Canada I will have a new phone to use, I have been using the one we bought in Australia on the first trip. I had done some research and knew which phones Virgin Canada carried so that is what I was looking for. I think we got a good deal on an unlocked Samsung J5 Prime.
As we were leaving the MBK Centre we noticed an area set up for grafitti artists. Wow the smell of spray paint was over-powering. There is going to be a Hip Hop competition this week-end in this area.
We had to find a way across the road to get to the Jim Thompson house. Unfortunately, the road was blocked by elephants. This area had a two-lane highway, a Sky train and a raised road, we were able to find a set of stairs and a pedestrian walk-way to get across this mess of road systems.
After the shopping trip, we headed to the Jim Thompson House Museum. Jim Thompson was an American who fell in love with Thailand after the war and promoted Thai silk in North America and Europe. He was reportedly a spy for the American government. He disappeared in 1967 in Malaysia, no trace was found of him and his disappearance remains a mystery.
He built a house in Bangkok that was a collection of traditional Thai houses but also combining the American values he liked. For example he had the stairs inside the house, most traditional Thai houses have the stairs outside. He also had a dining room, Thai tradition is that you sit on the floor to eat, which is why you take your shoes off when you enter a Thai house.
A guide takes you around the inside of the house and the gardens, giving you information about the various rooms and collections. However, once you have taken part in the tour – about 30 minutes – you can then wander around the grounds at your own speed. At each entrance to a room there is a usually a step up and a step down with a raised border to step over. I asked if there was any significance. Our guide told us that it had two benefits, the first was to stop babies crawling out of the room and the second was to stop the evil spirits from entering a room. Evil spirits can only travel in one direction – not up and down – they cannot climb over the raised entrance ways.
The cocoons are unraveled and then the cocoons are boiled while spinning the thread. Ralf was surprised to feel how thick the thread was, there are usually ten threads spun into one thicker strand.
While we were looking for a taxi to take us back to the hotel we noticed these two rather odd paintings on the walls nearby the MBK Centre and Jim Thompson House.
We took a taxi back to the hotel or at least to Khao San Road, it was easier to tell the taxi driver to take us to Khao San Road than to try and tell them we wanted to go to Rambuttri Road one block away. When we got into the taxi the driver told us it would be 200 baht. I told him to turn on the meter – 200 baht it only cost us 80 baht to get to the shopping centre. Another scam to be aware of – sometimes the taxi driver does not turn the meter on and then charges you twice as much as it should be. The silly thing is the taxi had a list of charges on a sheet in the back of the taxi. The metered trip was 85 baht.
We stopped for a quick snack of Pad Thai before heading back to the hotel. Ralf went to the bike shop with the extra packing material while I went back to the hotel to read the instructions on the phone! Already downloaded maps.me and it works.
Ralf spotted this very interesting creature in the canal on his way back to the hotel. A very large lizard, about 8 feet including the length of the tail.
After our dinner of a lovely Indian meal, we headed back to the hotel and spotted two touring bikes in the lane-way. The owners of the bikes were sitting have a beer with their lively three year old.
They have been travelling for seven years and their oldest child was born in Cambodia, the 10 month old, who was asleep in the trailer was born in the Czech Republic on their way back to Germany. They wanted him to be born in Germany because of the hassle of registering the oldest boy in Cambodia.
The area around the hotel is well policed, we spotted four policemen on bicycles this evening. I bet the illegal vendors hate these guys, because they cannot spot them as easily as when they arrive by car.