I haven’t been keeping you all up to date and for that I am not sorry one bit. Things have been happening so far and furious that I have had little time to catch my breath so I’m going to recap and share a few pictures as well. I arrived a week ago from Tuesdays and checked into the Green Bells Hotel in Bangkok, my primary residence for my stay here in the Land of Elephants, as I like to call Southeast Asia. On Wednesday morning I was given a wild ride in a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle named for the sound it’s two cylinder engine makes by a member of the hotel staff to Ekkamai Skytrain (elevated) station which I took to Siam station, where I walked to the Plattinum Wholesale Department Store to do some shopping. There I bought myself a denim hand bag, a dress, a pendant watch, necklace and earrings before I stopped for a pineapple yogurt smoothie where I could watch the traffic on the street below, s picked up at my hotel and taken to the Preecha Aesthetic Institute (PAI) where I met with my surgeon, Dr. Burin who explained the procedure and all the risks involved. While I was waiting for instructions for my pre-surgery lab tests on Tuesday and for preparation the night before I consulted with staff members about a possible weekend trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to visit the vast ancient temple complex of Angkor. They also arranged for me to hire a taxi driver for the next day who would be able to take me to some of the local attractions in the Bangkok area. Then I was returned to my hotel by my driver for some rest and local sightseeing by foot. I had already purchased some vegetables including sprouts from a nearby grocery store so I spent the rest of the evening at my hotel. On Friday, after a sumptuous Japanesestyle breakfast included with my room, my driver/guide picked me up for a full day tour of the area. The first stop for a bathroom introduced me to my first non-western-style toilet. The green pail on the right is for taking water from the basin to flush the toilet. There is a spigot for refilling the basin and I presume to use like a bidet in place of toilet paper which is not always available and it is requested not to flush down the toilet at any rate. The floor was wet as well and I had neither a place to put my purse and found it extremely difficult to avoid get both my pants and underwear from getting wet. It was a good thing for me that my legs were strong so that I could hold myself up from the floor as I attempted to squat over the toilet bowl. I am so glad that my hotel and most public places in the city have switched to western-style accommodations. After about another 10 minutes we made a stop at a temple where I climbed some very steep steps to a local shrine with a black Buddha statue. I also got my picture taken feeding a small elephant and bought some souvenirs which were blessed by a monk before presented to me. I remembered my etiquette to avoid touching the mon:k as is the Buddhist custom for women, one of which I’m quite happy to be.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the Floating Market which included a ride on an elephant. Frankly I spent way too much on souvenirs, mainly images of elephants and Ganesha but what the heck, I will probably never come this way again. But, you know what they say “Never say never.”
After the Floating market and elephant ride it was back to Bangkok and a stop at one of the many Gemstone Workshops across the country where I bought a nice pair of garnet and silver heart-shaped stud earrings in honor of what would have been Carol and my 33rd Wedding Anniversary. The next stop was a temple open past five for a special holiday. Finally, my driver took me to a travel agency where I was able to book a flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia on Saturday with two nights in a hotel and a tuk tuk driver/guide for two days to visit the vast temple complex of Angkor. There was a difficulty in getting all the money I needed to pay for the trip but was allowed to pay the balance when I got back on Monday night.
I am going to need to finish this story later. I’m very tired and a driver from the PAI Clinic is picking me up at 5am to take me to Piyavate Hospital for my surgery in the morning. I will have both my cellphone and laptop with me and will try to keep you all posted
The countdown is over. THIS IS IT!
Deanna Joy Hallmark