“Hello. Hello. Can you hear me?” brief pause, “Yeah its me Gary. Your past the Thailand customs yeah….. Are you past the customs…. Yeah! Good. Now above you some where should be a sign directing you to meeting point one” ……… ” There’s no sign??? Are you sure?”. There was a sign I know because I had come through the same customs on my return from the Philippines several months before. “Never mind just turn right from the customs and keep walking I will come and meet you”. I made my way through the crowds before being stopped by a couple of security staff. Apparently this was as far as I could go. “Hello! Keep walking I cannot come any further.” and thankfully there about 50 foot through the crowd I saw the beautiful woman whom I had not seen in over a year and missed terribly. Yes my 70 year old Mum had come to Thailand.
For her peace of mind and because she had seen some of the digs I stayed in my mum had booked her own hotel for her stay in Thailand, a huge Hotel in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok and straight away she must of had some pull as the assistant manager upgraded her without being asked to a better room. Now this place is posh. I mean the normal price for a room is about ten times what I would normally pay if I was treating myself to a hotel room. Towels, slippers and dressing gowns supplied, big flat screen TV with English channels, fresh fruit and everything could be remote controlled from the bed all in one of the biggest rooms I had seen. I was surprised there was not a tuk tuk driver to take her from the king sized bed to the bathroom. The hotel had sauna’s, spa, swimming pool, bars and restaurants (all at prices five times what I pay), if I was not careful my mum would not leave the hotel.
After taking her for a meal we let her relax and rest after her long journey and went to our hotel which was up to 45 minutes away by car because of Bankoks ludicrous one way system but as I was to find out only 15 minutes walk away. The thing was now what to find for my mum to do for her stay. I was damned if I was having her stay in the hotel all the time. She was going to see more of Thailand then that. Luckily Chan who was with me had more then enough ideas. So first day after picking my mum up what was a Hobo to do with two ladies in one of the busiest cities in the world…..
Shopping. We went shopping. I am not normally a big fan of shopping unless I need something in particular. I cannot even understand why you need so many shops. Why not have one for shirts, one for pants and so on. But no nothing is that simple. We jumped on the skytrain and got off at the National Stadium station and from there you literally can walk into MBK shopping mall.
Shopping is not my thing but if any shopping mall is my favourite (of which there are many in Bangkok) its MBK. MBK is several stories high with each floor specialising in different goods. So one floor might be mainly clothes, another jewelry and another technology you get the idea. Well what makes MBK stand out is all the what I call micro shops, basically small stalls all separately run (or thats the impression they give) where a bargain can be gotten with a bit of haggling. The secret is to shop around haggling for the best price. Never, never buy from the first shop without trying at least 3 others to get the best price. My mum and Chan were in their element with me in the roll of bodyguard come bag carrier. Mum who claims to struggle walking more then 20 yards without a stop for a cuppa tea and a cream bun managed to keep on her feet for over 4 hours with only the odd loo break.
Eventually we left weighed down with shopping and outside we discovered the stadium was having parade to welcome competitors for a international Muay Thai competition being held there (no sign of England) with displays of :
traditional Thai dancing and
While searching around trying to find places to take photos the ladies took some seats so they could better……. well talk it seemed.
As it started to get very dark and the displays had finished we decided it was time to hit the skytrain and go back to our hotels. We left the stadium with the Thai army brass band playing in the distance. Not a bad start for my mums first visit to Asia.
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