The respected Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed on a week before we were to fly to Bangkok for our regular 拜拜 trip. But that wouldn't change our plans, as when the recent Central Italy earthquake in Amatrice didn't change our plan to tour Italy earlier in September.
Serene and I loved to fly in late in the afternoon after our morning session of work. And being able to drive home, grab the luggage, take the MRT to the airport and still making it in time for check-in was one of the main reasons why I love Air Asia's 5:05pm departure.
"Wear black or dark-coloured clothing," advised one of our regular patients Albert. "The Thais are in mourning for one year. Preferably avoid red or brightly-coloured clothes."
|One of the many memorials in Bangkok, this one was in Central World Plaza.|
|Many buildings were adorned with black and white ribbons as a sign of mourning.|
|There was an exhibit of paintings of the King by various artists in Central World.|
Tucked right at one small alley behind Siam Square, this air-conditioned and brightly-lit restaurant was manned by a crew of young waiter and waitresses. But they were generally smiling and patient with us, as we ordered from what I could remember from the recommendations by Trip Advisor.
This restaurant was full of locals. Young and old. And if a restaurant was frequented by the locals it could not be bad. And it did not disappoint.
- The Tom Yum was spicy and fragrant. Sour by my standard, but definitely Thai.
- The green curry was normal standard.
- The oyster omelette was disappointingly bland.
- The deep fried chicken wing middle section was spectacular. We both enjoyed.
- The fried squid with garlic was definitely excellent, and I walloped the whole plate all on my own.
- The fried beef with oyster sauce was delicious, especially with rice.
- And the Pad Thai was nice and gently sweetened, just right for me.
"Centara is more expensive than Novotel during this period leh," Kai Sing messaged me. True. I guessed we were paying for the convenience as it was just right at Central World and we didn't need to cross the river each time we were out.
After our last couple of trips to Bangkok, we had come to realise that the few important things we wanted to do each time we were here were:
- go pray at Erawan Shrine Four Face Buddha.
- Go massage at Foot Master at Amarin.
- Shop and eat at Central World, and if time allowed, around Siam Square area.
|A piece of work of several figures of an old lady dancing and waving the cymbal towards the departed King,|
as if they were bidding him farewell.
Gym at Centara Grand
I loved this gym. It had a nice view when I ran on the treadmill, looking across towards Siam Paragon. 8am and I was already enjoying myself on the machine.
After the run and working out my gluteus and abductors on the machine, I made up my to come back early next morning.
"Wei, Dar, are you done yet? I'm hungry!" texted Serene. She must have just woken up.
The World Restaurant at 24th floor was, as usual, full of people at 9:15am. I didn't care. I had burnt about 500Cal this morning and I simply gobbled omelettes, bacons, hams, and plenty of rubbish, not knowing what was to come.
I always liked to give thanks by inviting 8 dancers to dance (for 710 Bahts), and after that a clockwise round of prayers with the garlands and joss sticks (500 Bahts).
Our good friends Gerard and Darric reminded me to wash my face and gargle with the holy water from the bronze pot at the corner, something that I'd forgotten to do on my last visit. And this time round I made triply sure I executed their instructions to the fullest.
"You sure the water is clean?" texted Charles. "Maybe it has legionella in it."
"I will know after today," was my joking reply to him.
"You never gargled with the water ah?" Darric was adamantly texting me about gargling with the holy water.
"Never fight with the man that drank the water." was KC Obama's staunch reply to everybody's queries. Hats off to the President. He was always the one with the wisest answer for every question.
Praying to The Four Face Buddha had become a ritual to me as I tried to make my annual pilgrimage. The only period that saw us away from Bangkok for a prolonged period was those years when the Red shirts and Yellow shirts were fighting against each other.
In search of dessert... on a painful knee
"Let me bring you to this popular Trip Advisor recommended Korean restaurant for lunch," I told Serene. "It's at Siam Square so we can walk there and gai gai a bit before we eat."
"Huh? Korean buffet for lunch? I am still very full from breakfast leh," replied her.
And we ended up having a lovely Thai coconut dessert at this icoconut Thai Dessert by the alley. What a discovery! We loved the intricately decorated coconut ice cream and the mango cheese smoothie and young coconut smoothie.
|The ceiling design of iCoconut Thai desser|
"Wei, first time I see you pai-kah until like that," she said. I really was limping, like the way many of my gout patients lumped into my room.
|The display outside Siam Paragon and Siam Centre|
I laughed and kicked myself. Serene laughingly said that there must have been plenty of fish sauce in the food we ate. And I agreed with her whole-heartedly- fish sauce, soya sauce, condiments, red meat, sea food, peanuts, chili sauces, spices and the full works.
Served me right. Whenever I travelled I simply threw caution to the wind and ate whatever I could lay my hands on. And on this I was suffering.
"Ok let us go back and rest for a while and then we will go up to explore the 6th and 7th floors of Central World and see what would be nice for dinner."
On our last trip, we discovered both the Foot Master at Amarin and Asia Herb Association, both highly recommend by Trip Advisor. Asia Herb Association was high class and good. But it was further at Sukhumvit soi 24. A little ma-fan. Instead we found the foot and back massage by the Senior therapists at the Foot Master at Amarin, accessible by Skywalk (again), to be really good. And a two hour session awaited both of us this morning at 4:30pm.
|Passing through Erawan Shrine on our way back to Cenral World. The last time we passed through the same spot|
on our previous trip, about half an hour later, the shrine had a toyota car crashed into it.
Shabu Shi Buffet Japanese restaurant
|A total disappointment|
Coconut water from Central Food Hall - hydrate, hydrate and hydrate.
"Ok tonight let's go buy some coconut water from the supermarket and go back to rehydrate myself and rest my knees an ankles," I told Serene. "Tomorrow then we go shopping."
|The very obliging supermarket sales assistant at Central Food Hall who helped us|
find the shrimp paste chilli powder & green curry paste.
There were a few brands of my favourite packaged coconut water. The UFC ones were listed at 75 Bahts but going at a discounted 69 Bahts (S$2.74), and another brand which was at 70 Bahts. Now I finally understood why it was difficult for NTUC to sell the UFC brand for less than S$6.35 for two bottles. Because here in Thailand the base price was already like this.
"Didn't you try baking soda, like you always advised me to," texted Wai Kit.
The next morning my knee and ankles were still throbbing a little but the edge had been taken off them. Wow, this bout of attack must have been terrible. It literally derailed my training plans at the gym.
"Rest lah, you!" scolded Serene and I guai guai obeyed.
"Tell then I want a lady therapist this time round," Serene was very specific.
"Ok ok let's go to our usual The Terrace and have our favourite deep-fried fish and Pad Thai and coconut ice cream. And we save some stomach for dinner."
I was not satisfied after our last trip with our venture into the Bingsul territory. So this round I was determined to give ourselves another chance.
"The popular one is the strawberry flavour but the original is the red bean one," introduced the young lady. And red bean being Serene's favourite, it was the one that finally ended up on our table, a large Red Bean Bingsul at 190 Bahts (around S$8) a bowl. Not something that you would have every day but once a long long while just to satisfy the taste buds.
|EPL on the hotel TV!|
And what better way than to spend a nice evening watching how Arsenal beat the backside out of Sunderland 1-4 on a Saturday evening? Of course I was sore that Sunderland scored a goal because of a split second lost of concentration on Arsenal's side. But what to do?
The night before we were already deciding between these two: Mo Mo Paradise Japanese restaurant or Aka Japanese restaurant, and Mo Mo Paradise tipped the scale in its favour by the few good reviews on Trip Advisor.
And Mo Mo Paradise went into our book as a great eat.
"Why so fast one ah?" Complained Serene on Sunday morning. "Go holiday like never go holiday like that one!"
|Along the Skywalk were exhibits of artists works.|
Yeah. She was right. It never would be enough. Not for Bangkok. The way we were enjoying Bangkok we could spend a whole month here and would still not have enough. But we just made the most of our time here. And even on this last day, after our check out at 12 noon, our two-hour massage session with Aek and Nid still was awaiting at the Foot Master.
|Still time to squeeze in another two hour session at Amarin.|
Rushing to the airport