The hectic life in Hong Kong has rather precluded any blogging . Suffice to say my daughter and son-in-law did a great job looking after us oldies poor things and the social whirl was exceptional. I will return to the week in Hong Kong while we while away severn nights down at a coastal resort in Thailand.
So yesterday we boarded an Air Asia flight to Bangkok feeling somewhat hung over after an excellent evening eating Peking duck three ways and then doing the final round of bars in the Soho area .
Air Asia are a rather strange low cost carrier in that whilst their air fares are amazingly cheap when compared to the national carriers of the various S.E. countries their on board offering is completely different. You can order full meals on line if you so wish and there is a choice but also a fee to pay as well. However if you decide not to there is non of the hard sell tactics of say Ryanair nor the constant trolley work of cabin crew on other LCC airlines. Seats are allocated easily at check in as the on line seats are either emergency exit or the first 7 odd rows and they try hard to sit you together.
On board the trolleys come out to serve the few that have ordered the full meal and provide them with drinks and then retreat behind the ubiquitous aircraft galley curtain. The non orderers are left to use the call button to summon assistance and drinks ( no alcohol) and snacks are hand carried to your seat on a tray and monies taken. All savagely civilised. One very commercial but quite clever idea they have had is to sell each overhead locker door for advertising. It is actually quite colourful and rather reminds you of sitting on the London underground starring at the ads.
I haven’t been to Bangkok since 1989 having avoided it on my last few visits to Thailand so the drive into town was eye opening. The place like so many other S.E. Asia cities has grown upwards with apartment blocks and office towers sprouting like mushrooms everywhere you look.
We booked the Cabochon hotel as it looks like an old colonial place with lots of character and nicely tucked away from the main streets . It is indeed like a colonial place but was only built last year so though all the furnishings and even the light switches are from old houses the rest of the place works like a 21st century hotel.
Now schadenfreuders amongst you will be delighted to know that just after our arrival ( I have talked before about our effect on the weather in countries worldwide), the heavens opened and it started to rain cats, dogs and anything else that came to hand. We were at the time enjoying the happy hour twofers offered by the hotel ( buy one get one free) and were little concerned until I saw the price of the food in the restaurant. It is always the trouble when you get deals on hotels that are normally expensive as the rest of the clientele barely glance at the menu price as they order whilst the dealers get a certain look of horror and fear on their faces as they pretend to study the food choices. I quickly decided that umbrellas were the solution so off we set to sample the delights of the city.
Now the last time here the problem was finding places that were farang friendly in terms of heat as in the number of chilli in each dish as everywhere served Thai food apart from the odd hotel restaurant. How things have changed. Up and down our part of the Sukanvit Road we went past pizza places, tapas places, burger joints, wine bars, English and Irish pubs serving fish and chips and hundreds of Japanese restaurants.What was as amazing was every place was full of thai locals munching away and swilling down glasses of wine a drink almost unknown here in 1989. The search was exacerbated by the fact that motorbikes and mopeds are allowed to use the pavement as a kind of cycle lane and so you spend more time looking both in front and behind you on the pavement for them. Finally one glanced Geraldine a blow as it went by and with her soaking wet feet, damp trousers and now a bruised arm my quest quickly came to an halt. Enough she said and we repaired to the nearest restaurant. Anything spicy I asked in hope, maybe something Thai. The waiter looked astonished as if we had asked for the crown jewels for nothing. No he said but if you want something with a bit of a kick then try our spaghetti arrabata the chef puts a little dried chilli in it.
All this way from Puglia to Thailand to be offered an italian dish as the really spicy dish on the menu. Foolishly we declined and ate probably the worst burgers we have ever eaten . Thai cooks certainly in this restaurant don’t do western food.but clearly no one has told the local patrons who were hoovering it down. Maybe a Thai in London feels the same about Thai food in a Thai place there ?