On my other blog I do a fair amount of complaining about internet speeds and simple access to the net down in Puglia. Well The Cabochon Hotel in Bangkok really was no better than some of the off days the net has there. Watching paint dry comes to mind and after getting the last post away I was unable to get enough connection to do anymore.
I had hoped that our journey south might improve things and I could catch up but we have been without connection until today .
The Cabochon tries to capture the era of the old large houses in Bangkok circa 1920 with lots of teak and ceiling fans. Fondly I imagined that perhaps the service too would reflect that bygone era and so with hope in my heart I went to reception to ask about trains south from Bangkok. I had said to Geraldine that I would probably tell them what I wanted and they would despatch a lad to the train station to queue and collect the tickets while we enjoyed the rather fine roof top pool.
The very friendly reception guy listen to my request with interest and turned away to I thought issue a stream of instructions to a likely lad nearby finishing with the Thai equivalent of “and make it snappy”.
How wrong I was instead he reached for a skytrain map and a map of the metro. He spread them on the desk and pointed out where we were and how far we had to walk. Then where we could change on to the metro and finally , proudly pointed to the main railway station and said that is where you buy tickets. To try to save a little face for my return to our room I did ask if there might be someone around who might complete the task. Ah he said we used to be able to make bookings for guests on the Thai Train website but no longer. As I went back into the elevator I unkindly thought that maybe they still could if they had a decent internet connection.
So up the steep stairs we went and found the Skytrain. Actually thinking about that they would be steep wouldn’t they if you call your train line by that name. Clutching my new map I went to the ticket desk and asked for the connecting stop. It seems you can’t interchange tickets between the two. Rather strangely they gave me change to go back to the ticket machine with to get the ticket.
The connection was easy and on the metro the ticket office issues the tickets rather than give you a fist full of change. So 20 minutes later we emerged from the bowels of the metro up into the main train station Hua Lampong .
Now I have to tell you that unlike many other main train line station experiences this really was a piece of cake. The information desk is positioned almost in front to the main entrance making them and you unable not to link up. The super friendly Thai attendent asked where we were going and sent us to a window that had no line in front of it. in fact almost all the windows had not a soul in front of them. The clerk happily printed off the tickets , went through all the information on it with us and we were heading back down to the metro 5 minutes after emerging from it.
That night faith was also restored when we found several small streets off our main drag filled with stalls selling Thai food with the bonus of an happy hour bar almost alongside.
I know lousy quality but I had been to happy hour and am using one of the oldest iPhones known to man.
Our room at the Cabochon has a balcony unlike the more more swanky rooms that use the space as an enclosed sitting room . Ours overlooked the car park for the local Toyota dealer that was at the back of his on street showroom. About 10 people spent their entire day there cleaning the cars and trucks both inside and out. Given that we were still in the throws of the tail end of the Typhoon that did such devastation to the Philippines it seemed an almost pointless task as once they were clean it rained and they started again. However one thing that really upset them was the trees on our side of the fence that dropped their leaves on the cars every time the wind blew and trust me it blew.
By Saturday they had had enough and moved all the cars away which as I sat watching this with my morning cuppa seemed sensible. I of course am however used to Health and Safety. Not these guys, quite quickly up climber a lad with an huge machette to give the trees a going over. no ropes, no luminous jackets, no briefing of al the workers on the dangers of standing under trees being cut etc. Boy did he make short work of it too though I think if I was 30 feet up a tree with a concrete car park under it hanging on by one hand while hacking and hewing with the other I might have tried to get it done fast. He was a very friendly guy and posed for the camera .