Bob Dylan was singing about the rust belt in the USA but my lament is for Chiang Mai where we arrived yesterday afternoon.
Back in Bangkok that morning we hit the breakfast session at the Siri Sathorn. Now I don’t normally go on about hotels but this one is special. Thais are naturals for the service industry but like all people in the business they need to be trained otherwise they are just eager amateurs. The people at Siri certainly have been trained and are superb.
Breakfast didn’t disappoint rows and rows of gleaming silver bowls stretched out almost as far as the eye could see. it was a feast and all included. Paradise. We shall return.
Air Asia were their confusing selves again. lots of announcements about trolleys in the cabin and apart from a rather strange one selling Air Asia memorabilia nothing appeared. They do seem to have got the airport buttoned up though at Bangkok because security were not only stopping people with water but with any food. We passed rows of Germans sitting on the tables by security eating their way through their sandwiches rather than toss them in the bin. I saw two Brits do the same at Bari the other day when they were stopped with wine in their hand luggage. Both uncorked their bottles and over about 30 minutes drank the contents much to amusement of the italian security staff.
The local papers here yesterday were full of the fact that growth has slowed considerably in Thailand and is constantly being forecast downwards . Various reasons are given by the economists but certainly this Asian tiger is no longer roaring. There is talk of tripling the cost of alcohol to match prices in the moslem state of Malaysia which had a few of the expats ranting into their beers the night before. The ministry is also looking at how to tax mobile apps which they see as lost revenue . However it seems the rice subsidy paid to try to improve the lot of the rural farmer is where many would like to see savings. Most agree it hasn’t worked and achieved none of the objectives. Maybe the E.U. should have a look at the compelling reasons in the papers here for ending farming subsidies and yes that was a pig that went past my 5th floor window.
After the delights of the Siri Sathorn any hotel was going to be a disappointment and the Grand Napat filled the function to the full. Ripped off in the bar but no one willing to recognise it and an attempt to rip us off with the Tuk Tuk ride into town . By chance it started to rain and do I mean rain . More the heavens opened and down it came in bucket loads. Any thought of riding around in an open Tuk Tuk was certainly forgotten by us though not the hotel reception who tried so hard to talk us out of getting a real taxi. This old Asia hand for once stuck to his guns and after 30 mins the taxi arrived. God knows what commission the receptionist is on with the tuk tuk company but he used every scare tactic in the book.
We ate at The River Market and it really was great even though outside the river was almost invisible through the torrent of rain descending . Without our trusty taxi driver Kob who luckily I offered to pay on the return run turning up quite how we would have got back who knows. We could probably have made a fortune just driving the other diners back to their hotels as well.
Still we now have a driver and wheels so are set for a few temples . The internet in the Grand Napat is as tired as the hotel so posting could be fun over the next few days.
Let’s hope it stops raining so we can get out and about. I feel a bit like the lyrics in the Alan Sherman song Camp Granada