Thailand Travel Log: In Bangkok

April 01, 2004

Being in Bangkok the second time is very different than being here for the first time. It isn't the city that has changed; it's just that the overwhelming sensation on the first visit is how very different and strange everything is. Now, the chaos seems familiar and natural.

We have only done a couple of things around the town. The main thing was to go order and get fitted for custom clothes. The proprietor of the store is a very nice Indian guy named Victor. Victor runs a store that is very popular with the Americans, and he is very proud of his known-name clients. He has framed pictures on the wall of himself with notable clients -- mostly from the families of both Bush presidents. He told me that Tom Ridge had been there a couple of weeks before, and showed me the picture of ol' Tommy, which hadn't been framed or put on the wall yet.

When I went back for my follow-up fitting yesterday, I made Victor take a picture with me. I'm going to mail him a big glossy copy so that he can have a political independent on the wall with the rest of those guys.

There are two main reasons for the popularity:

1) Victor is a great retailer. He greets every customer by name as they walk in. Apparently, he remembers names of people who haven't been in for years and years.

2) The custom clothes can't be beat. He uses extremely nice fabric, and the fit is amazing. I had a fitting yesterday, where my suit was held together by straight pins, and -- I hate to be vain in my web log -- but I looked awesome. I have got to find an opportunity to wear a suit soon.

Victor is making me a suit with a second pair of pants, a sport coat, two dress shirts, and two pair of cotton trousers. He's also making Heather eight shirts. All of this is going to be ready 3 days from when we placed the order.

Another thing that we did out in the city is visit the Jim Thompson House. This is one of those tourist areas that everyone should see, but we didn't make it there on the last trip. It was okay -- very pretty to be sure, but I can't say that I was up for a museum.

The only other thing we did in town was to visit a small fertility park. This thing was only the size of a very small playground, but it has a shrine to Buddha, and about a hundred statues of penises. Some of those were really weird. There was a cat laying under Buddha's shrine with huge balls hanging from between his legs, so apparently, the fertility part of it works.

The Thais have a small shrine to Buddha in front of most buildings. People leave food in front of it as an offering, and they stop at them to burn incense and pray. At this park, a good number of things had been left for Buddha, including a bottle of red cream soda, and about six cigarettes. I hadn't known that Buddha was a smoker.

The food that we've eaten has been very good. We ate at a couple of restaurants that were excellent. I am keeping up with what I eat, because I predicted to Heather that she would eat better than me while I'm out. She is supposed to be keeping up with a similar list. I'm really going to have to whine for the "cheese biscuit mix" that Mom had me bring to bring me back to level. I will post a page with our comparative food logs when I get home.