Monday, January 03, 2005
Walking from the train station to the mall, we passed by an Auntie Ann's pretzel place (yes, we stopped. Got an original with cheese dip. Loved it!), the Hard Rock Cafe (selling crappy food at American prices. Even had a Harley dude sitting out front checking his bike out) and way too many people and shops.
The mall? 7 enormous floors overfilled with people shopper types wandering all over the place not looking where they were wandering stopping going buying talking milling about etc. Not too fun. Keep in mind, I hate malls back home, yet here I was in one in Thailand. Not so....good? Interesting place. Sorted out by floors, no pesky wasting of open space. A nice cozy (claustrophobia inducing) set of warrens throughout. Floor 1? Not sure. Didn't go there. Floor 2-accesories; floor 3-clothes; floor 4-cell phones (primarily)(yes, an entire floor of cell phones. This was the busiest floor in the place. We made the mistake of trying to walk around and almost suffocated. R did get herself a nice hello kitty cover for her new cell phone. Cute, eh?); Floor 5-Furniture; floor 6 was the tourist floor. Trinkets and gadggets and tshirts and help desks and elephant rides and a tiltawhirl replete with cotton candy and massagist-types on board. Floor 7-movie theater and food.
Our original intent was to catch a movie. Ocean's 12 was playing and we decided to see that (R is on a HUGE Matt Damon kick right now and wouldn't even consider seeing a picture without him in it). Problem was, it was only 5:30 and the movie played at 9. Time to walk shuffle shove dodge and feint around the mall. Overall it wasn't as damaging as I'd thought. I was intrigued with the structure of the place and the efficiency with which it operates and the skill with which the escalators have been assembled the bathrooms were wonderful and the girl/boys (by that I don't mean the girls and boys. I mean the boy/girls. There is a large contingent of them in this country as you may recall from a past post. For some reason they gravitate towards the travel industry. Sometimes.) friendly and courteous. Ok, you caught me. Actually I went into a blank trance while following R around, envisioning riding a motorcycle up the escalator, forcing people to dive off either side; dropping a stink bomb on the phone floor just to see the madness, and other fun stuff like....anything. Anything but being in a crowded shopping mall.
The 7th floor is where we (I) made our (my) stand. After wandering the rest of the floors, I dropped my armloads of bags (R's. Gotta be gallant and carry them for her, ya know?) at a coffee shop and sat writing in my journal while sipping some blessedly hot coffee. Finally show time arrived!
Unlike theaters in the US, we were not allowed in until the 'start' time. Ticket said 9pm, that's when we entered. While waiting, we ate popcorn and watched westerner after westerner try to get in early-they'd get in the door and come right back out. This kept happening. People did that even after watching the person in front of them fail. Some even tried it more than once. It was pretty amusing.
In we went, thinking there'd be few previews and no commercials. Not so lucky, Pierre! I think that pre-movie tradition may be longer here than back home! The previews went on for a while, with occasional commercials mixed in. After about 10-15 minutes, we all stood to pay our respects to the King (loud loud music playing while scenes of this guy's life showed on screen. Longest reigning king ever. He's been on the throne for something like 70 years [no joke] and looks only about 50) then sat down. A few more previews and the flick started.
Funny stuff! R kept hitting me and telling me how cute and how great Matt Damon is, but I managed to look past that and enjoy the movie. Silly, but good stuff.
Running home, catching the last sky train, wandering back down the streets past beaten up dogs and cats and rats and vendors.
Reminds me. Our first night here we walked around for a while. Stopped at some place with huge headed guys to check it out. Ended up in what looked like a concert venue (band stuff, stage) stuffed with tables and chairs, party expectant. We downed an ale and vanished before....whatever got going. Odd.
But that wasn't my point. As we made our way back to the hotel, this first night of ours back in Bangkok, what did we see walking up the road towards us? 2 elephants! No joke! There were a few guys selling something while meandering these pachyderms up the street. I watched, hoping that one of them (elephants) would take out a car but they are surprisingly nimble. As they passed I cowered behind a few old Thai women praying that elephants are either afraid of old women or at least sensible enough not to stample any. It worked out ok. No crunching for me. How funny is that? Elephants, wandering down the middle of a big city.....