Saturday, August 23, 2014

Been Shopping

At breakfast this morning, taken in the briskly efficient 31st-floor executive lounge of my very comfortable hotel, those of my students who have lingered on were fully of dauntingly ambitious plans for their Saturday, burbling on about elephant excursions and trips downriver and temple crawls of epic proportions.

Not me.

Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm all for tourism in its fullest bloom, but somehow at the moment I simply haven't the energy.  Instead, I opted for a less strenuous walk around the neighborhood, and since that encompasses everything from the tranquil greenery of Lumphini Park to the most frenetic of commercial areas, I don't feel shortchanged.  The weather, as you can see, is mercurial at best, and soon enough I decided it was probably wise to be indoors.  I headed for the only mildly ominously named Central World, a glossy mall of almost Sandlandian proportions.

Why, you may ask, are visitors to this vast and imposing edifice greeted by the alter ego of Bruce Wayne and his eponymous Mobile?  Answer comes there none, but it was a popular attraction nonetheless.  It was part of a themed exhibition that spread through much of the mall's ground floor under the not-quite-native-English title "Forever Cabriolet," which to me sounds like the kind of thing Miss Marianne Moore might have come up with back in the days when Edsel Ford had hired her to come up with names for new Ford cars.

Inside was everything any kind of shopper could possibly desire, from the haute-est of couture to the lowest forms of kitsch (you can imagine which I spent more time perusing), along with two good bookstores, a  small but serviceable Marks & Spencer (which we miss quite awfully from the Sandlands), and even a Dairy Queen (What?  So I like a Blizzard now and then.  Sue me.  In Thailand, it seems, you can ever get a coffee-caramel Blizzard, which is to me almost a justification for the 30-hour flight all on its own).  There are also what seems to be hundreds of restaurants, from all the flavors of Asia to more piquant attractions like an English-themed "creamery bakery" called Mr. Jones's Orphanage and Milk Bar.  As for me, I had, prior to my Blizzard, some quite excellent conveyor-belt sushi, but that's only because I hadn't yet seen this:

Which seems to me a highly satisfying addition to my collection of Thai "I'm so happy to be food!" sculptures.  The little crab seems especially beatific at the prospect of crawling up into the happily waiting bowl of boiling broth.  The octopus, though, does seem to have his doubts...

I may not have done any kind of mind-improving kind of cultural-immersion tour, but at least while walking back on the Skyway toward home I did pass a shrine we had liked a great deal on our last visit to Bangkok, busy today with visitors:

In the background, going almost unnoticed, was a dance performance of surpassing grace and beauty; I only wish I'd recorded some of the accompanying music (you can see the dancers and musicians, there in the back in the shadow of the pavilion), which was something like what Mr. Philip Glass might have come up with had he been a traditional Thai composer a century or three ago.

So all in all it was a satisfying day and a most enjoyable break from teaching.  Tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, I might actually try to see a sight or two, but for now I'm back on the 31st floor, enjoying a glass or so of surprisingly good Prosecco.  Later on, perhaps I'll venture out for one night in Bangkok, as it were, but more and more I realize that one of the joys of being a happily married old coot is that if instead I were to decide to stay in and watch Thai variety shows on television over a tray of something nice, I woul (and very likely will) have every bit as much fun...


  1. Remarkably eclectic collection of sights, methinks. As for "Thai variety shows on television", I shudder to think... Do they have the televisual equivalent of Dinah Shore or, even more implausibly, Raffaella Carra out there? Jx

  2. What a marvelous break from "reality", whatever that may actually be!

    1. Oh, Thom - if you ever figure that out, do let me know...

  3. My reality lasted for a few bright, shining seasons on the misty shores of Planet Fabulon.