I don't sleep, not even a wink. I've been so excited that this trip was on the cards. The night before I flew to Bangkok, my companion, driver, chef, and most esteemed husband and I went out to dinner with friends.
Usually my companion doesn't like going out the night before we go anywhere - don't ask me why, I've never been able to ascertain why, but this time we did. Of course, it makes perfect sense to me because seriously, who wants to cook dinner the night before you get on an international flight to anywhere?
So the dinner only adds to my excitement because the four of us went to a Thai restaurant - and what better way to get into the groove than to begin by eating the food before you even leave?
Mind you, I'm not a huge fan of Thai food. I don't like to eat food that I can't pronounce or can't recognize as anything I've eaten before and I certainly don't like to eat food that is drowned in sauces. If I wanted my food drowned in a sauce, I'd order soup!
For my dinner-before-I-leave-Sydney, I order stir-fry seafood (with my own slant)... I believe that when one is at a restaurant paying for a meal, one should be able to "tweak" the recipe to ones own satisfaction - after all, you are paying for it, right?
My "tweak" envolves changing my stir-fry meal ever so slightly... "I'll have the stir-fry seafood, with the oyster sauce and fresh vegetables", I tell the very limited English speaking waitress, "but can you please tell the chef that I don't want my seafood stir-fried? I would like my seafood steamed. In addition, can you please tell cheffy that I do not want my seafood to be cooked in the sauce at all, in fact, I don't want the seafood to be near the sauce. The sauce must be in a separate bowl in the event that I have a moment of weakness and would like to drizzle drops of oyster sauce over my seafood." I take note that the little Asian waitress is staring at me as though I have assaulted her, then I ask, "did you understand me?". Her blank stare says it all and commands that my personal chef take charge.
Seriously, I don't get what's so difficult about my request. Eventually my personal chef manages to get the young lady who has very limited understanding or command of the English language to grasp what I have requested and she takes her little waitress order book to the kitchen to consult the chef. Our friends then inform us that the little waitress with limited command of the English language is actually the owner of the restaurant and what's more, she is very strict on her staff sticking to the menu without allowing any changes whatsoever. Of course this doesn't bother me at all. If I don't get what I want, then the outcome is simple... A) I won't ever go there again and B) I'll tell all my friends not to go near the little Thai restaurant with the owner who has a very limited command of the English language. Simple as that.
My meal arrives and I'm impressed that cheffy managed to do exactly what I had requested and my plate looks clean and fresh. He's even placed the seafood on a bed of freshly steamed vegetables, which everyone knows will remain on the plate since I had forgotten to tell my waitress not to bother with those.
The evening was great and to top it off, we had a glass of wine in the hot tub back home before retiring. We were due to be picked up by our Limo at 6:00 am, so it was important to get a good night sleep. My husband asked me what time I wanted to be woken up and I said 5:30 with a latte would be awesome. Little did I know... He had absolutely no intension of making me any coffee in the morning! He protested by saying that there would be no time for such luxuries and that we'd get up, get dressed and get going immediately.
Which is why I didn't sleep. There is no way in a million years that I will do anything in the morning without first having a few cups of coffee, I simply can't and won't function without my caffeine fix. I went to bed and turned on the telly. I watched a movie. Then I watched a documentary on the investigation of the last plane disaster - I know, very apt for the day before one is due to take an international flight somewhere, but I'm not frightened by such things, I believe that when it's your time to go, it will happen regardless of whether you watched a disaster documentary or not. And seriously, who cares how you go in the end - chances are you'll have no idea and no memory of it either.
At midnight, I turned the light off and tried to sleep, but my excitement was overwhelming and my need for coffee growing. At 2:30 I turned the light back on and read a little bit. At 3:00 am I got out of bed and went downstairs to the kitchen to switch the coffee machine on - it takes 20 minutes to warm up... I went back to bed, set my alarm for 4:30 am and closed my eyes.
I opened my eyes and tried to focus on anything in the darkness. It was too dark. I tried to sleep. I tossed and turned. Then I got up and headed for the coffee machine again. I made my first cup and stared at it for a while before taking my first sip.
I took a deep breath, breathing in the aroma of the rich coffee. Then I took a long deep swig, like someone who would suck on their first cigarette in the morning. I let the crema fill my mouth and savored the taste. I took huge gulps and swallowed hard until all the coffee was gone. Then just as quickly as I drank my first cup, I made my second and took a deep swig again. I was now ready to face the day.
I used Thai Airways for my trip to Bangkok. I requested a seat on the top deck of business class and I received an added bonus - my seat was next to the emergency exit, which means that there was a huge gap in front of me with no seats and no people anywhere close to me. It also means that all the show ponies who like to parade up and down the asles use this open section to do their little show pony exercises and I get front row seats for the show.
I climbed into my capsule, ordered champaign - yes, I am well aware that it was only 10:00 am, but seriously, this is an international flight so I can guarantee you that it's 5:00 pm somewhere in the world, so I might as well enjoy happy hour when it comes, besides who knows this could be my last day on earth if this plane chooses to go down, so I might as well enjoy it.
The first meal arrived and since we were still on the Australian side of the globe, it was a western meal. I ordered snapper but what I got was something that was probably triple cooked, leather hard and chicken breast like in appearance. It had a mushroom sauce, which was rather delicious. It took a while to get the leather hard substance down, but it filled the gap.
Business class seats on Thai Airways are awful, I kid you not. They don't go flat at all, in fact they will get to a dangerous 45 degree angle, which makes it almost impossible to sleep in. As soon as you get yourself into a reasonable position, you slide down to the bottom of the seat and almost onto the floor. There's a very good reason why the seats have a foot rest that juts out of the bottom of the chair, it's there to stop one from sliding onto the floor! Every few minutes one has to push ones way back up to the top of the chair.
I'm now in Bangkok. Welcome with me to Bangkok! I'm so incredibly impressed. Flying into Bangkok is amazing. One flies over all the rice paddies. Thailand is the biggest producer of rice in the world - pity I don't eat rice... But I might just have to try it.
The airport is immaculate, clean and organized. I love it. The Thai people are beautiful. I wouldn't call them very friendly, but they certainly are very helpful - there's a difference. I can see I'm going to love it here!
We're staying at the Siam@Siam. It's a boutique hotel in the city. A 25 story building with a restaurant and look-out deck on the top floor. There's an awesome storm over the city. It's pouring with rain, in fact it's torrential, but it's beautiful. It's also hot as hell and incredibly humid, but I'm loving everything so far.
We had dinner at the restaurant on the top floor - a Mexican joint with food that burnt my ear drums and made me feel like I had a middle ear infection. A duet sing in the background - they are awesome. We're now in the land of karaoke and black bean infused food. I miss the Western food already, but with enough adult beverages, one can be persuaded to forget...
Tomorrow we fly to Krabi, I can't wait. I'm so in love with Thailand.
Do you have any recommendations for me whilst I'm here? Anything to add? Feel free to share your stories here.