Here Comes the Rain

Today is Wan Makha Bhucha, an important Buddhist holy day marking the auspicious occasion when 1,250 of Buddha’s adherents spontaneously congregated to hear him give a sermon.  Merit-making ceremonies are held during the day at temples throughout the country, while at night, triple candlelit circumambulations (walking around the temple three times) are staged around major temples.

So it is holiday from work for Tawn and the rest of the Kingdom.  For me, it is still a work day, but at least I don’t have to go to class in the morning.

Where to Get a Guest Mattress?

With our friend Ryan arriving from the US on Thursday morning, it was time for us to finally get some sort of guest accommodations.  We had explored many options, from buying a hide-a-bed sofa, to getting a futon sofa – those both were ruled out because they are pretty uncommon here and Tawn had his heart set on the leather sofa we ended up with.  We had also looked around for more Japanese-style futons, but the only “temporary” beds they have are really insufficient pads that would be the source of instant backache.

Then a few weeks ago, while we were at the massage place on Soi 23, I noticed that the massage mattresses – about the size of a twin mattress but only about 3 inches thick – were very comfortable, firm but with just a little give to them.  Of course, I failed to enquire about where one buys massage mattresses while I was at the massage parlor.  When I returned this past Friday, the English-speaking manager was away for the long weekend.  Thanks to Tod, who was available via hand phone, the ladies working the massage parlor understood what I was looking for, which apparently is not the kind of question one normally receives at a massage parlor.

One of the ladies was making a not for her manager with my number when the other one remembered they had a unused mattress in the storage room, so she took me upstairs to see it and sure enough, it had the tag of a distributor on it.  Everything was in Thai except the name of the company and the phone number.  So I wrote it down, thanked the ladies profusely (they had brought out a cool towel and a glass of iced tea, thinking I was a customer), and headed home.

It turns out the mom and pop business is located on Thanon Srinakarin, way, way out to the East of the city halfway to the new airport.  It wasn’t too hard to find, although making a U-turn on Srinakarin, which is basically a 3-lane highway with business along it, was a nightmare.  The owner was very enthusiastic and appreciative of the referral from the massage place.  I get the impression he doesn’t do a lot of retail business, mostly wholesale.  So we arranged to buy one of the slightly wider than twin size mattresses, paid an extra 300 baht ($8.00) to have it delivered, and headed home. 

Saturday evening, Tawn had a dinner function with his colleagues from the China offices of H&K.  You may recall that back in December, we made a trip to South Korea with Tawn’s office mates here in Bangkok.  The trip made by the Chinese employees was the same sort of annual “thank you” trip, but they chose to come to Bangkok for their holiday.

There was a dinner held at a nice Thai restaurant over on Thanon Sathorn for the entire group, which numbered about 100 plus the people from the Bangkok office who decided to join.  Because various VPs and other important people from the company would be there, Tawn saw it as a networking opportunity and attended. 

Somewhat as I predicted, it was not a simple “I’ll be back by 8:30” type of affair.  The group then went to see some cabaret show (with female impersonators, think La Cage aux Folles) and then were heading to yet another destination when Tawn was finally able to beg off and head home at about 11:00.

Since Tawn was not going to be at home, I was facing the prospects of a relatively boring evening.  Fortunately, though, when we got out of our late afternoon yoga class I saw that I had a missed call from Rick Yang, one of our flight attendant friends at United.  He was in town and would be free for dinner after 8.

Rick and I met up at Bella Napoli, our favorite Italian pizza place over on Sukhumvit Soi 31, a 15-minute walk from home.  He’s been busy with work and is dating a guy in Bangkok (so that would be long distance from Taiwan) who, interestingly, is from the same province, Buriram, as Tawn’s father.

Since Rick had a 5:00 am pick up time (United’s only daily departure is at 6:45 am, way too early), he headed back to the hotel right after dinner.  I took the Skytrain back and waited another hour for Tawn to arrive.

What to Do on a Sunday

Ambitious plans that are half-fulfilled.  That’s the answer.  We did get our weekly shopping trip to Carrefour, France’s answer to WalMart and then headed down to Siam Square, the heart of the shopping district, to meet Tod for a movie.  We had taken a taxi but traffic was so heavy on Sukhumvit that as we approached the Nana Skytrain station the driver suggested we should probably just take the Skytrain instead – very cost-conscious of the driver.  Tod arrived at the grand old Lido before us and bought the 100 baht tickets for the 2:00 showing of “Prime”, the Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman comedy/romance/drama. 

As we exited the cinema (the film was okay, pretty good storyline but the screenplay itself was choppy and not fully developed) we discovered there was a torrential downpour and the streets were quickly flooding.  Trapped without umbrellas – there hasn’t been rain in Bangkok since before Christmas so why would we be carrying them? – our only option was to duck into a Pizza Hut for a quick lunch.  This is the only time I’ve eaten Pizza Hut in years and I’m terminally embarrassed to eat there while overseas.

Our plan was to go across the street to the new Siam Paragon shopping center, where the Bangkok Int’l Film Festival was hosting a free outdoor screening of West Side Story.  The rain washed those plans away, unfortunately.  So we completed a few shopping errands and then headed home once the rain had stopped.  The evening concluded with a trip to the local massage place for a one-hour foot and leg massage and then we ate al fresco pad thai at the street vendor who sets up each night outside the 7-11.  Yummy, but we didn’t drink the water they served us which Tawn warned was tap water.  Thankfully, with 7-11 right there, we just purchased some beverages and brought them outside.

The final accomplishment for the night was to install and test the two web cameras I purchased.  Now Tawn and I are both up on Skype and can stay in touch with each other for free while I’m in the US next month.  Then we’ll leave one camera and headset in the US for my sister and her family to use.


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