BANGKOK - Sunday, June 21
The group's first day in Thailand began with a smooth flight and an early arrival, 35 minutes ahead of schedule, at Suvarnabhumi International. As soon as everyone had successfully drawn their first Thai baht from the ATMs, we took a van to our first hotel, ideally located near the river and the Skytrain, and within ten minutes of the train station.
The 14-hour time difference had most everyone feeling a little dazed, but because the most efficient way to get past that is to force oneself into the current time-zone, as soon as everyone had showered and changed we set off on our first outing -- a Skytrain trip for lunch at the new café recently opened by Cate and Inside Thailand alum, Tae Vichit-Vadakan.
Mac, Cate 1965; Tae, Cate 2002; Denali, Cate 2012 at Tae's Ohana Café
I had expected Tae's Ohana Café to be pleasant, but was even more delighted to hear myself calling it "easily the most civilized place in Bangkok." Beyond offering what is certainly the best coffee, fettuccine, and music (from Miles Davis to Jack Johnson) that I, as a connoisseur of all three, have ever found in this cosmopolitan metropolis, Tae has created a miniature eight-table oasis of absolute serenity in what is certainly one of the most chaotic cities on earth. If the Ohana (Sukumvit 24) were closer to our hotel I would be writing this there now.
Even though Sunday's weather was relatively mild, none of us is quite used to the heat and humidity, and most of us were happy to turn in early. Must be something about Midland, though, because after a swim Tammy and Chloe spent the early evening exploring the local neighborhood.
Today, Monday, our program officially begins with a visit to the temple across the street where we will chat with a friendly monk in his guti, receive a blessing, and then set off on a river boat to explore some of the sights.
No promises, but I will do my best to update this journal as regularly as possible. Please stay tuned...