My dad came to visit us for about 3 days during the last week of March, which was our last week in Bangkok. Whenever we meet up with people here, I feel like I’ve been transported back to the last place I saw them. It’s such a weird feeling, like I’m caught in a rip in the time-space continuum. Case in point: Seeing my dad made me feel like I was back in Los Angeles. Maybe I associate people with places, and seeing people outside of “their place” throws me off-kilter, so my mind tricks me into thinking we are in that familiar space to give me a sense of comfort. I dunno.
I do know that I was really glad to see him. When I am with my dad, I am reminded I am someone’s daughter — especially as he still grabbed my wrist every time we crossed a street (no, seriously), and he still bought any candy I not-so-surreptitiously placed on top of the pile of goods he already had at the cashier’s counter.
Plus, my dad is fun to hang around with. My dad is a social guy who likes going out and doing new things. When we went on vacation, he always wanted to come along with us kids to explore the hotel. When I was a teenager, a time traditionally considered “uncool” to be seen with your parents, I could routinely be found hanging out with my dad at malls, bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants, libraries — anywhere, really, that we had heard was interesting/fun/cool/new. Or as my dad likes to say, “has good ambiance.”
What was surprising was the amount of stamina he still had. We took him to Ancient Siam and traipsed/biked around in tediously hot weather. He held up quite well, even when we climbed a mock mountain to reach a midget-scaled palace at its summit (that indeed is as awesome as it sounds.)
Of course, he also is extremely good at feeding me. In the space of two days we ate at four buffets. FOUR.
At Ancient Siam, they serve a lunch buffet that is very reasonably priced: about $4 USD. They have rice and cut up vegetables, about four entree choices and a gelatin dessert. Nothing to get too excited about, but well worth its price. And the buffet is located in the floating market section which makes for a nice, scenic environment.
Baiyoke Sky Hotel
We had heard much to recommend the Baiyoke Sky Hotel: it’s billed as Thailand’s tallest hotel; “Hangover 2” was filmed there; the view is amazing, etc. But sadly, I can not. What people neglected to mention is that it is overrun by tourists. The wait for an elevator up can be 15 minutes or more. The buffet had that special bland/fried/oily taste common to food that is mass-produced and left out for long periods of time. People who like shellfish would probably be pleased, though, as they serve a large variety. But I thought the service was lackluster, even for a buffet: they doled out food in a rush, and 30 minutes before the buffet was due to close, they started putting away the food. The decor and its clientele I can only delicately refer to as tacky.
Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise
I’m not knocking all touristy things. Let’s face it: in order to become a tourist attraction, large amounts of people have to like it, which usually means that it is indeed fun. Case in point: A river dinner cruise. We went on the Chao Phraya Princess one. The boat was full of foreigners; the entertainer sang songs in at least four languages, none of which was Thai. But instead of being annoyed, I was warmed by the forced camaraderie that arises among disparate people stuck on a boat together for a few hours. No, seriously. There’s something about a cool wind whipping through your hair as you gaze upon fantastically-lit ancient sites and stuffing yourself silly to the sound of splashing water that wipes away all ill feelings. The buffet food offering were typical: salads (green and pasta), spaghetti, fruit (the power trio: watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple), cakes (chocolate and white), chicken, fish, beef, one or two Thai dishes. The buffet didn’t taste too bad — but of course, I had more to distract me.
Dusit Thani Hotel
The one buffet that didn’t disappoint in any sense was the lunch one at the Dusit Thani Hotel. Elegant ambiance, high quality food — I tear up a little just thinking about it. A good selection of cheese, artisanal bread, fruit (I think I ate an entire basket of mangosteens by myself), gourmet salad, savory chicken, beef and fish dishes, made-to-order pasta and sushi. Ever since I first walked past their gem-colored dessert display, I had this fantasy of burying my face in cake. I finally got my chance and it was as good as I imagined. As with all fantasies, reality rudely intruded and I walked hunched over in pain, belly distended, for the next couple of days. But with no bitter you miss the sweet, as some would sing. 🙂
I was sad to see my dad go, and not just because it signaled the end of our free meals. He really is a fun guy to hang out with: interesting in conversation, up for anything, makes the most terrible/funny videos ever. However, every goodbye means there’s a hello in the future and I can’t wait until we see him again!