Bangkok with My Dad = Buffets

My dad, me and Bjorn high atop the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. (Photo by Bjorn Karlman)

My dad, me and Bjorn high atop the Baiyoke Sky Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Bjorn Karlman)

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.

My dad near the summit of the mock mountain in Ancient Siam in Bangkok, Thailand. I'm pretty sure he's sucking in his gut. (Photo by Jammie Kalrman)

My dad near the summit of the mock mountain in Ancient Siam just outside Bangkok, Thailand. I’m pretty sure he’s sucking in his gut. (Photo by Jammie Kalrman)

Ancient Siam
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.

The first plate of many at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Jammie Karlman)

The first plate of many at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Jammie Karlman)

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!

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5 thoughts on “Bangkok with My Dad = Buffets

  1. Here is the latest article I am working on for a Colombian newspaper. It is about getting the visa for the United States. I changed my name to Matt Rouse in the article and changed Kary’s name to Samantha, in order to avoid problems when trying to get on an airplane back to USA.

    -Getting A Visa To The USA

    There are two kinds of Colombians; those who can travel to the United States and those who can’t. Those who can get the USA visa often have to try multiple times before they are approved. And, each time they apply, it costs $160USD (the equivalent of 2/3’s a month rent). And, if you are denied the visa, you don’t get any portion of your money back.

    To make matters worse, everyone wants to give you advice on how to get the visa approved. Some say, it is better if you have a place to stay in the USA, but others say that this is a disadvantage because you are more likely not to come back to Colombia if you have a place to stay. Others say, if you have a college degree, you are more likely to get the visa. But, on the other hand, if you are a skilled person, you are also a threat to stay because you can get a job more easily. If you have family in the USA, this can also improve or harm your chances, depending on how the USA Embassy looks at it. If you have a significant other in the USA, maybe this is good, from the point of view that you are less likely to turn to crime once abroad if you run out of money. But, maybe this means you won’t miss your family as much once you get to the USA and maybe you decide to stay instead.

    ….

    In her first unsuccessful interview [Samantha] stated her reason for visiting the USA was because she wanted to go to a Major League Baseball game. After being denied the first time she vowed never to mention baseball in another interview again.

    Pretty much, there is only one clear rule; money and stardom never work against you.

    to read more stories about
    Traveling The World On A Shoestring Budget More Calmly Than You Are, check out

    http://singleabroad.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/bro-mance-with-christian-velez/

    • So good to hear of your Dad’s
      visit. and to identify with him
      visiting his daughter. I have only
      one daughter but he has two.
      His picture before the temple was outstanding, tell him so.
      Love you both even far,far away.
      Pastor Jones

  2. Those desserts looks amazing. I wish I was there so we could each take a fork and start digging into them while still standing like we did with those pastries a couple nights before your wedding. That is one of my favorite memories by the way.

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