So for my third (and final, for now) day in Bangkok, I had all these ambitious plans about what I was going to see. It didn’t quite work out that way. I did do a few cool things though. In the morning I took a tour of the Jim Thompson house. Jim Thompson was born in the US in the early 1900s but was stationed in Asia during WWII and really fell in love with Thailand. He ended up moving there after the war and became a great collector of Thai antiques. He also is credited with having saved the Thai silk industry from extinction, and especially the golden silk particular to Thailand. Strangely, while visiting the Cameron highlands, he went for a walk and was never heard from or seen again. People searched for years, but his disappearance is still a mystery. His house, which he had built from other older Thai houses, is now a museum, displaying his collection of Thai sculptures, pottery, and other art. The house itself is quite amazing; it’s built on stilts, and is made entirely out of teak.
After I resisted buying any of the beautiful and expensive silks being sold in the Jim Thompson House gift shop, I wandered around some other shopping. Unlike the Chatuchak weekend market, the shopping in and around Siam Square is very high end. There was one giant, expensive mall after another. There was a shop for every fashion designer you can think of: Alexander MacQueen, Gucci, Coach, Tod’s, Stella McCartney, etc. The slightly more pedestrian shops were there too, the ones you’d find in American malls: Bath & Body Works, The Gap, etc. They have movie theaters and other entertainment. And the movie theater was probably the fanciest I’ve ever seen. iMax, touch screen ticket machines, soaring ceilings, and one of the theaters offered huge reclining seats that looked like something you’d find in first class plane.
Then I visited a shrine, which was pretty funny. It’s a fertility shrine dedicated to the goddess Tubtim, and as you can see, they take it pretty literally….
To burn off lunch and make room for dinner, I walked the 2 1/2 miles back to my hostel
That night I took a Thai cooking class. The instructor was really funny and we got a good introduction to some classic Thai ingredients and dishes. A lot of the work was done for us, things were portioned out already, but it was still a good start. I’m definitely planning on taking more classes while I’m here.
We also made a minced chicken salad, and for dessert, I had my second mango sticky rice of the day. This one was much better presented, but they were both delicious. The rice is made with coconut milk and topped with fried mung bean seeds.
Next post, Bridge over the River Kwai!