17.01.2012 - 19.01.2012 32 °C
We have arrived in Bangkok. From 4oC to 32oC in 12 hours – phew.
The flight was minus entertainment system so I was stuck watching what could possibly described as one of the greatest movies of all time - ‘Cowboys and Aliens’. I’m not sure who would describe it as that, but it kept me going through the cramped early hours of the morning.
We arrived in Bangkok mid-afternoon and headed straight to our hostel on the brand new Sky Train, which takes you from the airport into the centre of town. It saves you from the painful negotiating and scamming around the taxi rank, but in many ways I missed the taxi ride of death that left us with so many fond stories from our last visit To Bangkok.
Our hostel @ hualamphong is right next to the Hualamphong train station. We have a 5am start to catch a train in just over a day and with neither of us being morning people (how did we end up rowing…) the aim is to crawl from our bed to the station at the last possible moment. The hostel is comfy, clean and has free wifi (apparently this now comes as standard in most hostels as we cannot live without facebook). Justin was delighted to find the entrance surrounded by food stalls and so our first evening was spent sat outside eating spring rolls, chicken noodles and pancakes.
It is an early start on day 1. We are off to the market to meet Chef Lucy from Silom Cooking School. We wander around the market with one of the chefs from the school showing us how to select good prawns and talking us through a range of different vegetables and herbs that form the fillers and flavours of Thai dishes. Then it was back to cooking school where we learn how to cook five dishes from scratch. Our favourite dish was Tom Yum Koong. We also made Chicken with Cashnew Nut, Phanaeng Curry, Kang Khao Wan Gai and Sticky Mango Rice. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning, although I did feel a little sick from trying to eat all five dishes. They were so delicious. We received a recipe book at the end and promise to reproduce some of the dishes when we get back to the UK, although I’m not sure the flavours will be so amazing without all the fresh ingredients (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).
We spent the afternoon visiting Shrewsbury International School, a short boat ride down the Chao Phraya River. Justin attended Shrewsbury School in the UK so it was really interesting to visit the school having only been in Shrewsbury a few days before. No rowing on the Chao Phraya, but it was wonderful to watch the younger students flying around effortlessly on the parallel bars and beams in the gym. The Principal was kind enough to show us around the schools facilities and offer advice on travelling around the region.
In the evening we went for a wander around Siam Square, an area of Bangkok filled with trendy young people looking for quirky clothes and accessories or visiting the super malls. For anyone living in Manchester imagine Affleck’s Palace, but much much bigger and full of an eclectic range of shops from high-end boutique to cheap fake Prada handbags. The dress code for girls is definitely girly dresses, designer handbags and killer wedges with straightened hair (regretting not bringing the GHDs now) and lots of eyeliner.
Early start tomorrow...yay!