By the time I arrived in Bangkok at 3:30 pm, I was really too tired to take it all in. I looked anxiously around for Sarah and Kendrick, but I seemed to be alone. Just as a friendly face at an airport kiosk asked me, in English, if I needed help, I saw the smacked-against-the-glass face of Kendrick staring at me from another area, and Sarah’s smiling face appeared over his shoulder. Oh, what joy and relief that brought! Since I had no baggage to collect (at Sarah’s directions, I’d squeezed everything I needed for a month into a large back-pack that I was able to carry-on), I was soon on the other side of the glass, embracing them. I was quickly relieved of my bag by a handsome young Thai, and Sarah explained that the mother of one of her students had insisted on sending them to the airport in her car, with a driver! He delivered us to the Atlanta Hotel, which at one time was “the” hotel in Bangkok, having the only indoor pool to boast about. The lobby was ornately decorated with colourful tiles accenting darkly stained tongue and grooved walls. A large circular red leather (or faux?) bench sat in the middle. The same fabric covered a centre columned back rest, at the top of which sat a brass pot of what appeared to be poinsettias. On either side of the doorway leading to the pool, I could see the spiral staircase that would take us to our rooms.
I dreamed of a nice hot bath or at least a shower, and a cozy bed to rest my weary body after my thirty hours of traveling in the same clothes. I was, however, on a tight budget and worried some about what such luxury might cost. I needn’t have. It turned out that we had budget rooms, at only 390 baht, the Canadian equivalent of about $18.00, per night. But, you get what you pay for. Our room was nine floors up, by stairs! It seemed the higher we got, the more narrow the staircases and halls became. When I opened my door and took a look around, all dreams of luxuriating in hot soapy water were dashed. The “bathroom” consisted of a small, floor-to-ceiling, no-longer-white, tiled room off the bedroom, with no door. There was a mirror on the wall, a pedestal sink with a single tap and already opened bar of soap in one corner, and a toilet in the other. Above the toilet was a shower head and taps, cold water only! No towels or face clothes could be found. Sarah had forgotten to tell me to pack my own. Fortunately she and Kendrick had extras so were able to lend me one. My shower was quick, but refreshing and clean clothes felt good. However, in order to keep my feet clean, at least until I got my sandals on, I had to walk on the towel to get to the bed. The floors were filthy and the paint was peeling from the bedroom walls. I had a lot of adjusting to do!
We went out to dinner with a couple of friends of Sarah and Kendrick – I have no idea what I ate. I guess I was too tired to write that in my journal. After sending some quick emails at the local Cybercafé, we were all ready to hit the sac. The hard, narrow bed with nothing but a couple of thin white sheets and two firm pillows didn’t look very inviting. The night was hot, but the whirl of the dusty overhead fan purred me to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Tomorrow would be a better day.
Notes: When checking online today for the Atlanta Hotel, I found many good reviews and it has been refurbished.
I will include some pictures, but unfortunately at that time I had only an old-fashioned 35 mm film camera, the latch of which eventually broke and had to be taped closed! J