Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Buddha, Supine.

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Exit Hong Kong, enter Bangkok, Thailand. I scored us a cheap reservation at River View Guesthouse, the only budget hotel with a view (and a very nice one) of the Chao Phraya River. For its cost category, the rooms were large and clean. Yesterday we arrived, checked in, explored some of the city and took care of various errands, including stops at the post office and travel agent (we’re trying to find a reasonable flight to Kathmandu, Nepal). After dinner, we came back to the hotel, only to find that all paths leading to the entrance were flooded by 2-3 feet of not-entirely-clean Thai water. Shoes off, pants rolled up, we waded about 50 feet to the hotel, where the staff greeted us with, “Welcome to the swimming pool!”

It turns out the Thai government has (whether out of necessity or otherwise—we’re not yet clear) raised the water level of the Chao Phraya River from the north, causing flooding to some of the property bordering the river bank, including our fine hotel. This is apparently a rare occurrence.

When we awoke in the morning and I realized the water had not yet receded, I decided to move us somewhere else (Heather, travel trooper, would have stayed on and braved the flooding because she does love a view!). Due to the flooding, not even a taxi could reach the hotel’s front door, so we strapped on our luggage and backpacks, Heather put on rubber wading boots, and waded back out to dry land and caught a taxi to our new hotel, the Manohra. (So glad our luggage with wheels can be converted to backpacks!)

Even though a good chunk of our first full day in Thailand was spent relocating to a dry hotel, we did take the ferry upriver to see Wat Po, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Then we crossed the river and took in Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Tomorrow, I’m taking a Thai cooking class. -Alex