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A Week in Bangkok (Part 1: Sights, Culture and People)

13 Sep

This entry has been a bit overdue. But I can’t deny that up to now I am still overwhelmed with my experience in Bangkok. I planned to make it a day to day entry but due to lack of time I just had to do it in one entry. A post Thailand debrief.

I left for Bangkok, Friday night (31 August) for a late night low-cost flight bound for Bangkok. I was sent there to represent my team and assemble our very first gondola store display for our client Beach Hut. I was stressed even the week before the said trip in managing and making sure all will be well. Up until a few minutes before I was picked up by the client service, I am really stressed and tense. All of my colleagues and friends can attest to that. I was awfully quiet from the office to the airport departure terminal.

Tense and scared. I am by myself in the sense that not one Filipino teammate will be there, nor from the client side. Gian, who manages the client’s company in Thailand had some business visa problems. Up till now, he can’t return to Thailand yet. I was alone for this trip.

I was rattled up until the first few days I was there. Example: the setup time became earlier than what I was told due to miscommunications I guess between the distributor and Watson’s. Good thing most of the basic setup is up and almost done. We had to fit everything in the car of Ten, our client’s Thai brand associate there.

God is definitely on our side. God is really good. Imagine this setup did fit in a Honda Jazz car!

GONDOLA SETUP in the office

Yes. Ten, Put and I managed to fit all of those in Ten’s car. Can you imagine me carrying all those stuff though flattened from the airport? I got scared at first when all the baggage from our flight are already out except for that one. One has to be keen in any place s/he goes to. Good thing I noticed an area saying “Oversized Baggage” and right on cue, when I reached it, the display box came out. It was raining hard when the plane touched down the airport, so the packaging box of the gondola are most ruined on four sides. My heart sank. If the damage is up until the box’s contents, guess I have to improvise of the display. Thanks for the Scotch tape and lots of cling-wrap, the trimmings were all dry and intact except for the main gondola at the edges that got wet and a little torn down. I let it dry for a day, did some retouches and it’s good as new.

Behold the first Beach Hut store display outside the Philippines:

PUT AND TEN with Gondola

Displayed for 1 week at Watsons Siam Square, Bangkok, Thailand.

It’s not as perfect as planned. But feedback from our clients in the Philippines, it looks great. Same thing in Bangkok, Ten said the distributor likes it. Colorful and stands out in the store. There are further more suggestions on improving the display and yours truly did that in the next days of my stay in Bangkok.

Now, for the other side of my adventure…

Like what I have been saying to my friends in the Philippines when I was there, I can’t fully enjoy Bangkok if at the back of my head I still have work to do. That’s me. Specially when you are alone representing the design team, I am expected to perform there and do reports. So the setup was, work in the morning, finish as much as one can then we go out late in the afternoon or early evening. Depends on where to go. And I am grateful that despite me being alone there, these 2 very nice, very accommodating (and good-looking) Thai guys showed me around Bangkok.

PUT AND TEN inside Grand Palace

How can we put this adventure of mine? Perhaps I’ll let the pictures speak for itself? Ü And a little explanation/description of the photos.

BTS Skytrain: the Thai people I can say is really disciplined. They fall in line to board the train

BTS Siam Station on a weekend: Sight of people heading in the same direction I am going, back home

BTS Siam Station while waiting for the train at night

Bangkok streets at night: from the Phaya Thai Station view

BTS Phaya Thai Station: Stairs going down to Soi Kolit, the office-house street

The office of Naturale Laboratories (Thailand), Inc. is located near the BTS Phaya Thai Station. Skytrains, their version of our MRT and LRT here, plus their subways are very efficient and indeed reliable. So it’s easy for me to go to to the mall areas like Siam Paragon, MBK, Siam Square and Central World Mall. As long as one is prepared for long walks, you can survive in Bangkok😉

Siam Paragon signage

Siam Paragon from the Central World Mall

Siam Square on an early Saturday morning

Skywalk (like an overpass) connecting the malls

Central World Mall at night

MBK at night, view from a skywalk

Victory Monument at night: with markets surrounding it. One of my favorite (and dream photography shots). After taking this photo, it did remind me of our monument in the Philippines… the Luneta or Rizal Monument

Until now, I am overwhelmed of where I’ve been and honestly, I don’t know how to share to you the thoughts and photos I took there. Pardon me if my writing is bad or not in order. It’s just that I am really dumbfound on what I saw and experience. Bangkok if I may say is an epitome an old world transforming to a new one. And yet, it preserves their culture and history, keeping it intact and evident. Evidence are seen from the people, the government, the place, their beliefs, their culture.

<b>From the all the King’s palaces to a river boat ride</b>

From the outside: the Grand Palace. Anyone’s trip to Thailand won’t be complete if you don’t see or visit this place

A golden temple inside the Grand Palace

Details of the said golden temple

Another golden temple

Another temple in the Grand Palace grounds

The roof of a temple in the Grand Palace grounds: see the chimes? Their sound seemed to relax anyone who hear them

Rays on Buddha: My favorite shot at the Grand Palace

A part of the whole mural of the Ramayana story. Yes the shiny ink is REALLY gold

The Queen’s Palace

We were lucky enough to witness a ceremony: the changing of guards

I told the guys that I’m not really comfortable being alone in a photo. So they took turns in joining me in every photo we could take Ü

An enormous soldier statue behind me and Ten. We had to use the Beach Hut Frisbee that searched as a sunshade because it was really hot at that time.

See the detailed walls behind me and Put? Those are tiles! Intricately place to create designs/pattern.

Ten and I by an elaborately designed pillar at the Emerald Buddha’s temple. Cameras are not allowed beyond this point. So I just satisfied my eyes with the sight of the famous Buddha when we got inside.

Elephant!!! Yup. When there’s elephant/s, it’s just me and the gentle creature. This photo is the first and ONLY encounter of mine with an elephant that I get to touch. And here, it seemed that I am giving him a pray over?

Me and Put… and our house? Kidding… it’s one of the crowning halls as well.

Me and Ten at the entrance of one of the crowning halls.

Put and I tried to have a fun shot with this happy guard statue.

It’s evident and they proudly proclaim that their kings did embrace the European culture. It’s obviously written and passed on their history, visible in their palaces architectures, and undisguised in museums.

The Summer Palace: reminds of US Capitol state. Made of marble exported from Italy.

This is a place where ladies are not allowed to get in if they are not wearing skirts. It is in respect to the royal families and Thai traditions. If I’m not mistaken, it was Rama V’s palace and now Rama IX, the present king and his royal families summer palace. Cameras are not allowed inside. We had to deposit them by the guard. Even camera phones are not allowed.

The other side of the Summer Palace. The sight of the palace with Rama V statue

Within the grounds of the Summer Palace is the man-made mansion known as the Dusit Mansion. This mansion is made of teak wood and wooden pegs to bind it. No nails were used because nails oxidizes and may cause the corrosion of wood. We were not allowed to take pictures too inside the mansion but as the guide instructs us, it carries now all the precious gifts from the neighboring Asian countries of Thailand to the King stretching towards the European countries.

Dusit Masion’s Entrance

The other half side of the mansion

Ten suggested that we take a longtail boat ride along the river. He said it’s a famous ride in Thailand to see some interesting sites, like a traditional Thai village, Thai house and simply to have a quiet time reflecting? Well, it was an hour ride anyway.

Ten and I with a famous bridge sight before we board the boat

The longtail boat we rode

View from the boat: see the splashing waves? I was really scared. But Ten assured we are safe

A Buddhist temple and statue along the river

A traditional Thai house

We fed the fishes… huge fishes!

Royal boats of the King’s guards

Me, Ate Mila and Kuya Lito disembarking the boat. This is the scariest part of my life… when it was my turn to get off the boat, a strong wave hit the boat, shaking it so hard I nearly fell! If the boatman wasn’t able to grab my other hand, I might have dragged Ten with me overboard! I thought I’d be a mermaid then… hahaha!

After the boat ride, Ten showed us a part of the downtown area of Bangkok.

One of the two last standing historical forts of Bangkok… with a pink cab passing by!

Me beside a Tuktok, traditional Thai ride with the fort behind me

A street vendor… yummy street food!

The old Siam or downtown Bangkok scene

One of the first theaters (and still functioning) in Bangkok

And Thailand trip isn’t complete too if you don’t experience…

… a Tuktok ride! Check out the side mirrors

Ten, me and Put, on board the Tuktuk

It’s like at a moment I was at the present time, or even the future (because honestly, Philippines is way, way behind!) and later on I’m at their past. I am no writer totally transcribe into words how I feel about the place so I really hope the photos will help you see the beauty of our Asian neighbor.

Temple between two malls

Central World Mall’s interior ceiling

This is just a movie preview screen at the Central World Mall

At the heart of the Central World Mall is seen this display: suspended from the ceiling are plastic flowers each on a glass vase and with them are about 10 LCD flat screens playing different shots of flowers.

Below the display was an ensemble of Thai students playing as an orchestra. They were magnificent!

To further understand the mall’s theme, here’s Put and Ten posing on a Global Warming signage at the Central World Mall.

One of my favorite characters is even in Thailand: Emily Strange at Central World

For Anime lovers, Manga Playground for you at Central World Mall ground floor

With a theme we are all familiar where was adapted

Jeffrey the Giraffe of Toys R’ Us… is indeed in Thailand

One if the best places I enjoyed is the Ocean World at Siam Paragon Mall…

And I found Nemo! Well, there are a lot of them in one aquarium

I had fun gossiping with the penguins… hahaha!

I’d like you to see my dream aquariums…

This one…

And this too!

There are fishes inside the car!!!

Tried intimidating the sharks

Overwhelmed at the tunnel aquarium! Got fascinated by my own reflection?

Oh! It’s not just me who got overwhelmed…

Are those dollar coins floating, Ate Mila?

So this is how the bottom of the sting ray looks like!

Oh! how can one miss out this sight… checkout the video

This is the wall of True Coffee, a computer store, bookshop, café and internet shop. This is fascinating because it may look like a digital big sceen when it’s not. It’s made of circular chip type that flips and turns at a certain pattern that seemed to simulate a digital wall.

To almost conclude my Bangkok experience, the guys took me to famous place called Khao San Road. I remember hearing this to Myles where he ate some ‘bug’ delicacies. Well, I’m glad the guys didn’t made me eat bugs for I’m not ready for that (at that time).

Khao San road

That’s Put… leading the way

A traditional True Coffee shop

Bright neon lights and signages at Khao San Road

But this road is very interesting because it’s where you’ll see most tourists and backpackers are. And you know what really surprised me to see?

A San Miguel Beer bar? Yup… there’s one.

And I saw a Philippine flag patch in one of the sewing/clothes store

Have you met Jack Sparrow… the Thai version?

The guys were asking if I’d like to hangout there. I said no. I’d rather have an experience of how they spend their Friday night, the Thai way.

A bottle of Singha (Thai brand), smoke for Put (that’s his hand) and a bottle of Chang beer (Thai brand). If you are wondering how much we had that night… believe it or not, I just had a bottle of Singha and the two guys shared a bottle of Chang. Put doesn’t really drink. He turns red and feels really bad after drinking and Ten had a presentation to make that night for his Saturday morning class. And besides, no one needs to be drunk just to enjoy and have fun! Well, for now…😉

Oh! How can I forget…

Proud of my tattoo!

I mentioned to the guys that I plan to have a tattoo very soon. And that gave all of us an idea… get a tattoo, at least a henna tattoo! I got a small tattoo in Thai characters saying “Good Luck”.

Some may say that one week is long enough to dwell and know a country’s culture and beauty. But for me, it’s not enough. I’ve only seen Bangkok, just a part of the city. I am sure there is more to see on the outskirts of the city. A more reason to come back… and definitely I will come back. My mission isn’t complete yet. I still haven’t seen, rode or just even petted a real live elephant :p

Cute stuffed elephants I saw in Siam Paragon. Quite expensive though, but I promised myself I will get some the next time I come back!

Oh, by the way, allow me to brag the work we brought to Thailand. This is what the final Beach Hut Clear Spray Sunblock store display/shelf/gondola that would be used for the various Watson’s around Bangkok😉

To see more of my photos, kindly visit my multiply site Ü

 

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