Chao Phraya River, Bangkok

Chao Praya River with no boat traffic after the flooding

We arrived in Bangkok late last night after what seemed like even longer flights than usual, even though they were the same. We’re both unhappy that United still hasn’t retrofitted all of their 777s business class with the full lay down seats and that since they have begun the retrofit project, we’re not longer getting 747s between Seattle and Narita. All of those have been completed. Luck of the draw, I guess. Hopefully next year! Sleeping through those flights would make a world of difference.

When we got here, after walking forever to the immigration stations, we got through very quickly and our AAC limo driver was there to greet us. As we drove to the Royal Orchid Sheraton, we saw dozens (hundreds, really) of cars along the side of the expressway, parked there by people to protect their cars from the recent flooding. Right now, the city center of Bangkok remains dry. Our driver said his home town of Ayuttahya got terrible flooding (3 meters) and his mother went to a temple to eat and sleep. He said they were without food and water for a week and people were sleeping out on the sidewalks. I sure everyone is glad to have the worst past them, I hope that rebuilding goes well for most people.

Last night on the plane, in the Bangkok Post, I read an article about 5 monks who started a protest in Mandalay demanding the release of all political prisoners. We’ll be there the day after tomorrow. We would all love to see Burma restored to democracy. Kathie and I are both looking forward to seeing any changes since the last time we were there 2 years ago.

Today is shopping in Bangkok day. I’ll go pick out a new pair of glasses and we agreed to buy an MP5 player for Min thu in Bagan. We should be able to do both of those things in Siam Paragon. After breakfast in the Towers, we’ll get the Sheraton boat to the sky train and buy a pass to give us enough rides for today and then the 4 days when we get back here after our travels in Burma. That’s when I’ll pick up my new glasses!

And now, as I look behind me through the window from my room on the 27th floor, I see it’s gotten light out and I see a single foot ferry boat crossing the Chao Phraya River next to the hotel. The river looks a little higher than normal, but that may not even be so. It doesn’t look like we’ll have any trouble at all getting from here to the sky train later this morning. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day here in Bangkok.

Update: As it turned out, the Sheraton boat was not running, in fact, other than the foot ferries crossing the river there was no river traffic at all. The picture at the top of this post shows a very unusual scene, indeed. Normally, the river is teeming with traffic, especially the regular river taxis going both ways and plenty of barges carrying goods.