Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back in Silom

Kade and I made at least a couple of visits to Silom, one of Bangkok's busiest banking and commercial centers.  At night, it's also home to the city's notorious red light district, Patpong.  Whenever I say Silom, even though it's the name of a road in that district, I always understood it to mean the entire district that's shown on the map. 
Each time we visit Bangkok, I always want to retrace my steps and walk from the AUA Language School, where I worked for three years (2000-2003), past Lumpini Park and the food stalls where I would often eat with my colleagues after work ended.  And then I like to walk on down to Silom, an area in which I am very familiar.  Soi Convent was a place where Kade and I would sometimes eat Khao Kha Moo or noodles.   Then there was the Starbucks that I would frequent.  I remember once meeting a young lady there for a private English lesson.  And not far from it was BUA, which, along with Seefah, was one of my favorite Thai food chains.  I remember once having an after-work dinner at BUA on Soi Convent with a Canadian couple I worked with.  It was fun getting to know them!  And right across from BUA and Starbucks was a French bakery/coffee shop (now gone).  Certain afternoons, on off-days, I used to go there and get a coffee and croissant with jam, sit at one of the tables facing the street, and relax for about an hour.  Usually I would read The International Herald Tribune to remain updated on world affairs.  But I mostly just enjoyed people watching.  Also, Silom was a great place to get a relaxing massage.  And I got a number of them!  And then there was Surawong Rd.  I recall one evening after teaching at AUA, walking with Emma, a British colleague and friend, down Surawong Rd to a mom-and-pop restaurant she had discovered.  She was very excited about it.  And it was good!  Surawong Rd. also has a large Jim Thompson shop and restaurant, and Kade and I would stop by to say hello to people she knew.  It was also the Jim Thompson shop where I arranged to secretly buy a black dress Kade wore at an event.  It really surprised her!!!  And finally, there's Patpong.  Kade said she knew I was decent guy because when we met in Bangkok and she asked if I knew Patpong and Nana, two huge red-light districts, I actually had not heard of them.  She loves to recount this story!  Patpong actually has one of the city's best night markets.  When I lived in Bangkok, Kade and I, whenever we wanted a pirated DVD of the latest Hollywood films, we'd jump in a taxi and make our way to the Patpong Night Market.  I think a lot of that has been curbed these days. 
This visit to Bangkok, Kade and I walked quite a bit around Silom. We reached it once by walking from AUA Radjamri - incidentally, now closed and being prepped for demolition.  Another time we took the BTS Skytrain.  And then there was a third time, after visiting Wat Hua Lamphong.  It wasn't a long walk from there.  So that's three trips into Silom altogether.  The video above shows highlights from each of those Silom visits.  One thing it leaves out, though, is the afternoon coffees and pastries we had at Bunfe Coffee Bar and Pastries on Surawong Road.  I think the most interesting aspect of the video is of Kade shopping for souvenirs for our friends.  At these markets, you have to be shrewd and very aware of prices.  It's all about negotiating!  I think she did an okay job.  Our friends back home are happy!







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