Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bangkok Today

I don't know what you're seeing on your TV news or reading in your newspapers about Bangkok, but as I'm here in the City of Angels right now, let me tell you about my day yesterday ...

Woke up to beautiful blue skies. Can't quite say there were birds singing in the trees as there are not many trees along Sukhumvit Road (I am staying at the wonderfully edgy Dream Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 15, right in the middle of the tourist strip of Bangkok close to markets, bars, Skyway, shopping centres, etc.)

Nothing unusual to report as I sauntered down to the Asoke Skytrain station to send my girlfriend off to work. Thousands of others were similarly in that post-first coffee pre-work somnolence.

I went up to Thong Lor area for a meeting about an exciting property in Hua Hin (which I'll blog about shortly), then adjourned to lunch at the Rang Mahal restaurant, at the Rembrandt Hotel in Soi 18. Many consider this to be the best Indian food in Bangkok, which is a HUGE claim given the amount of Indians living in Bangkok and the amount of authentic Indian cuisine therefore available.

The first striking thing is the view ... wow, floor to ceiling windows affording panaromic views over Sukhumvit across to the Chao Phraya River in the distance and the lake in the foreground. The decor is both classy and classic, rich reds and greens in the carpet, heavy wooden furniture, and a lush Indian feel with portraits on the wall.

While popular with expats in the area, the big signal to me is how many Indians actually eat here, and the answer is TONS. It is a very popular venue for their gatherings and even wedding dinners. And why not, especially when they bust out the sitar and tablas.

I like airline food. Jing jing! And the thing I like most about it is the simple choice: chicken or beef, sir? Which is why I was thrilled to put aside the extensive main menu here and accept the waiter's suggesting of the daily special Thali Lunch menu: a choice of Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian set for just 395 baht, plus plus.

Well, have a look at the photo above. What splendid presentation of the five dishes -- lentils, creamed spinach and peas, chicken kebab, mutton curry, yoghurt, plus a creamed cheese dumpling which single-handedly offset all the benefits of the weight lost in detox last week! Plus rice, naan and poppadoms. Oh, and we accepted the suggestion of washing all this down with a lovely glass of sparkling Indian wine. A fruity little number which took the edge off the afternoon.

Then it was write, write, write all afternoon before a sunset swim on the roof of the Dream. It is packed at the moment with holiday makers relishing Bangkok's lovely warm and dry February weather (and flights to and from Samui are booked out for weeks). Such a peaceful and relaxing scene with laughs and music and, as I read my book, I paused to reflect.

So this is Bangkok, the city that's making headline news around the world at the moment?

This morning has started out exactly as yesterday did. Another beautiful day in the City of Angels, with some pub-hopping in Sathorn slated for tonight ...

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