Much as the midnight downpour is making me feel like I didn’t leave home, I’m glad to report that this trip did kick off on a positive Note. And yes, I intentionally capitalized the last word of the previous sentence because it happens to be the name of my gracious host. I first met Note three years ago, when she visited the Philippines and we took her to see Tagaytay. Fast forward to 2015 (specifically, earlier this morning), she wasted no time getting in touch with me just hours after my arrival. “I’m picking you up within an hour. Wear long pants and shoes”, she instructed via wonky Facebook call. Being a first-timer in the city, I promptly obliged.
Note arrived about half an hour later. As I stepped out of the elevator, she greeted me with a warm-hearted chuckle. “OK, so maybe you took it a bit too seriously”, she said, alluding that I was a tad overdressed. “I just wanted to be sure”, I replied, returning the chuckle. I boarded her car and met her sister Nham, whom she spoke lavishly about back in 2012. Soon, we were off to brunch. “The place we’re taking you is very, very far from your hotel”, Note quipped as she turned at Soi Ruam Ruedi. It was a joke, as it turns out: Baan Glom Gigis only a quick stroll away from Chateau de Bangkok. Upon settling down, I further got acquainted with Nham over duck curry, omelette and rice cakes. Suffice to say, it was a hearty gastronomic welcome.
I accompanied the sisters over a quick errand. After which, Note whisked me off to Phra Nakhon (sans Nham) to see one of Bangkok’s most iconic landmarks: The Grand Palace.
“…and the city don’t know what the city is getting.”
One Night in Bangkok by British actor Murray Head has been playing in my head since I arrived, except that it’s morning, and a rather gloomy one at that. Plus, I’ll be staying here for three more nights. (Sometimes I wish my brain came up with less literal mental soundtracks.) The climate here is no different from home, to be sure. Our send-off from Manila was heavy downpour; our Thai welcome was a slight drizzle.
We touched down in Suvarnabhumi Airport a little past midnight. But because of the prolonged immigration queue and a mix-up in transportation arrangements, we managed to enter the city in the wee hours of the morning. This means I have to wait 12 more hours until I imbibe the infamously glitzy nightlife.
Still, it’s good to finally make it to Thailand after several false fits and starts. I can’t wait to see the rest of the capital. But for now, some catch-up shuteye. Later!
Her name is Note. Note, as in “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do”.
She’s from Thailand and a good friend of my cousin Marj. Took her to see Tagaytay today – a far cry from my initial plan to stay at home for my day-off. Nonetheless, I always enjoy playing the tour guide. Throughout the road trip, I kept on telling her two things: (1) How much I love the sound of her language and (2) that her country has always been part of my travel bucket list. For the latter, she told me that she’d be more than happy to be my gracious host once I go there.
All I can say is, if today’s an indicator of how spontaneous the rest of the year will go, then bring it on.