Short and sweet?
Knowing that we had to change room today we took a leisurely breakfast and then set about packing up our stuff ready to put into storage until the evening. During the morning I got a call from the Apple Service Centre to say that they had diagnosed the fault with my Macbook Air – the screen was broken (no way! are you sure?) and that I could come and pay for it now so that they could order the part and set the repair in motion.
We met a lovely Canadian couple and their children and over breakfast had agreed that we would meet up later to watch a film at the iMax 4D cinema, if they could find it. So, around lunch time we managed to escape from the hotel and set off up Sukumvit Road towards the Siam Centre to pay for the Mac repairs. It is 4 sky train stops and so turned into quite a long walk in the heat, with us all getting hot and bothered and a bit grumpy. As we neared Siam Paragon, the closest mall, my mobile rang, and it was Elizabeth to say that they had found the cinema, but the only showing was Mission Impossible in 4D at 21:30. They were off to see Tintin in 3D if we wanted to join them.
As things turned out, we were too late to get there and we still had to pay for the Mac repair, and so we sent our apologies and set about our business. The Siam group of malls (Paragon, Centre and Discovery) are nowhere near as interesting as Terminal 21 and more along the bog standard mall you can find anywhere in the world. But there was a funny Disney picture-taking place at the entrance….
We headed to the Apple place and paid for the repairs, their revised date was the following Friday, possibly. Just next door to the shop was a book store and we found some reading books for the boys, something that we had neglected over the last month. Tania was worried that the kids had forgotten how to read! We then headed back through Discovery and Centre to get to Paragon where we found a huge toy department and announced to the boys that they could pick one toy. Toys are probably the thing that they have missed the most, and eventually, after several misdirections and inappropriate choices, they each chose a radio controlled car that was not too big and packed down compactly for travelling.
Returning to the hotel on the Sky Train (next stop Naaanaaaaaa – always makes the boys laugh) we grabbed the bags and headed up to the 4th floor. This hotel is quite an extraordinary place. The reception is quite small with a couple of tables for eating breakfast and a small office adjoining it. The stairs lead to a small balcony area where there is a luggage storage and a couple of toilets and another door which takes you through to a narrow, steep staircase. The walls are decorated with messages and drawings from previous guests – the only place you cannot write is on the wood, it is the heart and soul of the building. The next landing is small with a corridor on the right which seems to go on forever, endlessly narrowing and lit with warm lamp light. The walls and floors are wood, and every so often is a WC interrupting the procession of rooms.
The corridor runs the length of the building whose ground floor accommodates 5 restaurants and a medical clinic and whose length I would estimate at 100m. The hotel spreads over 5 floors like this and at the far end is a laundry room and fire escape. It is immense and usually pretty full.
The place is fantastic, really warm and inviting, calm and tranquil. The facilities are good and the rooms large, our family room was enormous and the triple wasn’t much smaller. But, it could be so much better. Most of the staff are miserable as sin, barely polite, although they will try to help begrudgingly if asked.
The gentleman and lady owner are an exception, he is an ex-pilot who dreamed of owning a guest house, she always has a warm smile and a word to exchange. They are both genuinely nice people and even have time to spend with our children, Luca spent a morning helping him with some DIY and learning how to make the beer bottle Christmas tree that stands outside the entrance.
The WiFi is coin operated, which as far as I can tell is just another way of raking in the money. The rooms aren’t too expensive and the breakfast is adequate with a selection of fruit and the ever present staple of South East Asia breakfasts – toast and jam.
If the rest of the staff could match the warmth of the buildings, and the WiFi was free, this place would get 10 out of 10.
Installing ourselves in the triple room we unpacked a few items (we were to move again back to the family room the next day) and then headed out of the hotel to find some street food. Although the hotel has a restaurant which we had eaten in yesterday, they do allow you to bring outside food in and eat it in the reception area. And so armed with chicken sticks, pork sticks, chicken sausages, a large helping of Pad Thai and some coke and Chang from the 7/11 we sat down and tucked into our sumptuous meal.
Having filled ourselves we called it a night and retired to bed vowing to do some proper sight seeing the next day, after all we were leaving on Monday for Chiang Mai and there is so much to see in Bangkok.