Sunday, July 6, 2014

MARCH 31, 2014: MY BIRTHDAY, GOLDEN MOUNT, LOY NAVA DINNER CRUISE


March 31, 2014

     It's my birthday today!  And I get to celebrate it in Bangkok!  I'm 69, 1 step away from being in my 70s!!  OMG!  I'm old!  Breakfast is nice as we can relax over our coffee.  No need to rush as we've done the main things on my list.  Richard says he really doesn't want to see any more temples.  I guess after all this time he's finally reached the point of being "templed out".   To be honest, so am I!  I had really wanted to spend some time relaxing in Lumpini Park.  I had read that you could rent paddle boats and I had decided we would do this.  Of course, the protests have put a spanner in that.  The heat now doesn't make for doing a lot of sightseeing either.  It's just too hot to rush around, trying to pack everything in.  After looking at my list of things I had wanted to do and haven't yet, I decide on our day.

     GOLDEN MOUNT  I like the name but I really didn't do a lot of research so I have no idea what this will be like.  We walk to the SATHORN/CENTRAL PIER.  I get single use tourist boat tickets for 40 baht each.   Hop aboard a blue flag boat and I think we got off at THA CHANG/N9 PIER.

The difference other than price is that you can find a seat on the tourist boat.  Every time we've taken the local boats we've had to stand and it was crowded.

East Asiatic Company Building-built by HN Andersen in 1901, a young Dane, who came to Thailand to make his fortune in 1884, it gave birth to Denmark's East Asiatic Company

Believe this is Assumption Cathedral-largest church of Thailand's Catholics; constructed in 1901

Siam Commercial Bank

Siam Commercial Bank



Royal Sedminary

     We got a taxi to take us to the GOLDEN MOUNT 100 baht.  We pass the GIANT SWING and some other interesting sights.  Admission for GOLDEN MOUNT 20 baht per person.  This dates back to the Ayutthaya period.  Renovated by King Rama I.  Also by others.  It is a man made hill that had concrete walls added in the 1940s to prevent it from eroding which had happened in the past.  In the past it was used for cremation ceremonies.  There is a golden chedi on top which is said to contain a Buddha relic.  The best thing about this attraction is the view.  There is a circular, snake like set of steps, over 300, to reach the summit.  Along the way lots of statues and bells you can ring and gongs to hit.    Once you get to the top you are rewarded with a 360 degree view of the "old city" district of Bangkok where this site is located as well as stunning views of the skyscrapers of the "new city" district of Bangkok.  While there I toss the sticks.  Donation if you want.  I put in 20 baht.   I have no idea what this is but inside at the site there is a heavy statue of an elephant I think with a handle.  You pick it up with one finger as you're kneeling in front of the Buddha image.  The you take one of the containers of sticks and start shaking the container until one of the sticks pops out.  Each stick has a number on it.  Then you find the number of your stick and read the "fortune".  Mine was not so favorable!!  I did this again at the Shrine Hall located next to the GOLDEN MOUNT.  Donation but not required.  That reading wasn't so good either!!

Local bus



Giant swing

Plenty of signs



Ticket booth


Small waterfall

Lots of bells

And more bells

Bells and a large gong



Snake like stairs

View

























Golden chedi

All 4 corners have this statue of ??





Wish I could read Thai

Wish I knew who this was











The urn containing the Buddha's relics
















Luang Phor Dusit sitting Buddha image in subduing mara position

Phra Attharos in the giving a blessing posture

Asking for a good reading



One last look at the Golden Mount


     As we decide we're ready to leave we can't find any taxis right at the entrance to this site where our taxi had dropped us off so we decide to walk to the main road.  We manage to get a taxi when one stops to let a group out.  He wants 150 baht to take us back to the pier.  It's so hot and I'm in no mood to try to find another taxi on this extremely busy road so we get in but inside I'm fuming about the price.  I just think the price should be the same both ways.  Once at the pier we get another single use tourist boat ticket for 40 baht each.  We return to SATHORN/CENTRAL PIER.    On our way back to the hotel we stop at a 7/11 store for drinks and snacks 133 baht and from a vendor I buy a vinyl medium size bag 100 baht that I will use for our 2 night trip to Kanchanaburi as I don't want to take one of our bags which are larger and heavier.



Again, no problem getting a seat.  It's nice to not be squished but it comes at a price.  With the heat I'm willing to pay the price!











Don't kn ow what this is but it intrigues me.  Maybe some kind of watch tower??

Millennium Hilton









Walking back to our hotel the longer way, not the short cut to Shangri-la
     Back at our hotel we spend the rest of this hot day at the pool just relaxing and swimming and catching up on my emails and birthday wishes from family and friends back home.

     To celebrate my birthday I've booked the LOY NAVA DINNER CRUISE.  I have pre paid for this with a credit card using their website and by doing so, I got a 20% discount.  At 5:30 pm we are in the lobby and within minutes our van is here for our complimentary pick up.  A short ride and a short walk down an alleyway of sorts to where the LOY NAVA boat will pick us up at the Si Phraya express boat landing. Near the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.   I'm so looking forward to this.  There's only about 10 of us total so not a full boat by any means but it is a Monday.  Maybe it's busier on the weekends??   We are on the 6:00 pm sailing on this converted antique  rice barge.  It lasts 2 hrs.  We receive a booklet with an illustrated map and history of the river.  How nice.  Our table is the first at the front of the boat on the right hand side.  There is a piece of paper with my name printed on it to let us know which table we are at.  This is really very nice.  There are 3 menu choices and we have opted for Thai seafood and Thai vegetarian.  I wish there had been 3 of us in our part so we could have ordered the Thai traditional and sampled each other's dishes.  That's what Richard and I will do as there is more than enough food to be able to do that.  You start with a long platter of the hors D'oeuvres:  mine includes fish sticks, salmon spring rolls, pomelo & shrimp, seared AAA tuna, marinated sea fish; Richard's is BBQ vegetable satay, crispy veg. spring rolls, pomelo & vegetables, seared tofu, marinated vegs.  We each get 5 different appetizers and we share and they are all great tasting.  Soup is next-no sharing!  Me-Dtom yam goong-mildly hot & spicy shrimp soup with young coconut; Richard-Soup pak/seasonal Thai vegs.  Along come the entrees:  me-grilled prawns & NZ mussels, John Dory fish, deep fried shrimp cakes, salad of deep sea scallops, stir fried vegs. in oyster sauce, steamed Jasmine rice & organic brown rice; Richard-curry green aubergine, yellow curry vegs., veg. protein/Isaan style, warm salad of 3 pulses, stir fried mixed vegs., steamed Jasmine rice & organic brown rice.  Desserts practically the same-6 different choices.  The meal was delicious IMO.  A nice variety and it was served so you could easily share with another person.  Because of that I got to taste food from 2 of the 3 menus.  I even liked the tofu.  Dishes were cleared away promptly before another set appeared on the table.  There was plenty of time to enjoy the meal and the beautiful scenery on the river.  All through the cruise lovely classical Tai music was played and we had 2 ladies doing classical dances.  I tipped them at the end of our cruise.  Even though a 10% service charge had been included in my booking price I did leave a tip on the table for our server.  Drinks were extra beyond tea and/or coffee.  Richard had 2 singha beers and I had a mixed drink Cua Libre.  Toal for that with 10% s.c. included was 623.81 baht.  A bif surprise!!  The staff brought out a cake for me!  I wasn't expecting anything like that.  When I did my booking I had requested a nice table with a good view as it was my birthday.  I never dreamed I'd get a cake.  How touching.  As fast as candles were being lit the breeze was blowing them out!  I quickly blew them out after everyone sang "Happy Birthday".  I then shared my luscious tasting to die for cake with everyone.  What a great birthday I had in Bangkok.  A memory to treasure in years to come for sure.  To marks for LOY NAVA.  All too soon we are back to the pier, getting into the van, and back at our hotel.  I pack as tomorrow we leave via train for 2 nights Kanchanaburi.  Then we return here to the Bossotel for our last 2 nights.  We will have had 11 nights total at the Bossotel in Bangkok!  The hotel is holding all our other bags until we return on April 3rd.

Loy Nava











My appetizers right to left:  miang som oh le goong/ pomelo & shrimp with fresh young coconut served on a betel leaf; pla dip Thai manaow/marinated  seafish in lime, sugar, fish sauce with cilantro & onion; pla toonah gap jaem prik/seared grade AAA tuna in black pepper with a slow braise capsicum jam; por pia pla salmon/wild Scottish salmon spring rolls with a rice vinegar coriander sauces;  then the same 3 appetizers as already listed.  In the glass plah adt gap mayonnaise baeb Thai/composed  fish stick in a shot of Thai style mayonnaise.  SOOO GOOD!! 

Richard's vegetarian appetizers right to left:  miang som oh le pak/pomelo, vegetables & fresh young coconut served on a betel leaf; pak dip Thai manaow/marinated vegetables in lime, sugar, soya sauce with cilantro & onion; dtow hoo gap jaem prik/seared tofu with a slow braised capsicum jam; por pia jae/crispy vegetable spring rolls with a Thai plum sauce; pak satay/BBQ vegetable satay in a shot glass of satay peanut sauce

Not many of us on the dinner cruise


Setting sun 

Richard's soup-soup pak/seasonal Thai vegetables

My soup-dtom yam goong/mildly hot & spicy shrimp soup with young coconut









Very nice music

Our boat driver





Dancer

My entree-tord man goong/deep fried crispy shrimp cakes with a palm sugar sauce and salat hoy shell num som-king/warm salad of wild Hokkaido deep sea scallops with an orange-ginger vinaigrette
My entree-goong gap hoy malaeng poo pow/grilled prawns & NZ mussels with a mild white wine curry sauce & a spicy sauce

My entree-pla dori manaow/mildly spiced & herbed John Dory with a lime & chili sauce

My entree-pat pak roo-am mitr/stir fried vegetables in oyster sauce
Richard's entree-salat tua sahm yang gap num makaam/warm salad of three pulses with a sweet tamarind sauce and lahb mang sa-wee-rat/a balance of spiced, hered & minted vegetable protein-Isaan style



Richard's entree-gaeng kee-aow wahn/curry of green Thai aubergine with coconut cream & tofu

Richard's entree-gaeng leuang pak/yellow tumeric curry of seasonal Thai vegetables; 

Richard's entree-pat pak roo-am mitr/stir fried mixed vegetables








Dessert is practically the same for both of us-right to left; roti gap gluay kai, num manaow, num peung/lemon curd pancake with Thai mini bananas, sauce of lime & tropical forest honey with candied citrus; rang nok kai tua luang/sweet taro bird's nest, ywllow bean eggs, and rice flour bird; salat ponlamai ruam/salad of unique Thai tropical seasonal fruits and berries with Thai basil & mint; khanom chan/Thai flag jelly of pomegrante, coconut cream & blue pea flower; khao neeow mamuang/sticky rice sushi of mango with coconut cream & sesame seeds; saparot song yang/pineapple 2 ways-fresh Phuket pineapple & pineapple sweets 





Wat Arun

My birthday cake was out of this world delicious!

My cake and Wat Arun-can it get any better?!

I n oticed we were the only one who got these complimentary glasses of some sort of very yummy, great tasting liquor or wine or whatever it was.

To a perfect night!!

Dancer

So pretty!
   

     

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