One day in Bangkok…not quite the song but an enjoyable day while we were at Assumption University for the competition, the organizers set aside a day after for any teams that would like to go on a tour of Bangkok. As you can expect, with only a day available and free, you have to cram a lot. The organizers made it so that it would be a visit to the Grand Palace, temples of Wat Pho, lunch on a riverboat and shopping. I think what made the trip that much more enjoyable was that many of the organizing students came along.
Unfortunately, the day was also the King’s birthday and it was a national holiday. I was at the Grand Palace last year and got to walk around to see everything casually…not this time! To say it was busy was a major understatement. There were people in the thousands. We got to see a few things and then our guide got us out of there as we were on a short time line. Wat Pho was not so busy so that worked out but we never really got to see much except the giant reclining Buddha. On the one hand, we were rushed, but on the other, we got to see Bangkok.
Lunch on the riverboat was more relaxing and plenty of varieties of food. It was buffet style. All sorts of Thai dishes to experience. One of my favorite things will now be coconut pancakes. Our host Malinee brought it over to us and they are these tiny little custard looking cakes…soooo good that I sent the recipe home
Finally, after a grueling fast paced day, we hit MBK. I don’t know what the acronym stands for but in my mind, it stood for Must Be Kidding! It is a combination of large scale high end goods in ornate decorated stores to small operations of t-shirts and nick- nacks. It was a shopping Bonanza for my team…well, for a few. I equate it to a computer game where you have a set amount of time and you need to collect things to advance. I stayed two extra days so I was not so concerned about my shopping. We wound up splitting into two groups and headed off. I had Iris, Renee and Mon. Our attack was to be precise in our shopping list and be strategic (military precision style that the Pentagon would have been proud of). Very quickly I found (well lost) out that Iris can disappear. The first time, we were in one area and she was there..and then gone. We searched but also had one person in the place we were so we were not chasing each other. This is basic survival technique. I was worried because there were so many stalls and things looked very similar and you can get disorientated and if we lost her, how do we find her…always knowing where the base point was, I went out and back, then change direction, but never venture too far. Finally I found her!
OK Iris, you are with me now. Can’t have that happen again. We made it to a meet up point and the other group was not there. While we waited, I made the mistake of saying that she can check the stores around us and in this area…around us and here means just that. Well, I turned around for a matter of 5 seconds and she was gone. We went up and down the area around us and there was no Iris. How did she do that? One of us stayed put and the others went looking again. Finally, after a lengthy search, she was found.
Finally we met up with the entire team and went to 7-11 to get something cold. As everyone was walking in, I was now watching Iris like a hawk and while they went in, she was b-lining to shopping heaven and I caught her just before she went around the bend…she was caught and I would not leave her side. Now I know how villains (but Iris is no villain) get away in movies. She is lightening fast when it comes to shopping! For those of you who are shoppers…you would be impressed by her ability.
All in all, a great day with my team, the students, Thai food and culture. Thank you to Assumption University for doing this for us (photo is of the organizers and hosts).