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Sunday, August 21, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2016: Day #13--Chao Phraya and Zen

The view from my Sheraton Royal Orchid room of the Chao Phraya:


The second photo is a close-up of the first.  Another shot:



The white elephant chocolate was hard to see, so I re-took the photo with a different setting.  The elephant is the symbol of Thailand, and a white elephant is rare and only for royalty.  It is reported that King Bhumibol Adulyadej once owned ten, but they all died, so he now has none.  The white elephant is really just a soft reddish brown, and sometimes called a pink elephant.  No, the one of the left comes from the Bangkok St. Regis hallway and right on my bed.

After checking in I decided to visit Jatujak Weekend Market, a sprawling shopping area of mostly clothes, trinkets and food.  



I should add that my Blue Bar Pigeon brought a lot of his cousins to see me here:


I bought nothing and sweated profusely.  But there was no rain.  This is monsoon season and it is supposed to be raining 70% of the time.  However, in three days, no moisture, only intense heat, around 100 F.  I caught the Sky Train back to the station at the river, where I could transfer to a Sheraton shuttle boat to the hotel.

The Club Lounge at the Sheraton Royal Orchid is the best I've yet experienced on this trip.  That's the Hilton across the Chao Phraya.



A boat below:


Chao Phraya in the early morning and  my breakfast in the Club Lounge.


I moved to the Bangkok St. Regis and got another great suite.  Here, my view of a golf course within a race track:


In their equivalent of a lounge I had a champagne, but skipped the food because I had reservations at Zense, on the top of the Zen shopping complex:


The Ratchadamri Station is adjacent to the St. Regis, and Siam Station is just one stop over, from which a covered walkway, and a short hike takes you to Zen.  I've now caught the BTS Sky Train at least ten times, on a card that was worth $20, and the amount left is around $15.  Here is a view of the Erawan Temple that was bombed last year.  The St. Regis is four hotels down the way from the Grand Hyatt:

From my seat at Zense I took the following photo, Where that same shrine can be seen in the lower left corner, and the St. Regis that last hotel to the right with the vertical lights:


I started with an edamame and beer, plus red wine.  Note, there is no one in the photo.  Behind me were a few customers, but I could see no one during my entire meal:


I had salmon chazuke, salmon on garlic rice and hamachi collar, which was one rice dish too much:


My initial reaction to this restaurant was one of leeriness.  The staff was tentative, maybe only 10% of the seats were taken and the prices seemed too low.  Yet, the food was terrific.  In fact, the hamachi collar was perhaps the best I've ever had.  The whole bill, with red wine and beer, was just under $50.  Unfortunately, just as I was finishing up, a huge wind storm arrived, almost blew my wine glass off the table and I quickly made it inside before the sky fell.  Despite all the negatives, I can highly recommend this place.  Here is the kitchen to the left that fixes a range of international cuisine.  Very professional looking.

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There are seven ocean storms, and Typhoon Mindulle is set to strike Tokyo by tomorrow, while Tropical Storm Lionrock heading to Okinawa shows potential for attaining hurricane strength:


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