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Friday, August 19, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE: Day #11--Tokyo to Bangkok

While this is one of those days you hate yourself for eating and drinking too much, got to say this was mostly delightful and pleasurable.  If you're reading this posting to vicariously be pampered, enjoy.  My day began with a farewell breakfast at the Westin Tokyo.  I was careful not to have too much.


The taxi ride to Haneda Airport cost $80, but check-in was swift.  Something has changed in Japan, for a line of 25 people in customs / immigration cleared in 5 minutes.  For one, they now don't leave in your passport that departure slip, so you don't have to worry about losing it.  I was whisked to the ANA First Class Lounge, where the service was suffocating.  These are three of the dozen attendants.  Someone took you to wherever you wanted to sit, and asked for your order.  They had a kitchen, so on the way back from the restroom I ordered a curry rice.  I wasn't all that hungry because of the breakfast I had above:


You can start counting:  half a glass of beer and half a cup of sake.

On the 747 I started with a Dom Perignon (funny, but my pedestrian computer keeps changing this to Pigeon):


From my seat I can see no other passenger, and same for them:


The artichoke soup and hot garlic bread were absolutely fabulous:


That's Singha Thai beer, French bordeaux and Bloody Mary above.

The meal of sea bass was terrific, although by now I was so satiated that I hardly was able to touch it, followed by a Castello blue cheese with port:


I had some cognac over two films, a typically good Korean bittersweet melodrama, of a failed love (A Man and a Woman) and an interesting German flick, The Most Beautiful Day.

In the latter, two young men in a hospice who have only a short while to live, flim flam rental car companies and the like to secure half a million dollars or so for a frivolous visit to Africa, which reminded me some of my life, for the sicker of the two at the end died of a respiratory ailment (similar to my wife's) and they just did things because the end was near, kind of why I'm on this trip.  Their activities were posted on the ill person's cancer blog sites, which jumped from ten readers/day to a hundred thousand.  However, there are two twists at the end.

The plane landed at 2:15PM.  A golf cart took the first class passengers through the process.  The walk would have been at least a half mile, and the "normal" lines through C/I were very long.  However, we were shunted to the side and were the only ones in line.  Something, too, has changed in Thailand.  First, there is no customs form and the authorities seem not to care what you bring into the country.  The driver lady then arranged with another staff person to pick up my baggage, and he took me right through check-out, including change of money and the airport limousine car:

By 3PM my limousine, which was an Isuzu SUV, got with no trouble into Bangkok.  However, from getting off the freeway to the hotel took a whole hour over a distance of perhaps a mile.  The traffic was terrible twenty years ago, with horrendous air pollution.  Now, with hardly any Tuk-Tuks, the traffic is still bad, but the air is clearer.

At the Sheraton Grande Sukhamvit--which is a Luxury Collection, like the new Prince Gallery in Tokyo, Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki and Alfonso VIII in Seville, where I stayed in 1992 for the World Expo--the staffer taking me to my room apologized that the view would not be up to my usual standards, but I have a small personal garden.  Usually in Waikiki, a garden view means you can't see the Pacific Ocean.  I have a gigantic suite, here, only a portion of it:


A circular bathtub with TV and jacuzzi:


Quite a fruit bowl, and note the Durex in the bottom right corner, only in Thailand:


However, the real surprise was that the garden was larger than my room, by more than a factor of two, with a hot jacuzzi.  When did you ever stay anywhere that had two of them?


Following an indoor bath, my platinum status allowed me to drink as much as I wanted from 6-8PM in three bars (four Olympic medals for the country below):


I declined the assorted appetizers, for my next stop was Rossini's, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, starting with a lavender amusement:


Then came a soup, which was okay, followed by a truffles risotto with a lot of fanfare:


That's a massive bowl of Parmigiano Reggiano.  Truffle shaving:


The Black Truffles came from Italy.  This is the season for this delicacy, so I was disappointed that the sharp aroma was missing.  

For breakfast the following morning I had another feast:



Virginia Ham, salmon and steak with eggs over easy; green tea, orange juice, green salad with large capers, salami and mushrooms; soba, miso soup, tofu and kimchee.  The meal comes with the room.

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There are seven ocean storms, and Tropical Depression 12 and Tropical Storm Mindulle appear to be heading towards each other:



It looks like 12 will pass from east to west  a day before, followed by Typhoon Mindulle going south to north right into the middle of Japan, but some interesting things could still happen this weekend.

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