Report From The Oriental Hotel Bangkok, Thailand

Report From The Oriental Hotel Bangkok, Thailand

We arrived in Bangkok yesterday afternoon. We are staying at the famous Oriental Hotel. This five star hotel was founded over one hundred years ago although the original structure no longer exists. Royalty, dignitaries and distinguished people have followed the legendary Chao Phrya River through the heart of Bangkok Bangkok to the doors of this hotel. It was only in recent years the main entrance of the hotel was moved from the river to the land side. The river is chocolate brown in color and in a continuously motion of river boat traffic.

The list of the people who have made this hotel famous is a long one. Jim Thompson, who made his name in Thai silk, had an ownership interest in 1945. Writers favored this location. Noel Coward stayed here in 1929. Somerset Maugham wrote his children’s book, Siamese Ferry Tale, sitting where we ate dinner last night, along the river. James Mitchener and the other writers who frequented this hotel were responsible for a wing being named "the author’s wing." That was where we were last night for a hotel cocktail party which the hotel holds there each Tuesday night for its guests. During World War II the hotel was occupied by the Japanese army and severely damaged by the looting. After the war it was rehabilitated from the damage done. It has been completely restored and is a very beautiful hotel in heart of river activity.

We are staying in the Graham Greene suite on the 14th floor with floor to ceiling windows and a balcony overlooking the river. Below us, the river is alive with boat traffic of all kinds.  Chinese looking Junks flying the hotel flag on the stern continuously cross back and forth from the hotel to other side dropping guests off. Long narrow "tail boats" with outboards that are powered by an engine the size of a car engine and a long neck of metal extending back behind the boat to the propeller in the water. Long narrow ferries that are full of people and make stops all along the river like a river bus service. There are boats towing long barges. River express boats and river taxi’s. These are continuously in motion going up and down and across the river like cars on a busy highway. Large groups of school children, all dressed in uniforms, gather at the dock and board boats that transport them across the river. It is a bee hive of activity all day long.

We have managed to revise our travel route home. We leave today and fly to Taipei and from there directly to Seattle. A total of 15 hours flying time, but a much more humane route than our original one. It’s been a strange trip and not much of a vacation thanks to the monsoon rains of Phuket. But, because of the weather I was able to read the depositions and materials I brought along and with the computer connection to the office got the work done that I need to complete. Not much of a vacation, but that’s my vacation report.

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