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  • Writer's picturePeter Antonucci

Bangkok, Thailand (2)

Sunday | December 14, 2014

Another fun day in beautiful, downtown Bangkok.

We began the day at a massive breakfast in the hotel. Then, we headed off to the Skytrain where we headed north, towards the Jim Thompson house.


In a rare move of navigational failure, I dissented from the majority view about our intended direction. I was wrong. No harm was done as we arrived at the museum bright and early on a Sunday morning.

Formerly an architect from New York City, Jim Thompson found himself in Thailand following World War II. After completing his contract as an officer of the United States’ OSS, the organization that preceded the CIA, Thompson moved into the silk industry. He is widely credited as reviving Thailand’s moribund silk industry and he put Thai silk on the map with Yul Brenner’s “The King and I” and Charleton Heston’s “Ben Hur.”


The house Thompson left behind is a national treasure. He imported parts of several buildings from various parts of Thailand, from up to 150 years old. He used those building parts to construct his compound of six Thai houses. Three houses remain exactly the same as the originals. The others were parceled together to create new structures.


There is also a great deal of mystery concerning his disappearance. While in the Malaysian Highlands for a holiday during Easter of 1967, Jim Thompson disappeared. There are various theories and elements of conjecture concerning his unfortunate demise and they range from the CIA to his alternate (gay) lifestyle to his vocal opposition to the Vietnam war.

The house was truly exquisite. Although we were not really permitted to photograph it, I snuck in a few good ones.


The high-gloss wooden floors (all guests were required to remove their shoes), the priceless porcelain and antique artifacts and the best-in-the-world quality silk adornments all served to contribute to this house’s impressive majesty.


We then wandered down the street to the MBK Center – an eight floor shopping center replete with over 2,000 stores and stalls selling virtually everything imaginable.


Although we never left the first floor, we remained there for several hours and scored three pairs of shoes each, some fun jewelry additions and gifts, socks, blouses, and the like.

We were heading home on the Skytrain, having separated from Lorraine and Graeme who left MBK to go to the more upscale Paragon shopping center, when we so happened to be seated directed across from them! We joined forces and headed to a lovely outdoor lunch at the Shangri-La, overlooking the river and the Peninsula Hotel directly across.


We had a fun conversation, during which the following dialogue occurred:

L: “They are very particular about what you wear in the common areas of the ship, you know. They especially crack down on sandals.”

Y: “What about my black, patent leather Coach flip-flops?”

Everyone: Giggling

Me: “The fact you even own them is just one of the two things wrong with that.”

Everyone: Laughing.

Y: (Curiously) “I don’t see why it’s funny.”

Peter: “That’s the other thing!”

Everyone: Howling!!

I took a lovely stroll back to the hotel, but not without buying some silk shirts on the way!

At 4:00, I headed downstairs for a 90-minute massage in the traditional Thai style. The massage was unlike any western massage, because I was asked to don pajamas, and two masseuses each wore masks while performing the massage. Moreover, the massage did not involve any lotion or oil – it was more of a pressing and pulling situation. I equated it to a good, solid sports stretch, in which the trainer opens up the hips, shoulders and back with all kinds of manipulation. In any event, it was enjoyable.

Finally, it was time for the big event of the evening – a friend's 60th birthday party. We began with drinks on the 64nd floor, overlooking the lights and sights of Bangkok. One small calamity occurred when, as we were descending the stairs to the dining area, one of our friends fell and landed on his knees. We helped him up and I handed him a pocket full of Aleve.

The food was terrific and the whole night, a very pleasant one.


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