Thursday, June 30, 2011

Around The World 2011 Day 2: Bangkok to Phuket, Thailand

I thought I was going to have this time zone licked.  Spent the whole day awake and went to bed at a proper 10:30pm Thai time.  And then... I woke up at 4am and soon realized it was a semi-permanent condition.  I might as well get our second day on the Waste before the sun rises on our third day.

The plane landed safely in Bangkok, Thailand, and the adventure had officially begun.
Barbie's first steps in Thailand.
Bangkok Airport is a huge, modern facility.  In fact, it might be the most vast airport that I have ever seen.  This is, in fact, Suvarnabhumi Airport.  This airport was completed in 2006 and is referred to often as (New) Bangkok International.  We are halfway through 2011 and Suvarnabhumi Airport is currently ranked the 7th busiest in the world for 2011, right behind LAX & Chicago's O'Hare and in front of Paris, Hong Kong, Dallas and Denver.

Oh, I bet you are curious.  I might as well share the top ten busiest airports in the world.  In order they are: Atlanta, Beijing, Tokyo, London, Chicago, L.A., Bangkok, Paris, Hong Kong, Dallas.  Asia: 4.  North America: 4.  Europe: 2.

If I was trying to make the point that Bangkok is no quaint little country's airport, and I was, then I believe I made the point and then quickly beat it lifeless.
We were given these stickers.  We were not sure why.  But when an airport official puts a sticker on you you leave it there.  International airports are not places to be cavalier.
The queue at Passport Control.  Yuck.
From the other side of passport control, I wanted to show you that each person entering the country stands in front of a Logitech webcam and their face is recorded.  Anyone wondering why American men with unhealthy desires have gotten arrested over recent years might want to consider the existence of two things; these cameras and facial recognition software.   Technology for the win.
Suvarnabhumi Airport Candid, June 2011.

Yes, the rule for years has been that all candids get the black and white treatment.  Most will.  But this one I decided to go the opposite direction, pushing the contrast up several notches and pushing the color saturation to the limit.  Maybe this scheme will join the black and white scheme as a valid way to treat candids.  B&W definitely makes them more distinct, but sometimes the color in the frame is worth keeping.
Airport Monks Candid, Bangkok, June 2011.  No way I was going to pull the color out of this one.
Yours truly sitting in the Thai Air business lounge.  They had free Wifi, and it was around 9pm in Los Angeles (I think) which lead me to try to FaceTime with four people in the United States.  A quick video chat from Bangkok was all I wanted.  But nobody answered.

So I say this to you.  If you are a person with an iPhone 4, iPad 2, or a Mac with FaceTime installed and you know how to use FaeeTime, be sure to let me know in the comment fields below so that we can exchange info.  With free public WiFi, you never know the wonderful things I might be able to share with you with a video connection.  (And remember it does not use up mobile minutes or data.)
Snacks in the Thai Air lounge were most excellent.  Cappuccino in the cup and pork, chicken and BBQ pork bao on the plate.  They were delicious.
Barbie spotted this dude's very cool orange shoes, and I snapped a candid and then used an iPhone app to make it black & white add then color back in on just his shoe.  But now, as I type this, I realize there is a second shoe!  Merde!

Phew.  Crisis averted.  I can just imagine the snarky comments from people that I only added the color range back to one shoe and surely I should pay better attention to detail.  How dare they.
Okay.  They had hot dogs in the lounge.  Chicken dogs, actually.  And Barbie got one and she ate most of it, leaving like the last inch of chicken dog.  And that last inch looked so much like a finger I had to take a picture.
A disembodied finger made of chicken is right THERE.
New Bangkok Airport  Candid, June 2011.

It is wrong to judge people, I know.  But when you see an older Caucasian male with gray hair travelling with a young Asian female in the Bangkok Airport, only one thought comes to mind.  True love comes in many forms.  And sometimes true love comes in the form of international sex trade.
My effort to show you an image of this modern, sprawling airport.
We boarded our 747 and saw a seat layout we had never seen before.  How odd is that?  You literally see the curve of the nosecone.
Another Thai Air flight, another map.  This flight is just under an hour.  Yay!!!
French toast with chicken.  I ate the french toast and it was gooooood.
Note that the woman next to me is so wise that she is wearing a hoodie on the airplane.

(This pic brought to you by Halftone .)
We have landed in Phuket, and there is the ride that brought us here.
Phuket Airport Baggage Carousel Candid, June 2011.  The way that she held her monkey upside down made my heart melt.  (Another saturation push candid taking the place of the black & white candid.)
When you exit the airport, you see a dozen guys holding up signs with names on them.  And thirty other guys shout repeatedly, "Need taxi?  Need taxi?  Need taxi?"  I hope someday the Freakonomics guys analyze this method and the taxi line method to see which earns the cab driver more; shilling for fares or waiting in line for them.
Welcome to Phuket.  I am confused, to be honest.  Phuket is a city and an island. Alas, this is a topic for a later time.
Welcome the the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa Phuket.  I think I am going to like you.
The driveway of the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa Phuket.

Maybe I should have said this earlier.  All who read the Waste need to be sure to pronounce Phuket correctly.  I want to discourage silliness here.  Say it with me.  Poo-Ket.
As you check into this resort, you see an infinity pond that leads to the beach.  Absolutely gorgeous.  I am thrilled that Barbie has to site inspect properties like this for her business instead of, say, the Holiday Inn of Calgary.
Young Barbara, checking in.  When a hotel is in a hot climate, and they make everything about it open air, the effect is simply wonderful.
How cute!  We have been greeted by towel animals before, but never an elephant.  I know my mother will love this one.
Our room comes with a meditation area.  Expect to see me typing in this area soon.  Instead of where you see me typing at the end of this post.  (Just taken.)
Besides the meditation room, our room came with a hunk'a hunk'a burnin' love.
Our pool and ocean view.  One might call Phuket a bit lush.
Lunch at the resort's deli!  Niçoise salad for her, turkey and avocado panini for him.  We are going to eat healthy on this trip as much as possible.  Do not be angry at the lack of desserts and supremely rich foods.  It is for a greater good.
The main pool at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa Phuket is not bad.
The main pool has a kiddie area.  How fun does that look?  Fortunately close to our room is a subdued adults only pool.
Elephant fountains!
Another pic specifically for my mother.
Beneath the beautiful tree you can see my wife THERE.
Here is one without the finger, so that you can see the tree and the sea and the wife for their own beauty.   That water, by the way, is the Andaman Sea.  The Andaman Sea is a part of the Indian Ocean.  Now I have to learn about bodies of water.  Is every sea just a name for part of an ocean?  I never thought this was the case, and maybe it is not.  Maybe in this case, the people here have always called it the Andaman Sea and even though it is officially part of the Indian Ocean they still call it the Andaman.  Research awaits me.
Barbie shows off a random relaxation area at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa.  When you are in a Buddhist nation, there always seems to be a concern for what is good for the mind and body.
Talking about what is good for the mind and body, we will not be eating doughnuts this visit.  No!

After taking in much of the resort, it is time to see if the pool will be acceptable to any clients that Barbie might send here.
The feet find the pool acceptable.
Self Portrait, J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa North Pool, June 2011.

I cannot explain why Picasa turned that pic upside down, but I love it  and will not correct it.  This, by the way, is an example of daring photography.  In an attempt to entertain YOU, I waded across the pool with my iPhone held high, turned on the forward facing camera and then slowly backed into the fountain.  Water was splashing off my head and drops were reaching the face of the iPhone, but I think we can all agree that it was well worth it.
It was time for Barbie's feet to make an appearance, no?
How is that for a self portrait?  That is not desaturated of color.  I am merely blocking out the sun.  I am the moon.
Fun with 3D Photo.
More fun with 3D Photo.
Yes, more fun with 3D Photo.   I wish that there was a straight up Picasso setting.
The last of the fun with 3D Photo.
Barbie at the pool's gate.

We then got some pampering, which included a gong.  Yes, I got to hit a gong with a mallet today.  If you did not get to ring a gong today, then you need to rethink things.
On the way to dinner... such beauty.
It is not bad when you get to a restaurant and your reservation is held just so.
That is all we ate.  We shared the grilled swordfish with a grilled vegetables and a side of grilled asparagus.  It was delicious and filling enough.  In a few weeks my belly will be less of an issue.
After dinner, we passed this diver mannequin.   Could he look sillier?
We end the day with a self portrait of me sitting on a pillow on the bathroom floor using the waste basket as a desk, all to type up the Waste for YOU while Barbie sleeps.  It is not until I read this for a third time that I realized the coincidence of using a waste basket as a desk to type the Waste.

Barbie has since woken up and said that the MacBook Air's keyboard is quiet enough and I could move to the meditation area.  So I did.  But I sat in the above position long enough that when I got up my hiney felt pins and needles.

Until tomorrow.  And I swear tomorrow had better have fewer pictures.   I was going to try to keep it to 30 per day!