Thailand, Spring 2006

This is an account of my trip to Bangkok in May and June, 2006. Click one of the links to jump to an individual chapter or back to the photos page:
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Chapter 4

On Sunday, my last Sunday in Bangkok, I attended Milonga Loca. Milonga, for those of you who are tango addicts, is a social dance with a tango focus. This one was held from 6pm to 10pm in the common room of an apartment complex. There was also a bar and grill there and we had food and fruit punch served for the sum of 250Baht (about $6.25 US). To get there, I took the sky train to the next to last stop and walked about a quarter mile from there. Wearing a long sleeve dress shirt was probably not my best choice in this climate.

The Milonga was quite an international affaire with people from Germany, Thailand, Japan, America (yours truly plus a few others), Argentina, England, and at least one accent I didn't identify, perhaps Russian. The music was good and was accompanied by videos put together by the local tango teacher, Andreas. The Argentine couple were performing at a local nightclub except on Sundays so they were able to come. They graced us with a demonstration that was very impressive though you could tell most of the moves they did had been choreographed.

The dancers were a mixed lot. There were several follows who were good and could follow most of what I lead. I danced with the lady I mentioned in my second installment as being difficult to lead. Interestingly enough, I had two things wrong about her. One, she is not married to the fellow but is his regular dance partner. Second, she was not hard to lead at all this time and was eager to be shown some new moves. One thing that surprised me about all of the dancers from Thailand, none of them have been shown the ocho cortada. I routinely lead this fundamental move in various places and it was disconcerting to have it misunderstood. I showed it to the lady I mentioned above and she picked up one variation of it fairly quickly and thought it was a really nice move.

I also danced and (off the dance floor) conversed with a delightful lady I had met at the practica a couple of weeks earlier. She's a secretary at a shipping company and her English is quite good. The dancing was also peppered with an occasional swing or salsa number and I danced a couple of those as well but my salsa is petty rusty. By the end of the evening, my shirt looked like I had been in a rain storm, despite the air conditioning. Next time, short sleeves.

Afterward I met friends at the Hard Rock Café in Siam Square and quickly took a taxi to another place where there was live music but it was very loud and I had a small headache so I left to get something to eat and returned to the apartment.

Monday was routine with a late breakfast with Barry and Rudy and the Sheraton followed by a little more shopping. It's easy to fall into a lazy routine here. I'm glad that I will be returning home in less than a week. Tuesday started the same but Rudy and I went for a foot massage while Barry went to pick up some laundry and pack for his return visit to the U.S. a few days before me. I'm beginning to like these foot reflexology, as they are called, sessions so long as they are gentle on my instep. When that was finished, I bought some green tea (at least I hope it's green tea) that I am also hoping is the same as what they serve at the massage paces at the end of a session. I'll make some and if it's the same, I'll buy more to take back with me. After shopping I took the motorbike to the gas station (an adventure in itself) for a fill-up then returned to the apartment. It's amazing how quickly I have taken to driving, like the Thai cycle riders, on the wrong side of the road, sharing the lane with oncoming traffic. Not always, of course, only when there's room. It beats sitting in the blistering sun waiting for the signals to turn.

Speaking of signals, many of the traffic lights at large intersections have digital count-down timers on both the red, green, and yellow lights. You always know just how long you have to wait except that the displays are only two digits so if it is longer than 99 seconds, which it usually is, you have to cycle through it a couple of times.

I've now done everything I wanted to do and shopped for everything I wanted to buy and I still have four and a half days left. I'll spend some of it right here in front of the computer but writing program code instead of this stream of consciousness journal.

My next to last day in Thailand I slept in sinfully late then moseyed out for some lunch and did just a little last-minute shopping from the vendors along Sukhumvit. Later I was joined by some friends to have dinner and see the new X-Men movie. It was playing at the theater in the MBK center. And speaking of the MBK center, I discovered that my estimate of the number of eateries there was about half too low. There are at least two more food courts plus a several other areas dominated by restaurants.

This may be my last opportunity to post things from here so I'll conclude this chapter here.

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