Saturday, 26 January 2008

Hotel by Night

This is what the hotel looks like at night. p.s. The flags are at half mast because the King's sister, Princess Galyani, just passed away on Jan 6th. The country will be in mourning for 100 days. This is what it looks like from my window… you can also see the building I’m working in. And... this is the sign that got me laughing each time I pass it…
Farewell miss piggy!!!!!
Looking forward to the little rat.

Soul Searching in Bangkok

To appease my spiritual side (yes, I have one), I will try going to church regularly on Sunday. I’ve already missed last Sunday when I arrived here, so this last Sunday I’ve decided to go to one. My quest to find for a Catholic church with an English mass began at the hotel. The little book in the room says that I could get the list from the reception. So I went asking at the reception, and they put me in touch with one staff who is a catholic herself, cos they really didnt have the info on hand. I feel that all the staff here was really helpful. Well, this staff went making some calls and in the end got some info for me. She says that the St Louise church beside St Louise Hospital has English mass at 11am. So off I went, to the almost last station on the BTS line.

There... St Louis Hospital... this must be the church.

Cool church. Nice looking. Cool interior. Kinda big too. Ok, I admit it, I arrived 20 mins late. But mass has not yet start, so I waited around. Then about 10 mins later, I noticed that everyone else in the church was THAI! Yeap, no farangs (white people) around. Hmm… strange. So I asked someone there, and then he said there wasn’t any English mass here! So I asked him where else have, but his English was bad and I could not make out what he was saying. So I asked him to write it down….

... here ...

Really helpful. At least I know what time is the mass.

This time, not wanting to be late, I started my journey to this church at 4.30pm, one hour before mass. This was what happened:

  1. I showed the note to the ticket person in the BTS line and asked “how to go here?”. At first he said something in Thai. Then realising I dont understand Thai, he gave me a map and pointed to the station I’m supposed to go to. One station away. Easy.
  2. Arrived at the station and asked the ticket person (again, by showing the note). He pointed towards the right exit. No, he didn’t know how to explain which way I should turn after exiting.
  3. Saw a policeman at one of the junction near the exit. So I thought he’ll be the best person to ask. I showed the note again. He replied something vague… all I heard was “…wait… bicycle…”. I realized he was pointing to the few motorbike taxis waiting at the corner, and he directed one of them to come. So I hopped on it (although I really wanted to walk), and finally, I arrived!

The Holy Redeemer Church!

Asking around the office of this church, finally, I managed to get a list of English mass around Bangkok...

Now, I just need to find the exact location of those churches...

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

10 Things I Learnt from My First 10 Days in Bangkok

  1. I learnt how to say Hello, Goodbye, Good Morning, Good Evening and Good Night in just ONE word: SAWADEEKA!
  2. I learnt how to teleconference - my first teleconference with HQ in UK and with other staff from other offices such as Brazil, Africa, Canada, Europe, Middle East, etc. So cool to speak to so many people from around the globe all at once!
  3. I learnt that Bangkok is really FLAT. That means, if you are at sufficient height, the view can be fantastic. Except for the haze, that is.
  4. I learnt how hard it is to tell the men and women apart... for some people.
  5. I learnt that everyone wants to help you, even if they don't know how.
  6. I learnt that it can be expensive to live in Bangkok. A one bedroom apartment rental in good places can reach up to USD$1000 per month! Or more!
  7. I learnt how to scan documents into pdf files. The machine in the office is just so cool (or I might be so outdated).
  8. I learnt that the BTS and MRT (train lines) card cannot work with the other line. And you cant put both cards on the reader too - e.g. if they are both in your wallet.
  9. I learnt that none of my collegues goes home at 5.30pm (except one), but they switch off the central air conditioning, so you'd have to go back eventually or die of heat stroke. And everyone works through lunch hour too! Gosh.
  10. And lastly...

  11. I learnt that there's 16 public holidays a year in Thailand!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

My Office in Bangkok!

Its the first week of work for me... and I'm still trying to get the hang of working in a REAL office. The office itself is small, but spacious enough to accomodate all 14 of us here. Soon there'll be a few more to join us, and then it might get a little cozy.

My desk!! Its a little empty at the moment, but the paperwork is already building up. I know, its not even quite "personalised" yet. Give me some time, its only my first week. And that's my cat (Baby) on the computer screen. I wish we could have an office cat.

My immediate boss's desk. My boss gets the window view (but its all fog anyway), but you get to see the sunset from here. My desk is just beside this one - this pic was taken from my desk. And oh, I'm surrounded by vegetarians - front, back, left, right and across... (oh, the pressure! Imagine each time you eat chicken, someone will go "poor chicken...")
The office is kinda cool, literally. The aircon of course. Its centralised air conditioning for the entire building. It can be get quite cold sometimes. But after 5.30pm the aircon is turned off, then it can get quite stuffy. But the coolest part of the office is....

The toilet! The large windows make things feel rather "open". People take their time in the toilets, well, at least I do. Enjoy the view!

And you can see my hotel from the toilet. Far ahead is Bangkok city centre. That's where the highway is heading to. It doesn't get really jammed, but the traffic is still quite heavy on the highway.

The notice board in the kitchen (ok, more like a small pantry). There's even some info up there on how to take good pictures!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Bye Bye KL.... Sawadeeka Bangkok!

Leaving KL... spot my flight...

AK 882 to Bangkok

I'm currently staying in Chaophya Park Hotel. Very nice! You can see my room here below. Now I have until Chinese New Year to find a new place to stay.
A nice welcome the hotel gave too! Lovely fruit basket awaits me in the room. Actually, they just look really nice, but the grapes are really sour. The jambu is good though! And the rest I haven't touch yet.
Here's what it looks like outside my window. Can you spot the "elephant building"? Can you also spot the HAZE???? Yes, even from the plane I can see a thick blanket of haze all over the city. Scary...
This is where my office is. 2 minute walk away.
Oh yeah, there's free internet in my room. And there's also free WIFI everywhere! :)