Wanting to live up our last hours in Asia, we headed out for dinner in the Panthum Wan district of Bangkok, a ways away from our hotel. We’d gone there in search of an amazing sounding Mediterranean restaurant called the Olive Kebab, which Ryan had found online. Unfortunately, it had either closed or moved, or maybe never really existed, because we could never find it, and nobody in the area had even heard of it. We stumbled upon another promising-looking restaurant nearby, soon realizing it was part of the Meridian Plaza Athénée Hotel. Surprisingly, and although all the drinks were outrageously expensive, the food was quite cheap. So we stayed, pleased not only with the food, with also with a big basket of various delicious types of bread and unlimited free refills on water (something not to be taken for granted outside the US!).
To wrap up our last night, we stopped at the BaiyokeTower, Thailand’s tallest building. Primarily a hotel, the tower has an observation area and bar on the 83rd floor and a revolving deck on the 84th. The view of Bangkok from the top of the tower was great. The city is so big and bright – lights forever in every direction. I don’t think anybody standing at the top of the tower could look at Bangkok and think they were in a developing world city.
Since our flights didn’t leave until 11pm the following day, we were able to spend most of the day in Bangkok. After breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to done some last-minute gift and souvenir shopping. With time to spare, we decided to go to a movie. That might seem like an odd way to spend our last afternoon in Thailand, but Bangkok’s movie theaters are unlike any I’ve seen in the States. They’re absolutely enormous and super fancy, with big reclining chairs and assigned seating (better seats are more expensive, just like at a show), and most tickets are about $6. More interestingly, prior to every movie showing in Thailand, a tribute to the king is played, during which everyone must stand up and watch quietly. The film, which last about two minutes, is set to the Thai national anthem and shows clips from throughout KingBhumibol’s life. I should point out that Thai people really, REALLY lovetheir king. The film we saw was Chernobyl Diaries, which I was interested in seeing primarily because Ryan told me he’d seen it advertised in the U.S. and that Leonardo DiCaprio was in it. It turned out the actor in it was just someone who looked kind of like Leo.
After the movie was over, we picked up our bags and headed for the airport. The trip that I’d spent many months in Rwanda daydreaming about was coming to a close, and it was time to start the transition back to American society and get ready for the next chapter of my life.