Fourteen customers in five days. Fourteen presentations and fourteen demonstrations. I was only once back in my hotel before 8p.m.
On my return Ploy had encouraged me have a couple of days in Bangkok as a break. I readily agreed and had already booked my hotel. We usually stay at the Nasa Vegas, but as I was by myself, or supposed to be anyway, I booked my second choice, the Ambassador, on Sukhumvit Soi 11, close to the BTS and a myriad of restaurants. But when I called Ploy on Friday night she readily agreed to meet me at the airport so we could stay together and so by 4.30p.m. on the Saturday we were sat in the bar having a welcome drink on the house as our room was not ready yet.
I unpacked my toothbrush and a shirt I would need for later in the week and we immediately went out to get something to eat. We chose the Firehouse, a burger restaurant in the same soi as the hotel. It was Ploy's choice and I was a little surprised as neither of us are that fond of burgers. But it was good I have to admit and I like the tiny restaurant where they cleared their service table so we could sit down. We both ordered the Premium burger, Ploy with bacon, mushrooms and onions, mine plain, and we had a great time as I recalled my Shenzhen business trip and Ploy recounted Pinky's antics whilst I had been away.
On the way back to the hotel I stopped off at an Irish bar that I knew sold Laos dark beer, but was too tired to stay for more and went back to the hotel where Ploy was watching a movie. We slept well but in the morning Ploy asked if we could move room to one with a bath. I enquired at reception and was told the only rooms with a bath were the executive floor rooms at 600 baht more/night. Sod it I thought, I can't remember the last time we had been on holiday together, so I returned with a new key and a bell boy in tow and we moved up 8 floors of the hotel. The room was identical in size and decor to the one we just left but a quick look showed it did indeed have a bath.
The day was uneventful - the holiday was more about recharging our batteries. I had been due to travel to Taiwan in a week but that trip was thankfully postponed so my next trip was Korea on the 21st, 2 weeks away. I had booked a charity lunch on behalf of the Soi Dog Foundation but Ploy wanted to do her own thing so I wandered there by myself. My ticket said the event started at 11.a.m. with drinks and nibbles but those drinks were non-alcoholic and just served at your lunch table and nibbles were absent so I got up and wandered around the market that accompanied the event. That took all of ten minutes as there was nothing even related to dogs there. Even the Soi Dog's own stand had none of the T-shirts or doggie things you can buy off their website. So I returned to my table, relieved to find that the other place settings had been removed so I was to eat by myself. I ordered a glass of wine and watched as one or two other people arrived. At 12.30 I was told they were going to start serving. They had wanted everyone sat by this time but only half the tables were occupied. The food was OK but rather strange; it was like a taster menu. The food was served on cardboard dishes. It started with an antipasto selection (the event was at an Italian restaurant), the highlight of which was the baby clams au-gratin. Next was soup followed by a ham and cheese sandwich (no really). I think next was a Wagyu beef stew which constituted a single cube of beef and a diced carrot. I assume the main dish followed which was a single lamb cutlet with some corn and a potato salad, an odd combination. I forget dessert.
A highlight was the late arrivals. Clearly I was expected to know some of these people as the Thais there had their photographs taken with them. I asked the name of one woman and was told she was Dalinee, a Thai actress/movie star/singer. As she was sat at the table next to mine I noticed she passed around some photo albums where she was arm in arm with Thaksin. She bore a striking resemblance to the fairy godmother from the Shrek 2 movie, in looks and attire. As I walked through the market on my way home I bought some Thai cheese (from Khao Yai) and some Argentinean wine and a T-shirt for Ploy. I noticed some had brought their dogs, but these pampered rats were about as far away from a soi dog as it is possible to get. Most had silly bows in the their hair, some were even clothed; it looked like a part of Los Angeles had been transported to Ploenchit.
In the evening we were both too tired to feel hungry so we chose to grab something in the executive lounge, a benefit of our room upgrade. However there were only a few sandwiches on offer and no alcohol, a prerequisite of lounge worth its name. It was 5.50p.m. and the 'food' was only on offer between 5-6p.m. anyway! We still wanted something to eat so I chose a Spanish restaurant so we could order a few tapas, and very nice it was too. We returned to our room and I slept the sleep of the dead, but Ploy didn't sleep much at all because of some continual noise.
We availed ourselves of breakfast, only to be informed it was not free, something corrected by a visit to reception. The Ambassador hotel has nice staff, a great swimming pool, is conveniently located and is a reasonable price for such a hotel. The down side is the organisation. This was actually the first time I hadn't had problems with my check-in. But it is always necessary to visit reception at least once or twice a day to fix something. In this case the free breakfast in the executive lounge which, as we on the executive floor seemed a given. It is always fixed immediately with a smile, but shouldn't have needed to be fixed at all. The second visit of the day was to get my password for the free wi-fi which hadn't been given to me when I changed room. I needn't have bothered as it slows to a crawl if more than two people use it. In any case, today we returned home for a brief visit as the the next day I had a seminar which I needed to collect some stuff for as we were exhibiting there. I didn't expect much from it but it was free as I knew the people organising it and nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ploy caught up on her sleep while I printed out some leaflets and prepared the stuff I wanted to take whilst trying to calm down Pinky who was over-excited at our return. It was 5p.m. before we got back to the hotel.
We hadn't eaten since breakfast and I wanted to take Ploy to eat at an Indian restaurant I had found on a previous trip. I am lucky in that Ploy will try all types of food and I called to ensure we got a table by the window. A martini in the bar, a corner table, great service and wonderful food, although Ploy thought her lamb rogan josh wasn't quite as good as we had eaten in Canada. We extravagantly took a taxi back, even though it took five times longer than it would to walk or take the BTS.
The next day was the mini exhibition. However Ploy stayed at the hotel to move room. Neither of us had slept a wink that night which upon investigation showed we were the room next to the service elevator. Judging by breakfast only two or three rooms on this floor were occupied so why they gave us this one I have no idea; I took it personally. It took Ploy 2 hours to get another room organised. By the time she joined me I had already promised to ruin my free week by taking a day trip to Singapore. One of the other exhibitors has invited us to a seminar there where we are to present to the VP of Altera - which is a big thing even if it doesn't sound so. I chatted with the organisers a little over coffee and noted that of the 70 confirmed attendees, 42 had not turned up. When the seminar started there were only four people in the room other than the organisers. This Thai trait is probably the major reason I won't do business here. The benefit of living here for four years is that I was not surprised - my Singaporean hosts were less amused or comprehending.
That evening we watched a movie, as best we could because the reception was so poor it was impossible to see who the actors were. (We did report it but was told the installation was bad and nothing could be done). We grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby Irish bar but slept well. The next day I managed the thirty minute ordeal to checkout, made worse by our room changes, and we drove home.
Both of us slept in the afternoon and also had early nights. Today Ploy has her court hearing and I have to work out how to do all my planned work with three less days to do it in. Having a coffee together this morning we did agree that we felt a little more refreshed, we think, and promised ourselves to do it again. At another hotel.
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