These are all
photos of Bumrungrad International Hospital. We were in Bangkok for three
weeks (June 2007) so Vivian could have surgery. The hospital was first
rate, all the way. There was a McDonalds on the second floor and a
Starbucks coffee in the lobby (below left). Signs were in English as well as Thai, and
we didn't have trouble communicating in English. They also have
translation services for many other languages. The second photo shows the
"angel bear" Vivian took along for comfort, and her new elephant friend
that Michael gave her on the eve of the surgery.
Bangkok was very
hot and humid, and the traffic was terrible. To explain, Michael's tour
guide pointed out that Bangkok has 12 million people, four million cars,
two million motorcycles, and millions of air conditioners running full
time; this generates a huge amount of heat, in addition to the natural,
You can see the
hospital in the center of this photo, taken from the elevated rail
station. The quick and clean "L" (sky train) is wonderful, especially
compared to the s-l-o-w traffic below it.
At the end of
one train line we found this mall with lots of name-brand places to buy
pizza, chicken, doughnuts, hot pretzels, ice cream and more. We don't have
much of this in our part of China.
left the hospital (except to eat out once, at which time she was bitten by
some strange bug, which gave her a terrible allergic reaction). Michael
got out to shop, and one morning took a canal tour. The guide said James
Bond raced through these canals in a 1970's film.
Bangkok is very
religious. This was taken from the main river; note the Chinese
Buddhist temple on the left, with a Muslim mosque next to it. There are
also thousands of Thai Buddhist shrines. Michael attended one of the few
Christian churches on Sundays.
The canal tour
included a visit to this centuries-old Cambodian style temple. The guide
said that most Thai men are monks at one time in their lives; some for a
few weeks and others for years. It's a very old tradition, that helps to
keep most Thai people Buddhist. Monks are not paid, so locals give them
food and other necessities. The guide said he likes to give monks his
grandfather's favorite noodle dish; when they eat it, it also feeds his
deceased grandfather. I guess that "ghosts" who died more than a few
generations ago get pretty hungry....
canals, I saw expensive mansions and clapboard shacks. Little boats like
this one travel the canals like a floating convenience store, though the
guide said they are getting more and more rare as people prefer to shop in
larger stores. Thousands of people still live along the canals. Most homes
have electricity and piped in/out water. If you don't mind mosquitoes, I
suppose it is a nice place to live.
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