I had expected to be taken with Bangkok, but I think Bangkok might have taken me. And, it all started with this view - from my hotel suite.
The city skyline from the 54th floor of the Lebua Tower Club. I was on the balcony, gazing out in amazement at the never-ending sea of skyscrapers, when there suddenly was a loud "Bzzzz..."
I opened the front door and in an elegant whoosh a gentleman laid out a complimentary box of gourmet chocolates and...
...a welcoming platter of perfectly ripe fruit. And, with another whoosh, the gentleman was gone.
Oh, yes, I was in the right place.
There was just enough time for a late afternoon dip in the pool and a G&T before heading out to dinner to Thong Lor district's Soul Food Mahanakorn.
I'd heard good things. They weren't nearly good enough.
My appetizer of Southern Thai Samosas was sublime, crackling crisp springroll wrappers tightly wound into triangles around spice-tinged lamb. One dunk into the mint-yogurt dip alongside and I was a goner. Then there was the Crab and Lemongrass Curry with Rice Noodles, a small bowl of incredibly fragrant, spicy crab curry stew. I gleefully spooned in rice vermicelli noodles to sop up every last drop.
Now, those were just my first few foodie hours in Bangkok.
Once firmly ensconced in my sweet hotel suite post-dinner, I happily drifted off to sleep, ready to take on the city in full-fledged tourist mode in the morning.
Little did I know that food-focused adventures awaited me well before 8am, starting with a train stop streetfood stall...
Yeah, we're talking about Spicy Papaya Salad expertly made only a few short feet from the railroad tracks. And, there were juicy, marinated Pork Skewers too.
My kind of breakfast!
And, then I got onto a train - one bound and determined to drive us right through a bustling food market...
Yes, took that picture from aboard the choo-choo, watching the vendors at the Maeklong Railway Market quickly pull back their awnings and edible wares as the train pulled in, along with a thousand tourists snapping photos to catch the action.
Walking through the market post-choo-choo, I bought some sliced pomelo for the road, as I headed to another famous Bangkok market - this one on water...
Bangkok's Floating Market is every bit as crowded and touristy as you might expect. Still, I was able to get my hands on a bowl of heady chicken broth with homemade noodles that had me slurping joyfully as I was paddled through the canals...
The day was far from over. I took in other awe-worthy sights, including the glittering Grand Palace and epic Wat Pho temples.
By the time I got back to the hotel, I was nearly too exhausted to check out Lebua's famous Sky Bar.
Thankfully, I rallied and made my way to the 64th floor open air rooftop lounge.
Greeted with a panoramic view of the city, twinkling at night, jazz playing in the background, how could I resist the pull of the rooftop's Perrier-Jouet champagne bar Flute? I couldn't. I didn't. It is the highest al fresco champagne in the world. I had no choice. Vintage champagne was happening. Happening big time.
Toddling back to my room, I realized that I wasn't going to get back out into the city for dinner. Perhaps I'd been a bit too "big time" with the champagne. No need to worry though. An order of exquisite Pad Thai from room service did the trick and I soon hit the hay, catching some much-needed zzz's.
Had to be well-rested. Tomorrow morning, Bangkok's legendary Or Tor Kor Market was on the menu...