Saturday, January 19: This morning most of our Study Abroad group takes flights back to the USA. My ticket is booked for Monday morning, so I have two more days to explore Bangkok on my own. I’ve never traveled alone before, so this is a bit scary for me; however, I manage to make my way around to see some of the sights. This gives me a bit of confidence which serves me well later.
The first place I visit is the Jim Thompson House, the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world-renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand.” (Jim Thompson House: Museum)
I love the complex of Thai-style teak houses and the lush gardens. It’s such a peaceful setting.
For his contribution to developing the Thai Silk industry, Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, a decoration bestowed upon foreigners for having rendered exceptional service to Thailand. Thompson’s success story in Thailand has become one of the most popular postwar legends of Asia, according to the Jim Thompson House website.
In 1967, Jim Thompson went on holiday with friends to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. There he set out for a walk in the surrounding jungle but never returned. Thus began the Jim Thompson legend.
The house consists of a complex of six traditional Thai-style houses, teak structures that were purchased from several owners and brought to the present location from various parts of Thailand. Construction of the Thai house was completed in 1959 (Jim Thompson House: Museum).
After walking around through all the houses and gardens, I decide to have a little lunch on the grounds.
After my visit to the famous house, I get back on the Bangkok sky train.
I head to a Buddhist temple I’ve heard about and check out the active worship going on there as well as the elephant statues playing sentinel out front.
After wandering around this temple, I take a tuk-tuk to the Banyan Tree Bangkok, where I have a drink at their bar and enjoy the amazing views of Bangkok.
On top of the Banyan Tree Bangkok is the Vertigo and Moon Bar, a rooftop open-air grill and bar – the first of its kind in Asia. Here, I have a drink and sit outside with hordes of people and enjoy a great view of the city (Banyan Tree: Vertigo and Moon Bar).
On this night, I call R, the man I have been seeing since May of 2007, and I have a terrible conversation with him. I have a dark foreboding about this relationship, which proves to be true upon my return to the USA.