Weird being here again. Country is vastly different–don't know if you in the interim have been back. The luggage carousels at the humongous airport numbered 25! It was an endless walk, using some 8 moving sidewalks and plain corridor traipsing, to get anywhere. Very impressive air terminals they have now, on the same order as Hong Kong and Orly or Paris. Our airports seem drab and confined by comparison but for the brand new sections.

Was rolling around the Thai phrases I knew, and still know, and they are coming in handy. Impressing the natives. Oddly, I seem to know more Thai than Chinese, tho I lived in the PRC much more recently and actually studied Chinese with a tutor while there.

I note on the local Thai TV that there is representation from Hispanic voices, French, German, Russian, many from arab states–al Jazeera is only one of the local offerings– and of course sports stations and CNN. There is no Fox or Fox Business (there is Bloomberg); nor is there anything from Israel. I listened to German TV to get some idea of what was happening in Israel–pathetic I had to do that, but I never trust CNN on Israel (or anything else, most of the time).

The temp is a toasty 86F at 1:31 a.m. In the day, it will be swelter-time again.

I don't see kitois, or maybe I do, but they dress even better now. With elderly white gentlemen of means. Sukumvit is "close" my driver tells me. "Only 8 Kilometers from here…" (Royal Orchid Sheraton.) I have a high room, with a spectacular view of the Chao Phrya from the huge picture window, with colorful barges plying the water in magenta, yellow, green and purple outline strung lights, no two boats the same. Dubai has the same thing, big barges with colorful electric signatures. Come to think of it, a recent run around NYC at night also had the same type of euphoric Crayola-effect barges.

Too many niqabs for my taste, walking invisible-pitch-black behind or to the side of their swarthy and physically unencumbered mates. [I wonder how they can tell it is their wife scuttling alongside, and not some random PVC-garbage-bag-covered something shuffling along.]

I am delighted that this time, I was able with only token emails warning me that "someone is trying to access your account," to get on my account–it took only 2 hrs, here. rather than, as with Abu Dhabi and the Emirates, 5 days of pleading and filling in intrusive questions. Of course, in HK, I was blocked immediately by ideograms telling me I needed additional layers of 'security' and so I wasn't able to penetrate the mysteries. Chinese security, BTW, was quite thorough, confiscating a folding pocket knife with scissors and toothpick and all those gadgets, that I had forgotten I even had anywhere.

En route here, or rather HK, I saw 8 films, some sort of record. Now I might save some time in the NYC theatre houses, if these films open up there. Pacino in "Danny Collins" struck me as a family film, with some touching moments; Jennifer Garner, the wonderful Bobby Canavale and Christopher Plummer. Also, the terrific Annette Benning, always a standout. Who reminds me of my friend Deam.

The hotel offers an extensive menu of wraps and body rubs and massages, or, probably, "massages." Foot rubs cost 1,200 baht; Thai massage, traditional, sets you back 1,500 B. The rate is better than it was–instead of 20 B to the $, it is now 33 and change. You can get a "journey of joy" for a mere 6,600 B (3 hrs); "Romantic getaway–couple" for 4 hrs, only 14,500 B. A "Mandara delight" for 2 hrs is just 4,700 B, a true m'tziyah.

There are body scrubs, 3 types, 45-60 mins, ranging from 3,000 B to 2,500 B. body wraps, also 3 kinds, all an hour, range from 4,500 to 2,800. In the massage department, one can get a thai traditional; Luk Prakob/hot compress; "elemis aroma therapy"; stone therapy; Swedish, aromatic, sport, Balinese, Indian Head massages High iof 4,500 B to low of 2,200 B. There are facials for both men and women, differently priced, promising different benefits.

One of the body scrubs looks like a typo: "Detoxifying green tea crub," it says, probably erroneously.

I will take in some "fresh" air after I do more emails. Cathay Pacific is, as advertised, a rather terrific airline, far superior in service and amenities to the US carriers I have taken of late. Plus they seem to be quite kind, and genuinely helpful. Nonetheless, no one stoppered the child of 3 or so who cried for hours without anyone telling him to chill. For one meal, the dessert was Haagen Dasz deep chocolate-enrobed vanilla pop bars, frozen and delish–I checked the price in HK: $56. HK dollars = about $8 per. And they serve meals even on short hops, unlike American carriers, who give you stale pretzels if you're lucky, on flights under 24 hrs (well, 4).

Will write more as days permit, if computers give me access. Please hold emails while I am afield.


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