Sunday, March 1, 2009

Night View of Bangkok

On Valentine's Day this year we decided to go to the tallest building here in Thailand, The Baiyok Tower. On the 82nd floor there is a restaurant called the Crystal Grill. It is a seafood/international buffet. We enjoyed our dinner, stuffing ourselves on mini tacos, sushi, prime rib, steak, lamb, and even some Thai food. For me, the mini tacos had to be the best part of the meal, I haven't had tacos in over 2 years! I think Pae enjoyed the raspberry sherbet the most!

The restaurant is a couple floors below a revolving observation deck where we got an open-air 360 degree night view of the city. The wind was whistling on the tower, definately a break from the constant heat here. Probably the coolest part of the view was the moon. It was dark orange! I wasn't able to get a real clear photo of the moon, because to do that I have to set my little camera on self timer and zoom all the way in to the moon. Then I have to set the camera on some surface, prop it up so it will aim at the moon, and then push the button. Ten seconds later, the camera will take a night photo of the moon...Remember, this was an open-air revolving observation deck! I think the thing turned the full 360 degrees in about a minute (not positive). Considering the shutter speed for my camera in pitch darkness would probably be somewhere like 3 or 4 seconds, I wouldn't get very good pictures.Oh, but genius that I am, I reached through the bars that keep people from falling or jumping off of the thousandth floor, and placed my camera on the 5 inch ledge and waited 14 seconds for it to take a picture! I actually had to walk in the opposite direction of the platform's rotation to follow the camera. I rudely brushed aside two other couples who were enjoying their Valentine's view, as the deck rotated but my camera remained stationary! Then I had to reach my hand back through the bars and catch the camera as it "whizzed" by...I actually got off two shots like that, I'd guestimate that the Sony Cybershot passively revolved around 180 degrees of the deck (though stationary) and did not fall and conk some unsuspecting tourist on the noggin 84 floors below. Lucky me...The pictures are of course not zoomed and did not have the moon as their main focus, so I didn't get any great moon shots. Click on the pic and you can see the color of the moon though, it was awesome!

I've been "lucky" to experience two of the other popular "dinner-and-a-view" restaurants here in Bangkok in the past. The first and probably one of the most popular is The Dome at the State Building in Bangrak. Pae and I went for dinner at The Dome before I moved here. They had fancy food and a glowing neon bar. There was an opera singer, high on a stage infront the building's signature dome, who gave a live performance while we feasted on tiny portions of tasty, yet disgustingly expensive cuisine.The view was great, but a total bill of over 11,000 baht (roughly $300) it's kinda a once in a lifetime thing unless you are a businessman charging it on your company card! (I didn't charge my company by the way, it was one of those "splurge" type things!) Pae and I both agree that its kinda ridiculous to spend that kind of money on a meal, when that 11,000 baht represents an amount greater than the average Thai worker's monthly salary. These days I grimace in pain if the dinner bill gets anywhere close to 1,000 baht! You think teachers are underpaid in the States...This is picture of Pae and I at The Dome. Pae says that in the interest of full disclosure, that I should mention that this photo was taken "before" we got fat!! 2 1/2 years ago to be precise!The second place that seems to be popular here for a nice dinner and a beautiful view is Vertigo at Banyan Tree. If you remember, this was the finishing point of my vertical marathon last year, so although I never ate there, I have had the "misfortune" of laying on the floor of this open air restaurant, sweating profusely, and "ordering" a bottled water! Sorry, no photos from the restaurant that rests atop the building, the extra 300 grams of weight would have spelled my certain demise. Here's a picture of the Baiyok Tower that Pae took "from" The Dome!Overall, we enjoyed our Valentine's Day date! Maybe someday we'll be able to do Valentine's Day in Paris! I went there by myself once and can honestly say I wasn't super impressed...but I think if it were me and Pae it would be fantastically romantic, and probably once in a lifetime!

Hope you enjoyed the pics from some of the highest restaurants here in Bangkok.

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