When we got back from Chiang Mai we introduced Sadie and Margaret to the delights of Food By Phone. This is a brilliant concept - it is a directory which features 71 of Bangkok's finest restaurants (It offers something insane like over 4,000 different dishes from 30 different cuisines). You call up Food By Phone, give your telephone number and then you can order any food you like from any restaurant in Bangkok and they will pick it up and deliver it to you!! (You can even get wine and beer delivered as well). It's absolutely fantastic - I have no idea why it is not in every city in the world. They charge something like 50baht per restaurant (which is not even a pound) so I can have curry from one of the best Indian Restaurants in town and Chris can have pizza from one of the best Italians.....I love it!! (Food By Phone). The only downside is that there is so much to choose from that sometimes it can take forever to decide what you actually want to eat!! We had Indian - surprise surprise.
The following day I had a fairly packed agenda - I had arranged a meeting to discuss how I can get involved in the charity sector over here (It was the only day we could all get together), a birthday present to deliver and a Hen afternoon to attend (Sadie and Margaret had been invited but I think they needed a break). The meeting went really well - I had had an idea regarding how to utilise the membership of the BWG in order to increase the charity work being done and the meeting was to discuss whether this would work and how best to manage the process. I think I am going to be voted onto the BWG Committee as their volunteer co-ordinator and the role will involve setting up and managing a new Welfare Team. I then met up with a group of girls that were going to the Hen afternoon and we clubbed our money together to get the happy couple a set of wine glasses (They are like wine glasses without the stem and there are different sized glasses for different wines - not just red and white but Shiraz, Merlot etc. I think I am going to get a couple of the glasses for Chris and I - I found a picture). Then I dropped the birthday present off and headed over to Panipa's for the Hen afternoon. Panipa's is a large beauty parlour on Ekamai - they had cornered off a section for us and we all decided what treatments we would have whilst drinking copious amounts of wine and eating lots (I had a sausage roll.......that was the first sausage roll I have had in 6 months - god it was good!!). Karen decided that she would have an Indian Head massage and appeared in a very sexy little number - It was a little like a boob tube tent.....with flowers!! We decided that it was a look that would probably not catch on!! I opted for just getting my nails done (Didn't fancy the boob tube tent) but thought I would try something new so I got the girl to try doing some marbling with the nail varnish - looked very cool (even if I did end up with blue fingers). When I got home Sadie and Margaret had done very well - they had headed out to MBK and had bought a few bits and pieces and Margaret had even managed to haggle the price down on some Thai silk - I was very proud of them!!
On Wednesday I took them out to the Grand Palace - It is a must for anyone who visits Bangkok. The saying goes 'You've not been to Bangkok if you have not visited the Grand Palace'. I don't think anything prepares you for the beauty and sheer size of the place - Sadie and Margaret were blown away!! We hired a guide who was superb and instead of rushing us through, which is what had happened the time Chris and I had a guide, she took her time and allowed time for us all to have a seat and catch our breath. It was a lovely day - We all got to see the Jade Buddha and the guide showed us how to bless one another using the flowers and water that were outside the temple. She also told us the story of the mural that is painted on the wall around the temple which was really interesting - she even explained that, in order to stop a wedding ceremony, two gods imagined that they were dead dogs, the dogs then floated down the river ('Oh very smelly' was the description), and made everyone vomit so that the ceremony couldn't go ahead - absolute genus!!
Thursday was International Women's Day and I had booked us all to attend The Combined Women's Lunch which was being hosted by ANZWG (Australian-New Zealand Women's Group). It was being held in the Dusit Thani Hotel on Rama 5 and yes, we're back to the champagne and shopping. ANZWG had arranged for vendors to attend the event and had managed to find quite a few that I had never come across before. I had spotted the most amazing necklace when I arrived, the lure of which proved too much, and I'm afraid I succumbed (It really is beautiful - not seen anything like it before). I think the woman who owned the stall thought we were fantastic.....I bought my necklace and Sadie and Margaret got a couple of things as well (Not saying what they were as I think they might be for presents). The beauty of these events is that you get to see stuff that is not available to buy in the shops and they are usually pitched at the Farang market so have not been decorated to within an inch of their lives. (The Thai's sometimes have a horrible habit of decorating things waaaaay past the point at which they should have stopped). Lunch was really nice - and was a great way of celebrating international woman's day. I think Sadie and Margaret really enjoyed themselves and all my friends thought they were lovely. (They even got to see semi naked men - there was some traditional Māori dancing which included the haka)
On Friday we had a leisurely morning then headed out for another manicure and pedicure as it was the last chance we would have before they headed home. We then headed over to Khun Dao's to collect all the outstanding outfits - she did us proud.....the finished items looked great. We then headed over to Tanika to collect Sadie's coat (She looks great in it!!) and back to the apartment to get ready for dinner. Margaret had said that she would take us out for dinner as a Christmas present so we had booked 'THE' best Indian Restaurant in Bangkok - The Rang Mahal. (In ancient times, rang mahal was the name given to the pleasure house and banqueting room of the maharajahs of India. The maharajahs frequented these pleasure houses to get away from the hassles of ruling the kingdom. Once there, they were treated to the best food, drinks and music - I can't help it.....I like learning about these things). It is located on the 26th floor of the Rembrandt Hotel and the view you have over the city is phenomenal!!. Can't remember if I mentioned it before but Amit, who is Chris's Indian colleague, said that he had had the best Indian meal ever in that restaurant - Praise Indeed. We were not disappointed - the food was absolutely fantastic. We ordered one of their set menus so got a real variety of dishes....actually it's making my mouth water as I am writing. We had Punjabi Samosa's (Deep-Fried Puff Pastry Stuffed with Potatoes and Green Peas), Murgh Tikka (Chicken marinated in Spices and grilled in the Tandoor), Raan-E-Khyber (Lamb marinated in rum, herbs and spices then barbecued on charcoal), Murgh Makhanwala (Chicken simmered in creamy fenugreek flavoured tomato gravy) and Dal-Maa-Rang Mahal (Black Lentils Cooked with asafetida, garlic and tomatoes simmered overnight on a charcoal fire then enriched with butter and cream) to name but a few. (Bet you all want to go out and grab a curry now!!!) It was a brilliant Christmas Present and lovely that we were able to share it with Margaret and Sadie. (Thanks Margaret!!)