Winter Travels – Bangkok (Day 2)

Day two in Bangkok and I thought initially I’d go to the art gallery, which I could get to by train. However, on checking the opening times, I found out that it was closed on Mondays. So, instead, I decided to go to the park, which was located nearby my hotel. It was a nice day, and it took about an hour for me to wander around.

Lunch was in the food court on top of the shopping mall I’d been to, and I went to what’s called the ‘Moomin Café’. I’d seen this the previous day after I’d had lunch, and I’d heard all about the one in Tokyo, but I was unaware of the cafe anywhere else. I’m not totally familiar with all the characters of the stories, though I did used to watch the cartoon series on television when I was younger. But I went and ate there all the same, which was not bad, and it was quite quiet too. If you go there by yourself, the staff will put one of the Mommin characters next to you, so you feel less lonely.

Now, I’m not really one for traditions, but a few I think are good. One is watching films during my winter holidays. But not just any films. In my first winter break in China, I went to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. It was also the Lunar New Year there, so I was the only guest in my hotel. However, it did allow me to watch TV, which might not seem that big a deal, but at the time, I didn’t have a TV so I hadn’t watched anything in a few months. Whilst there, I saw the film Paddington, which, in this Brexit-focused world, where immigration is seen as something bad, it was a nice contrast to this, and shows the positives of immigration. Jump ahead a year, and I was in Hanoi, Vietnam. Whilst there, I happened to be flicking through the film channel and discovered the film Zootopia. This was a film my students had talked a lot about, but I’d never seen it. It celebrates diversity and individuality. Now, in my third winter holidays, I was thinking what film would I see this year. Well, I didn’t see anything on TV, but I did check the cinema listings and came across a film I did really want to watch, at the cinema. So, I decided to go that afternoon to watch it. The film, The Post, focused on the true story of the Pentagon Papers and The Washington Post in the early 1970s. It highlighted important issues about freedom of the press, very relevant in today’s somewhat cynical and anti-press (not to mention fake news) world. So, my third winter holidays I got to see another inspiring, and important, film, this time about free press.

The trip to the cinema was, itself, interesting. The film was in English with Thai subtitles, and the screen was in the same mall I’d been to the previous day, with the aquarium in it. Before the film, the national anthem of Thailand played, and all the Thai audience members stood up, which was interesting, given I hadn’t experienced this before (and I’m not sure I would do it if it was in the UK).

After the film I went back to the hotel, and had a swim in the pool. Then I went for food, before returning to the hotel.

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