Bangkok from the 54th Floor

I flew to Bangkok last night for the CIS-EARCOS Conference.  That’s quite an acronym, and I have no idea what any of the letters stand for.  I just know that I’ll be spending the next two days with about 300 high school counselors and college admissions representatives learning about international college counseling.  For me, it’ll be really useful stuff.

Singapore’s airport, Changi, is regularly rated one of best in the world, and yesterday I started to understand why.  It’s extraordinarily efficient — I stood in two lines for a total time of one minute — and it has amazing food.  There’s a mini-hawker center upstairs (in Terminal 2, at least) that represents the best of Singapore’s street cuisine.  There’s also lots of fancy shopping (Prada, Gucci, Burberry) and slightly less fancy but still expensive shopping (Fossil, Converse, Mossimo).  And there’s an indoor orchid garden!  In case you’ve missed my pictures of flowers (I haven’t posted any in a while), here’s a sampling of what I saw:

They also have Travellators at Changi, which I didn’t know was a word, but here you go:

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When we arrived in Bangkok, we took a cab to our hotel.  Mostly, that involved sitting in lots and lots of traffic.  Bangkok is famous for its traffic, and rightly so (I liked the New York Times blurb a few years ago about a traffic cop in Bangkok who got so tired of his job that he walked away from his intersection in the middle of rush hour, and traffic was stopped for six hours).

Our hotel is in the middle of an area that doesn’t look like much from street level, but the rooms are impressive.  We all have suites, and the rooms all have balconies, which don’t seem particularly safe on floor 54.

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But I’m really glad I have the balcony, because it means I can walk out to see this view:

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Only in the daylight, though, do you really start to appreciate the sprawl of Bangkok.  This is a true southeast Asian city; it’s cluttered and it goes on for miles as far as the eye can see.  I face east, so you’ll miss Bangkok’s giant cluster of tall buildings — they’re mostly in the other direction.  But this is still pretty impressive.

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