I’ve never seen anything like it before. There was even a cute little girl loving the fishes on her feet. If she can do this… Then anybody can!
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I dived my feet right in. Immediately it tickled. I had my mouth open in laughter for the first 5 min. The experience is for only 15 minutes and costs 150 baht (approximately 5$ and change).
Unfortunately, the fish spa isn’t as popular in Bangkok and I had expected. I had to take two trains from my hotel to the location. This spa is located at a popular tourist destination called Asiatique. It reminds me of Pointe, Orlando off International drive.
The journey to the fishes was worth the time in travel. This was a fun and unique experience.
Traveling in Bangkok certainly poses a number of challenges when it comes to iconography. The symbolic representation of images for other objects or actions is a pretty common in most cities and countries. It creates a visual short hand to quickly communicate information.
Here in Bangkok the use of icons helped us to find everything from trains to taxis to restaurants. However, searching for the restroom at a while detouring through a shopping center created more questions than answers.
I took a quick survey of my cohort members and the majority of them felt that none of these images was a accurate representation of using the restroom. We followed the sign and made our way to a dead end in our path. There was no restroom and assumed we simply misinterpreted the icons. That is until one my my more observant peers saw the following hiding in plain sight.
What appeared to me to be a store front for a some futuristic postmodern international Abercrombie & Fitch, was in fact the ever elusive restroom we were seeking. While traveling in Bangkok it became clear that one’s world view is not necessarily the view held by the rest of the world. In the end we were a little wiser and pleasantly relieved.
His name is Bhumibol Adulyadej, but no one calls him that. He goes by the title of King. Thailand is legally a constitutional monarchy, much like the UK, with a King as more of a figurehead leader. Officially, he has no giverning power but he is one of the predominant binding forces keeping the Thai People together. Thailand has experienced many political coups in the past decade and is currently under martial law with talks of elections in the future. With all of this political turmoil; however, The Country of Thailand is a stabilizing force in Southeast Asia. Bangkok has become an economic powerhouse in the region and draws in tourists, trade, and culture from all over the world. Something didn’t seem right to me though. How could a country be both politically unstable and a region stabilizer at the same time? The answer is two fold: the king and Buddhist ideals of balance and peace. The king is widely adored by his people. The city is covered with images of both the king and his eldest daughter who recently celebrated a birthday. This adoration and respect for the king is pervasive and is seen in almost every aspect of Thai life. Take the movies for example. After the previews the theater plays the king’s anthem and a tribute video. During this video the entire audience stands silently in respect of the king. When political unrest begins to boil and a coup unfolds, the king is there to give his blessing to the new government.
The king and queen have four children. The eldest child, the one who traditionally would ascend to the throne after his father’s passing, is unfortunately not liked by the Thai people. He is not celebrated or really even mentioned. This brings me to the elephant in the room. What happens when the king, who is 87 years old, passes? This is the million-dollar question. Will the prince be king? Will the king appoint his eldest daughter as the Queen breaking tradition but in doing so perhaps provide more stability? Will Thailand cease to have a king? The princess is loved by her people and could bring stability to the region, but if the prince is coroneted as king there is a very real possibility that Thailand could be heading for some rough waters ahead.
When travelling to a foreign country one of the first things on your to-do list may not be to go see a movie in the theaters, however in Thailand I definitely recommend this! Showing respect to their King and Royal family is very apparent here, even before seeing a movie in the theaters. I was told about how they show a short video in honor of the King prior to the movie and after hearing this I was very intrigued by this concept, so I knew this was something I had to do! It also didn’t hurt that I soon found out Jurassic World was playing in the 3D Imax theater nearby, and in English! So, I made my way to the movies with some members of the cohort.
The theater experience itself was a bit different than in the states as well, we had to select our exact seats when purchasing the tickets, something I wasn’t used to. Once tickets and snacks were in hand we made our way to the theater. We sat down in our assigned seats and got ready to watch the previews in anticipation of the King’s tribute.
We watched a few previews of movies and then all of a sudden a slide came on the screen. In Thai and in English it asked for everyone watching to please stand to pay their respect to the King. Everyone in the theater did this so quickly and without hesitation, it was amazing and very powerful. The theater was silent as everyone watched as the video went through some key moments in the King’s life. The video was only a few minutes long. Once it was finished I looked around, as everyone was still standing in silence. Most of the viewers bowed to pay their respects and then proceeded with sitting down and getting prepared for the movie. Everyone seemed very accustomed and used to this tribute, which just goes to show how much this country pays respect to their Royal family on a daily basis.
“June 24th- what a day! we started out with a morning full of preparation for our presentation to the New Directions, Curious Creamery brand. This brand is working to change the “tradition” way we think of ice cream into a new, innovative way to get creative and have the freedom to create ice your way. The ice cream industry hasn’t changed in 100 years but New direction is challenging that way of thinking in a very exciting way. We were all very nervous because we have been working on this presentation and project for months now. The morning flew by. Around 1:30 we were on a bus headed to the McDonalds offices to begin our presentations. This was the moment we were all waiting for- nerves and excitement took over! There were 4 groups and each group had a different focus on direction for this start up business to go. The presentations were 20 minutes a piece and each group did a great job in expressing their work to the larger audience. What a rewarding relief is was to be completed. We all feel so lucky to be able to be here in Thailand to present this to the team. Typically presentations I do oversees is through video conferencing. Another highlight of this afternoon was we finally got to try the ice cream- YUM!!”