Monday, February 13, 2012

While The Cat's Away...

With the kids away on their respective field trips Wednesday through Friday and PeePorn available to stay with the dogs, Kevin and I took advantage of being "sans les jeunes filles" (is my French correct?) and spent Thursday night downtown.  We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Erawan, located in Bangkok's premier shopping district and just up the street from Kevin's office.  It is so hard to believe this hotel is right in the middle of the chaos that is Bangkok...
Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel Bangkok
Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel Bangkok - Swimming pool
The Grand Hyatt has a bit of history as it shares one corner of the intersection of Ratchadamri and  Ratchaprasong Roads with the very popular Erawan Shrine.  Some background on the Shrine...  

The Grand Hyatt was not the first hotel built at this location.  The construction of the Erawan Hotel began in the late 1940's-early 1950's but the project was quickly delayed by a series of mishaps - budget overruns, injuries & deaths to construction workers and the loss of a shipload of very expensive Italian marble intended for the hotel.  It was believed these misfortunes were occurring because construction of the hotel had begun on the "wrong" date.  In 1956, under the advice of an astrologer, the Erawan Shrine was built to help eliminate the bad karma and the evil spirits associated with the site.  I imagine the Shrine was intended to be comparable to a Thai Spirit House ( Incredibly, after the shrine was built, the accidents and misfortunes stopped, construction was completed and the hotel became very successful.  All of these success led Thais to believe in the effectiveness of the Shrine and it is one of the most revered sites in Thailand.  Unfortunately, the great significance of the Shrine to the Thais was demonstrated in 2006 when a mentally disturbed Thai man destroyed the statue in an act of vandalism and was beaten to death in broad daylight by onlookers. In 1987, the Erawan Hotel was demolished and the Grand Hyatt Erawan was built on the site.  

There are always large crowds that are worshiping and praying at the Shrine, with hope the four-faced Hindu god, Brahma, will hear their intentions.  A lot of vendors sells incense, candles, flower garlands and other gifts for worshipers to offer to Brahma and those items decorate the area around the Shrine.  If a wish comes true, a worshiper will thank Brahma with a gift of a teak elephant, a live orchestra performance or a dance performed by classical Thai dancers.  Obviously, the corner is always very colorful, lively and fragrent.  The photos below are courtesy of Marc Aurel.
Brahma Statue, Erawan
File:Erawan-Schrein top.jpg
Erawan Shrine, Bangkok
  Thai dancers at Erawan Shrine
Kevin and I had a nice evening downtown.  He met me at the hotel after finishing work and we took the BTS (Bangkok Train System) to a tailor to pick out fabric for some shirts and pants that Kevin was having made.  The tailor was located in a very interesting part of town and, although it certainly was not dangerous, I was glad to be out of that area by dark.  We walked around for a while and found a German beer garden (quite popular here for some reason) and had a drink there before having a great dinner at a restaurant called, "Limoncello".  

Have a great Monday!

No comments: