Here are some photos:
Friday, October 2, 2009
We've tried to post some pictures for previous days but no joy so far. Stay tuned.
For now the storms seem to have passed, we had a beautiful day today. Starting with a walk on the beach just after dawn. Mid morning we each had 90 minute pedicures. Talk about the full treatment! It was great. After which, we had our obligitory mid day Tanq and tonic, followed by a lunch at La Trattoria at Dusit Thani, an adjacent resort down the road, all a part of the Laguna complex I wrote about yesterday.
Karen is out taking pictures of the sunset (fairly early here as it's just 5:45, then we're back to the Dusit as we really liked the menu at the Thai restaurant there when we checked it out. We leave the Banyan Tree on Saturday morning (tomorrow) but frankly we'd rather stay. The Indigo Pearl is has a high standard set for it. We'll see.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Caution: If you have vacation envy, do not read this post. Right now, we're in an "as good as it gets" situation.
It's Thursday afternoon and I'm sitting in our one bedroom villa at The Banyan Tree in Phuket, Thailand. While we don't exactly have the glass enclosed bedroom shown in the pictures (I've tried to post some pictures but Blogger seems to be having a problem. Stay tuned as they say.), our private compound does have an eight foot wall around it. The wall gives us privacy in our infinity lap pool which becomes a reflection pool at night from the sliding glass doors in our bedroom. There is a raised sitting area at the other end of the pool in a separate deck with a little Thai house around it. So we have multiple areas to lounge around. The private pool is great though. Gotta have one at home!
This morning, I woke early (jet lag is putting us to sleep mid evening which is fine) and answered some email and checked the news online. When Karen woke, we walked over to the beach and saw some tremendous waves (red flags were up). The storm that hit the Phillipines and Vietnam, combined with storms over India headed our way results in lots of clouds being sucked off of the Bay of Bengal right over us. (See Phuket weather). Still, it's a balmy 86 degrees this afternoon.
After our walk to the beach, we took our morning swim in the pool, followed by another great buffet breakfast. As mentioned a few days ago, I hate buffets, except at fine Asian hotels and resorts at breakfast. The variety trying to please tourists from all over the world is incredible. And, you can add a bunch of different Thai spices and sauces to anything.
Today was spa day, but before our massages, we took a boat through the lagoons and did a little shopping. Found a Jim Thompson outlet store. For those of you who have been to Thailand, you know that Jim Thompson is the gold standard for Thai silk and Thai fashion. Great stuff in the outlet store although we are looking forward to going into downtown Phuket tomorrow for the big store. And several others. More on that in the next couple of days.
We did not realize that the Banyan Tree in Phuket is on a larger resort complex called Laguna Phuket which has something for everyone. The complex is on the site of an old tin mine and they have done a truly wonderful job of taking the wiped out lagoon and making it something. There is a Sheraton Grande, Dusit Thani and several other hotels and time shares here, all on a wonderful lagoon bordering a great beach. At any rate, there are small ferry boats that transport people from place to place along the several lagoons and canals here. Yeah, it's faster to take the bus along the road, but the boat is cool. We'll use it tonight to go to another place for dinner, as among the 1/2 dozen fine hotels there are probably 30 places to eat. And even the Thai food is different from place to place, even in the same resort. Yesterday at lunch at the Banyan Tree Cafe, the Tod Man was very different from the Thod Mun at the Saffron where we had dinner (same dish in theory). One of the great things about Thai food here these days is that pan Asian and international influences have caused a lot of chefs to modify how they cook. For instance, last night with one of our dishes, we had asparagus and you would have never seen that in Thailand 20 years ago.
Anyway, after shopping, we took the boat back and were almost late for our massage (oh, the pressures of the life of leisure) we had a 90 minute Thai massage in an incredible out door, Lanai type of setting. Very peaceful and satisfying. Set up for couples. A choice of incense, oils, type of massage (why would you get anything but Thai here?) just wonderful.
Holy shit (as my grandma used to say, pardon my French), but the rains just hit. They have been threatening all day. Really a downpour. They say it does not often last long so hopefully it will lighten up before we head to dinner, otherwise, we are taking the road, not the boat.
Had a nice drink at the bar (shown behind the glass wall in one of the promo photos) (good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it's Tanquerey and tonic, right?) after our massage and then a nice lunch, after which we came back to the villa to chill out. Brought our portable Bose speakers and are listening to a nice mix of jazz, world music, Brazilian tunes from the last 50 years and Steely Dan.
I'll try to fill in on the days we have not posted and get some more pictures up real soon.
Monday, September 28, 2009
It's Tuesday morning in Singapore. We've basically been pretty lazy. Hanging out at the hotel, some pool time, both catching up on reading and relaxing.
On Sunday night, we watched the F1 race on local TV. We probably saw more than the folks who paid a lot of money to see it at the course. Really impressive. Not only a night race on city streets, but the race went under a couple of freeways as well as under part of the stands. You know now by now that Hamilton won the race, leading all the way. As with a lot of sports, the information we got watching on TV was probably much more than the people saw live. Quite a race. A big event in Singapore and glad we watched so we could talk about it with people.
Yesterday morning, we went to the National Museum. A lot of what you would call pop art. but a very interesting exhibit on local food history including an outline of the history and origination of all of the spices. Had no idea that, until the Portuguese brought peppers here from South America, there were no hot chili peppers in Asian food. So we have the Portuguese to thank for Szechwan food? Pretty amazing. But also learned a lot about many of the other spices that caused this area to be called the Spice Islands in the middle of the last Millennium.
After that, we joined Fionn Hyndman for lunch at a British Pub called the Penny Black. We first met Fionn at the iMedia Summit in Hunter Valley Australia where he talked about his testing on attribution protocol. I wrote about this for MediaPost Metrics Insider. Fionn always has good ideas and thinking about where our market is going and it was great to get a perspective on the business in this part of the world prior to heading up to iMedia in Phuket Thailand next week. Actually we are going up on Wednesday (tomorrow) but we're going to spend a few days R&R prior to the conference.
After lazing at the pool in the PM, we had dinner with Ann Burgraff Rowell and her husband Chris. Chris works for Oracle and Ann is a web advertising consultant here in Singapore. Very good food at IndoChine along the Singapore river. Great Pan Asian food in a very beautiful setting. Funny, one of our favorite restaurants in the Pacific Northwest is IndoChine in Federal Way.
I don't think I posted a link of the Shangri-La that we are staying at so here it is. Our room is in the Garden Wing, overlooking the pool. Highly recommended.
Heading out into the day in Singapore. More later today or tomorrow when we get to Phuket.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Caught up with sleep (11 hours!) and had a swim in the pool.
Karen took some pictures yesterday that I hope to upload after breakfast. I love the breakfast at the Asian fine hotels. Here they have a station for everything. Custom made omelet, lots of fresh fruit including
papaya, cantalope and lots of other melon, many kinds of juice, fresh pastries, cheeses, smoked fish, something from every type of breakfast cuisine including Japanese, Scandanavian, two Chinese stations (deem sum and congee), two Indian stations (yoghurt and traditional) and others.
After breakfast yesterday (day 1), we took a walk down Orchard Road,
noted for shopping. Just about everything you could imagine from very high end (think Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue) to bargain electronics and everything in between. We ended up at the Long Bar in Raffles.
Never been there and glad to have finally made it. Had
a gin (Tanquerey) and tonic and a draft Heinken. The Raffles is archtypical colonial British enclave. Great architecture. The bar was classic.
See picture at the right. The picture up above is me after a couple of drinks at the Long Bar.
We were kind of tired from the long trip so did not do too much else yesterday except for dinner at the Shang Palace in the hotel. Which was ok, but not great.
We are staying at the Shangri-La in Singapore. In the garden wing. With a balcony overlooking the pool. All of the balconies have bougainvilleas streaming off of them and it is quite a side. And the gardens are beautiful with huge plants of all sorts.
We came in the middle of race season and tonight is the Singapore Formula 1 race. Preceded by the Aston Martin, BMW and other races this PM.
I think it is the only night race on the circuit. That, combined with the city streets makes it unique. Lots of race fans around and about.
This picture here is looking down on part of the race course from a hotel bar. Speaking of cars, I could not believe the number Ferraris and Lamboghinis on the street here. There does not seem to be any recession at all in Singapore.
Time for breakfast. More later.
Here are a couple of more pictures from yesterday. The inner court at the Raffles and the front of Raffles.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Just 2 more days and we will be on the plane to Singapore. Karen McFee, my wife and partner in all things (including Mediasmith) and I will be visiting Singapore, meeting with friends and some industry associates, shopping and eating and generally enjoying Singapore. Karen is an excellent photographer so we will be posting photos along the way. After Singapore, we'll head to Phuket for eleven days, including some time at a wonderful spa and the end purpose of our trip, the iMedia Agency Summit in Phuket.
Check back here for more info.