Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Hotel Grand China Pincess, Bangkok

My family and I stayed in this hotel for 4 nights in the 3rd week of December 2007.

When we checked in, they showed us a tiny suite for 4... my dad felt suffocated on entering the suite and when I called the reception, they immediately arranged for us to be shifted to a palatial suite... at no extra cost. It was so speedy and done with so much courtesy that I was really astounded and happy.

The service, throughout our stay, was like this... prompt and polite, and no one lingered for a tip. Rooms were cleaned and made up everyday, it was spotless. Sure the corridors smell of smoke, but what do you expect from a smoking floor?

The revolving restaurant in the top had some amazing views and will be ideal if you have someone with you to impress. Yes, the food is overpriced, but the ambience makes up for it. The complimentary morning buffet (served from 6:00 to 10:00) is delicious and had over 30 dishes, even Indian pulao!

There are, however, three minor problems I had. The pool was open only after 9am... it was difficult to have a dip when we had a busy touring schedule ahead of us. Like most other hotels in Bangkok, we had problems with English-speaking staff... we had to speak real slow to make them understand what we were asking... and the internet cost 200 baht an hour! Really steep!

Apart from those few minus points, GCP is a gem of a place to stay in Chinatown. The staffs in the reception were always smiling, and the concierge and the porters were very willing to help us, and guide us. I'd definitely return!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My article in LITTLE INDIA

By Radhika Meganathan

The ancient gray and blue carpet covered the entire floor of the Indian air carrier we boarded in New York. Most of the passengers are harried couples with children, searching woodenly for their seats. One wailing baby crawls on the floor and wets himself. The stain spreads slowly on the carpet.

Impatient nudges prompt me to find and slump on my seat. The plane starts to vibrate, while I continue staring at the stain on the carpet. I could have flown Singapore Airlines, but picked this one because it was cheaper. After all, I will not be paid in dollars in India.

I still am not able to believe it. I have spent my whole life dreaming about living in America. And now, after I made the impossible leap, I am leaving. In fact, I have left... we are now in mid-air.
A sigh escapes me. I first came to the United States in 2004 on an international fellowship. It had hit me in the arrival lounge at Newark International Airport - introverted middle-class Indian women do not get all-expense paid trips and fellowships. But here I was, in the land of my dreams.

I was in the US only for a month at the time. But it changed me forever. No pressures. No guilt. No judgment. And so much beauty. Such delights motivated me to return the following year on an internship, working for the same magazine that had awarded me the fellowship.

Lost in thought, I am brought back to reality by a slight touch on my forearm. When I notice my next-seat companion, I groan silently. Trust the fates to seat me beside a leering Indian businessman. This one looks slightly older than my father.

"Hi, I own a motel in Kansas," he says, licking his lips. "Ever been in a motel?"