Mike and Allison left for Hong Kong the day after we returned from Hua Hin. Clarence and I still had a day or two after that to mop up the last few things that we wanted to do.
I went to the first class cineplex at Siam Paragon Mall and watched a movie in style. It was all pretty slick. At 600 Baht (about $16.50) the tickets were more expensive than the normal screens available, but there were plenty of benefits for the money. First there was the private lobby with couches and coffee tables. It was a nice quiet place well removed from the bustle of the masses outside. There was a bar and waiters taking orders. My ticket entitled me to a small soft drink and some little cookies. I sat and flipped through a magazine while I waited for movie time. I think there might have even been electric massage chairs in another room.
The theater itself was small in a good way, with a maximum capacity of only 25 or so. I think there were two different types of seats. One was a larger love seat kind of thing. The one I picked had an electric recliner in it. As I sat all stretched out with the provided pillow and blanket, a guy came around to take my order. I said something along the lines of “John commands that you bring him a large Sprite and a caramel popcorn posthaste!” only much more politely.
Thailand seems to release movies when everyone else does, as opposed to months behind like Japan likes to roll. As a result I had trouble deciding what movie to watch. The Day the Earth Stood Still? "What the heck is that?", I wondered to myself. It was like being released from movie exile. I ultimately decided on Transporter 3, which wasn't bad. Perhaps the coolest bit of Thai culture I received from the whole experience was the playing of the national anthem before the movie began. It wasn't just a little song either, it was accompanied by some nationalistic tribute to the king. I read in a couple different sources that “everyone stands up” for the anthem but a large portion of this money-wasting audience was foreign, so I'd say participation was around 50 percent. Super dramatic and emotional, by the end even I was just about teared up and I didn't even understand what the heck was going on. Propaganda at its finest, I guess.