On the Chao Phraya River (แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา)

Resting on the river that is the life-blood of Thailand--the Chao Phraya is the longest and by far the most-utilized river of the country--is the Royal Orchid Sheraton of Bangkok. Elevated just off its lobby is a comfortable bar with plush seats, low tables, and a nice rectangular bar overlooking the going-ons of the hotel shops.

I was witness to a photoshoot of traditionally dressed Thai women that attracted a lot of attention from visiting Westerners.

I decided upon two drinks. The first was called a Sa Bai Sa Bai, which, according to the young but gentlemanly barkeep Nirat, is Thai for something along the lines of "How are you?" and also "Fine, thank you." My Thai vocabulary just doubled simply by ordering this cocktail.

Made from Maekhong [sic] Whiskey, orange curacao, mango juice, and red grenadine (they seem to be big fans of the later in this city), the Sa Bai Sa Bai is sweet, yet firm, and basically nice and tasty. The drinks in Bangkok, as with the food, tend to be sweet.

The thing that really carries this drink, aside from the heart-shaped watermelon wedge garnish of course, is the whiskey. The Maekhong, or Mekong, Whiskey is named after the river of the same name that runs through six countries including Thailand. (Rivers seem to be a theme today, huh?) It's a really nice spirit, although it much more closely resembles a rum than a whiskey in flavor. If you can get your hands on this stuff back home, I'd certainly recommend a slow slip.

Good thing the Thais are fans of sweet things because the fruit here is indescribably delicious. So I gave one of the Royal Orchid's "mocktails" a try. The menu said that the Melon Medley contained cantaloupe, lime, and orange juice but what I was given was more accurately made from the juices of a sweet yellow melon, lemon, and pineapple. Regardless, it was delicious. Sipped that up in few seconds flat.

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Sa Bai Sa Bai!