Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A day on the farm :-)


Dear Matt and Mar,

What an unexpected trip, at the end of the working week and out of the blue your mother decided we all should go to 'Rai Pluke Rak' (a direct translation is 'Farm Grow/Plant Love'), I think she had been eyeing this farm for quite a while now (simply because she knew that you two would love it). At first there was a talk of spending a night in a hotel near the farm just so that we can get an early start, but during the route planning we’d discovered that the farm was actually only 77 Kms away.

Pluke Rak Farm-03157Saturday's normal routine was executed flawlessly, so early to bed you all went, soon Sunday arrived full of anticipation, I wanted to leave early because there was a strong probability that I was going to get lost, lol.

Breakfast was already prepared the previous night (fried fish and rice), that was one headache I was glad to have ticked off the list. The drive would take us out of BKK towards the North West of the country, the farm was only a couple of provinces away, the target was at the edge of Ratchaburi Province (meaning we had to drive through Nakornpathom Province first).

The plan was to have the wheels turning around eight, but of course we were late, as it had just gone nine before BKK was gradually behind us. The day was glorious, sunny sky, light traffic and four full stomach, lol... an hour and a half later we were rolling into the almost empty car park.

We were the second one there, it was quiet and absolutely serene, the place was extremely homely, the farm itself has been in business for over 15 years as a proper farm, and only for the past few years it was opened to the public. As the weather got hotter and hotter it was getting more and more difficult to grow quality salad and vegetables, that why they had to open it up as an attraction.

The whole farm is around 24 acres, so only a small portion was converted for the visitors. There were 9 stations (don't quote me on that) of various activity. Your first stop was a short introduction to the farm, inspect some worms and planted a plant (no idea what they were), the plant was to be taken home and looked after (and yes it is still alive).

Just going to let the photos show you all of the fun we had (with minimal words)... and it was great, great fun. I liked the passion of the people behind the farm, of course every station costs money (the entrance fee was already 150 for an adult and 120 for children), but it wasn't much and we knew it was going to support the farm.

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After the planting we moved on to the duck egg farm, choosing the eggs was a simple affair (the whole grounds were strewn with eggs), but the task was to coat them in salted soil and that took some doing, and in a couple of weeks we could fried the eggs for an acquired taste fried eggs.

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Feeding the animals was of course Mar’s favourite, and subsequently the wallet was deflated accordingly :-)

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I think the rice farm was next, there are several ways to plant rice, one of those is to ‘Yorn Gla’ (literally ‘Throw Rice Sprout’) technique, as it involved throwing Matt was having a fantastic time (and just before we’d left all of us returned for seconds, lol), and more ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching… lol.

Just next door to the paddy field was the kite and painting station. By the way spending over an hour trying to fly a kite with literally no wind, is like hanging out the washing during a monsoon, extremely pointless but rather good fun, you two were loving it and that’s what count.

A quick glance at the watch revealed it was time for lunch so we took an hour break to take lunch at their cafĂ© / restaurant, their menu was super limited, but what they had were universal for all kids in South East Asia or probably the world… rice, scrambled egg, fried chicken and salads (for the Mums and Dads).

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After lunch, it was more fun fun fun, Mar wanted to go back and feed the animals, but Matt had his eyes fixed on the mud slide, and we came prepared, lol, to cut long story short, he mud slide is the reason why I call you ‘Mr. Brown Pants’ now, haa haa haa.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Diwali Day 2015

Dear Matt and Mar,

To my understanding Diwali Day fell in the 11th this month, but your school decided to let you all dress in beautiful costume on the Friday, Mar was so looking forward to looking pretty, haa haa haa haa haa. Finally it was time to buy Matt a new outfit, he has been donning the same thing for a few years now, even the shirt was too small, lol.

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Your Aunt got Mar’s several weeks back, but for Matt, you really needed to visit the retail shop to try it on ‘live’ so to speak, lol. I think that you two won’t be surprised that Mar had chosen a pink one, lol. It was a great day to spend the afternoon, walking around the shop near the China Town, I don’t know if we call it Little India or not.

You two looked wonderful as usual (but I am a little bias of course, as always, lol), love you :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You are four :-)

Dear Mar,

Four years, four years already? Lol. Since your birthday this year fell on a Saturday, so for you to have a chance to celebrate with your friends, we’d decided to bring your cake to the school on the Friday.

Just from the top of my head, I don’t even remember Matt or his class being this neat :-) You and your friends’ manners were absolutely impeccable, eating like little princes and princesses, cleaned up after with such precision, followed by hand washing like little soldiers (full of determination)… haa haa haa, (your mother shared my observations, lol).

pageIt was so nice to see you being so happy while handing out slices of your cake to your friends. However, for next year, rather than having a normal cake, I think we are going to go for something different. One of your class friend is a Sikh and we’ve been told she isn’t allowed egg (nor meat) as part of her faith, and for me being there, seeing you handing out cakes while this gorgeous little girl ate apple, just didn’t feel right.

It brought me back to my Uni days, one of the housemate is a Sikh and his mother made the best samosas in the entire Universe. Each month he was given a tub full of samosas, trust me it didn’t last one night by the time we had our hands on it (he was rather kind, and a pot head too, lol).

Not sure what alternative they use for a cake, but I’ll do my best to find out though. By the way, I had to hide all of your friends’ faces in the photo, because like I’ve said before, I am not going to post anyone without their parents permission.

Mar is four-03092On the Saturday, which was your actual birthday, we’ve decided to skip all of your and Matt’s morning class so that we can spend the morning together… time for cake and presents… As usual I got you a book (Matt got a new book too) and a special present, for the longest time you’ve been wanting a princess dress... haa haa haa, now you have one.

Sunday morning, it must have been the early part of 6 am when I felt this presence close to my face, lol. It took me a couple of second to realised it was you standing almost over me with your new princess (Anna from Frozen) dress halfway up to your waist, lol. Apparently you were having a difficult time putting your arms through the sleeves, haa haa haa haa haa haa.

After the dress was fully on, you dashed out to the shoes rack… haa haa haa haa haa, oh I can see us needing another apartment just for your and your mother’s shoes, lol. I was so happy to see you so happy :-) Happy Birthday Mar, we all love you very much, just don’t hurry to grow up so fast ok? Haa haa haa haa haa.


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Friday, November 6, 2015

Super fun Weekend.


Dear Matt and Mar,

Super long time ago, your mother swapped our air miles for a 3 nights hotel voucher, and we have tried to use it so many times but it just didn’t happen, either the hotel we wanted didn’t accept the voucher or the timing wasn’t convenient, so it was kept in the drawer (more like chucked, lol).

This past weekend was the expiry date for the voucher, and your mother was determined to use it... haa haa haa, now we know that you two love to visit new places, so your mother decided to use the voucher at Chatrium. Chatrium Riverside (hotel) turned out to be a rather nice hotel, but more importantly it sits literally next to your school. Apart for the hotel, on the same grounds was Chatrium Residence (where quite a few parents have wisely decided to stay). The school, hotel and residence actually belongs to the same owner.

Friday evening, everything was packed and ready to go, by some minor miracle your mother managed to be home early. By the time we got to Chatrium you two were puzzled on why we are going to school at this time of night... haa haa haa.

It was certainly a (huge) room with a view... at first I thought it was strange to be staying here, but as always, your mother was right and I was wrong. You two were super excited, and I was enjoying it too.



pageSaturday was full of the normal routine, out of the hotel after breakfast and didn’t return until quite late. Sunday started with a swim (great fun) followed after lunch with a birthday party, and in the evening our supper was taken at my parents.

Whose Birthday party was it? One of Matt’s close friend (same class), Sophia, the birthday party was held at Funarium, as it was the Halloween season the amount of fun just multiplied by a thousand, haa haa haa.

Only the day before, we walked past a rack of costumes and one definitely caught your mother’s eyes, zombie surgeon... just take my money already... haa haa haa. Matt also wanted the arrow through the head thingy, lol, as for Mar it was a huge red squeaky nose, haa haa haa.

So we were ready for Sophia’s Birthday party, Funarium was all decked out in black drapes and was super mysterious, lol. Matt and Mar was super excited, as soon as we’d checked in Matt dashed off to give Sophia her present, and Mar was not too far behind.

The party was excellent (sorry, I can’t post any photos of you and your friends together without their parents’ permission), full of fun games, cakes and of course balloons, lol, after the party there was the rest of funarium to enjoy. Matt wanted to go into the Haunted house (well it was more like a room), and it was an absolute waste of money, because Matt walked all the way through the maze with his eyes tightly closed, and had the nerve to tell me to go first... haa haa haa.

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The laser room was more fun though, at the end of the darkened room was a sword (just imagine excalibur), between you and the sword were green lasers crisscrossing like an uneven net, the task was to get to the sword, pick it up and return to the safety zone in 30 seconds, of course without touching the laser, and Matt almost made it as well, lol.

Mar had a brilliant time with Nada (a class friend), whose brother is also in Matt’s class, and I was watching you two like a hawk, lol. 3 hours just flown by and you two could have stay here all afternoon, but we had to visit my parents.

The plan for Monday was a simple one; get up early, quick wash, take breakfast downstairs before ‘walking’ to school (now we know why so many parents decided to stay at Chatrium Residence). We executed the plan flawlessly, with just one wrong variable... ‘time’... haa haa haa haa haa, even being next door, somehow we managed to be late! lol. It didn’t help that I had packed the wrong PE kit for Matt, silly me, decided to pack his PE kit from when he was five... haa haa haa (had to buy a new one before going to class).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Half Term Khao Yai, Day Three - Driving to nowhere

PA251471Dear Matt and Mar,

Day Three - Driving to Nowhere.

As this was only a short break, we were due to check out today, but without another bout of pool time, lol. During breakfast I was mentally preparing for the frustration of the journey home. End of a long weekend and part of the roads were under construction, one might as well add in a couple of Godzillas into the equation, the traffic couldn’t get any worse.

The plan was to have breakfast, swim time and drive out for lunch somewhere near the national park, that part of the plan was executed flawlessly, haa haa haa. Lunch was taken (full marks to your mother again) in a small roadside (very) local eatery, it was really nice :-) But as soon as we got back into the van, your mother and I knew that soon you two will be heading to sleepy land, lol.

Khao Yai-02715We decided to drive to the National Park anyway, hoping that you two would wake up by the time we’d arrived, besides the national park wasn’t too far away... well, it wasn’t far if one was to drive the right way... haa haa haa, of course I went the wrong way, in fact it was so wrong we’d decided just to head home... sorry... haa haa haa, luckily you two were fast asleep (just imagine, I had somehow managed to miss one of the biggest mountain ranges in Thailand, lol, no wonder your mother was a bit miffed).

Not need to elaborate on how bad the traffic was to get home, it got so bad I’d decided to accept one of those dodgy Google Map’s suggestion... the paved road soon turned into a dirt road, which then shrank to no wider than the width of the van, lol, it was like driving through the Jurassic period, you have never seen a man so happy to see paved road once more, lol.

With a mandatory petrol station stop, the whole trip took almost 4 hours, haa haa haa, doubling the usual amount of time, but at least we arrived home safely. Mar was so cute, she woke up during the stop and asked where were the mountains, haa haa haa, sorry.

It was a great long weekend, I think we’ll try the lakes next (North West of Thailand), that is if don’t get lost again, lol.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Half Term Khao Yai, Day Two - To the Farm

PhotoGrid_1445654257038Dear Matt and Mar,

Day Two - To the Farm.

The morning of the second day was fantastic, being in the mountains the temperature was cool, together with the light breeze, one couldn't ask for anything more, it was so nice to be away from the city, not surprisingly Khao Yai is one of the most popular places to get away for the people of Bangkok.

We were up early (well early for a holiday, lol), the evening before the owner of the resort came by and asked if we wanted to ‘Tak Bart’ (offer food to monks in their alms bowl), of course we wanted to, the monks were supposed to be walking by around 7 ish, and we knew you two would be up way, way before that :-) It was great to have the opportunity to offer the food, an extremely nice touch in deed.

Breakfast was a bit of an affair though, lol, because this was a small family run resort, choice of breakfast although great for grownups, but for young children could be a bit challenging (although the Kao-tom was great), but the resort was willing to cook something off the menu :-)

After breakfast was a short walk around the small resort. It must have been around 10 when we headed off back to Chokchai farm, the mission was to join in on one of those organised tour inside the farm, unlike other places, here they were organising the visitors in rounds, each round is 20 minutes apart and can only accommodate 75 people per round. To be honest, foolishly I didn’t expect there would have been that busy... haa haa haa. We got there just a little before 10:30, great I’d thought we could catch the 10:40 round... lol, we were booked on the 11:20 round, lol. At least there was an ice cream parlour near by... Mar was loving it.

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Not going to talk much about the tour inside the farm, there were 3 different stations (we were driven around by a tractor pulling 3 large seated trailers), there was a show (free) at each station, and we were also given time to roam around to enjoy the various (have to pay) activities (before the show starts), a jolly nice way to spend 2 to 3 hours, especially with younger children, not sure if a teenager would enjoy it though.

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Lunch was taken late, decided to go for a burger, but Mar was having none of it, haa haa haa, so Mar and your mother moved to another place. After lunch we’d decided to head back to the resort instead of going to the Khao Yai National Park. That was the right decision, because your mother and I had to carry you up to bed when we arrived back at the resort, haa haa haa.

Afternoon swim was a bit of a laugh, this time I had to join in too, oh how I love swimming in cold water :-), Supper was nice and uneventful haa haa haa.


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Half Term Khao Yai, Day One - Snail pace


20151023 Half TermDear Matt and Mar,

Half Term had already been and gone, and to be fair your aunt has been superb in keeping you two busy during these past ten days, and luckily one of Matt’s (and also Mar’s) close friend Sophia who lives in the same building were all able to spend time together, simply just doubling the fun.

Monday was Funarium, Tuesday was cycling at the Railway Park, Wednesday Matt has his Thai class (also visited your mother at work) and Thursday the team spent time at the Children's Museum, at the end of each day both of you literally ran out of battery, haa haa haa haa haa.

The end of Half Term break coincides with the long weekend, I was apprehensive in going up country during any long weekend, or any national holidays, from experience it was more painful than a root canal to be going anywhere outside of BKK during these public holiday, just too many people and the traffic are simply horrific.

Because it was the only free time that your mother has, we’d decided to take you out of BKK and risk the woe of traffic and the crowd. Instead of heading to the sea, I thought we should try to go the other way and head to the mountains and the forests. Your mother’s magic was at work once more, she’d managed to find a reasonable place which looked pretty good.


Khao Yai-02464Day one - Snail pace.

We were up pretty early on Friday, luckily your aunt was also here to help out, everything was loaded and the wheels turned at just a little gone eight. I took a deep breath after seeing Google map though, 3+ hours was the estimated travel time, usually it would only take 2 hours or less...

3+ hours? No problem, the petrol tank was virtually full, you two were fed, but more importantly your mother and I were tanked up with Coffee, lol. Deep down I thought I could make it in less than 3 hours... To cut a long story short, three and a half hours later (haa haa haa haa, the traffic was horrendous) we arrived at ‘Ville De La Vie Khao Yai’, a family run small resort (around 15 bungalows and rooms in total, been in operation for about a year).  





The resort was small, but it was a joy to be staying here. Their service was superb and the food was fantastic, there were horses, a nice salt water pool, and bicycles, enough to keep you two busy during the down time, lol. It was just a little before noon when we’d checked in. After an early lunch, the plan was to hit the road once more to the surrounding attractions, but your mother had to work, so we did the next best thing that was to hit the pool (to all honesty I think you’d preferred the pool rather than going out anyway).

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One of the obvious attraction was the Chokchai Farm, so by around four we were off to the farm (15 mins drive away), they have organised trip inside the farm (around 16 rounds a day), obvious we were too late to join, so we’d decided to have some fun with the feeding stations outside (sheep and cows), you two had a field day, and my wallet suffered, haa haa haa.

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Chokchai farm is also known for their restaurants, and that was where we had our supper, Mar wanted nothing but fish and chips, but they didn’t have it... lol, ended up ordering a piece of grilled salmon and a plate of chips... “there you go Mar, fish and chips”... “Great Papa, thank you”, haa haa haa. Matt ended up with a huge pork chop but the restaurant was actually well known for their beef menu which suited your mother really well, lol.

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By the time we arrived back to the resort, Mar was already in dreamland and Matt was not far behind, lol. Because our room was next to the pool and the restaurant, your mother and I played a little truant :-) and hopped down to the bar... haa haa haa, a couple of drinks each wasn’t too much to ask, was it, lol.