Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hong Kong Day Two, Too much substance.

HK Day Two Page1Dear Matt and Mar,

Day Two, Too much substance, lol.

A couple of weeks prior to the trip, I had everything planned down to the minute, we knew exactly what, where, when and even why on the places we were going to visit. All the essential information were tabulated, when the attraction opens/closes, how much to enter, what to see and do, website, contact numbers, which MTR station to use and so on, it was glorious... but it was only on paper.

So on our first full day, first thing on the agenda was HK Museum of History... I wasn’t expecting much, but felt like you two should know more about HK rather than just Disneyland, lol. But I was totally wrong... the museum was fantastic, an hour scheduled became almost 3 hours!

HK Day Two Page2

HK Day Two Page3

Opposite to the History museum was HK Science museum, and Matt wanted to visit that, but it was not on the agenda... haa haa haa. Science museum was brilliant! 2 hours felt like 20 minutes... oh dear, that was when I decided to put away my perfect excel agenda list... lol.

So there was way too much substance for our first day, haa haa haa, lunch was taken in some generic place. Actually finding places to eat was quite stressful, but at the end you two were brilliant, eating whatever that was placed in front of you.

HK Day Two Page4

HK Day Two Page5

After the museums we took a short walk along the riverfront on Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, then a couple more hours of exploring the shopping area before calling it a day.

HK Day Two Page6

What a great first day, the weather held out and there was no rain, on the way back your mother spotted the ‘Big Bus’ tour operator, so on the following day instead of making our own way to the Peak and Man Mo Temple, I’d decided to purchase the tickets for the ‘Big Bus’ which is a hop on hop off bus, around HK island and Kawloon area.

Let's say, the second day was slightly challenging to start with, then ended in the most glorious way!

HK Day Two-06651

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hong Kong Day One, Nothing but the Moon.

HK Day One Page 1Dear Matt and Mar,

So finally here we are, it is now 06:55, Matt and I are now sitting in the lobby, I am drafting the ‘Hong Kong Day One’ post on a Mac whilst Matt is now opposite me playing some web games, your mother is upstairs getting ready and Mar... well, you were fast asleep when Matt and I left the room, lol. We are now starting our third day, our Disneyland day, haa haa haa. All Mar wants to do is to see Elsa, as for Matt I don’t think you care too much, just as long you are out and about, lol.

Day One, Nothing but the Moon.

[08.04.16] We’d left the apartment around 10:30, for once it was earlier than scheduled, lol, (your mother thinks I am a bit of a fascist when it comes to scheduling). Decided to take Uber rather than the usual taxi, simply because we could then be ensured that the car would be big enough to carry 2 suitcases.

Checking in at Suvarnabhumi was super fast and efficient (Cathay Pacific), but once again the immigration took the biscuits. I’d thought we could have gone through with the automated self immigration thingy... but Mar was too young to use the machine, lol. The queue got so bad the officials had to move some of the waiting travelers into the ‘fu*k you, I am loaded’ immigration room, I think they call it ‘fast track’ or something like that, luckily we were also in the group that was chosen.

HK Day One Page 2The plane ride over was nothing special, it left BKK a little late but the captain kept up with his promise and we’d actually arrived at HKG earlier than scheduled (here is me and my scheduling obsession again, lol), by the time we’d picked up our bags and sat our bums in the taxi, it was well past 19:00. I did some preparation before hand and knew how much the taxi would cost (well approximately), for 2 adults and 2 kids, taking the Airport Express would have been a poorer choice. The only terrible and most embarrassing thing was Matt, who kept letting off gas of the most foul in nature, who could think a child could produce such a terrible gas from his small behind, lol.

After checking in at Novotel, you two were of course in hyper mode so there was no point coaxing you to sleep, an absolute losing battle. So we took a quick walk close to the hotel.

So the first day was pretty much over, so we saw nothing really but the moon, even before leaving BKK I was checking HK’s weather for the next 5 days… luckily we brought your rain jackets.


HK Day One-06536

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Friend’s Monkhood Ordination

Dear Matt and Mar,

Last Saturday [02.04.2016] we were invited to attend one of our friends’ ordination into Monkhood, to you he is uncle Niti :-) In fact your mother and I, uncle Chat, Uncle Niti and his wife Aunt Nate all worked together at BMW Thailand, we are very fortunate that we all just clicked, lol. Although all of us are no longer at BMW Thailand, but we still keep in close contact :-)

Unfortunately your mother had an event at work, so she could not join, but there was no way I was going to miss this, it is a real honour to have been invited. So all Saturday’s classes were canceled, and the three of us rolled out just a little after 07:30, the temple is in the old part of Bangkok, and I was convince I was going to get lost, lol.

page 1page 2

The temple we were heading to was Wat Benchamabopit, one of the revered temple in Bangkok, amazingly I didn’t lose my way, lol, and we arrived around there around 08:00. It was nice to see so many familiar faces, although uncle Chat, uncle Tong and uncle Big were running late. Aunt Ped and uncle Mhong were there even before us, and I handed off you two to them, lol, whilst I was off taking photos haa haa haa.  You two could not have been in better hand (these two are the kindest and most caring people I know) and you were more than happy to be sitting in an air conditioned room eating pla tong goh, haa haa haa.

When the ceremony was just about to start, Matt was suddenly pulled to the front and was asked to hold one of the candle and had to walk in front of the procession. After walking clockwise around the main temple 3 times, uncle Niti threw lots of coins (will try to find out why) to the crowd waiting below, then all of us were ushered into the temple for the final part of the ceremony, where uncle Niti essentially changed from wearing white to the customary orange, after which he was no longer uncle Niti, :-)

It was a great way to spend a grand Saturday morning…

page 3page 4

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Planning for Songkran :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

[March 29th] Songkran festival is only a couple of weeks away, for this long break your mother wanted to take you two to somewhere special, to make up for not going anywhere during this past New Year. After quite a long discussion we have settled for Disneyland Hong Kong, lol.

Performing-05622Instead of travelling during the Songkran holiday (13th - 15th of April), we’d opted to travel before the festival, so we are flying out on the 8th and back on the 13th, 4 full days in HK should be more than enough. I’ve been trying to plan out each day on what to do, of course one day will be taken up at Disneyland, but for the remaining I have no idea, haa haa haa.

I think your mother is getting sick of me using this trip as an excuse to buy silly junk, haa haa haa, so far a new camera bag, a small waist bag, spare battery, phone case to say just a few, haa haa haa, she was not impressed. Anyway, back to the trip, this will be the first time we travel overseas together, and Mar’s first time out of the country, so I am really looking forward to it.

Decided to go with a new setup in the camera bag, dusted off the old Nex5 and stuck the kit wide angle lens (16mm f2.8, equivalent to 24mm) onto it, never really thought I would make use of the old Nex5 again, lol. So at hand, we now have 28 - 70mm F3.5 - 5.6 (on the ancient A7, lol), 24mm F2.8 (on the even older Nex5) and (soon to be retired) Olympus TG3 (25 - 100mm F2.0-4.9, tough/underwater cam).

At the end of the day, I think I am going to use the Nex5 more than the A7, always have this thing for wide lens, haa haa haa. Going to have a chance to test this setup out this coming Saturday as one of our close friend is entering into Monkhood, so plenty of opportunity for a bunch of shots.

This Friday is your last day of term, and the following Friday is the date we fly out, I think your mother needed this break more than anyone :-)

Qingming Festival 2016

Qingming moving outDear Matt and Mar,

Our yearly ritual arrives once again, Qingming festival, to remember our past family. This year my mother surprised us all in the most brilliant way.

The very well ran routine started around 09:00, all the food, offerings, umbrellas and ect. were carried with military precision down to the resting place of your grandmother (father's side), the tomb had been swept and washed by the local caretakers (I think this is their part time, once a year job), so the tiles were clean ready for us to do our thing, lol.


Qingming arriving

Qingming Group

Qingming Flowers

Qingming official

After all the offerings were made, and all the gold (paper), cash and passports were burnt, it was time for the surprise, haa haa haa. My mother decided that this year we should also light a few bangers, 50 plus 1 huge one to be precise, lol.

Through all the excitement I’d forgotten to take a photo of the master piece, it looked awesome hanging like a red dragon’s tail from the tree. Matt of course managed to pull off the green wick, leaving behind a small bunch of very short white strings...

Qingming 2016-06461Before lighting the firecrackers, I looked back, just to make sure that all of you were at a safe distance away, and this is what I saw, haa haa haa haa haa.

With a lighter in hand, I lit the strings... I’d thought I would have a few seconds before it starts exploding... well I didn’t, I mean I didn’t have seconds, all I had was about 3 milliseconds... my heart burst through my chest and was beating profusely on the floor, lol.

Matt was loving every second of it, the loud noise, the grey smoke, the bits and pieces flying through the air in all directions from the exploding bangers, Mar on the other hand looked horrified... Too loud, too smelly, too smoky, too messy, haa haa haa haa.

Next year your grandfather promises 100 firecrackers... haa haa haa.

Qingming 2016-06466

As years rolled by, more and more have been moved by their family to another resting place… looking back and took this photo when no was around, and I wonder how it will be in ten years time…

Thursday, March 31, 2016

To the Dentist and Museum we go…

Dear Matt and Mar,

It had been six months... time for another visit to the dentist. You two were dreading it, but you have no idea that your mother and I was far more nervous than the both of you, for the past couple of visits Matt decided to project vomit at high velocity across the room, and Mar screamed so loud the dentist and his assistant needed industrial strength ear muffs.

So for this appointment we’d decided to move up the time to 09:00, because pure and simple we were not going to give you two any breakfast! That should take care of Matt’s flying vomit issue, as for Mar all we could do was to tell her that after seeing the dentist her teeth will be as beautiful as Princess Elsa’s teeth :-) (it worked too, lol).

pageI don’t blame the nurses for looking at me funny, I was pacing up and down the waiting room like an expectant father, lol. Matt was the first one in the chair, lol, mother and Mar went too. I was waiting for the dentist to scream ‘Not again!!!!’... Well the scream never came, Matt was a trooper, he walked out with a huge grin. ‘Papa, I made it, I wasn’t sick this time Papa’.

As for Mar, she skipped out like a sugar high Unicorn, haa haa haa, not a single drop of tear was to be seen and the Doctor didn’t need his ear muffs after all.

So where to go for breakfast now that it was 10:00? Most of the places were still closed or just about to open. Bon Chon told me to go away and come back in thirty minutes, even though on its door it clearly said open at 10:00, what an arse. So Burger King it was, just something to tie us until lunch...


The last time we were at Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) your mother and Matt were in Spain, so it was only Mar and I who had a great time at the BACC. Since then I have been wanting to bring Matt here, the previous time the multimedia piece was a bit scary (a realistic (fake) head on the floor, in a darkened room being blown by a fan, the hair was moving, the head was slowly swaying from side to side, even I was a bit apprehensive, lol).

After brunch, finding a parking space at BACC was a bit of a laugh, simply there wasn’t any, so I’d decided to play safe and parked at Siam Square instead. A most welcome ‘rain’ came out of nowhere (it had been sweltering, having a bit of rain was fantastic), challenging us to find a walking route that was under cover... it was not possible and after a while it was time for lunch anyway.

After lunch, the cloud was still very heavy, but at least the rain had stopped... ‘rushing we were, running we did, to the BACC we reached’... haa haa haa.

I was so happy that you two had a great time, and I am sorry if some of my explanation didn’t quite make sense, some of the piece was way beyond me, lol.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thunder Arms

Dear Matt and Mar,

Matt scared the life out of me this morning, I was busy wasting my time doing nonsensical things as usual, I felt someone was standing behind me. First instinct, (naturally) it was either Matt or Mar, so I carried on with my essential nonsensical mission without looking back.

The nagging feeling of having someone standing motionless behind one’s back was creepy, even if it could have been one’s young child... creepy, haa haa haa haa haa haa haa.

Why motionless, why was this person watching me? Then the possibility that it wasn't Matt nor Mar kicked in... One had to look...

Trolley man-1458976443870Initially my mind was suffering from the inertia from focusing on doing that pointless thing. It was slow to process what I was looking at... I knew it was Matt, and yet five percents of my mind wasn't sure, lol. That five percentage point was as mind boggling as the time travel film ‘Predestination’ (the same person became 3 characters, he/she was his own father, mother, child, tutor and killer, please go and watch it, please also make sure you are over 18 first though, lol).

Executives’ summary, it was the prime example of ‘WTF’ moment, haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mr. Trolley

Dear Matt and Mar,

For the past couple of weekends your mother had been away, usually I would take an easy way out and cancel all of your classes on the Saturday, but by some unknown reason for this time I had decided we are going to go through the normal routine and do the full day, haa haa haa.

mdeThe worst scenario would be for at the end of the day, you two falling asleep in the car, carrying you two together would have already been tough, but adding 4 bags, a small violin and my own camera into the mix, unless I’d somehow transform into Goro (of Mortal Kombat), making it in one trip would have been impossible (not to mention on where to hold my keycard when all of the usable hands, mouth and other orifices would have already been filled, lol).

I had no doubt that Mar would fall asleep, my strategy was to keep Matt awake... haa haa haa, easier said than done... striking up an entertaining conversation for the whole of 45 minutes drive home was going to be a challenge, on the last stretch home I’d just gave up and threw Matt my phone for the final 7 minutes of the journey, haa haa haa.

Matt was superb, obviously tired, but was willing to be the human trolley, thank you for being such a great help, lol (2 rucksacks, 1 violin and 2 shoulder bags).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

On the right track…

Dear Matt and Mar,

Another weekend passes us by in a blink of an eye…  things are brewing for a change, fingers cross, lets hope it comes out in my favour :-)

Chilling Sat-06265

Today we’d visited the local temple to make a donation for the in needs, on the way out we walked past some beggars, Matt turned around and said to me, “I feel guilty Papa”.

“Guilty of what?”, “Guilty for having everything and they have nothing”… I believe ‘empathy’ is really important, looks like we are on the right track, lol.

Oh, by the way, another important news, England did the Grand Slam for this year’s Six Nations, hip hip horaaaay :-), your mother was not amused.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

We are gamers, lol.

Gamers-06230Dear Matt and Mar,

In a few weeks Matt will be 8, meaning we have had the PS4 for almost a year now (Matt last year’s BD present).

During the past 12 months, I can say Matt has played roughly 12 to 15 hours on the PS4, as for me… ohhh I would say 4,000 hours, haa haa haa.

If one draws a venn diagram of ‘games for children age 8 and below’, against ‘fun and exciting to play’, the intersection between the two circles are tinier than the tiniest grain of sand.

But at least we’ve managed to find a couple (Lego and Knack), and to see how much fun you have (always under supervision and never more than 40 minutes) was a joy. My first console was Atari (in the early 80’s), then properly hooked playing Lara on my friend’s PS1.

At first I’d thought I was going to have a hard time asking you to put the controller down and go and do your daily chores, to be honest, it was much more difficult tearing you away from your books, haa haa haa.