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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Long weekend in Pattaya

Pattaya July 2014-05835-EditDear Matt and Mar,

Timing was just right, you two are on summer holiday and will be starting summer activities/camp soon, it was also a long weekend and most importantly your mother will be going back to work on this coming Tuesday, so the timing was just right for us to go on a short break.

Being a long weekend we were ready for a fight to find a place to stay and eat with the massive exodus of Bangkokian trying to find a place to relax just like us... haa haa haa. Anyway, we decided to go back to Pattaya to visit uncle Chat, it has been a while and Matt has been asking to go  back and we know Mar will have fun talking to uncle Chat’s dogs again, haa haa haa.

Anyway, by some miracle we managed to find a room at the usual resort (literally next door to Uncle Chat’s house). Actually I don’t think Pattaya was busier than normal, but come to think of it we’d only went into Pattaya once and that was quite late.

To beat the traffic we’d decided to leave after my work on Thursday evening, eventually the wheels turned just after eight, and we ended up at the resort at almost eleven, the drive down was peaceful, because you two were fast asleep, haa haa haa haa haa.

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Day One - Glorious Day.

We woke up to a glorious Friday morning, breakfast was terrible as usual, haa haa haa haa, your mother can go into much more detail than me, lol, with nothing really on the card we decided to have some pool time, much to the delight of the both of you.

After the swim when we were back in our room, and while Matt and us were running around doing this and that, Mar surprised all of us by falling asleep... haa haa haa, and as usual if either one of you fall asleep all of us wait, lol, and waited we did.

Pattaya July 2014-05706-EditLunch time came late, the first of many seafood for this long weekend, lol... you’ll discover soon when you are old enough that I am not picky in the slightest when it comes to food, and I mean in the slightest, lol, and that is why your mother makes all the decisions, lol, oh I do make suggestions but they are usually shot down by your mother... haa haa haa.

After lunch we headed off to Silverlake, but took the wrong entrance and ended up unexpectedly in quite an awesome place. I believe the common English name is Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan), the name leaves nothing to the imagination, but when we turned into the car park we didn’t know this place even exist, and so to see this unexpectedly was pretty amazing.

Anyway after a quick walk around the grounds we took a very, very short drive to Silverlake, a vineyard, it feels like one is popping up every other day now in Thailand, there was a tour of the facility and to get a chance to walk among the grapes so to speak, but the sun was again angry, you two were a little tired and I was too busy with the cold grape juice, haa haa haa haa, so we skipped it. Instead we stayed in the visitor area high above the vines, the breeze was amazingly cool due to the rain earlier, the view was stunning, much better than all the similar places dotted around Thailand.

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For about forty minutes we stayed to enjoy the surrounding, after which came a longish drive to a local fresh market to pick up crabs and something, something for uncle Chat’s famous barbecue :-), your mother did the shopping while us three spent time in the local park playing tag... haa haa haa. The ‘appointment’ with uncle Chat was at six but we were fashionably late much to your mother’s delight (not).

As usual Mar spent most of the night talking to the dogs, Matt was hogging the TV and wouldn’t share iPad with uncle Chat’s children (but that is going to change after our stern talk), uncle Chat, your mother and I ended up chin wagging all night :-)

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Day Two - What a day :-)
Saturday started off well enough, instead of having breakfast at the resort we decided to head to McDonald for some morning fun treat, it may not be very nutritious but the fun factor definitely was worth the trip. The first time we had breakfast at McDonald was through necessity (at the airport), and looking at how much you two enjoy this we’ll certainly do this again.

Pattaya July 2014-05775-EditAnyway, the previous evening auntie Larb suggests to us to visit a new attraction in Pattaya, ‘Pipo Pony Club’, the facility looks great and because we were there early the crowd was very light, in terms of fun I think it was more for Mar rather than Matt though.
Matt was having more fun drawing pictures in the sand while Mar was over the moon with all the tiny horses, lol. Matt decided he wanted to take a ride in the car (customised Mini) that was going around the facility, that was a surprise for me because you could walk around the place in less than 10 minutes. Anyway we decided to let Matt has his way because he certainly was not having that much fun. While that was happening Mar and I popped over to the food zone for some much needed ice cream... and that was where the fun begins.

While choosing the ice cream, the dreaded word was faintly uttered from Mar... ‘Papa, Papa, Pee Pee’... then she began to cross her legs... a sure sign of ‘must move quickly’... lol, unfortunately I was not fast enough. After profusely apologising to the staff (they were really kind), we headed off to clean up. Discovering shower facility was a surprise and  of course very welcome... haa haa haa.


 

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After Pipo almost everything went down hill, haa haa haa haa haa. We know that you two wanted to play on the beach and not wanting to disappoint the both of you, your mother and I searched high and low for a nice quiet beach, and we came up with two in Sattahip (which is the next district from Pattaya).

The plan was to find some place to eat near the beach then spend the rest of the afternoon playing on the beach, the two choices were ‘Hat Toei Ngam’ (Beach Toei Beautiful) and ‘Ao Dong Tan’ (Bay Dong Tan), both situated within the Thai Navy grounds.  To my understanding these two choices were local beaches, meaning where the local come to relax and picnic on the beach, and that involves a large amount of alcohol. This being a long weekend, these two places were absolutely jam packed.

The first stop was Ao Dong Tan, literally there were more people than the sand on the beach, and that was because there was no beach, haa haa haa. The water comes right up to the wall (that was why people were learning to sail here). Anyway we decided to drive the whole length of the seafront, by the end there was a small stretch of sandy beach, but of course by then there was no restaurant.

We weren’t worried, we still have Hat Toei Ngam, luckily on the way there (only 15 minutes away) and along the way we managed to find a restaurant for a quick lunch (it was more like 14:30 pre supper, haa haa haa).

Hat Toei Ngam was even worse, probably with more people than the previous place and after driving around for a while we were lucky to have found a parking space, not hoping for much we decided to change into our swimming gear anyway. Walking from the car to the water’s edge I was sure we would see the beach as soon as we have reached the water’s edge. We didn’t, there were steps leading straight into the knee deep sea... I was the first to reach the steps, looking back and signaled ‘help, what should we do’ kind of a glance to your mother... by then it was almost five.

As there wasn’t even enough room to sit down, your mother and I made the decision to drive back to Ao Dong Tan as at least there was a sign of a beach there. As soon as we got back my priority was to find a parking space as soon as possible, the sun was quickly setting and we just wanted you to have fun.
Well, the beach was only a couple of meter in width but it certainly was long, the quality of the sand was filthy, Mar parked herself close by, but Matt really wanted to get into the sea and was expecting as much fun as he had while we were in Phuket.

How can I say this, I was sticking very close to Matt as he walked deeper and deeper into the sea, then I saw it... a used male contraception of a rubbery kind (well I can only assumed it was used, haa haa haa). Of course that broke the camel’s back, I couldn’t lift Matt out of the water quick enough. Luckily Matt wasn’t having that much fun anyway, so we headed to the shower which sadly to say was just a little better than the sea, lol.

By the time Matt and I was out of the shower, Mar who at first was reluctant to leave the beach was now heading towards the shower, I was hoping the girls' shower was better than what Matt and I had just went through, but by your mother’s description it was definitely worse, to the extent that Mar refused to stand in the shower... haa haa haa.

Well, at least you two were clean (kind of), at first we were going to head back to the room to have another shower before heading into Pattaya for some supper and some more fun at Ripley. But the traffic was so bad heading back to the resort would have been the wrong decision. So we decided to head straight to Garden Park Royal (by chance, along the way picking up Matt’s golf clubs that were given to him from a very kind and generous old friend from our BMW days).

Ripley Believe it or not museum occupied most of the top floor with several (and expensive) games and rides, your mother’s friend recommended a couple of rides, we were sure that Matt was going to enjoy it but we weren’t so sure for Mar, lol. The first ride was ‘Scream in the Dark’ a crossover between shooting and haunted house (kart style) followed by the Infinity Maze (at Matt’s request), both of them were not bad but I feel a child need to be six or more to enjoy them.

Supper was a non event, quick and simple, and to no surprise both of you fell fast asleep in the car.

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Day Three - Going Home

We were playing safe on this third day, pool time after breakfast was a hit (as usual), then we were back in the room to pack, and once again Mar fell into a deep sleep. By the time she woke up it was almost one. Uncle Chat was there again with another recommendation for a new restaurant, Chor Seafood, the quality of food and service was fantastic, I never knew you two could eat so much :-)

Driving back was a bit of a pain though, especially the queue for the toll road was a huge pain in the bum, but after a couple of hours we were back, hoorayyyyy. Overall it was a great long weekend :-)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

End of School Year 2014

Dear Matt and Mar,

Can not believe that another school year is over for you two, Matt ends the year with what I think a Prince and Princess Dance? I understand that they wanted to end the year with a bang, hence this dance… can’t say I am use to this type of idea though and here is my old age rant… For me, the end of term was special, saying goodbye to friends (and in my opinion especially true for boarding schools) was a bit of a big deal, but everything behind it was honest and didn’t need to ‘Hollywood’ it in anyway.

End of Noddy 2014-2014End of SHB 2014-Not sure if this was because you are still in Kindergarten, and so they just wanted to have fun before you go up to year 2, which I am assuming going to get more serious. Well whatever, at least all the kids had a great time (judging by the photos), just don’t be expecting all this glitz and glam when you are home though, haa haa haa. If there is time I think we are going to send you to Buddhist school again this summer.

All in all Matt has developed quite a lot in year one, thanks to Ms Granger and her team :-) the job must have been very tiring… haa haa haa.

For Mar, Noddy ended the year with free ice-cream, which was perfect for you, your mother sent me a pic of you retiring to your little house to enjoy your ice-cream, and I just couldn’t stop thinking that your white shirt will probably be chocolate colour by the end.

Mar’s end of year report was fun to read, haa haa haa, for me I judge your happiness by the amount of singing you do, and lately you’ve been singing non stop :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

20140629 Long time coming, Full Family Ayutthaya Trip

Ayutthaya-05583Dear Matt and Mar,

In the past, whenever I am back in Thailand, every Sunday that I am back my parents and I would travel, mostly to visit temples, however since you two have arrived this ritual (no pun intended) has suddenly stopped.

Today (29.06.14) was the first time in a very, very long time that we were together on a trip as a full family (my parents, my Aunt and a cousin), and it was a fantastic day... We were supposed to be on the road by nine, but your grandmother had spent so much time preparing your snacks, haa haa haa, we didn’t move out until almost ten. Oh by the way we were all grateful for all the snacks she had prepared, it was amazing how that much food can disappear so quickly, haa haa haa.

After about an hour drive we were approaching Ayutthaya and our first stop was a small but very well known temple, it is famous because of one of its monk, Lhuang Por Glan, the temple was Phra Yart Ga Ram. It was surprising to me that my father has never visited this temple considering how many million of times he had visited Ayutthaya, and of course I was over the moon that I was able to bring him here today.

 

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The second stop was quite close by, Wat Phramen was only on the other side of Ayutthaya. Driving across Ayutthaya was literally as bad as driving in Bangkok and on a bad day too, that was surprising to my parents, then we realised it has been almost 7 years (Matt’s age, haa haa haa) since they had visited Ayutthaya, lol.

Wat Phramen is one of my father’s favourite temple, as to my understanding it was one of the only temple that was not burnt down by the Burmese (their old name) when they occupied this old capital city of Siam (old name for Thailand). Apart from all that, the Buddha’s images were quite stunning too.

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To throw things into the mix, the next stop was a place where your grandmother said we had to stop for the both of you, about 40 Km to the north of Wat Phramen was Bann Hun Lhek (House Robot Metal, a direct translation). I think I was more impressed by the place than you two, to tell you the truth it was quite pretty amazing, making popular art from scrap metal, but for me the most amazing thing were the sculptures that were made from tires... wow...

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Another 17 Kms further north (by this time we were in Sing Buri province) was where we had a rather late lunch, I think we’ve been coming here since the pangaea was still warm, lol. Let me get this out of the way, your grandmother loves to cook and is quite passionate about food, so it is rarely that she will compliment a restaurant. This one was one of her favourite, that is until today... haa haa haa. To be honest I can not tell a difference between a Chocolate and a Strawberry ice cream (of course this is a slight exaggeration, but I think  you two get the point), so for me, today’s lunch was pretty much the same as the last time we were here. Well not according to my mother, the icing on the cake was the state of their toilet, it was in dire need of renovation the last time we were here, and it was still the same today, actually worse because the last time we were here was about seven years ago... haa haa haa. I’d guess we’ll all  have to look for another place to eat now.

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The final stop was Wat Chaiyo Worawihan, in a way this is a mandatory stop, funny enough last night your mother and I was looking at the photo library and found one of Gio (heavily pregnant with Matt) sitting in Wat Chaiyo Worawihan, and that was how we know exactly when we were last here, lol. We never get tired of coming here, one of the most famous monk in Thailand was originally from this area and thus had build this temple.

In seven years, we are glad to see that the temple is now much better organised, better parking better management of the retail areas and so on, and that brought much joy to your grandfather :-) After visiting the three halls we headed back to the car to head home.

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A pretty uneventful drive back, the highlight was probably of me emptying half a cup of black coffee onto my pristine white shirt, and trying to get it off when my mother, aunt and cousin stopped to buy brooms.

We got back to the condo way past seven, and you two were fast asleep... so another dry cleaning night for you... haa haa haa.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Looking back, July 2005 – Nothing but fun.

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Dear Matt and Mar,

As a holiday goes, this one was probably one of the best, can’t really remember whose idea it was (probably your uncle Chat’s) to hire a huge van and driver, and head to Uncle Op’s house in Chantaburi.

Now what I do remember was your uncle Chat buying all of us a ‘team’ shirt, and yes we did wear it, imagine the four of us all wearing identical shirt, and by chance everyone was wearing blue jeans, and thus in effect we were all in uniform (too embarrassing to be included in this post)… haa haa haa.

I don’t even remember how many nights we were in Chantaburi, all I can remember was that every single second of this break was just absolutely terrific… haa haa haa.

At that time I had just moved to True (about 2 months in), your mother and I have been seeing each other for about 3 years, and most importantly… we were all ‘thin’, well, they were thin and I was thinner…

I think we spent about half the day at this wonderful waterfall, with about a billion fish, and by the time you are old enough to read this post, you’ll also have realised that all of us (in the pic and me being behind the camera) are all quite reserved and so this picture is very much out of the norm, lol (no, we were not drunk (if I remember correctly, well, not yet anyway), haa haa haa).

Almost ten years on, things has certainly changed, please, no need to bring out the violin… lol, of course, all changes are for the better :-)

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Huge Change is Coming…

Dear Matt and Mar,

I was going through the photos library, and found this one… I remembered walking into the room to find Mar fast asleep in her little purple princess dress :-), then I realised that Matt was once like Mar, always needing a nap in the early afternoon and look at him now, we can’t even drag him to bed at 20:00, haa haa haa. So I ran out and get the camera for a quick snap :-) In a blink of an eye all this will change… haa haa haa, but this isn’t the change I am on about…

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Talking about change, for the past few months your mother has been trying to get back onto the job market, she has been totally dedicated to you two since you two had arrived haa haa haa, and getting back has been quite difficult. She had one offer but decided against it, and then there were a couple of interviews but didn’t get anywhere. However all that had changed only in the last week.

Your mother really started in the automotive industry, and that’s how we’d met (BMW Thailand)… well the story is more complicated than, boy meet girl, felt in love, got married and popped out a couple of kids… haa haa haa. When we’d first met both your mother and I had boyfriend and girlfriend respectively (don’t get it the wrong way round lol)… haa haa haa.

Then she went to the aviation industry, Nok Air, as of this moment it is probably the most successful local low cost airlines in Thailand, and there she falls in love with the aviation industry… Now, after her second interview today, it looks like she will be starting at a SQ next month.

So we are now frantically discussing the small logistical nightmare of picking you two up after school, and someone to keep you occupied until your mother or I come home :-) Timing could not have been more difficult, in a couple of weeks it will be your summer holiday, 8 weeks of mind boggling challenge… haa haa haa, right now your mother and I are planning… Thai camp and Bangkok Dolphin for Matt, Dadi school for Mar and so on, you two get the picture… lol.

I think your mother is happy and sad at the same time, to have the opportunity to join SQ is quite a big one but the thought of not being there for you is literally tearing her apart… lol, don’t worry we’ll manage… :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tiger with wings… haa haa haa

Sriracha Tiger Zoo-05369-EditDear Matt and Mar,

When I am no longer on this earth, and my body is nothing but ashes, please kindly copy this statue and make it my urn… haa haa haa.

I came across this when you two, your mother and auntie was watching one of the show, as I said earlier, I don’t quite agree with animals performing for the fun of us humans so I’d avoided all the shows.

The scale of this magnificent winged tiger beggars believe, and my photo definitely does not do it justice. I am not exactly what you would call tall, but still and if I am not mistaken I could easily stand under the pedestal that this awesome beast was resting.

Hang on a minute… I am changing my mind… perhaps a Unicorn urn would be better… with rainbows and everything… or perhaps a winged lion? Do you think it would be too much if we have all three as well as a winged great white shark? haa haa haa haa haa.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World Cup 2014, Our Little Civil War :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Has it been 4 years already since England was robbed... err err err, ok not robbed... just knocked out of the World Cup by Germany in 2010? As you have guessed it, it is now World Cup fever here in Thailand, and this simply means we are now facing with a small civil war in our home.

Your mother has been supporting Italy since Mary was on a donkey heading over the hills towards Jerusalem, and I on the other hand have been supporting England since God was still making finishing touches on Eve. So do you know which team England had to face for their very first match for their World Cup 2014 campaign? What a start to our little civil war... England Vs Italy for their very first match... haa haa haa.

Of course I came out with the big guns, a Union Jack and a St Georges’ cross... Every two years and without fail these two would make an appearance... Football World Cup and the Rugby World Cup. I was looking everywhere for these, and of course your mother was trying her best to be as least helpful as possible, but her devilish scheme duly failed...

There is no need to mention the result between England vs Italy, as the tournament is still in a very early stage, losing the first match often means nothing (much to your mother's delight), lets just say there is no doubt in my mind that England will be the one holding up the cup at the end of this tournament, haa haa haa.

Mar is still too young to take side, Matt on the other hand is still deciding on who to support, and no... his choices are not between England or Italy... he is deciding between Germany and Netherlands... Can you imagine in 4 years time, there will be a three way civil war at home... haa haa haa.

Friday, June 13, 2014

On stage…

Concert-05217-EditDear Matt and Mar,

This performance was supposed to be on a few weeks (or even months) ago, but like so many things in  BKK at that time, it had to be postponed due to political reasons haa haa haa haa haa.

Anyway, it only gave Matt more time to practice, lol, by the way Matt’s song was ‘Seaside Stroll’. I think the school organised this perfectly, the small auditorium seated around 30 to 40 people and it was full to the brim with supportive parents. The number of performers were around 15 (age 4 to 11), that my sound a lot but each song was not much longer than a minute for younger children.

There was no stage fright, each child went up on the small stage alone and with confidence, Matt was already used to being on stage so it was just another fun time, haa haa haa. Matt had to play the song twice, the first run he nailed it like an out of the park homerun, the second run was a tiny bit stuttery, but we didn’t care and his teacher was way over the moon…

I bet you are wondering where was Mar when all this was happening, Mar was fast asleep in the pram… haa haa haa, great timing…

We are both very proud of you, well done Matt :-)

Alone... :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Today is Tuesday 10th of June 2014, you and your mother boarded a fight this morning to Chiangrai (together with your grandparents and auntie Tip). A couple of days ago your mother received the sad news that her auntie (your grandfather’s sister) had passed away. At first Matt was going to stay with me because of his school, but that meant I had to take half day off work for a couple of days, so instead, it was best (only for me according to your mother) that both of you travel up to Chiangrai with your mother and aunt :-)

So today our Google hangout has been in overdrive, your mother had just sent a few pics of the hotel, it looks fantastic, it is a shame that you all are there for a different reason rather than a holiday. I’d met Gio’s aunt a few times, what a lovely person she was, and also a fantastic cook :-) she will be terribly missed by everyone.

It certainly is a strange night for me, coming home to an empty house rather than a house full of laughter, anyway, it is only for one night. The feeling is similar to when I’d first arrived in the UK, that homesick feeling, haa haa haa haa haa haa, never thought I would have that kind of feeling again. Can’t  wait to see you all tomorrow.

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Your mother have been sending loads of pictures, Matt apparently has been a little angel, helping out with the funeral, handing out drinks and picking up trash. Haven’t heard too much on Mar though, probably just walking around... haa haa haa.

Anyway, you’ll be back tonight, I think your flight arrives at around six-ish, so you’ll probably be home around eight-ish.

LY :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Phuket 2014, Day Five - Sad to Leave

Dear Matt and Mar,

Can’t believe it was already time to go home, our flight was in the late afternoon, so after breakfast we pretty much did what we did on the previous day, headed to the beach. Once again the sky was bright blue, the sun was angry as usual, but luckily there was a strong breeze to keep us all cool. This time I’d decided to keep the camera in the car, best move ever… haa haa haa, as this allowed me to fetch even more bucket of seawater for Mar… haa haa haa.

Phuket 2014-05161-EditBecause your mother managed to arrange for a late checkout, so we weren’t in a hurry, but after almost three hours on the beach my back was looking like an old leather chair, it was time to go back to the hotel and check out.

After checking out we headed for lunch (Japanese) then we plodded towards the airport. the task now was to find the nearest petrol station to fill up the rented car before returning it, after a couple of wrong turn (your mother was not amused, but you two didn’t care) we managed to find one.

The airport was full, so many flights going to all four corners of the world, this time I’d managed to reserve a place by the widows for you two, so the plan was Mar and Gio and Matt and I were paired up, well that was at the beginning of the flight. Not long after the plane had taken off, Mar had somehow managed to negotiate herself to jump from the row behind Matt and I , and seated herself next to Matt, in effect pushing me to the edge of the seat closest to the isle… what a comfortable flight that was, haa haa haa.

I think it was eight by the time we opened our front door, of course both of you were already fast asleep. Your mother and I are already planning the next trip. I am thinking of Rayong, it has some very quiet beaches and some great waterfalls too.

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