Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pattaya, here we come :)

The Plot

Your mother, Chat (or uncle Chat to you) and I, all met up while we were working at BMW (my first job in 1999 @ BMW Thailand), it must have been because we were individually running on the same wavelength because we got on really well from the first instance we met, as you know (of course) I ended up marrying your mother and Chat was the best man at our wedding.

As we all have our own paths to take (or not to take), and to leave this long story to another day, uncle Chat now works on the edge of Rayong Province and lives in Pattaya (may I say Las Vegas of Thailand? (but no gambling (officially))). 

Just as a guess, he must have been working here for a couple of years now, and so it comes with no surprises when he told us he had just bought a house and wanted us to come and take a look, not until last Saturday (19th) that we had an opportunity to go, this would also kill 2 birds with one huge stone.

Another friend from BMW is retiring, he is an expat (Uncle David from the UK), so he and a few colleagues had decided to have a get together in Pattaya, so just like the A-Team, "love it when the plan comes together" (I am sure you would have no idea what the 'A-Team' is... just go and Wiki/Google it).


The Preparation

I was determined to break our world record this time, 10:45 is the record for leaving the house, I was convinced we could at least shave off another 15 minutes or so, but this time it would be difficult because your mother wanted to make your lunch and take it along in this 'inspector Gadget' type flask that was given to us by my mother (she spares no expenses when it comes to you), this flask comes with a 3 page instruction manual, do you get my point? (as lunch goes, our previous trip to Lopburi was a disaster).

Anyhow, I was still determined, on the night before I had asked your mother to prepare all of the ingredients and put it in the fridge; all that could be done the night before was done, set up car seat, pack the cot, folded the pram, pack your day bag and other million things.

Not dissimilar to a bad sitcom, for once in a very long time, I was up before your mother, as soon as the alarm utters its first syllable, I shot out of bed like a bullet from a desert eagle (that is a huge exaggeration, at my age I shouldn't even use the words 'shot out of bed' let alone 'like a bullet from a Desert Eagle').

10:45 was stamped in my mind, and the clock was ticking... 06:00 was the time now, I had the list and a deadline to match; prepare your lunch (all ingredients in the clay pot for a slow simmer), make your breakfast (boil the brown rice, and defrost the chicken and liver), make your milk then take it up to you (you were still sleeping), back down to wash the majestic flask, move all things to the front of the house, back out the car for easy loading... and from the corner of my eyes, the clock had sneakily crept passed 07:00.

Making your breakfast, feeding you and bathing you was going to take the majority of the time, but your mother had that down to a fine art, and packing your lunch was left to P'Pui (our house keeper); all was set, by my calculation we should be able to leave the house at around 10:00, a whole 45 minutes quicker than last time... That was until your mother had to do some urgent office work... *!@#. In short all we could do was to only matched the record of 10:45.


The Journey

Again, on the previous night all the route was programmed into the GPS, so this time (and probably for the first time ever) we were not going to get lost (actually, when I say we, I should have said 'I').

Just like every time, not long after we had set off, you felt into a peaceful sleep, your mother wasn't feeling too well (hay fever), and I was still a little miffed about not beating the record (there will be many more chances to beat it), about an hour on the road we had to stopped off and get some petrol, where you promptly woke up.

Very uneventfully, we got to Pattaya in about an hour and a half, we called Uncle Chat as soon as we arrived in Pattaya, the original plan was to meet up with the BMW gang at a restaurant, however they had decided to go somewhere else for lunch and Uncle Chat wasn't going with them.

By faith or destiny, Uncle Chat was very close by when we called and so we decided to meet up before heading to his new home (his Mother was also in town putting the final touches to the garden).


First Stop

Talking about enjoying yourself, you must also be on the same wavelength as Uncle Chat, because you got on too well :) running and laughing all the time we were there, you were like roadrunner high on concentrated caffeine. Stopping over at Uncle Chat gave us a chance (and the room) to give you lunch, running and eating seemed to be the quickest way to feed you :)

The flask did its job perfectly, the food was still very hot and that is the way you enjoy it best. After lunch we tried to make you sleep, but that was out of the question, may be it was the different surrounding with new people or something, but sleeping was the last thing on your mind.
 
 
 
By the time 16:00 came, it was time to set out again to meet up with the rest of BMW gang.


Second Stop

Uncle Chat had arranged for the BMW gang to stay in a small resort not too far away, it was quite exciting as we have not seen them for a while now. There was a lot of catching up to do, and caught up we certainly did :) We didn't paint the town red, just sat and talked and drank :)

Everyone was fine and dandy, some of our friends had brought their children along, and we were surprised on how much they have grown (don't we just sound old?) :)


Time to go

We stuck to the plan, and said our good byes at around 18:30 just in time they were heading out to dinner (perfect timing), the drive home was again very uneventful, because you hadn't slept all day, the comfortable car seat was just too much for you, in no time you were out like Christmas ligths, 12th day after Christmas :)

By the way next trip we are planning to go to Ratchburi (not too far away this time) :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is Al Gore a Lier???

More specifically should his film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ be re titled as ‘A very convenient LIE (for the few)’???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zOXmJ4jd-8

The link above will take you to a presentation by Christopher Monckton (about an hour and a half or so), he may not have the multi million dollars, spit and polish presentation, nothing flashes, nothing moves, no heart wrenching pictures of ice caps melting; just scientific graphs, equations and quotes from the science community.

In short, and as a conclusion, UN is lying, Al Gore is lying, this in turn changed public policy in various countries (less planting for food, and more for bio fuel), putting strain on global food production, driving up prices and starving/killing the poor.

No more comments from me, please just take a look at the video, and make the conclusion for yourself, a well spent hour and a half for me, will do more googling/binging on ‘climategate’ :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

You got us worried again...

Everything was fine Wednesday morning, your mother was looking forward on taking you to the pool for your weekly swim (and as usual I went to work).

By the time I was home you were already asleep, which was not that common, after going through the normal routine, I finally had a chance just to say hello to you (even though you were asleep :) ).

The first thing that was blatantly obvious, you were slightly hot to touch, and that is never a good sign, ended up rushing around like a headless chicken trying to find that darn thermometer.

Once you become a parent there are several rules that will be imprinted in your brain, and one of these rule is the ’39co’ rule, this magic number automatically puts us in the ‘wipe down then hospital mode’.

After anxiously waiting for the ‘beep’ (on the thermometer), it read 38.4co, which was too uncomfortably close to the 39co marker, we decided to execute the ‘wipe down mode only’ (this was learnt from the nurses at the last time you had similarly high temperature, the key is to use lukewarm water and to turn off the air conditioning, both of which we had forgotten to do (sorry)).

Your mother ended up getting into the cot with you, she had the task of wiping you down while I had the responsibility of changing the damp towels, the technique is to wipe ‘firmly’ but not too hard. It was difficult for us, as you ended up sobbing all the while she was wiping you down.

After several minutes your mother remembered that we had some medicine left in the fridge, even before she had finished the sentence I was off as fast as I could (in relative term, probably not as fast as ‘flash’ but faster than a three legged turtle with a limp and a ball & chain).

It must have been around one in the morning when you were asleep again, ended up monitoring you all night, the temperature were still hovering around 38co through most of the early morning.

Luckily, the following day was a national holiday (Constitution Day), meaning there were hardly any cars on the road, making the trip super quick. To our surprise there were many babies and children in the waiting room. You were showing a couple of good signs; cheerfulness and heartily appetite, once the nurses finished the normal initial examination (weighting and temperature measurement (38.4co)) she ushered us to a separate room for a more professional ‘wipe down mode’ :)

IMG_0277 I never knew the iPhone could be so useful, apart from being a wonderful ‘boy’s toy’, it acts as a first class distractor, stopping you crying instantly :) I am still not sure you how many people you had accidentally called or how many apps. you had inadvertently deleted but as long as you were happy it was fine with us :)

Your usual Dr. was not in, luckily we had another wonder lady Dr., she was great and examined you with ease, you had a little sore throat but it was not developed enough to give you antibiotics, but she gave us a choice, we chose to take both medicine. One was the normal med. to keep the temperature down the other was the antibiotics but we were to use the antibiotic unless it was really needed.
 
 
 
 
Right now it is almost two on a glorious Saturday afternoon, you’ll not be going to your usual Gymboree class today, in fact you are still sleeping whilst I am writing this. The temperature is down to normal although through the effect of the medicine because early this morning you were still running hot at around 38co, if you are not better today we are planning to take you back to the Hospital tomorrow, perhaps you’ll need to start to take the antibiotics as well, we sincerely hope not.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Off we go to Lopburi

This past Saturday was the 5th of December, which is a very important day for all Thais as it is our beloved King’s birthday (also doubles up as father’s day), as this day felt on a Saturday, so the following Monday became a national holiday making it a long weekend (which we haven’t had in a long while now).


I also took Friday off so that I could spend some time with your mother, she wanted to see the film 2012 and that is exactly what we did (as always :))... The film was ok, another fun filled destruction of the world... how can that ‘not’ be fun? :)

From our last trip to Karnjanaburi we had made up our mind that our next trip would be to Lopburi, which is another central province but it wasn’t decided until Sunday night that we were going, so everything was a rush came Monday morning...


Tell you what, preparing for these one day trip is becoming easier and easier, last trip we didn’t leave the house until around 12:00, but we broke all world records with this trip to Lopburi... we left the house at the amazing time of... 10:55, honestly I don’t think we can beat this.


I had another incentive to make this trip, on the day before, we went to pick up your mother’s other mobile (she dropped it and broke the receiver) at the service centre; so I sneaked off to a shop on the next floor and got us a GPS... a FANTASTIC tool... for once your mother actually gave me the green light without much fuss, it could be because there haven’t been a single trip that I wasn’t lost in some way or another. So I was really looking forward to put this thing to the test.



Off we go to Lopburi...


The GPS (nicknamed Jill, this is one of the options for the voice feedback ‘American female Voice – Jill’) got to work straight away, telling me to ‘keep left’ here and ‘move right’ there, about an hour into our trip she suddenly told me to turn left... and of course being a know it all that I am, I had refused to believe it... soon after, as it turned out Jill was right and I was certainly could not have been more wrong (what a degrading u-turn that was hee hee :) ), and if I had decided to be stubborn we would have lost hours :)


After bowing to Jill, we arrived in Lopburi at around one (ended up driving through some wonderful small roads that we never knew existed), as usual by this time you had already woken up and testing your mother’s patience :)


As we didn’t prepare much for this trip, we once again turned to Jill and asked her to show us a restaurant; punched in a well known restaurant’s name, hit the ‘go’ button, and follow the big white arrow like a family of blinded lemmings...


IMG_0346 The ‘lunch’ was a big ordeal this time, perhaps we were a bit early so you weren’t that hungry but you ended up eating only a few spoons of steamed egg and virtually no rice at all (most of the rice you managed to spit all over the floor), luckily we took plenty of milk with us. Putting that aside, the restaurant was really nice (the food was fine) and very popular with the group tours, the surrounding was very green and very open with many variety of caged birds, chirping and singing all the while we were there.

 
 
 
 
 
Chasing a dream


After lunch the first place your mother wanted to visit was the famous ‘sun flower’ fields, we were excited in our expectation to see a mesmerising sea of golden flowers waiving and bopping with the wind, I had planned all the shots for the iPhone and was looking forward to capture some ‘facebook’ shots :) But it was not meant to be, on the way to the fields we kept seeing smaller fields with wilted sunflowers, still standing proud on browning stalk, but like an old man who had spent too much time in the sun, the head where once it must have shone like a miniature sun is now hunched over and doing nothing more than to gaze at the grassy field at its feet.


We had wasted about 45 minutes following Jill to various fields, but it was all the same, cutting our losses we headed to the next stop, which is the highlight of the day, to ‘Wat Phra Bat Nam Phu’ I have never heard of this temple, but as it turned out, it is world famous for its contribution to aids sufferers. Your mother had always wanted to come here to make a donation, this temple does not only provide moral support, it actually housed aids sufferers right up to the very end.



Wat Phra Bat Nam Phu


The temple sits at the end of a very long flat straight road (really as far as the eye could see), right up against the foot of a huge hill (not sure if you can call it a mountain or not), the surrounding land was as flat as any salt plane, no buildings, no housing, just fields and fields of browning grass and some undetermined crops (to our surprise, a fair amount were sun flowers, still alive and dancing).


First impression counts, this temple is an extremely well maintained temple, no annoying rubbish, no half arsed signage, no dirty food hawkers, no commerce, it is a pure temple and more, as it should be. Everything is a reflection of calmness and serenity, we parked at the front, meaning a good 5 - 10 minutes walk before getting to the donation office.


The first building we came across was the ‘Life Museum’, your mother knew exactly what that was but I did have a clue, looking through the opened door it looked like a room with many human size cases set out like an exhibition. We decided to give this a miss first and headed straight to the donation office.


From my limited knowledge, this temple can house up to 400 patience (under the name of Thammarak Niwet Housing Project), from the healthy to the last stage patience, these sufferers were shunned away from their family due to the stigma of this disease. As we walked further from the Life Museum, we came across another building that jolted me into reality, all the while up to now I was still in holiday mode, enjoying the cool weather and the picturesque scenery. This building housed 3-4 huge furnaces, I can not exactly recall the number but one thing stuck in my mind, the strong blue colour of the furnaces somehow stamp itself in my mind.


From then on my mood had changed, not sombre nor sadness but the realisation of the immense task and the great care that this temple grasping.


Today must have been a quiet day, there were hardly any visitors, in fact we thought we were the only non residents there, all around us the volunteers and some (I am assuming here) patience were washing and cleaning up the grounds and various buildings.


I think the donation office is the last building before the heart of the operation (Care Centre), we gingerly walked up to the donation office not knowing exactly what to do, this is a single floor building, in fact the whole building is just one medium size office. I guess the lady there knew we were a little unsure of what to do, so she gently asked us to come in.


Seven or eight people were sitting behind individual desks, of which a couple had computers, the lady who took cared of us couldn’t have been more than 25, she was petite, kind and polite and took us through the whole process effortlessly. We donated in 2 lots, one for me, you and your mother, the other for my parents. At the end we were given two certificates, I guess it was like a certificate of appreciation (still haven’t had a good look at it) and a couple of medallions. There were no doubt in our minds that this was for a great cause, and to our understanding this whole effort is running purely on donation, the more we give the more they can help, pure and simple.


IMG_0353 The hours were passing by quickly, upon a quick homage to a Buddha next to the donation office we began to walk back to the car, then we saw this long stairway leading up to a viewing point, on every step, flanking the whole stairs were identical statues kneeling shoulder to shoulder, some were carrying bells (of which we can hit using a wooden stick that was placed at the bottom of the stairs).

 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
You guessed it, it was too tempting to resist and of course you had it easy, your mother ended up carrying you all the way, at the top was the actual temple (again a quick homage here). To the rear of the temple there was yet another set of stairs leading an even higher viewing point... we passed :)


IMG_0371 I had decided to give you the chance to hit all the bells on the way down, after a few bells your mother realised (again) that this was another silly idea from me :) as it would have taken forever to make our way down, she shot me a ‘that was a silly idea’ glance, I understood the message in its entirety (as I have received this message/look so many times before). I ended up hitting all the bells on your behalf and in no time we were walking pass the ‘Life Museum’.


Not for the faint hearted, ‘Life Museum’ contains a dozen or more human size display cases, inside each case is a preserved body of the passed away patience, a small plaque gives you all the background you’ll ever want; name, job, how they were infected, when they died and so on. No words can describe this, I had taken no pictures out of the respect for the victims. What got me the most were bodies of very young children (one was only 5 years old), to the rear was a body in a drying out stage, everything was still recognisable, honestly, not much different to a person suffering from anorexia.


Another case was filled almost to the brim with a liquid substance and submerging in it, a body of a patience who had only died just over a year ago, the liquid was a little cloudy and had a slight foaming effect; your mother and I went to the south to help with the tsunami aftermath, I ended up handling the ‘rest in peace’ victims, inspecting and trying to identify them from their clothes, tattoo, teeth and so on, even with that experience, seeing these victims here was still quite hard to cope. I wished you were old enough to understand the enormous sense of consequences here, but alas you were only interested in this little cat running in the museum.



Taking our little monkey to see the real monkeys


Before setting off from the temple you had a quick wiped down in the car, to make sure you felt fresh and comfortable, that gave me the chance to consult with Jill and planned our next stop. Lopburi is famous for its monkeys... and in the centre of town were two landmarks sitting next to each other, ‘San Phra Kan’ (former Brahman Shrine, containing a famous object of worship a four-armed Vishnu figure fixed with a Buddha’s head) and ‘Phra Prang Sam Yod’ (a former Hindu Shrine built in the 13th century in the classic Bayon style of Khmer architecture). This is where we can hit 3 birds with one stone, seeing the 2 land marks as well as the monkeys :)


With Jill as the co-driver, we were there in no time, for once parking was easy but walking across a busy road to get to San Phra Kan was dicey to say the least. After paying homage we dashed across more ‘roads of death’, safely on the footpath, we walked slowly along the open railings to the entrance of ‘Phra Prang Sam Yod’, you must have had a quick glimpse of the monkeys because you suddenly went into ‘hyper’ mode, laughing and clapping your hands all the way there :)

 
IMG_0384 IMG_0392 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Phra Prang Sam Yod not only contains the old ancient shrine, it is also a feeding ground for (to me) all of the monkeys in Lopburi :) Some of them can be quite vicious, and your mother was a bit anxious in letting you walk in the grounds. I am going to get on the soap box again here, to enter Phra Prang Sam Yod, we had to pay 10 bahts each, which isn’t much but it looks like all the gates’ money had gone to lined some officers personal pocket, because the grounds was a shamble, there were more rubbish than grass, and the grass were all dying, for what is supposed to be a landmark of Lopburi made this even more unacceptable and appalling.



Making our way home (and getting lost again)


It had just gone five thirty when we all jumped into the car again, pushing the ‘home’ button, Jill began to ‘calculating... ... ... 100%’, so off we went, wondering which way she would take us this time.


The route she took us was as expected (after tweaking a few settings), that is up until we were just about 60 kms away from home, then suddenly she told us to turn right and get on the ‘paid’ expressway? I know the roads around here quite well, all we had to do was just to kept on going straight, no need to turn left or right all the way home...


Well, we took her advice, as she hadn’t let us down before, the express way was very quick but we were still unsure of when or where she will tell us to get off, I was convinced she was wrong this time... By the time she told us to get off, I realised she was taking us across the Rama7 bridge... decided to still follow her instruction to the letter, right up to the bridge... then I made a huge mistake she told us to go straight but there were 2 roads going straight... and of course I took the wrong one :)


There is no need to go through all the roads that lead to home, but finally we arrived at home around twenty hundred hours, you were deep asleep so your mother dashed to the kitchen to prepare your dinner. You looked so comfortable, and it was difficult trying to wake you up... at the end we decided the right decision was to let you sleep, may be we had to wake up earlier to prepare your milk, but that was fine with us... :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Afternoon of fun?

Mobile Photo Dec 1, 2009 9 51 05

 

An afternoon with dad is full of fun and joy

Endless rows and rows of wonderful toys,

from robots that walk and talk

to flying planes and steaming choo choo trains.

I wanted all, I really did,

that’s when it came to a sudden skid.

Looking back at my father I now realised,

that he isn’t such a wonderful guy

He had planned it all with such a precision

while hiding an utterly devious intention,

of just letting me play with these toys for free

then leave to see mum by three.

He carried me away with nothing but memories

and I did my best not to cry

His awful behaviour is now forever imprinted in history

I wish I was old enough to give him a huge black eye :)

 

(actually I’d bought him 3 small footballs, and he loves it)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing but fish

So far we've noticed that the only two words in your vocabulary is 'Pa' and 'Ta', to be more precise 'Pla' meaning fish and 'Guitar' respectively. Frankly apart from these two, the rest we have absolutely no idea what you are on about :)

 

What makes it even more adorable is that 'Pa' simply means anything that is alive under water :) we saw a few shrimps swimming today and of course it was nothing but fish to you :)

 

Your mother and I can not wait until you can string a few simple sentences together, we are wondering what kind of a voice you'll have and more excitedly we are waiting to hear you express your feelings whether it be something as simple as cold or hungry. Communication is the first step, and I sincerely hope the rational part will come later, the sense of knowing what is right and wrong is so important in a modern society, although to start talking of this when you are not yet two may be a little too heavy :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Long time coming…

The last time we went out to anywhere with my parents, you were still sucking your umbilical cord for nourishment, a couple of Sundays back your mother had to go out to a function in the afternoon, thus leaving yours truly alone with you.

 

I did what any responsible dad would do... I called my mother :)

 

I wasn't daunted or anything, the only concern that I had was your lunch, I am not the best cook in the world (nor the worst either, although your mother would beg to differ). Luckily we have one of those slow cooker, so your mother had lovingly prepared all the 25 billion ingredients, put them all in the cooker and let it simmered, and all I had to do was to add a handful of spaghetti.

 

By the time your mother had left (about one pm), you were asleep, the house was messy and strangely quiet. Again I did what a responsible dad would do, turned on the telly :) I had it all planned out, my mother was going to be here exactly when you wake up, and she will automatically be on auto pilot and take over the whole operation of feeding you your lunch.

 

Time was getting tight, two o'clock had already come and gone, you were starting to stir but there was no sign of my parents, then the phone rang… They were stuck in traffic and weren’t sure when they will get here. There was no way out this time, as soon as I had put the phone down you were already sat up in your cot, still a little groggy, I love holding you when you just woken up, all nice and warm and very cuddly :)

 

At least everything was ready, the food was just right, the spoons, plates and cups had been laid out and your high chair was already in placed. Only after a few minutes you were back on your turbo mode and it was time for lunch, which unexpectedly went a lot smoother then I had anticipated, the last time I gave you lunch, it took over an hour, and half of it was over the walls and floor. This spaghetti dish smelt so delicious I’d wished your mother made more of it as there was none left, you ate it all.

 

IMG_0070 Like a bad sitcom, my parents arrived as soon as your lunch was over and you were in high spirit, ready to play, play, and play :) Not wanting to stay in the house, all of us jumped into my car and headed off to Putthamonthon (probably the biggest Buddhist Park in South East Asia), in its essence it is a massive park with a huge Buddha sculpture at the heart of the Park.

 

 

 

 
 
 

After driving a while, we found the right spot for you, there was a small children play area that sits opposite a huge lake, along the way we had stopped off and bought three loafs of bread and 3 bags of fish pellets. Naturally you ran towards the play area with my mother trying to keep up, the frequency of your little legs shuffling is pretty amazing. All the while with my mother in tow, you had a go on the slider, the swing and a see-saw…

IMG_0252 IMG_0051

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the play park, we hopped across a small road and headed to a grassy bank next to the lake, I have a couple of clips of you trying to throw a piece of bread into the water, shall we say it would have gone further if had just dropped it :)

IMG_0250 IMG_0251

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best of all for me was to see how my parents were having such a great time, having grown up overseas and spending only 3 months out of a year in Thailand for over 18 years, then coming back home and immediately started a nine to five job have initially created some issues between us that needed tuning, all is more than great now, though I must admit all of the issues were at my end they were and have always been fantastic.

So it was a grand Sunday, after Putthamonthon we went to a small local restaurant to pick up a few dishes to take home for your mother, the old clich├ęs comes to mind, ‘the eyes were bigger than our stomach’, well at least we’ll now have something to eat in the morning…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Font…

I am a bit of a font fanatic, just like the holy grail, I have been searching and searching for just the ‘one’ forever. I have a real soft spot for monospaced (fixed-width) font, and must have downloaded most if not all the free monospaced font from the net…

But today I think I have found it, the font I am using right now (you’ll probably won’t see it, because it isn’t installed on your machine) is ‘Envy Code R’, and it has all the characteristic that I have been searching for :)

Here is the link that will take you to all you need to know about Envy Code R…

http://damieng.com/blog/2008/05/26/envy-code-r-preview-7-coding-font-released

Cheers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kao Yai Trip

IMG_0163 As we were going through our normal Saturday routine (car wash, Gymboree and etc.) suddenly your mother had a blinding idea of going to Saraburi (one of Thailand's central province) on the Sunday, of course who was I to say no :)

 

 

 

 
IMG_0172Packing up the house for one of these day trip is becoming easier and easier, I had managed to get everything ready in roughly the same time as your mother took to wash, changed and artistically put on her make up, which means all in all a blooming long time, of course (again)  who was I to complain :)

 

Because of where we live, going north out of Bangkok was simple, no need to fight through all the city centre traffic, it took us just a little under two hours to cover the 150 Kms distant. We ended up getting lost just a little (which is very normal for me), the place we were heading to is actually about 35 Kms beyond Saraburi, to a popular sub district of Muok Lhek. The biggest attraction in the area is the Kao Yai National Park (which covers several provinces).

 
IMG_0233T
iming was perfect, we had left right after your breakfast, so not long after we had set off you were all snuggled into your car seat, then promptly felt asleep and didn't wake up until we had reached our first stop, a small restaurant call Tong Buok (direction translation is Gold Plus) which sits literally opposite one of the entrance to Kao Yai National Park.

 

 

 

 

The weather was nice and cool (like early autumn in the UK), lunch went well, your wisdom teeth are coming up now so we are beginning to give you more grown up food, you had no problem scoffing down steamed egg (with pork) and rice, and again you never had any issues with eating, from spaghetti to broccoli, the only thing you don't seem to like are sweet things, the last time your mother gave you a small piece of chocolate brownie you chucked up the brownie as well as a large part of your lunch (right in the middle of Starbucks)... never again.

 

Driving in Kao Yai was great fun, with steep, tight, winding climbs then suddenly a long straight road slowly descending and disappearing into the distant, covering both sides were thick forests and in part a huge drop of a gorge that was no more than a hair's breadth away. All the while we knew we were getting higher and higher, the already cool weather was getting cooler and cooler, by the time we reached the first stop (site seeing platform) you already had another shirt put on you.

 

The view was stunning, but I'd guess you are too young to appreciate it, instead your entire focus was on a monkey that had just jumped out from the forest behind the small car park and trotted along to the viewing platform, like a true owner of the forest, he (I can see his ding-a-ling) was there to look for food (left over by us humans).

 
IMG_0184IMG_0189
  
   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
IMG_0219W
e decided to drive up a little further, to one of the National Park Centre (with lodgings plus camping areas), at the heart of the building there was a small permanent exhibition about all kind of animals that could be found in the area; my interest was more on a small wooden bridge that joins the parking area to a walk trail (more photos opportunity, hoping there was enough light for the iPhone's camera sensor).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0199As we didn't know how long the trail was, so we decided to turn back after about 10 minutes of walking as it was getting late and there were a couple more stops we would like to make. It must have been just a little passed four o'clock when you were back in the car seat; earlier in the afternoon while we were heading to Kao Yai we drove past one of the new point of interest of Kao Yai, and have been a real talk of the town, Primo Pisto.

 

 

Primo PistoPrimo Pisto was a perfect stop (if there weren’t toooooo many people), the design, decor and colour pallet is very much Italian, it is a restaurant and a vineyard (not sure if they have lodging or not), with its picturesque scenery and perfect weather, I was not surprised why this place was so popular, and that is its downfall.

 

Looks like everyone had to stop here (as did we ;), but no one was interested in the restaurant (which was closed), people were there to simply take pictures, treating it like a IMG_0209monument. We were looking forward to have a nice cup of coffee and chill a bit, but that was out of the question. Instead there is now an entrance  fee of 55 bahts each, which can be redeemed for a small (but very delicious) ice-cream (your mother had coffee and for some strange reason she got me a raspberry yogurt). The vineyard behind the main building was great, with mountains in the background, being a keen photographer myself it was no surprise why half of Thailand had decided to visit here on this day :) 
 

 
After just a few minutes, we decided to leave but will definitely come back when it is less busy. With nothing else in mind we have decided to head back to BKK, it was a shame as we have a little time left but didn't know where else to go.

  
IMG_0223Driving slowly and not far from Primo Pisto, your mother spotted a small cafe call ‘Coffee Mania’, it was gorgeous, with proper swings (when I say proper, it is because it was hung from a branch of a tree and not some cold metal poles), it could only seat no more than 20 people (outside). Of course by the time we saw it, I had already driven passed, your mother looked at me and vice versa, usually we seldom make a U-turn on/for anything… but this time was different, we had a little time left and really wanted to make the most of this day, so U-turn we did :)

 

  
IMG_0225We were not disappointed, the best experience (for us) usually comes from human interactions, one of the  customer there was a lady with her ageing mother and two small feisty (but very friendly) dogs (although she wasn't Thai but spoke Thai perfectly), and ooohhhh how you love dogs, so this is how it went... you + 2 (fun loving dogs) = (Lots of laughters x screaming) + n, which make this quick stop even more memorable.

 

After our finishing our usual order (Cappuccino & Americano), we headed off home. I had expected an easy drive home, but I couldn't be more wrong, by the time we had reached the main road, all the big trucks were out in force causing a tight traffic jam, it was still flowing although slowly. Luckily, you once again slept all the way home and continued to sleep until about eleven, we didn't think you would wake up but just in case your mother had already prepared your dinner, when you did wake up your mother and I knew this will be another very late night for the both of us :) you were so full of energy again... 2 am was when everything calmed down again... before your mother and I went to sleep we were already discussing our next trip to Lopburi :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

It had been such a long time… :)

IMG_0135 Your mother really wanted to go to the cinema last Friday, I was supposed to leave a little early so that perhaps we could catch the 4-5 pm showing of 2012 (your mother kept saying 2021 to the amusement of all her FB friends).

Being a reliable soul that I am, I just couldn't get away soon enough; feeling absolutely full of guilt I did the next best thing possible... took her to the pub and tried to get her drunk. Only kidding, it had been such a long time since we went out and with all the time we had (before picking you up) it was the perfect little excursion.

As a secondary action plan, I've been looking at a new TV set to replace the old clunk you've been watching. If we can't find the time to go to the cinemas, at least I can try to bring a cinema (sort of) to your mother (20 brownie points). The idea died just like trying to fly a paper kite in a heavy monsoon, and she does have a point, “when was the last time we sat down and watched a full featured film on the current TV”… I said in a very confident (but very, very quietly)… “Can’t remember”…

Love you,

Dad

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dropbox :)

dropboxFor the past few weeks I’ve been obsess with a new toy, the iPhone3GS, because I was late to the game any questions/problems that I have, someone had already answered it on the net :) which made my life so much easier.

Since forever I have been religiously listening to all of the 'Tech’ podcasts (TWIT, CrankyGeeks and so on), several mentions have been made about ‘Dropbox’, it is simply a ‘sync box’, download a small application from
www.dropbox.com, install it on the PC and you are ready to run.

It creates a folder on the PC and anything that are dropped into this box is automatically synced to my cloud-dropbox (like a backup), each folder can be shared over the net; there are 2 special folders (Photos & Public), any folders created in these 2 folders will be given a dedicated ‘Internet link’ thus by giving this link to your friends/family they can get to the content just by clicking the link that you’ve sent to them.

Here is the fun part for me, Dropbox also has a client for the iPhone, once installed and set up it becomes a part of my sync-able network. This client can access the camera roll, just by clicking on a photo it  automatically uploads it to my cloud-dropbox, which is then synced to my PC… Not only that, I can also access my dropbox via the Internet, meaning maximum accessibility.

I am sure there are several alternatives to this solution, but I feel I am going to be with dropbox for quite a some time (upgrade on the 2GB is possible but of course at a price), I am not planning to put anything sensitive (such as the banking details and etc) in the DB so I have not looked into the security aspects of this solution, I was looking for something quick, easy and convenient…. and I’ve definitely found it in DB :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2nd Blogpress test




Another test, trying to have no link to the thumbnail picture...

- Posted via iPhone (BlogPress Lite)

iPhone test




Testing, testing... Using Blogpress Lite via iPhone...
- Posted via iPhone (BlogPress Lite)

Friday, November 13, 2009

No more surprises…

logo100 Travelling and getting lost in the ‘blogspot’ Universe is one of my favourite ‘nothing else to do’ thing, to be out there and not knowing what will be coming up next is quiet refreshing, best of all, blogspot made it so easy with the ‘next blog’ button just sitting right there at the top of most blogspot blogs, that is until now.

The randomness aspect in a purely (or mostly) user generated content can be a real eye opener, admittedly most of the blogs are nothing more than a diary of their lives, the opportunity to have a quick peer into a slice of their time and events that the users were willing to share is somewhat intriguing.

Of course, at time it can be very repetitive, there are endless blogs about their first child (seem to be a very popular one, including our own) not to mention travel blogs, again, the ‘next blog’ button would just zoom me out of there and land on a totally different world (rarely, it even landed me in a world which only belongs in a darkened room which in only lit by the red ash on the end of a burning cigarette).

Nor matter how mundane the blogs are, I always find myself reading at least a couple of postings before jumping out of there, just like in Harry Potter’s ‘Floo’ network (which is governed by the Department of Magical Transportation of the Ministry of Magic); ‘next blog’ is my Floo network but governed by Blogspot (AKA Google).

Unfortunately, ‘next blog’ button is getting an upgrade, it is now going to be intelligent :) it will now simply take me to a blog which is similar to my own, which mean a never ending story of babies!!! (I have tried it, and hooray to them, it really worked… nothing but blooming babies!!!). My Floo will no longer take me to a ‘Burmese’ blogger (although not understanding a single letter, it still gives me a sense of something unexpected)…

Like all things tech, there is a work around, one can go to http://play.blogger.com, it will play a slide show of random pictures from various blogs, and all one have to do is to click on a picture that is of interest then it will zoom you off to that particular blog… not a bad work around, but unfortunately not all interesting blogs has great pictures… well, it is better than having no Floo network at all :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Waving and a Cold…

google_wave_logo

For the past  few weeks or so I have been  trying (not hard) to get an invitation to Google Wave, all the while not expecting anything, and suddenly a friend of your mother sent her a Facebook’s message asking if she wants to be invited!!! Just imagine my face… your mother… who had been banished from Geekdom on the day she was born was going to get an invite?  Luckily I also know that person (his nickname is Boat, most if not all Thais have nickname from birth, your mother is Ja y and now it is Gio), I kind a took a little liberty and quietly / humbly / subtly  asked if he could also invite me… :) :) :) :) :) He did :) What a guy… :)


Immediately afterwards I was obsessively checking my gmail account, refreshing it… oooohhhh about 25 times per second nothing happened, in fact the invitation did not arrive until today… So your mother, Boat and I have been ‘waving’ to each other… here was my comment on Facebook…

"Been trying Google Wave for the past couple of hours... I think it needs more fishes in its pond... feels rather empty at the moment... kind of 'waving' to oneself in the mirror :), liked it so far, have been waving to/with a couple of friends... Google is definitely spicing things up in the e-mail world :)”

On a totally tangential topic, you had developed a slight cold yesterday, both your mother and I were busy so it had gone way passed nine before we started to set off home, as usual you were fast as sleep by the time we pulled up in the garage… As your nose was runny, we decided to give you some medicine while you were sleeping… the operation was not successful, you were just too tired and we didn’t want to wake you up… mission abandoned :)

You are looking better this evening, right now you are eating your dinner and I think by the time I get downstairs, you would have showered as well :) Lets hope you sleep well tonight, the weather is changing fast and many small infants are getting poorly, lets hope the weather picks up soon.

Love you.

Mum and Dad

Saturday, November 7, 2009

500 THB per Hour?

rfs2005You were exactly 18 months old a couple of days back, so it was a good time to start looking for your nursery… Here in Thailand there are so many options, not just the locations but the curriculum is also another headache.

English is such an important tool for today’s working environment, and in the future it can only gains in its importance, there are several nurseries that teaches purely in English and no Thai… But we are living in Thailand, not being taught Thai from the very beginning just doesn’t seem right (to me) somehow.


Of course there are several nurseries that have a bilingual curriculum, but often the command that one gains of the English language is not up to par with the purely English only nurseries. I was lucky enough to have started off in a bilingual school (my English was terrible), then at the age of 10 was sent to England until my graduation, so in a way I kind of have the best of both worlds.

One of the option that we have is a nursery near your mother’s office, so she popped round there yesterday and talked to one of the administrator, as a nursery go, you’ll only be there 3 hours a day and at 80,000 THB per term (3 terms in all) we are talking of around 500 THB an hour (excluding all the little extra charges… and the list is pretty long :) ).  At first it feels a little excessive, but like all the other parents, we really do want the best for you (or the best ‘of our ability’ is a more fitting description).

We still have some time yet, so we are going to look for more options in the same area, but we now realised the cost is very much in that range thus unavoidable… Time management is another big issue, we live right on the skirt of BKK, and commuting to your school in time for 08:30 is going to be a nightmare (for BKK’s notorious traffic) , and that again will affect your quality of life, having to have your breakfast in the car is not really what we wish for you. But if we find a nursery near our home that would mean your mother will have to relocate her small business to a home office, another big change there.

Of course these are not ‘the end of the world’ issues, but our cheese is certainly being moved soon and in more way than one… So what is the first of our action plan? Finding the right nursery seem to be the key, then everything else can evolve around that… :) looking forward to see you in your first school uniform… more opportunity for photographs, lets hope Nikon release the D700 replacement soon (sorry, I have to get back to a ‘boy’s toys’ comment).

Love you…

Mum and Dad

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Plan B

intel_core_i5-750_chip

Had a thought last night upon giving up the core i7 project, as there are no real MBs which support usb 3.0 at the moment, at first I was going to go with a Q9550 build just as a stop over (may be for a couple of years) , then a friend suggested that I should take a look at a Core i5 build as the prices will  not that much more than a Q9550 build… and that is the way I have chosen to go.

CPU:                 Core i5 750 [7,500 THB]
MB:                   Asus P7P55D Evo [7,350 THB]
CPU Fan:        Thermaltake, SpinQ VT [1,790 THB]
Ram:                Hyper-X 4GB 1600 [3,950 THB] 
Power:            Thermaltake Tough Power 850w[ 5,800 THB]
OP:                    Windows 7 Home Premium [3,990 THB]
Graphic:          XFX 4890 XT [7,450 THB]

The main differences between the core i5 and Q9550 build are the other components that I also have to change, if it was a Q9550 build, I could have used the old ram, cpu cooler and perhaps the psu, but at the end this investment could always be moved to another build down the road ahead.

So, I am assuming for the next build (after this one) I shall only have to upgrade the MB and CPU… :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Not yet another reason to wait…

180px-Certified_Superspeeed_USB_logo.svgJust as I was about to make a move and get all the components, there was an article on the net today, mentioning Asus is now rolling out new MB with USB 3.0 capability as well as a USB 3.0 PCI card.

This project have been postponed so many times, firstly I was waiting for the Core i7, then it was the Windows 7 and now USB 3.0… As I am in no rush, thus logically it would make more sense to wait, but in terms of greed, I just want to get on with it.

180px-USB_3.0_Icon.svgAdmittedly none of the peripherals are USB 3.0 yet, but soon they will arrive like rain in the monsoon season… I’d guess I could get one of those USB 3.0 PCI card… … … … …

After a large cup of green tea, and debated like a total mad man (literally like a mad mad, as I was arguing with myself), the logic side won, this project is once again on hold, as this isn’t like a new piece of hardware that gets upgraded regularly (e.g. graphic card or CPU and etc.) but it is a new technology which rarely comes along (the next big one which looks interesting is the Light Peak from Intel).

It was worth it to have waited for Core i7 and Windows 7, I am guessing another 3 months won’t do any harm :), just needed to be more patience :) and be less greedy :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 years already?

28102009(003)Certainly it had been 3 years… :) Just called up your mother (and sent this pic to her via MMS) to tell her I had already picked up her present… she was ever so excited… no surprises here as I had already told her what I was going to get… :)

She certainly more than deserves it!!! :)

Whatever it takes… :)

IMG_7112The more you get older the more you like to play at the expense of sleeping and eating, sleeping seems to be the worst hit :)

So, your mother have been trying several ways of trying to get you to sleep, like orange juice in your milk, she had discovered that jumping into your cot really help :)

Last night I came in just a little too soon and as soon as you saw me, you wanted to play… I had to quickly make my exit with a scolding look on your mother’s face (sooooorrrryyyy) :)

We are now discussing our choices of kindergarten, the main issue is the area, either here near our home or whether it should be near the office? We can not believe how fast you have grown… :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Great Long Weekend :)

What a tiring long weekend this was, we took you to Dusit Zoo on the Friday, then Suan Lum Park on Saturday, however the real highlight for your mother and I was the Sunday trip to Siam Ocean World as we have been meaning to visit this aquarium with you for some weeks now.
 

IMG_7050 I had really thought you would have been in awe with all the huge fishes (probably magnified by the aquarium’s glass/plastic wall)… but you definitely were not, I think you are just too young at the moment, all you wanted to do is to jump in the water to be with the fishes and run around in the dark :), all in all you seemed to had a great time… While your mother and I sole task was to run after you and pick you up every time you felt down (which was a lot). We are so glad we had visited this aquarium, to give you new experiences each week, well it beats just sitting at home doing nothing :)
 

  

  
IMG_7061 

IMG_7074By Sunday evening your mother and I had nothing left in our tank… and had a small celebration once you felt asleep :) over these past few days you have also developed a new dance, nothing more than several quick stomp with your feet follow by a side to side twist… We have no idea where you’d picked this up, but it brings a huge smile to your mother’s face each time you do it :)

Your Gymboree teacher had warned us about ‘Terrible Two’ stage, and we are now beginning to understand this, you are now operating in 2 modes, 1st mode is like being in ‘neutral’ that is when you are asleep, once you wake up you are in 2nd mode which is like being 5th gear all the time! running, climbing, taking everything apart, emptying cupboards, putting things in your mouth (from slippers to the door keys). 
 
Another development that makes me laugh is when you argue with your mother, it would be less funny if you were able to speak comprehensibly, but to hear your mumbles & jumbles in reply to your mother’s scolding was fantastically hilarious … :) You are now at home with your mother and I am missing you all very much… only 3 more hours before it’s time to go home :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It has so much potential

Since forever, I have this feeling of un-comfortableness whenever I visit a zoo. This weekend is a long weekend, today (Friday) is the birthday of our beloved King Rama V. We didn’t have any thing planned, but on a whim decided to visit Dusit Zoo (Bangkok main and to my very limited knowledge the only zoo in BKK).
 
The last time I was here could be counted in years… and I remembered not being too impressed, and after arriving there this afternoon, my feeling hadn’t changed one bit (probably got worst).
 
IMG_7018 There were temporary food stalls on every piece of available space; the flamingos were so beautiful (and shouldn’t really be locked up, here is where my ‘un-comfortableness’ issues start to creep in) but there (virtually in the same cage) is a huge, fumes spewing, loud, smelly, wontons frying stall… Why??? The only thing I can think of is that the zoo needs the money because perhaps of low visitors, but surely having these stalls will just going to drive away more visitors …

As this isn’t a zoo review article there is no point to go moaning on any further, I only hope they are really taking good care of all the animals, who deserve so much, much more than what I’ve seen today.
 

This zoo has so much potential all it needs now is a huge miracle.

 

IMG_7016 IMG_7022

 
 











IMG_7015IMG_7002  












IMG_7027IMG_7025




Friday, October 23, 2009

Everything is in place…

Microsoft_Window_7_1505723c At last the final piece of the puzzle is here, Windows 7. I’ve been waiting forever to upgrade my very old PC, planning to change almost all components from power supply to the motherboard.

There will be another ‘Commart’ in Bangkok at the beginning of next month, looking for some discounts there (probably won’t be much, but better than nothing at all).

Been researching about the best (customer service/price) place in Pantip (Pantip is a shopping mall (very famous in Thailand) for all things tech), and at least the consensus on the net kept pointing me towards  www.TKcom99.com, looking forward to visiting their booth at the show.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now I know…

IMG_6993 I was wondering why lately there were so many scratches on the car, especially on the front bonnet, and now I know… Late one night for some forgotten reason, I had to come down stairs and the answer was right in front of me… It looked so comfortable, the bonnet must still have been a little warm and I’d guess they just love that.

Right now there are 2 stray cats that we feed everyday, and from what I’ve heard the mother had just given birth to another set, so we are looking forward to even more visitors in the near future.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Out of my league, and I didn’t win this month’s lottery

front-001Alas, the long awaited date had come and gone… As the time drew nearer it was certain there would be no appearance for the D700’s replacement :)

As expected Nikon had released the D3s, and a millisecond later, various photography’s Internet forums instantaneously burst into fiery flames…  as usual the ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’ camp were (and still are) having a good old time ducking and diving while making punches and counter punches, of course there is also a third camp, the ‘I don’t care’, and through their actions, appointed themselves as the forums’ referees.

Here is a link to my absolute fav forum;

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1021

 

Just talked to your mother on getting the replacement DSLR, it must be psychological thing as I found myself not wanting to go back to the D90 (stolen), instead somehow my mind is set on getting a higher spec. camera. Returning to the “par” or even a lower spec. unit just doesn’t feel right, it would just multiply my bitterness… “they came into my house took the camera and now I have to suffer with a lower spec. unit?” that must be it…

My heart was set on the D700’s replacement, and since I am not a particularly close friend of Nikon’s President thus I can not see it materialising any time soon. Here was the list we were discussing… D300s, 5DMkII and the D700, pretty short list isn’t it.

Well earlier on I said ‘discussing’, when in fact the conversation was pretty one way, your mother was kind enough to let me rumble on and on about things she down right finds boring (to put it mildly).

Still no solution, Nikon still had me at “FX sensor at a (kind of) reasonable price”, I am just another slave to one of the seven deadly sins, Greed :) so I am going to wait and wait until the next announcement (there is no point spending so much money on something you are only partially satisfy  (the rumour mills are beginning to once again, starting to spin, ‘Something in December? (may be)’, or ‘at the latest Q1 2010’).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goodnigth P’John…

Early last Friday afternoon your mother called me while I was in the office, she was all fluttered, but the single sentence she said, was very clear… “P’John is no longer with us”.

Your mother went on to tell me all the information she had heard, and like all the others to whom I had later on spoken to, for a short while we were all in denial…

P’John (the letter P’ in front of a name means we treated him like an older brother/sister) came into our lives while your mother and I was still working at BMW (we weren’t even together then), he came to head up the Super Duper VIP Sales team, and that was where  your mother was working (while I was in the Dealer Network Development), after BMW, P’John was the one who asked your mother to join him at Nok Air…

In a normal Thai Wedding’s reception, the bride and groom will have an elder (each) to give a short speech and blessing… in our case I had chosen my boss (P’Papon) and your mother also chose her boss (P’John) (whom happened to be classmate so many, many, many years ago), as soon as they opened their mouths we knew they were the wrong choice… haa haa haa, they ripped us to bits… what a great night…

Just wanted you to get the feel that I very much respected P’John although I was not as close to him as your mother was (no where near). I certainly was more than glad to see him when our paths crossed, he was a totally sincere person, very wise and knowledgeable, especially in the field of photography.

The final day of his funeral will be this coming Monday… it will be a very sad day, all our hearts are now with his wife (P’Gai) their daughter… there is nothing else to say…