Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Songkran 2010

With a blink of an eye Songkran is almost over for this year, as usual we have opted to stay home as the majority of Bangkokian has either left for overseas or gone upcountry, usually we just go cruising in the city centre, but because of the political instability we couldn’t even do that.

Rod Nam

IMG_1319 Not wanting you to get bored, on the first day of Songkran (13.04.10) we went to see your mother’s parents, to ‘Rod Nam’ (this is a Songkran tradition, where the juniour members of the family give flower garland to the elders then pour some water over their hands while wishing them happiness, and in return they will give you a blessing), you did your part perfectly although I was certain you had no idea on what you were doing :)

Water(less)fall Trip

341px-Thailand_Nakhon_Nayok_locator_map.svgIn wanting to give you new experiences, on the second day (14.04.10) we decided to take a day trip to Nakorn Nayok, this province is well known for its numerous waterfalls, I was convinced you would enjoy this more than playing in the sea. I have always preferred waterfalls to the sea but we don’t have time to go into that right now. 

Summing up the trip in one huge word… ‘disaaaaaaaappointed’. Nakorn Nayok is a neighbouring province (to the North East of Bangkok), although it was only about ninety kilometres away but we had to drive across Bangkok to get to it, and besides there was only one main road leading to this province, so I was anticipating some hellish time on the road; unexpectedly as it turned out it only took us a little over an hour to get there (and like usual you were peacefully a sleep all the way there).

Once there the first task was to find somewhere to have lunch, it was more difficult than I had anticipated, but managed to find a respectable place (another Somtum lunch for your mother and I), as soon as we sat down, we went into our well rehearsed auto pilot mode, you would play with your ice cubes while your mother was feeding you, and in turn I would be feeding your mother :)
Haew Narok SarikaNang Rong1 
Here are some of the well known waterfalls (and what it should look like), Namtok Haew Narok, Namtok Sarika and Namtok Nang Rong (Namtok means Waterfall), we opted for Namtok Nang Rong which sits in the Kao Yai National Park. The sign didn’t look good as soon as we got through the gates as there was about a million people there, but I was determined for you to have this new experience, but just in case it didn’t work out, we decided just to scout out the place before carrying everything out from the car, and that had turned out to be the best move of the day.

First of all, I noticed there was no sound of water falling, how strange was that for a ‘waterfall’? Secondly, the air was dry and lastly there was no sound of kids laughing and screaming! The three of us followed the ‘tee len nam’ sign (direct translation being ‘place play water’, basically a safe place where you can take a dip). What I saw was horrible, the water was dark brown and very, very low (what a bad sign that was), I decided to check up stream at the waterfall itself. 

Not wanting to be rushed your mother decided to take you for a walkabout while I ran up the hill. Along the way I kept seeing disappointed faces coming from where I was heading, no need to be Sherlock Holms here. As it turned out the water was as brown as the pool down the hill, there were some children trying their best to have a good time but one could tell they were rather disappointed too, and as for the waterfall, the ‘water’ certainly wasn’t going to ‘fall’ today.

After we discussed what I had found we decided to take a quick rest so that your mother could give you a wipe down. While we were resting we got chatting to one of the shop owner, she said there hasn’t been any rain for the past couple of months, so all of the waterfalls in the area have pretty much dried up.

IMG_1352So that was that then, there was no point trying the other waterfalls, and soon we were back in the car. Not wanting to go home early we decided to visit the 'Tha Dan' dam which was only about 10 minutes away from the dried up Nang Rong waterfall, but we didn’t stay for long here either, because of the heat and about a gazillion people moping around, with one disappointment after another we decided to call it a day and started our journey home. We really wanted you to have a dip in the waterfall, the night before this trip I was imagining your smiley face bopping up and down in the water, alas it was not meant to be.

Driving back was a pain, traffic was a lot worst than when we came (plus a much needed stop at the petrol station :), but eventually we got home, with all that happened today you seemed to be in a good mood at the end of it, it looked like you were just happy to be in new surroundings :)

Giving it another try :)

After your afternoon nap on the final day of Songkran (15.04.10), we decided to take you to Funarium (indoor playground for children), the last time you were here you were barely walking, but now that you could run a hundred metre in sub ten seconds we thought you would have more fun this time round... and boy were we right or were we right :)

Why won't you jump :)

Letting you loose in Funarium was such a laugh, we started you off in the under 5 section, talking about non stop running and jumping (you made light work of the small assault course), I was sure your mother added amphetamine to your lunch. As time moved to early evening many children had left so there was only a handful left, it was the right time to take you to the big kids section, the best way to describe it, it is like a huge, multi level maze with several play areas inside of this 3 storey structure, including what I call the 'death' slide, a totally enclosed swirly tube twisting its way down from the very top :) It was not possible to let you loose alone, so your mother and I took turn taking you through this play maze, and to tell you the truth your mother and I was having far too much fun, probably more than you did :)
On the way out from Funarium we drove passed this new shopping centre, the hit name is actually 'Community Mall', call "K Village", your mother believed K stands for Korean (all things Korean is a new fad in Thailand). I quite liked the place, but because it was late we couldn't stay for long.

Taking a day off 

IMG_1451 IMG_1450
I was supposed to go back to work on the Friday (16.04.10), but like many, I had decided to take a day off and because you were quite exhausted yesterday we decided to let you have an easy day. All through out Songkran, every morning you and I would take a drive to PTT life Plaza, our task was simple, to bring back a cup of steaming cappuccino for your mother :) After picking up the coffee, we would always visit 7/11 next door, you love to chew ice, and I find 7/11 ice to be one of the softest ice around (not wanting you to damage your teeth), after buying a cup of whatever, I would suck down the drink as soon as I could, and give you small pieces of ice (often I had to chew up the ice first) while you and I take a walk outside :) 
I am having trouble remembering what we did on this day… just sms your mother, now waiting for a reply. Once again your mother comes to the rescue :) Not wanting to rush you so we waited until you have your afternoon nap, meaning we didn’t leave the house until about five, the place we visited was… the new Central Department Store on Changwattana, sounds like we were scraping the barrel here didn’t we :)

To tell you the truth, Central Chang. is just like any of the new Central department store, nice, clean, well lit (it reminds us a lot of Central in Pattaya) and rather quiet (perhaps this was because it was during the Songkran festival). Just by luck we managed to find another play ground for you (just like Funarium but a lot smaller), as for your mother and I, we found a laser shooting range and wanting to prove to your mother how much of an excellent shot I am we decided to take a little detour before heading home. I swear the guns were wonky, and that is all I have to say, your mother had a good laugh especially at my swearing, she was matching me score for score… :) (her pistol was better than mine) 
Certainly the best day of the holiday :)

I wonder who was having more fun? :)

On the weekend before returning to work we decided to let you have another go at Funarium (we also wanted to have a good walk around K Village as well), because soon all the people will be returning to Bangkok, meaning Funarium won’t be so ‘fun’ anymore (too many people), so we took you back there on the Saturday, this time it was obvious that we came back here not for you but for ourselves :) Your mother and I were up and down the slides like we were 8 again (of course all the while carrying you and pretending that it was you who wanted to go on the slide).
Sunday turned out to be the best day of this holiday, the sun was angrier than usual, so it was the right decision to let you have your afternoon nap before heading out, we were debating on where to go, either to Suan Lum or to Putthamonthon; because of the time it was only logical to head to Putthamonthon, and what a fantastic decision that turned out to be.

Putthamonthon is a huge place (see earlier blog), but we kept returning to the same old area within Putthamonthon, so this time we were determined to take a walk in a different area. It was a nice change to be driving in a new area within this Buddhist park, finally we found an open hill area, in the middle was a large piece of sculpture and 5 smaller block of rectangular stones to the front of the main sculpture, it must be somewhat important as there was a sign saying do not play sport or sit on the sculpture.

IMG_1452 As this area was an island, we had to crossed a green bridge before arriving at the disc like sculpture, the grass was different here, it was fine and very well kept, there was a family with a baby sitting in the shade of the disc, of course there was no way on earth you would just sit and enjoy the breeze, as soon as we put you down, you were off, in fact you should have been shouting “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” and find a rabbit hole to dive through.

IMG_1454We were playing hide and seek as well as tag, people must have been able to hear your laugh on the other side of the country. A little time later there was another family there, just like us they have a little boy about your age, and this is where the fun begins :) As it turned out they were such a nice family, and the little boy (Tum Tum) is only fifteen days younger than you. Soon we were chatting and comparing your habits and nuances. You and Tum got on better than ‘Bill and Ted’ ever did on their excellent adventure, I was throwing you and Tum up and down all late afternoon, it was such a laugh. Tum could speak a little, it was totally adorable, and soon the sun was tired so the sky was getting darker and darker, it was time to say goodbye.

You didn’t want them to go, when we said our goodbye and they began to walk away, you kept pointing and quietly calling them, even your mother and I were hoping we could meet them again (and we certainly did on the following Sunday :)

So that was it, Songkran for 2010, hopefully next Songkran you’ll be old enough to appreciate an overseas trip :) Well that is our plan anyway :)