Friday, May 31, 2013

Half term break in Pattaya (5): What a day :)

Dear Matt and Marcella,

Nothing went right at the beginning of our final day, the dolphins show starts at nine am, it was eight forty five when our wheels started turning, we were still hoping we could get there on time, of course there was no hope in hell we were going to make it, and ten minutes into the trip after a small argument we turned around to head for another attraction.

Driving across Pattaya from north to south on a weekday took a while, we were heading to ‘Chang Siam Krating-lie’, and what a mistake that was… Your mother wanted you two to see the monkeys training centre.

Chang Siam was nothing but a gimmick for tourists, we were probably the only Thais there among at least 15 group tours. Elephants rides, alligators/crocodiles fishing, horse wagons and monkeys training centre were some of the highlights. But the facilities were poor, unorganised and overall looks and feel like a third rate, amateur operation. We paid for the tickets to see the monkey training, as soon as we walked through the door the show was over and a bunch of people were piling out. I was just a little miffed to say the least.

SONY DSCBy the time we’d left, it was running close to ten so we decided to once again drive across Pattaya and gave the dolphins another shot (after asking for late check out).

On the way your mother managed to empty a carton of milk everywhere in the car, lol.

Dolphins show was a very welcome change to Chang Siam, things were looking up… lol.

Half term break in Pattaya (4): The Zign Hotel

Dear Matt and Marcella,

Your mother and I didn’t like it, perhaps we were used to a different kind of hotels, a smaller more cosy with individual travellers rather than ‘group tours’.

View from the bolcany

I think the service in the hotel was average (but the guy by the elevator was the best), however the service by the pool was terrible. While March was having a nap I took Matt to the upper and lower level pool, there were five/six staff there kicking a football around and wasn’t paying attention to anyone else. I had to disrupt their game to ask for a couple of towels.

I know this is a bit of a first world problem, but honestly I think this is far below anyone’s expectation. There was also a broken glass on the floor by the pool and no one was in a hurry to clean up, everything just felt very ‘I don’t give a %$#@ kind of a day’.

I love the design/layout of both pools, the deep end was really a deep end (for me, but I am no ‘Mount Everest’ lol), and here comes a huge ‘BUT’, but the worst thing was the quality of the water, we have been to billion of hotels, no matter how small they were, their pool were always as clear as your mother’s contact lens. But the Zign hotel’s pools were like swimming in ‘broth’. It was so bad even your mother and I were deciding on whether to let you swim there at all.

We know that swimming is a huge part of any children’s holiday, so we reluctantly let you two have a dip, the design of the pool was rather good, the upper level pool offered plenty of shallow areas for the kids, but the lack of shaded areas was a bit of a missing foresight.

The room was ample in size and nice basic design, but it lacks in quality, clear signs of wear and tear were everywhere, some were so bad it warrants maintenance and the TV came from the early 90s (a slight exaggeration here on my part).

We purposely avoided the long weekend by arriving there on a Sunday, when everyone else was running home we were just arriving, this place would have been unbearable when running at almost full capacity.

Oh, one last moan, I hated the layout with the main road separating the hotel and the pools, and there was no short cut from the elevators to the pool, meaning we had to walk past everyone in the lobby to get to the pool and the same route back to the elevators… great planning Mr. Architect.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Half term break in Pattaya (3): Sanctuary of truth

Dear Matt and March,

We didn’t quite make it to the Sanctuary of Truth, well, it wasn’t our main intention anyway, but we were pretty darn near enough to smell it though :). Uncle Chat had recommended a restaurant that sat above the sanctuary, ‘Kruay Nar Glure’ (a direct translation is ‘Kitchen paddy field salt’).

Tired of the same old places, we excitedly headed there for our first day’s supper, uncle Chat’s recommendations are usually pretty bang on :)

The view was rather grand at night and had taken us back just a little, the food and service were excellent, so naturally we promised ourselves to come back the following day for lunch then a visit to the Sanctuary.

Well, that was the plan…

We did return for lunch the next day, but the heat was searing, in fact the Chef was cooking our chicken by (after seasoning) letting one walked from the coop to the kitchen, perfectly roasted :) So taking you two out in the open was out of the question, and much to your delight we headed back to the hotel for a much deserved swim :)

Before we headed back to the hotel, there were a few attractions by the entrance to the sanctuary (aimed mostly at children), feeding the rabbits and goats, and some birds in their zoo like aviaries.


Half term break in Pattaya (2): Art in Paradise

Dear March and Matt,

Pattaya is a tourist town and there are plenty of attractions to keep our overseas travellers busy, some attractions I just want to throw a grenade through its window because it was so bad, but some were just way beyond my expectations.

Through the past few months I’ve seen several photos on FB of friends of friends of friends (you get the point) posing next to some clever wall paintings (illusion art), similar to those 3D street art, but I’d never knew it was in Pattaya.

It was one of the first place your mother wanted to visit, and to be very honest I didn’t expect much, perhaps we’ll get charged over price to see a few cleaver paintings in some dingy tiny warehouse… well, I could not have been more wrong. ‘Art in Paradise’ is in a huge, huge fully air con building (2 levels), it was clean, very well lit and clean (again).

Shoes had to be taken off before entering, at first I’d thought this was a bit off, but with hindsight I came very much to appreciate it, because the floor was kept clean and no sounds of foot steps :) I haven’t seen you two this excited in a while… lol

We walked by one of the painting that was off limit (paint was still wet) when a serious looking man, came up and start to touch the painting, at first I’d thought it was just a curious oversea visitor, but he kept touching it and touching it, perhaps he has a fetish for wet paint :) Nothing as exciting as that, he was one of the artist working here.

Pattaya is like a mini Russia, but this time I’d noticed a lot more of Korea influence than before, ‘Art in Paradise’ is (to my understanding) owned by a Korean, using Korean's artists. From all our visit to Pattaya is permanently under constructions, our next visit (whenever this may be) should be very interesting in deed :)






Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Half term break in Pattaya (1)

SONY DSCDear Matt and March,

Decided to go back to Pattaya for this very short half term break, when I was over there, half term meant one week off, but you only got 3 days, 5 if you count the weekend.

On a whim we’d decided to head for Pattaya, as it had been too, too long since we had seen Chat, so Pattaya it was, as it turned out Matt, once again didn’t want to come back… Looks like we need to plan for a much longer holiday pretty soon :)

Your mother managed to find a couple of new places for us to visit, we’d also stayed in a different place this time round (not impressed).

Let just say I’ve never seen you two laughed so much, lol. As I am writing this we are all already back in the good old BKK, and now I am beginning to understand why Matt didn’t want to come back.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another close call :)

This pic came from Matt and March,

I had another close call not more than 3 minutes ago, we are all now at my parents place and earlier I went up to the room with all of your grandfather’s buddha’s images but the ceiling light was out, so after I’d finished I’d thought it was a good idea to change the lightbulbs.

Decided not to turn off the switch which was quite hidden, the ceiling was quite high so I was on top of the step ladder reaching to remove the bulbs, well the first one came out easily but the second one did not and then... BAMMMM... BBBBZZZZ, my whole body shook (like Wile E. Coyote) for what it was like an eternity... still don’t know how but I’d managed to let go and jumped down from the ladder.

Both of my arms feels as light as a feather, my right shoulder feels like a thousand elephant had just trodden on it... the worst thing is, I’d wished I hadn’t told your mother and my mother about it... lol :)

Can’t go wrong at Asiatique :)

Asiatique is simply the ‘right’ version of Suanlum Night Bazaar, whereas the latter was a bit amateurish, wasn’t very well managed and some of the tenants/shops were downright embarrassing. Asiatique is just in another world, very well managed with a much, much better list of tenants; the river promenade, the designs, the food, the shops with great layout and the atmosphere have made this one of the place for anyone to visit, although the traffic and parking could be a bit of a ‘female dog’.



To my understanding the place opens from 5 to midnight, I usually try to be there by about half past five, the traffic was light enough not to be a hassle and there were always plenty of parking spaces, it is always nice to have a walk around with less people around :)

There is a bit of a history to the place as well, here is the link from the horse’s mouth, click ---> ‘about Asiatique’, and here is the link to their main page, click ---> ‘Asiatique’

Certainly if you are a tourist, and running out of things to do, you can’t go wrong by visiting Asiatique :)



I do miss the trees :)


Dear Matt and March,

A couple of weeks ago Matt’s piano lesson was cancelled, so with the afternoon free we decided to go home :), well, another home, this is where Matt had spent the first couple of years before starting school.

Once he was in school, we’ve found out that the chore of driving him for the mere 22 Kms was like trying to empty the ocean with a fork, a bunch of frustrations wrapped very tightly around a handful of pain is the best way to describe the emotion of driving from the edge of BKK into the city (where most of the schools are). We are talking a range of between 1.5 to 3 hours.

So we moved, but kept the house just in case some smart person invent a flying car or if we could convince Aladdin to sell us his flying carpet, but he is such a git now, since he’d married the princess.

Matt had the fresh air, with trees and plenty of space to run around, to play with birds, cats and dogs… but it was always a rush to get anywhere. March spent her entire time, growing up here in the condo, the concrete jungle (not even a stair to climb, lol), but everything is so close and there are so many things to do to keep a young mind motivated :)

I just miss the trees :)




Monday, May 20, 2013

I want a Golem :)

going-postal-front-pbMaking MoneyI’ve been away for a while from Mr. Pratchett’s glorious mind, and by accident came across ‘Making Money’, sitting by its lonesome on a shelf. Bought it on a whim and devoured it in only a few days...

The hero (if one can call him a hero) is Mr. Moist, after finishing ‘Making Money’ it was obvious that he should be in another book prior to this, and it wasn’t too difficult to discover ‘Going Postal’.

If you have been away for a while from Mr. Pratchett’s universe, you can do no wrong in reading these two books :) At the end it was impossible not to fall in love with all the Golems :) and the gorgeous Miss Adora Belle Dearheart :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Galaxy Note 2, the e-reader :)

Note 2 screen shotE-readers have always been at the top of the wish list for quite sometime now, but never got around to getting one, the thought of carrying another rectangular battery powered device (not to mention yet another sim card) would certainly mean me becoming an owner of a ‘man-purse’ was just a step too far.

The forever companion was a 3GS and a combatant Bold, I have tried so very hard to use the 3GS as an e-reader (kindle app), managed to read 3 books from it, each book proved to be an experience which was just slightly better than death.

At the beginning of this year the 3GS was replaced by the popular Note 2, with a bigger screen I had decided to give it another go. The combination of a matted screen protector, kindle app and purposely choosing a book that I was sure to enjoy (Terry Pratchett, Going Postal), the Note 2 main function is now first and foremost an e-reader, then a phone :)

The larger real estate really helps, of course I still think the reading experience would have been better on a real ‘e-reader’ with e-ink, but I am also sure that Note 2 isn’t lagging far behind.

At the end of the day it is the quality of the books, lol, that really makes the reading experience worthwhile, whether it was graffiti on the loo’s wall or a classic on a dead tree in your hands, haa haa haa.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Not for one second :)

Dear Marcella,

Looks like we shall have to keep a closer eye on you now. A couple of days ago I was doing some paperwork in the main bedroom while you were playing with your aunt in the living room. You then decided to pay me a visit, so your aunt dropped you off by the bedroom door

For the next fifteen minutes I thought you were with your aunt and your aunt thought you were with me :) After a while I’d thought it was just a little too quiet, decided to pop out to see how you were doing, but you were not with your aunt, she was equally baffled.

Instead of you coming to me, you took a sharp left after leaving your aunt’s hands and headed towards the shower where your small bath was still full of clean water from the morning.

The smile on your face and the relief on our faces met with a big laugh on both side, you were sitting in the bath fully clothed and splashing away. We were lucky that things turned out fine, it easily could have been very different.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Where is the reset button?

Angry Birds Star Wars

Dear Matt,

Auntie K gave you this for your 5th BD, it was very generous and you were way over the moon with it.

The actual playing time for each game was around 5 seconds, because instead of putting a catapult at a ‘fair’ distance, so that Pig-Vader (oh, I don’t know what they call him) would have a fighting chance, you’ve decided to stick it approximately 15 cms away. Not even the real Darth Vader could survive this one :)

The ‘fun’ thing was after you have destroyed everything, my job was the ‘reset manager’, setting everything up so that you could destroy it again, again, again, again, again and again… to what it felt like an eternity, haa haa haa, ok, it was only half of an eternity :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Matt, you are five :)

Matt is five page

Dearest Matt and March,

A few days ago Matt hit his half a decade, lol, what an old man you are :)

You two had a wonderful time, it was a mistake on my part, for asking Matt what he wants for his BD, haa haa haa, you know the usual stuff that kids now a day want, TV and iPad :) (in your dream).

Samsung Galaxy Note 2, smashed screen

Samsung smashed screenOne might as well call this quarter, the clumsy quarter.

Less than a month ago, decided it was time to put my foot through the notebook :), which resulted in a smashing time (especially the screen), now it was the phone’s turn.

The case I had for the Note 2 was a bit peculiar, the mechanic of it, was simply a sliding action, where the phone sits into a plastic case, then it slides into a housing that had a belt clip. Well, it didn’t quite work (did it), after a soft jog (running after Matt) it slides off the main case and found the floor at the perfect angle :) So the gravity was at fault :)

I’d thought I could do another DIY job just like the notebook screen (that went swimmingly), one couldn’t be more wrong :)

Ended up having to take it to the service center, 4000 THB+… wow… at least the nice surprise was the waiting time, originally I’d thought it was going to take three days to a week, but it ended up with only a two hours wait :)