Saturday, June 28, 2014

Looking back, July 2005 – Nothing but fun.

IMG_1050-Edit

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…

Sleeping-03549-Edit

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.

11.06.14
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.

Phuket 2014-05190-Edit

Phuket 2014, Day Four - Sand and Sea

Dear Matt and Mar,

Matt's neck was much better, and Mar was full of energy, so your mother and I were adamant that today was going to be your day, so that meant nothing but sun, sea, sand and pool... haa haa haa, and with hindsight the mission was totally successful.

Phuket 2014-05059-EditOn this morning we decided to skip the hotel’s breakfast and look for something that a local would eat. The local eats Khanom Jeen (Thai fresh rice noodles) with various sauces (mostly curry) for breakfast. Your mother’s friend recommended a famous one which is again all the way across the island, so off we went. Finding the place was not too hard, although the information on G-map was slightly off (by about a hundred metre).

After breakfast instead of going to some faraway beach, we decided to find a quiet place along Patong beach, and we certainly did, all complete with a shower facility… great!!! The deck chairs were 100 THB each, and the staff there was more than helpful to put up as many beach umbrellas as you two needed.

The beach was virtually empty, the sun was strong as were the waves. Matt loved the waves much to your mother’s despair, haa haa haa. Mar followed Matt into the sea, once… and once only haa haa haa, she was contented with digging holes in the sand and endlessly demanding me to fetch her bucket after bucket of sea water to fill in the hole. As you know filling a sandy hole with seawater was as pointless as trying to sell ice to the Eskimos… After what felt like the 100th bucket, I gave up… then your mother took over the role of fetching seawater... haa haa haa.

 

Phuket 2014-05083-EditPhuket 2014-05101-Edit

 

Just as when we decided to leave, the sky closed and rain poured, talking about perfect timing, the  two hours we’d spent under a searing sun was more than enough, again lunch came late. After lunch it was back to the hotel for a quick rest, followed by a vigorous afternoon swim in the pool. At the end of the day, by the time we were heading out for supper, I was definitely a perfect representation of a prune. Instead of finding a local restaurant we decided to take an easy way out (MK) and headed to Jungceylon (huge open air shopping centre).

On our drive back it was obvious that all the exercise had totally worn you out, your mother and I tried our best to keep you two awake on the count that you have not brushed your teeth... haa haa haa haa haa, our effort was futile, lol.

TBC…

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Phuket 2014, Day Three - Remembrance day

Dear Matt and Mar,

The third day was really for your mother and I, ten years ago we were both volunteer at Yan Yao temple, to help out with the aftermath of the Tsunami's devastation. What we did would be best if we told you directly, as an overview, my job was working with the Doctors to process each body and try to identify them as best we could, while your mother ended up in charge of hygiene, just imagine Ghostbuster style Proton Pack but instead of deadly ray it was filled to the brim with disinfectant. Your mother had to walk all over the grounds where the bodies were laying and do the best she could. Your auntie Tip was there too, and her job was to identify the already processed bodies and match them with the grieving relatives, in effect bringing them home.

Phuket 2014-04982The drive from our base to the temple, which was in Phang-na province was going to take 2 hours, adding to my incompetence to follow simple directions meant in reality it took us two and a half hours (only got lost once, haa haa haa). So it was nearly noon when we rolled into the temple. I must admit, my palm was sweating more and more as we got closer to the temple, during the two hours drive our conversation (between your mother and I) was nothing but about what we did ten years ago, it did bring back a lot of humbled memories.

The atmosphere couldn't have been different (understandably), now the temple was as calm as it could be, your mother and I could recongise the main temple and the main buildings (your mother and I started off looking after the stock room, well it was more like stock mountains).

We talked a lot, and took a long walk around the temple and its grounds. I can still remember the building where the bodies first piled up, and then due to the influx, eventually the whole grounds were taken up.

On the drive up, while we were very close to the temple we recognised a building where we slept, it was a public library, and each morning I would walk alone to the temple, must admit although the team knew each other very well but during our time there we don't often talk, the new year was just a bottle of beer, and a very early night, too much to be done. So on our drive back to Phuket we stopped off quickly at the library for me to get a couple of shots :-)

Phuket 2014-05025-EditFinding a place for lunch was another adventure, no good recommendations were coming up on G-map, so our strategy was to head to a nearest beach because there are always some form of a passable restaurant there. But where we were driving at that time the beaches were very small, although beautiful but has no restaurants (not even buildings). After driving along for a while your mother came up with a winner after some frantic searching on the net, lol. The food was quite good, but the view of the beach down below was fantastic… our conversation suddenly returned to the tsunami..., ‘Just imagine how it looked ten years ago’… I must admit, not one of the best way to end lunch.

By the time we got back, Matt was fast asleep, Mar acted like she’d just finished her seventeenth redbull, so there was no other option but pool time for Mar.

A friend of your mother has a great restaurant in Patong, so we all headed there for supper (Matt was still asleep when I carried him into the car), it was a fantastic way to end the day. Because your mother wanted to catch up, so after supper I took you two back to the hotel, while your mother continue chin-wagging away :-)
 
TBC…

Phuket 2014, Day two - Driving to nowhere

Dear Matt and Mar,

I am going to call the second day a 'drive to nowhere day', it must have been around ten when we were ready to move out... but we were missing the key ingredient... the destination... haa haa haa haa. Eventually the beach your mother wanted to try was across the island and to the south of Patong (our base). According to G-map it was a leisurely 30 mins drive, not too bad all things considering. But somehow we couldn't find this small beach, so we drove on to Rawai Beach by the time we got there Mar was asleep and it didn't look that brilliant anyway, without stopping and to buy time we headed off to Laem Phromthep (getting lost along the way) which is another tourist highlight, as we got close to Laem Phromthep we noticed there was no sound coming from the back... Matt was now curled up along the back seat.

Phuket 2014-04958-EditThe logic now was to go to a beach quite far away so that you two can have a good sleep in the car, the destination now was Nai Yang (all the way to the north of the island) beach, your mother and I were here many, many years ago and she loved the place. G-Map said 40 minutes, but with me failing to follow the instructions and thus taking every wrong turn possible it way past one when we arrived, now our priority changed from beach to lunch... haa haa haa haa haa. Nai Yang had certainly changed, ten years ago it was nothing but trees and beaches, now there were numerous makeshift restaurants and even a tailor shop.

Lunch was quick and wet, rain was pouring, now with every tummy full to the brim, we headed off further into the national park to which some of the Nai Yang beach lives, and there we played... it was brilliant, the rain had gone, the beach was quiet and the breeze kept all of us cooled. After a couple of hours tearing Mar away from the beach was quite difficult, finding a place to shower was even more challenging. There was a shower facility but no water, the toilet was also boarded shut. All I could find was a huge water tank belonging to the national park... haa haa haa haa haa haa, at least you two were clean now.

On the drive back we noticed a sign for a waterfall (neither your mother or I can recall the name, lol) as it wasn’t too far, so we decided to take a detour for quick look, and it certainly was a quick look, haa haa haa. The grounds surrounding the waterfall was wonderfully fresh and cool, but as we are now at the tail end of summer, which is to say Thailand remains as hot as the surface of the sun, and so the water wasn’t falling (much), lol. (Supper was at Kan Ang Pier)

Phuket 2014-04884Phuket 2014-04872
 
Gio jumps-04964Phuket 2014-04863Phuket 2014-04918
TBC…

Sriracha Tiger Zoo :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

The previous Saturday (07.06.14) your mother and her family was invited by your mother’s cousin  to a ‘Tumboon Ban’, a direct translation would be ‘make merits house’, it is a Thai tradition to bless a new house, the ceremony is to have monks to say prays and invite your friends and family to the ceremony.

Siracha-05374The house is in Sriracha which is in Cholburi province (Pattaya is also in Cholburi province). So the plan was to get up early have breakfast before leaving the house to pick up your mother’s parents then head to Sriracha. Well that was the plan... haa haa haa, we ended up leaving quite late.

It was gone ten before your grandparents were in the car, the traffic wasn’t too bad but the decision to follow G-map was a mistake, we ended up taking a longer route, but in the end we weren’t that late. The house is virtually five minutes away from the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, originally we were supposed to go to the zoo after the ceremony, but we found out that the ceremony was going to take most of the afternoon.

In the end your mother decided to leave her parents at the ceremony so they can catch up with their old friends, while we skip and went to the zoo... haa haa haa, great move.

There are a few places like Sriracha Tiger Zoo, but this place is by far my favourite, the place was clean and very well kept, there were plenty of shows for the children and even more activities for them to do. The first show we went to was a tiger show, which I’d left just as soon it has started, personally I don’t think animals belong in prison we call zoo (unless they are endangered and the zoo is helping to revive its population).

I must say I’d enjoyed feeding the elephant as well as the amazon fish, feeding the baby bottle fish food to Koi fish (Japanese carp) was by far Mar’s and Matt’s favourite. Matt was being more adventurous than usual and asked if he could do the fish foot spa... haa haa haa. I had to joined in too, at first the feeling of hundred of fish nibbling one’s legs and feet was intense... haa haa haa, judging by the grin on his face Matt was absolutely loving it.

Siracha-05353Siracha-05265Siracha-05286

Another fun activity was shooting to release the tiger feed, firstly you have to climb up a couple flight of stairs to a roofed platform, and in front of you about 10 metres above the tigers’ den laid 10 small-ish metal boxes lined up in a row, the horizontal distance between you and the boxes was around 7 metres. In those boxes were (I am guessing) small chunk of meat. There is a round target above each box, so we shoot at the target to release the food onto the waiting tigers. Your auntie Tip and I were absolutely deadly, we shot all of the available boxes and the staff had to refill them... lol.

Siracha-05443Siracha-05330
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Siracha-05386Siracha-05365

After several more activities it was time to go back to the house and pick up your grandparents to head back home, your mother’s cousin wanted us to stay for the dinner party too, but that was going to start at seven which is way too late for you two.

Phuket 2014, Day one - Early start

Dear Matt and Mar,

There we were on Friday May 23rd, I was up as the clock turned 04:00, and actually that was a bit of an overkill, especially when we had already packed most of the stuff the previous night (saying that it was only a few hours ago, haa haa haa). Not long after your mother was up and about, to finish the packing. Getting you two up was a bit of a pain though, talking about groggy to the n-th degree.

Phuket 2014-04776-EditBy some miracle we were on schedule and the wheels managed to turn at six sharp, only forty five minutes later we were parked at Suvarnabhumi airport. Things could not have gone smoother. The checking in took less than five minutes, so my only worry was where to have breakfast, haa haa haa. McDonald came to the rescue, their breakfast set was a winner with Mar (and me too).

So far my only mistake was not booking the windows seats for you two, but all in all Matt wasn't that too excited with flying, he was more interested in all the buttons on his seat, turning light on and off and calling over the flight attendance was more fun than looking at all the fluffy clouds... haa haa haa. Mar on the other hand was adamant on walking to every nook and cranny on the plane and when we were successful in convincing her to sit, she kept kicking the chair in front... wow what a fun time for your mother and I... haa haa haa.

The plane took off around 8:30, and we landed in Phuket around 09:30, the next port of call was Avis, the paperwork was done fast enough, but we ended up having to wait for a few minutes before the car arrives, I could see you two slowly melting away in the searing heat. It was not the newest of car, but it serves our purpose of plodding around Phuket and a drive up to Phang-na quite well. Paying extra for a baby seat was worth every THB, haa haa haa. Soon we were humming along twisty roads of Phuket, our base (hotel) was in Patong, one of the most popular (touristy) places (forty minutes south of the airport).

Phuket 2014-Day OneYour mother used our air-miles for the hotel, then paid extra to upgrade to a family room (at Mercure Patong), unfortunately the family room smelt literally like a troll's cave, so we began to search for a window to open and there were plenty of windows, but all of them were screwed shut... The original  plan was just to drop off the bags and head off for lunch, but unfortunately after you two had discovered the bunk beds, meant another ten minutes spent watching you two climb up and down the bunk beds, and in the words of Yoda, 'entertaining it was not'.

However the longer we spent in the room to more bothered we (your mother and I) were, upon a closer inspection we suspected that the last time someone stayed in this room, the dinosaurs were still roaming the south of Thailand. So by the time you two had enough of climbing, your mother and I have also had enough of the room, and a request was put in for another.

The hotel did manage to find us another room (with tiny extra cost on top of the upgrade), but we couldn't see the room as it was already quite late for lunch. Lunch was quick and uneventful, with nothing planned we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon swim, and to our relief the new room was fantastic.

Arriving in Phuket pageI was amazed by the both of you, Matt looked much stronger in the water now, and I was totally blown away by Mar's ability to bobble along by herself, going under for a few millisecond before popping back up and pouting for air (totally adorable), then with a smile gone under again. I was in panic mode for a bit but Mar was absolutely loving it... haa haa haa.

In a blink of an eye it was time for dinner, well attempted dinner, haa haa haa haa haa haa. The restaurant your mother wanted to go to was only 25 minutes away... 15 minutes before reaching our destination Mar was fast asleep, so I asked Matt if he was sleepy, the answer was a definitive "no, Papa" and within a hair breadth away from the restaurant Matt decided to follow his sister into dreamland... Haa haa haa haa haa, trust me your mother and I had a long debate whether to wake you two up, but since the both of you were up since 5-ish am we decided to head back, hungry and tired. That night we had quite a good pizza and a beer each... What bliss.

TBC…