Thursday, November 26, 2015

Temples Tour :-)

Temples Trip-03522Dear Matt and Mar,

Unfortunately yesterday your mother had to work (Sunday 22.11.2015, your mother is facing a difficult issue at work at the moment, hopefully it all should be solved this week), so of course once again I was looking for help, haa haa haa haa haa.

We ended up having lunch with my parents at their home, then off we went to the temples, which after a dodgy start it turned out to be a fantastic day! By the way this was all planned the day before, we were to visit 2 temples along the Chao Phraya river, Wat Kalayanimitr and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). There are actually 3 main temples along the river in this area, the last one being Wat Rakangkositaram Woramahaviharn.

The first temple on today’s list was at Wat Kalayanimitr, a very important temple to the Chinese community, if we were to come here during the Chinese New Year it would have been more like a punishment rather than a boon, lol, just too many people. We have managed to park along the wall of the main temple, but my mother decided to take us for a walkabout, before circling back to the car and the temple, lol.

I was a little on edge (probably from the lack of sleep), and the overbearing heat didn't help, keeping the temper in check was a little difficult but manageable, especially when two monkeys were running around and trying to make the loudest 'gong' with probably the biggest bell in Bangkok, lol, you two had obviously forgotten that the temple is the embodiment of serenity and quietness. The possibility of being the first family in history, to be kicked off the temple’s ground was always on the back of my mind, lol.

Temples Trip-03518Temples Trip-03533

It must have been a very long time since I’d visited this temple, because my memory was lacking of any detail of ever coming here, but my mother had confirmed otherwise, so who am I to argue... lol.

Next we were off to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), this is probably as well known as the Wat Phra Kaew, but after we were back on the road, we began to notice a whole lot of policemen and soldiers dotted on either side of the road. Then it dawned on all of us that today was the rehearsal day for the ‘Bike for Dad’ event.

Wat Arun is probably less than a kilometre away, but the parking is rather limited, in fact it was so limited that we couldn’t find a place to park, lol. We almost cancelled the rest of the day, the threat of being stuck for hours somewhere when they close the roads for the ‘Bike for Dad’ was just something we were desperate to avoid.

After driving a lap around wat Arun, we decided just to go home, driving deeper along Arun Amarin road looking for a place to make a u-turn we drove pass Wat Rakangkositaram Woramahaviharn, now this temple I do remember, it was like our third home, lol. My father has given me a Buddha Amulet from this temple many, many years ago, and I have no doubt that by the time you are reading this post, I would still be wearing them around my neck, :-)

Mother old me that they have now constructed a multi-story carpark to accommodate the demand of the worshipers, that was I wanted to hear, a place to park, haa haa haa. On a whim we turned into Soi Wat Rakang, and tears were free flowing down my face, the carpark was beautiful, haa haa haa haa haa.

Temples Trip-03535

It brought back so many memories, Wat Rakang had changed a lot, but I could still remember various bits and pieces. With time on our hands, mother decided to give Wat Arun another go, but this time we caught the boat (this boat, all it does is do loops around the three temples).

By boat it took us less than 5 minutes to arrive at Wat Arun, apart from the main temple with Buddha’s relic, there was also a shrine of our beloved King Naresuan (reigning over Ayutthaya, when Ayutthaya was Thailand capital city). There was a platform that King Naresuan uses regularly to govern the country, and it was supposed to be good luck if one crawl underneath it.

Temples Trip-03548Temples Trip-03568

Temples Trip-03583

Temples Trip-03586

Temples Trip-03589

Your grandfather’s eyes were as sharp as ever, as soon as he saw the platform (at least 2.5 metres in width) he signaled to Matt to crawl under (the gap from the floor could not have been more than a couple of feet), of course Mar was not far behind... haa haa haa.

page

Temples Trip-03621Temples Trip-03624

Temples Trip-03628Temples-03608

By the time we caught the boat back to Wat Rakang it had already gone five (the last boat was at half past five), two very tired kids were glad to be back in the van, haa haa haa, but just as we were leaving the parking spot we were told to shut off the engine, the ‘Bike for Dad’ rehearsal was in full swing and the road was blocked off for another one of two hours!

Temples Trip-03632

Cutting a long story short, we were only inconvenient for about forty minutes; after dropping off my parents we headed straight for home... What a wonderful (tiring) day :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A day on the farm :-)

15.11.2015

Dear Matt and Mar,

What an unexpected trip, at the end of the working week and out of the blue your mother decided we all should go to 'Rai Pluke Rak' (a direct translation is 'Farm Grow/Plant Love'), I think she had been eyeing this farm for quite a while now (simply because she knew that you two would love it). At first there was a talk of spending a night in a hotel near the farm just so that we can get an early start, but during the route planning we’d discovered that the farm was actually only 77 Kms away.

Pluke Rak Farm-03157Saturday's normal routine was executed flawlessly, so early to bed you all went, soon Sunday arrived full of anticipation, I wanted to leave early because there was a strong probability that I was going to get lost, lol.

Breakfast was already prepared the previous night (fried fish and rice), that was one headache I was glad to have ticked off the list. The drive would take us out of BKK towards the North West of the country, the farm was only a couple of provinces away, the target was at the edge of Ratchaburi Province (meaning we had to drive through Nakornpathom Province first).

The plan was to have the wheels turning around eight, but of course we were late, as it had just gone nine before BKK was gradually behind us. The day was glorious, sunny sky, light traffic and four full stomach, lol... an hour and a half later we were rolling into the almost empty car park.

We were the second one there, it was quiet and absolutely serene, the place was extremely homely, the farm itself has been in business for over 15 years as a proper farm, and only for the past few years it was opened to the public. As the weather got hotter and hotter it was getting more and more difficult to grow quality salad and vegetables, that why they had to open it up as an attraction.

The whole farm is around 24 acres, so only a small portion was converted for the visitors. There were 9 stations (don't quote me on that) of various activity. Your first stop was a short introduction to the farm, inspect some worms and planted a plant (no idea what they were), the plant was to be taken home and looked after (and yes it is still alive).

Just going to let the photos show you all of the fun we had (with minimal words)... and it was great, great fun. I liked the passion of the people behind the farm, of course every station costs money (the entrance fee was already 150 for an adult and 120 for children), but it wasn't much and we knew it was going to support the farm.

Pluke Rak Farm-03167

Pluke Rak Farm-03170

Pluke Rak Farm-03175

Pluke Rak Farm-03180Pluke Rak Farm-03193

Pluke Rak Farm-03186

Pluke Rak Farm-03201

 

After the planting we moved on to the duck egg farm, choosing the eggs was a simple affair (the whole grounds were strewn with eggs), but the task was to coat them in salted soil and that took some doing, and in a couple of weeks we could fried the eggs for an acquired taste fried eggs.

Pluke Rak Farm-03202Pluke Rak Farm-03210

Pluke Rak Farm-03213Pluke Rak Farm-03215Pluke Rak Farm-03219

Pluke Rak Farm-03224

Pluke Rak Farm-03242

 

Feeding the animals was of course Mar’s favourite, and subsequently the wallet was deflated accordingly :-)

Pluke Rak Farm-03275

Pluke Rak Farm-03280

Pluke Rak Farm-03285

 

I think the rice farm was next, there are several ways to plant rice, one of those is to ‘Yorn Gla’ (literally ‘Throw Rice Sprout’) technique, as it involved throwing Matt was having a fantastic time (and just before we’d left all of us returned for seconds, lol), and more ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching… lol.

Just next door to the paddy field was the kite and painting station. By the way spending over an hour trying to fly a kite with literally no wind, is like hanging out the washing during a monsoon, extremely pointless but rather good fun, you two were loving it and that’s what count.

A quick glance at the watch revealed it was time for lunch so we took an hour break to take lunch at their cafĂ© / restaurant, their menu was super limited, but what they had were universal for all kids in South East Asia or probably the world… rice, scrambled egg, fried chicken and salads (for the Mums and Dads).

Pluke Rak Farm-03332

Pluke Rak Farm-03375

 

After lunch, it was more fun fun fun, Mar wanted to go back and feed the animals, but Matt had his eyes fixed on the mud slide, and we came prepared, lol, to cut long story short, he mud slide is the reason why I call you ‘Mr. Brown Pants’ now, haa haa haa.

Pluke Rak Farm-03415

Pluke Rak Farm-03434

Pluke Rak Farm-03443

Pluke Rak Farm-03463

Pluke Rak Farm-03475

Pluke Rak Farm-03394

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Diwali Day 2015

Dear Matt and Mar,

To my understanding Diwali Day fell in the 11th this month, but your school decided to let you all dress in beautiful costume on the Friday, Mar was so looking forward to looking pretty, haa haa haa haa haa. Finally it was time to buy Matt a new outfit, he has been donning the same thing for a few years now, even the shirt was too small, lol.

page 2

Your Aunt got Mar’s several weeks back, but for Matt, you really needed to visit the retail shop to try it on ‘live’ so to speak, lol. I think that you two won’t be surprised that Mar had chosen a pink one, lol. It was a great day to spend the afternoon, walking around the shop near the China Town, I don’t know if we call it Little India or not.

You two looked wonderful as usual (but I am a little bias of course, as always, lol), love you :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You are four :-)

Dear Mar,

Four years, four years already? Lol. Since your birthday this year fell on a Saturday, so for you to have a chance to celebrate with your friends, we’d decided to bring your cake to the school on the Friday.

Just from the top of my head, I don’t even remember Matt or his class being this neat :-) You and your friends’ manners were absolutely impeccable, eating like little princes and princesses, cleaned up after with such precision, followed by hand washing like little soldiers (full of determination)… haa haa haa, (your mother shared my observations, lol).

pageIt was so nice to see you being so happy while handing out slices of your cake to your friends. However, for next year, rather than having a normal cake, I think we are going to go for something different. One of your class friend is a Sikh and we’ve been told she isn’t allowed egg (nor meat) as part of her faith, and for me being there, seeing you handing out cakes while this gorgeous little girl ate apple, just didn’t feel right.

It brought me back to my Uni days, one of the housemate is a Sikh and his mother made the best samosas in the entire Universe. Each month he was given a tub full of samosas, trust me it didn’t last one night by the time we had our hands on it (he was rather kind, and a pot head too, lol).

Not sure what alternative they use for a cake, but I’ll do my best to find out though. By the way, I had to hide all of your friends’ faces in the photo, because like I’ve said before, I am not going to post anyone without their parents permission.

Mar is four-03092On the Saturday, which was your actual birthday, we’ve decided to skip all of your and Matt’s morning class so that we can spend the morning together… time for cake and presents… As usual I got you a book (Matt got a new book too) and a special present, for the longest time you’ve been wanting a princess dress... haa haa haa, now you have one.

Sunday morning, it must have been the early part of 6 am when I felt this presence close to my face, lol. It took me a couple of second to realised it was you standing almost over me with your new princess (Anna from Frozen) dress halfway up to your waist, lol. Apparently you were having a difficult time putting your arms through the sleeves, haa haa haa haa haa haa.

After the dress was fully on, you dashed out to the shoes rack… haa haa haa haa haa, oh I can see us needing another apartment just for your and your mother’s shoes, lol. I was so happy to see you so happy :-) Happy Birthday Mar, we all love you very much, just don’t hurry to grow up so fast ok? Haa haa haa haa haa.

 

Mar is four-03063Mar is four-03054

Friday, November 6, 2015

Super fun Weekend.

01.11.2015

Dear Matt and Mar,

Super long time ago, your mother swapped our air miles for a 3 nights hotel voucher, and we have tried to use it so many times but it just didn’t happen, either the hotel we wanted didn’t accept the voucher or the timing wasn’t convenient, so it was kept in the drawer (more like chucked, lol).

This past weekend was the expiry date for the voucher, and your mother was determined to use it... haa haa haa, now we know that you two love to visit new places, so your mother decided to use the voucher at Chatrium. Chatrium Riverside (hotel) turned out to be a rather nice hotel, but more importantly it sits literally next to your school. Apart for the hotel, on the same grounds was Chatrium Residence (where quite a few parents have wisely decided to stay). The school, hotel and residence actually belongs to the same owner.

Friday evening, everything was packed and ready to go, by some minor miracle your mother managed to be home early. By the time we got to Chatrium you two were puzzled on why we are going to school at this time of night... haa haa haa.

It was certainly a (huge) room with a view... at first I thought it was strange to be staying here, but as always, your mother was right and I was wrong. You two were super excited, and I was enjoying it too.

Chatrium-

Chatrium-

pageSaturday was full of the normal routine, out of the hotel after breakfast and didn’t return until quite late. Sunday started with a swim (great fun) followed after lunch with a birthday party, and in the evening our supper was taken at my parents.

Whose Birthday party was it? One of Matt’s close friend (same class), Sophia, the birthday party was held at Funarium, as it was the Halloween season the amount of fun just multiplied by a thousand, haa haa haa.

Only the day before, we walked past a rack of costumes and one definitely caught your mother’s eyes, zombie surgeon... just take my money already... haa haa haa. Matt also wanted the arrow through the head thingy, lol, as for Mar it was a huge red squeaky nose, haa haa haa.

So we were ready for Sophia’s Birthday party, Funarium was all decked out in black drapes and was super mysterious, lol. Matt and Mar was super excited, as soon as we’d checked in Matt dashed off to give Sophia her present, and Mar was not too far behind.

The party was excellent (sorry, I can’t post any photos of you and your friends together without their parents’ permission), full of fun games, cakes and of course balloons, lol, after the party there was the rest of funarium to enjoy. Matt wanted to go into the Haunted house (well it was more like a room), and it was an absolute waste of money, because Matt walked all the way through the maze with his eyes tightly closed, and had the nerve to tell me to go first... haa haa haa.

Sophia's BD-02764

The laser room was more fun though, at the end of the darkened room was a sword (just imagine excalibur), between you and the sword were green lasers crisscrossing like an uneven net, the task was to get to the sword, pick it up and return to the safety zone in 30 seconds, of course without touching the laser, and Matt almost made it as well, lol.

Mar had a brilliant time with Nada (a class friend), whose brother is also in Matt’s class, and I was watching you two like a hawk, lol. 3 hours just flown by and you two could have stay here all afternoon, but we had to visit my parents.

The plan for Monday was a simple one; get up early, quick wash, take breakfast downstairs before ‘walking’ to school (now we know why so many parents decided to stay at Chatrium Residence). We executed the plan flawlessly, with just one wrong variable... ‘time’... haa haa haa haa haa, even being next door, somehow we managed to be late! lol. It didn’t help that I had packed the wrong PE kit for Matt, silly me, decided to pack his PE kit from when he was five... haa haa haa (had to buy a new one before going to class).