Thursday, May 31, 2018

Matt, you are ten :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally Matt has reached double digit, haa haa haa, already 10, lol, usually Matt’s BD would fall on a public holiday, but since the passing of our beloved late King Rama 9, his BD is no longer a holiday but luckily this year it felt on a Saturday, lucky for us all, that gave us the perfect excuse to cancel all Saturday classes, haa haa haa.

The week leading up to this, it was decided for Matt’s BD we would visit Nok Kamin Foundation, a local privately run orphanage, so that we could share many of our things that we no longer or hardly use, as well as making a donation and also buy some essentials that they would need at that time (we had called ahead to ask if there were anything in  particular they wanted).

collageWe have done this many times in the past, but the feeling was rather removed. I mean we would arrive with a bunch of stuff that we had bought and just handed them over, after which we would take a short walk around the establishment, catching glimpses of the children in class or playing.

This time was different, as this was a rather small orphanage (but very well run), the goods we had brought, especially the clothing were shared out between the children immediately, and we were a part of that sharing. Mar had several princess dresses that she had hardly worn, and to see the faces of the very young children lit up in seeing those pretty dresses was heartwarming. The bicycle also went down a storm, after this visit, we came to a conclusion that for next time we should provide more fun stuff, haa haa haa.

For birthday lunch, Matt could have chosen anywhere but it wasn’t surprising that he chose MK, much to our despair, haa haa haa. In the afternoon, we took a trip to Central Rama 9 for Mar’s ice skating, whilst Matt and I went across the road to Fortune Town to get what Matt has been asking for a while (I was asking for this too, lol), ‘Mario Odyssey’ for his Nintendo Switch.

Happiest of BD Matt, you and Mar are everything to us :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The only Goldfish in the year :-)

collageDear Matt and Mar,

[10.03.18 have I had this post in G-drive since March? lol]

Here it comes again, World Book Day (April 23rd)... at least we were more prepared this time, haa haa haa. Year 1’s theme was to be a character from the famous ‘The Cat in the Hat’ book, whilst Matt was free to choose whatever he wanted (and he chose well, when I say ‘well’ I’d meant easy to dress up, haa haa haa).

For Mar, the choice was obviously limited, there was (of course) the Cat, the children and Thing 1 & 2, those were the only choices in my head, until Mar knocked me for six with ‘I want to be the Goldfish Papa’, haa haa haa, and I have no idea why I had left out such an important character, haa haa haa.

So the Goldfish it was, without a thought I remembered jumping online to search for the costume... wow... let’s say it was very adult orientated, haa haa haa, then there were the masks, the masks I saw would give anyone nightmares.

From being full of optimism, to where on earth are we going to find a goldfish costume... of course your mother came to the rescue... we were going full DIY... haa haa haa, all was needed was, one yellow-ish t-shirt, several circles (red and yellow) paper cut out, a tub full of glitters, and orange baseball hat, 2 white paper circles and 2 smaller black paper circles (for the eyes).

When the day came, almost the entire year 1 were cats... and it was beautiful... at first I thought Mar was going to feel left out, there was a handful of gorgeous Thing 1 and Thing 2, and of course (from my observation) the one Goldfish... haa haa haa, but just the opposite Mar was happy to be the only fish in a sea of cat in the hat :-)

Soon it was class time, and I’d left for work. I was so looking forward to talk to the both of you in the evening, to see how your day had went, the answer I got totally knocked me out :-)

Somehow, Mar’s homemade costume won the best costume out of the entire Year 1 :-) At first I thought you’d meant best class costume, even after Matt had tried to tell me several time, I still believed it was ‘class’ and not the ‘whole year’, haa haa haa.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Strange Songkran part 2, Soaked to the bone :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Matt and Mar,

We made it back to BKK rather late on the 12th, and the 13th was the start of the public holiday. The 13th and the 14th was spent with my parents as well as just roaming around BKK, it was fun to be sniping your water pistols whist we drove, haa haa haa, but I wanted you to enjoy a proper Songkran... and I have a cunning plan... haa ha haa.

On the 15th (Sunday) we drove your mother to the airport, and by noon we were... honest I can not remember what we did :-) But my plan was for the Monday... haa haa haa. Highlight for Songkran festival are the organised water fights all around BKK, one of the famous water fight area is at Silom, which is literally eight minutes walk away.

Came Monday morning, just to warm things up a little, I had wanted to visit Central Rama 3 after it had gone through a major renovation, there is an amusement arcade on the top floor so it wasn’t difficult to convince you two to pay this place a quick visit. After that it was time to prepare... and you two were so dedicated, I was thinking along the line of getting the water pistols ready and perhaps a change of shirt, but you two were all in. Matt wanted to get change into the customary Songkran Flowery shirt, whilst Mar wanted to change fully into traditional Thai costume, haa haa haa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe level of excitement started to grow, the backpack water tanks were full, we limbered up with a few simple stretches, haa haa haa haa haa, we were psyched to go...

Leaving the apartment brought so many smiles from all the passer by, to see you two beaming from ear to ear, holding your water pistol so tightly ready to soak everyone they see, haa haa haa. I had to teach you the etiquette, don’t soak anyone who doesn’t have a water pistol, don’t soak anyone if they are riding on bicycle or motorcycle, don’t soak anyone in the face, don’t soak any street food hawkers, and most importantly, don’t soak me, lol.

As we walked closer and closer to Silom, the atmosphere was amazing, you could hear the laughter from 2 blocks away, haa haa haa.

The only mistake I’d made was not taking your goggles, close to the end, Mar was hit in the eye, and it took a while before all was smile again.

It was absolutely amazing, I’d almost faint from laughing so much! It made me so happy when half way you turned to me and said ‘this is the best day ever Papa’, haa haa haa. Before we started I was thinking on where we could top up the water, it was absolutely pointless to worry about that, there were water filling stations literally every ten steps (ten baht per refill).

I don’t know how they came up with this, but most refill stations put huge ice blocks in the water, so the water was icy cold. To be shot with that ice cold water was shocking, haa haa haa, literally I found myself shouting and hearing so many people shouting ‘ouch’ every time we/they were shot with the icy water, haa haa haa.

It would have been so much better if your mother was here too, she was very upset with missing out all the fun we had, so next year will be epic!

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Strange Songkran Part 1, Ramayana Water Park Pattaya

Dear Matt and Mar,

[11.04.18] What a strange Songkran (Thai New Year) we have had this year, the public holiday for this year ran from 13th to the 17th, during this time the amount of travellers travelling outside of BKK can be overwhelming, so our family would stay in BKK and enjoy the serenity of the city without people and traffic, haa haa haa. But this year, as your mother would be working overseas during Songkran, we had decided to take you on a short break (somewhere) prior to the Songkran festival (avoiding the Songkran mega rush).

Ramayana D2-4111920[7]So the original plan was for all of us to take a short trip from the 9th to the 12th (Mon. - Thu.), but that ran into some serious trouble, when on the 9th I had a couple of very important meetings, whilst your mother had important meetings on the 11th and 12th. However it was very important for us, that you have some fun, so on a whim it was decided that I would take you by myself from the evening of the 9th to the 12th.

For the longest time I had wanted to take you to Ramayana, the latest (and probably the greatest) Water Park  in Thailand (so they say, haa haa haa), by some miracles I’d found an available hotel in Pattaya and had immediately booked it. After my ‘fun’ meetings on Monday, I came home around 18:00, finished packing up, and soon us three were off to Pattaya, you both promised not to fall asleep (failed), haa haa haa. Your mother felt a little left out, but she wanted you to have fun.

On the first full day in Pattaya, I’d left it in your hands to decide on what you wanted to do, as we were staying at Mercure where the small water park was always one of your favourite, so the morning was spent there, and in the afternoon we moved to Harborland, which is a mandatory visit for all family with children (Harborland is simply a Shopping Mall come Playgrounds, it has everything from Laser, RollerBlade, Rock climb, Trampoline Park, Playland and so much more.).

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That night whilst you were fast asleep, I’d went online and reserved the tickets for our highlight of the trip, Ramayana Water Park, and I think I went a little overboard, pretty much ticked all of the available extras, from the Cabana to VIP access, haa haa haa.

Came the morning, breakfast was taken rather quickly, and soon we were on our forty minutes drive towards the Water Park, arriving about an hour after it had opened. I was over the moon that the Songkran rush had not yet started here, the queue was sparse but not too quiet for it to be boring, lol.

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For once, all of the extra options were the right decision, the VIP access allowed us to have a private changing room and towels, not to mention a cooler full of drinks, after we all got change a staff walked us to the cabana that we had reserved, all was ready for maximum fun!

The only thing was, I was coming down with a heavy flu, so I was tanked up on Tylenol, haa haa haa. Now for a child to be able to enjoy all the rides one had to be 110 cms tall, and guess what... Mar was 105 cms, haa haa haa, and that had meant a logistical nightmare for me, haa haa haa.

Both of you were superb, as sometimes Mar had to sit all alone and wait (with concession ice cream or lollypop, haa haa haa), then sometimes Matt had to go on the rides that he didn’t really want to do. For the first adult ride, Matt had to go by himself, after a long wait I saw that Matt had to join another group because he wasn’t allowed to ride alone, haa haa haa, and that was the only time I’d allowed Matt to go alone.

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It was super lucky Ramayana also have a ‘fish spa’, Mar’s absolute favourite... that had allowed Matt and I to gallivant off for a while, haa haa haa.

By the end both of you have virtually tried all the rides that were available to you both, and ended up with the ride that you both enjoy, I still think it was too fast though, haa haa haa, after six hours, to be honest I have had enough.

The day have been superb, the water park was never overwhelming busy, I think the longest we had to wait for a ride was ten minutes (if that), the food was ok (nothing to shout home about), the staff were super nice and the facilities and rides were fantastic, the only thing missing to make this day perfect, was your mother... :-)

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ubon in Feb. :-)

IMG_20180222_145934Dear Matt and Mar,

[22.02.18] I think I have mentioned this before, since I have joined BlueScope, the amount of travelling I have to do have increased a gazillion times (not an exaggeration either) haa haa haa. And most of the time the schedule would be so tight, down time was almost non existence.

One of the latest trip was to Ubon Ratchathani (most eastern province, neighbouring Laos), usually after the meeting we would fly back to BKK, but this time we had to catch quite a unique (and late) flight from Ubon to Chiangmai (to the very North of Thailand), and for the first time in a very long time, we had around five hours of free time.

Instead of hanging out at some coffee shop, we’d decided to pay homage to one of the main temple in Ubon (Wat Nong Bua), and it was worth every second, and of course my phone ran out of juice, at least got off a few shots before that happening...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Seoul Day 7, Time to come home :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Matt and Mar,

[01.01.18] I remembered thinking that seven days had absolutely flown by, this time our flight was more manageable as it was in the afternoon. Instead of coming up with some elaborate trip for the morning, your mother had decided it was time to do some shopping, haa haa haa. I don’t know what Korea will be famous for in your time, but for now (in my time) they are well known for a bunch of thing, Samsung, K-Pop, TV shows, Cosmetics and Plastic Surgery, so your caring mother’s plan was to spend the morning shopping for gifts.

Once again we leisurely walked over to Seoul Station, then we split into two team, you two and I were the ‘don’t really know what to do’ team and your mother was off my her own. Soon enough it was time to get back to the hotel... and it seemed like we were carrying half of the shops inventory back, haa haa haa.

Packing all the stuff became a challenge, it was like trying to fit a Blue Whale into a Ford Focus, but by some Jedi miracles we managed to fit it all in, haa haa haa haa haa, that is until we’d reached the airport, lol.

collageThe plan was to catch the same super bus from the Hotel back to the Airport, but it was first come first serve, whilst we were waiting at the hotel we could see that there was already another family waiting for the bus, and they made the first move, standing outside in the cold and waiting... haa haa haa. Well, they got on and we couldn’t, lol.

Luckily, I thought that this would happen, but we had plenty of time, but just to make sure I’d decided to queue up way before the next bus came, but in the end the next bus was virtually empty and soon we were on our way back to the airport :-)

A quick lunch was taken at the airport and eventually we boarded the plane bound for BKK. What a fantastic time we all had full marks once again to your mother :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Seoul Day 6, The Perfect End.

Seoul Day 6 Superb-03174Dear Matt and Mar,

[31.12.18] To be honest, the previous night your mother and I were struggling to decide on what to do (today), although the War Memorial was superb for all of us, but the National Museum was a bit of a miss for you two (as well as your mother), only to be redeemed by a superb supper, haa haa haa.

So the intention for today was to go for something with a little more fun, going back to the ‘Master Sheet’, ‘Seoul Children’s Grand Park’ didn’t jump off the page, but when compared to the rest it best fit our intention for today. However, my expectation was low, I mean really low, as it was New Year’s Eve and being in midst of winter I wasn’t even sure if the attractions would be open. In my mind we were just going to walk around the park and then find something else better to do, oh boy I could not have been more wrong! It was super-fantastic!

I was bored with walking to Seoul Underground Station, instead we caught the Hotel’s bus which dropped us at Myeong-Dong, and from there we caught a taxi which took us to the east of Seoul.

Once again, the weather was perfect, open blue sky, so the air was cold and crisp the perfect weather to be strolling around a park... I could already hear you two moaning (from the lack of excitement, haa haa haa).

It started quite bland, the park was virtually empty, but we could tell that this was a huge park! Once we made it to the main map, we now realised why they call it Children’s Grand Park, with Zoo, Amusement Park and so many other attractions for children.

The amusement park was to the rear of the park, I be grudgingly lead all of us there, not even know if it was going to be open. Once we made it over the hill, the view of the amusement park came into view, and my heart sank... it was empty... but we ventured on, then we began to notice a few skeleton crew opening up the park! I didn’t even know if all the rides would be open, so I bought the fixed tickets (5 rides each).

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Slowly, more and more rides start to come online, and more and more children were coming to the park (but it was never busy), but I still wasn’t convinced, so I went back to buy more of the fixed tickets. Haa haa haa, after about the third time going back to the ticketing office, it was time to buy the unlimited tickets... haa haa haa.

Our fun-o-meter grew exponentially, haa haa haa, it was fantastic, Mar was just tall enough to go on most of the rides and that made her super happy. We ended up having our quick lunch here, and didn’t leave the amusement park until mid afternoon. Finally our fun-tank was full to the brim... haa haa haa.

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The evening was even better! We caught the taxi back to Myeong-Dong to take a stroll at their famous night market (also your mother had chosen a restaurant nearby). As the evening rolled in, the streets of Myeong-Dong became alive (as well as being freezing), the unbelievable food hawkers were absolutely amazing and beautiful.

After doing a couple of laps, it was time for supper, it was so nice to be in the warmth again... haa haa haa, the Chinese food was amazing, today was the perfect day to end our first visit to Seoul. Tomorrow was going to be another challenging flight back to BKK :-).

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