Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Perhaps there is such a thing as a ‘Free Lunch’, not!

Your mother contact lens had run out again, so I had to make my ritual trip to MBK to get them. The final BTS station happens to be at MBK, which made it very convenient in deed, on the way back instead of going straight back to the office (it was still during the lunch break), I decided to go and see the ‘Red Shirts’ camp, there is no point writing another five pages explaining who they are and what they want, I am sure by the time you can read and understand this blog, Google would have been able to directly send the answer via an Apple’s iPhone 9G straight to your brain’s Occipital Lobe (who needs a friggin touch screen).


Picture1 As of today, Red Shirts have been occupying the most prime retail area (Ratchaprasong Intersection) for approximately a month now, forcing the most well known department stores to close, these including Central World, Central Chidlom, Siam Paragon, Siam Square and so on. So, on my return journey back to the office I decided to hop off at Siam BTS Station, just to take a look at Red Shirts’ camp.


IMG_1391 All I could see was the edge of the camp, it looked peaceful enough (this was before the bombing on Silom road), so with time spare I went down to have a closer gander, as I walked down from the BTS station it became clear that this camp was better organised than I had first thought.


IMG_1409There were shower areas (consists of nothing more than four wooden poles wrapped with a sheet of plastic), portable loos, feeding stations, many people have set up open air shops selling all things red, from t-shirts, hats to even Mr. Thaksin’s mask (WTF). Some of the living quarters were labelled clearly from which province they came.

As I walked passed one of the station, they were handing out free food and drinks (many believe the ex PM (Thaksin) have been bankrolling this from the very beginning). Instead of just wandering around I decided to pay a visit to our Coffee Master construction (this was supposed to be Thailand’s latest reality show), it was one day away from finishing… The shop looked fine, not even a single graffiti :)


IMG_1408 At the centre there was a big stage, by the time I arrived, there was a lady singing, so I stood and listened, haven’t got a clue on what she was singing about though. The heat was over bearing, and soon it dawned on me that I was sticking out like a sore thumb, probably the only person standing in the sun and also taking pictures with the little iPhone :)

Just as I was about to walk on, the singing had wind down and turned into a speech, actually it was more like an instruction, to be more precise it was on how to handle the soldiers if they ever came to disband the camp, ‘if they ever come close to you ladies, all you have to do is to reach out and squeeze their balls’… (WTF again), I quickly realised I was out my league and quickly moved on :)


No wonder these people have stayed for so long, there were plenty of free supplies and food, even a rumour that pocket money were being paid to most of the Red Shirts on a daily basis. Well, they are certainly having and perhaps loving their free lunch, but the real person who is paying for this is in fact ‘all of us’… ‘Thailand’ is paying for this in more way than one.

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 :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why are you so quiet? :)

This was the final weekend before the 'Songkran' festival, (aka Thai New Year), you'll grow up to realise at this time of year I act like a dog suffering from an advance case of rabies, totally hydrophobic!
Songkran festival falls when it is supposed to be the hottest time of the year, so it kind of make sense that Songkran is when there is a three days nationwide water fight :) For the nine to fivers, this year Songkran falls on Tuesday to Thursday, which is a boon, so many have taken leave on the two remaining working days, making it  nine days of blissful nothingness.
KohKredMapL_750 So going back to this past weekend, Sunday being another scorching day meaning we couldn't let you outside until the late afternoon, your mother came up with another fantastic idea (no sarcasm here); we left the house around five to go to Kred Island, which is an island in the middle of Chao Phraya river (to the north-west of Bangkok), just found out that it became an island because King Hua-Thai-Sra (1722 AD), decided to create a short cut, the command was to dig a short cut of 266.52 cm deep, 6 metres wide and a bit over 1,160 metres in length. The water will find the easiest path, and it was certainly true in this case, eventually the short cut became wider and deeper until it became a full fledge river :)


IMG_1313 Of course with all that history and things to see and do, we got there at the wrong blooming time! Apparently the time to visit Koa Kred (a direct translation is Island Kred) is in the morning, apart from that it looks like we’ve arrived at the wrong pier as well :) with absolutely no idea, we were just following the street signs that said 'Tar Nam Non' (Waterside Pier Non (Non is short for Non-tha-buri, which is the district’s name), with hindsight we should have gone to either the Wat Sa-nam Nuae pier or the Wat Klang Kred Pier (we were only about 5 Kms off :)
I think one of the reason we were so fixed on Ta Nam Non is because this is one of the most well known riverside pier (because it has a market), thinking that is was in the right district, it must be close to Kred Island, how wrong were we? :) Getting to Ta Nam Non was a singe, there were signs everywhere, but once there getting a parking space was going to be more difficult than swimming to Atlantis. By faith or destiny I did what I had thought it was the logical thing to do, I had driven right up to the pier, and again that was the absolutely wrong thing to do, along the pier were several food hawkers, and just enough room for one car to pass at a time, there was nothing we could do. We were forced to drive along small allies but there was a pickup truck in front of us, with my spidy sense I decided to follow it. The pickup suddenly turned left through a small gate… and so did we, well that turned out to be the best move of the evening, suddenly we were in the parking area of a local school :) with loads of empty spaces.
Of course we only realised we were in a totally wrong place, when we were at the pier, a couple of people there were very nice and helpful during all the while we were debating on what to do, there were a couple of choices, either to call it quit and just take a walk in the market or just jump into the boat and take a quick ride down the river.
IMG_1310 Since we were already at the pier, plus there was a boat already loading up the passengers, we decided to take you on to the boat, at thirteen baths each (for the whole route) it was fantastic, however as we stepped on to the boat you suddenly got quieter and quieter.
After some minutes, the engine started to scream, and we were off, you didn’t make a sound :) but instead held on tightly on the rail in front of you :) looking left and right.
It was just boring sitting on the plastic seat, and the view was limited, so I decided to take you to the rear of the boat so that you can have a proper view of the river :)

IMG_1311 IMG_1312

We decided to get off a couple of stops down the river (just like getting off a bus but on water).
We had to go back because your mother wanted to have a wander around the market, and it was already late.

On the boat back you were in a totally different mood, laughing, screaming and having such a fun time all the other commuters were looking at you, this time I could not take you to the rear of the boat, on this one the engine was much louder, much, much louder.
As it turned out the market was a bit of a let down, may be we went to the wrong section, but soon I got bored, the heat was almost unbearable and being squeezed between a gazillion people was just too much, so I left your mother and took you to have a wander around the school (where we have parked our car earlier).
Looks like Kred Island would have to wait just a bit longer :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No more squeezing… hoo rayyyy

Since forever we have to add a couple of OZs of freshly squeezed orange juice to your milk (because you were not drinking you milk, and the juice seemed to have solved that problem), and out of the blue a week ago your mother decided to stop, just like that! I was apprehensive to say the least, but like so many times, your mother was on the ball once more, you are now drinking you milk better than ever :)

Taking out the squeezing have saved so much time :) and since I was your milk manager since day one, you have no idea how glad I am right now :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How very congenial of you

Last Tuesday (06.04.10) was Chakri day (pronounce Chak-ree) here in Thailand.

“Chakri Day is observed on April 6 to commemorate the contribution of the kings of Chakri dynasty, who have been ruling Thailand since 1782. The day is a medium for the faithful people of Thailand to express their love and reverence to the mighty kings”        


Just like the past few weeks, the weather was absolutely scorching, we only took you outside to play with the water hose in the early morning and after your afternoon nap we (your mother to be more precise) decided to go to Amphawa floating market (for great photos and information please visit


Unlike the other water market, where one has to be up well before the cockcrow because most of the action happens in the very early morning; Amphawa is a night water market, starting from around fifteen hundred to about twenty hundred, one of its many attractions is to take a boat ride and see the firefly (unfortunately we didn’t have time for it).


Though many visitors come to Amphawa for the food (fantastic) sold from boats and eaten by sitting on the steps by the river, I personally do prefer the ambience of the place more; there is a make shift temple and museum to the rear of the market, the houses that lined up along side the river have been kept in their old style with wooden doors and wood interior, so it was not surprising to see that many of the houses have been turned into a home stay hotel.


IMG_1260 We left the house around seventeen hundred, and only took around an hour for us to arrive at Amphawa (sixty five Kms), the sun was slowly retiring to bed, but the searing heat was still present in full. The last time we were here you were travelling first class, in your mother’s tummy :), because this wasn’t our first visit so we kind of knew where we wanted to take you.


Apart from the food sold from boats, there were also many colourful food hawkers along the streets, all the while you were with me (too many people to let you walk alone), so your mother was free to eat this and try that while she wander through the streets.


We decided to take you on the river crossing ferry (ferry is a bit of an overkill, it was a large boat that can seat around thirty to forty people), you showed a bit of apprehension at first, but settled down quite quickly, after this brief ride it was time to go home.


DSC_4291 (1024x680) Whilst walking back to the car, and making our way through the small crowd I came across this person that was extremely familiar, but to be honest, have absolutely no clue who he was; he saw me too, obviously I was familiar to him as well, because we greeted each other at the same time, we got into a conversation about Amphawa and his day trip, after about five minutes or so he took some pictures of us (Nikon D300, I was extremely jealous) and we said our goodbyes.


I was still wondering who he was during the hour long drive back home, however I was 100% sure that we work in the same company but in a different division, and the next day have proved I was right when he was very kind enough to send me the pictures that he had taken over the email.


It is rare to have a picture of the three of us together, so this photo is very precious to both your mother and me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting Worst…


For the past couple of weeks the red shirts have upped their pressure on the Government, by taking over the heart of Shopping/Retail area in Bangkok, they have taken over the Ratchaprasong (Ratch-cha-pra-song') area, immediate rendering the most popular shopping areas out of bound by choice to the public, whether it be Siam Paragon, Central World, Siam Square, Siam Discovery, Central Chidlom and many many more, and if you know Bangkok, these are by far the most popular and the heart of retail in Thailand.

Only this morning the police/army are planning to move in and disband the red shirts… good luck to them, the policy is for the authority not to have any weapons, in a way that is a great idea, at least the chance shooting through heated emotions would not happen, but how is it going to work?

Their demand is still the same, to have a new general election as soon as possible, for that to happen the current government must dissolve immediately… and that is unlikely to happen because there is a huge chance that the current government will not retain their control if there was another general election.

Next week is Songkran holiday (Thai New Year), and it is unlikely that this would end by then…

New Gang Member :)


The past weekend we decided to pay Uncle Chat another visit down in Pattaya, only three days earlier his and Larb’s baby arrived, a gorgeous boy who goes by the nickname of ‘Gun’.

As you can see in your mother’s expression, she was thinking back to when you were small :) She wanted to see how you would react to a new baby, you were definitely curious, and forever running up to the baby and talking to him, trying to touch and play, it was such a laugh :)

IMG_1244It was a great weekend, you had some time in the swimming pool both Saturday evening and Sunday morning :) Playing with uncle Chat’s dogs was another highlight for you although the weather was terribly hot and his dog was visibly suffering from the heat. We have been warning uncle Chat that his freedom is now over… haa haa haa :)

And the best of all, I didn’t leave anything behind this time, we been down to see Chat twice before this, and the first visit I had left the umbrella and some of your clothes, while after the second visit was even worst, I had left everybody’s clothes including your mother’s favourite swimming suit… lol. So this time I was determined not to forget anything behind :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Throwing ‘Pink’ into the mix

IMG_1228A few blogs earlier I have tried to summarise the political development between the ‘Yellow Shirts’ and the ‘Red Shirts’, and only yesterday I saw on FB that the ‘Pink Shirts’ will now meet up at Suan Lumpinee (Lumpinee Park). “What? Pink Shirts? Who on earth are they?” was my first thought, luckily the gathering was only a few minutes away on foot from the office, so when two o’clock came, a friend and I decided to trotted off to the meeting.

I don’t even have an official name for the ‘Pink Shirts’, from their introduction the leaders were from several fields, University’s professor (from Chula), ex Deputy Director General of Police and representative from the business sector, the meeting was very cordial, by the time we got there they were asking the people who came (mostly in pink shirts (obviously)), to give a pledge in front of  King Rama the 6th monument. The gist of the pledge was, we will be loyal to the King and that we denounce all parties who is trying to pull the royal institution into the current political turmoil.
IMG_1226 Their second message was in support of the government not to immediately dissolve the parliament, and to use the law to the fullest. I guess that is why several people think that the ‘Pink Shirts’ are really ‘Yellow Shirts’ in disguise.

Just as a background, ‘Pink’  became popular (really popular) at around the end of 2007, when our King left the hospital wearing a pink shirt and pink blazer; so here is the similarity with the ‘Yellow Shirts’ who openly say that they are in support of the King.


IMG_1227The meeting was only for an hour or so, it was totally different than the ‘red’ meeting that I had visited a few weeks back, no personal attack, no hidden meaning and no anger… I am not sure how the Pink will differentiate themselves from the Yellow, or may be the Red was right in saying that Yellow and Pink are really one of the same.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Welcome to the Real World


There are so many traps ahead of you, we don’t expect you to be lucky enough to surf through life without once or twice falling into one of the many pits, but we are  truly hoping that you’ll be strong enough to climb out and move forward if you do ever fall down.

Your mother and I have had many discussions on what type of a person you’ll grow up to be, a bit pointless really, I personally think parents do have a part to play, but at the end of the day it will probably be up to you to choose who will influence you the most, us, friends, girl friends, my parents, TV and so on…

The ‘Trap’ can be as trivia  as choosing to eat healthily in a World that is full of ‘rush’ and ‘convenience’, this one simple thing can be quite a challenge, lets hope you won’t be as fat as I was when I was young :) Moderation seem to be the key, fast food is delicious, even I would admit to that :)

So here you are looking longingly at  one of the world’s most recognisable icon, you showed no interest in the menu, just the bright yellow and red clown sitting smugly in front of the store, like a fly rushing to a  Darlingtonia californica, you have fallen into the marketing trap just like all of us :)

Finger Licking Clean


Your mother and I have noticed a few months back that there were several stray cats near our home; our neighbour had adopted a couple of dogs and do put food out for the others, so we have decided to do the same, but for cats.
We have lost count on how many cats have been using our open kitchen, definitely at least 4 or 5, and there is something else we did not expect. Birds have also began to increase in number, they usually come in the morning, while the cats come at night :)
We usually go through a bag of food every 8 or 9 days, I’ll say one thing though, they are awfully clean diner, the bowl is usually finger licking clean when it is empty :)