Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today’s diary… 27th July 2014

bath time-05929-EditDear Matt and Mar,

This was taken only this evening (why were you two in a bucket? will explain this in another post, lol), what an exciting day we had today…

It all started with a debate whether we were going to let Matt continue with his Chinese lessons. The time slot is actually very convenient, 10:30 to 12:30 every Sunday, but neither your mother nor I speak even a tiniest amount of Mandarin. So following up what you’ve learnt back at home has been quite impossible. And at the end of the day we really wanted to have more time as a family so it was decided not to continue. Of course we asked Matt if he wanted to continue, at first he said yes and then no, then the final answer was “Up to you Papa/Mama”.

By the time that was concluded (I was still in two minds about it), we headed off to McDonald (just down the road), wow I never knew good old Mc was this busy at eight-ish in the morning, and here in Thailand Mc is hardly a ‘grass root’ level type of eatery, with 2 adults and 2 kids it set us back over 600 THB, considering a can of coke costs (15 THB or 0.41 USD) this was quite a dear breakfast.

Anyway, just as we were waiting for the food (or was it just a pile of chemical? Haa haa haa haa haa) to arrive, I’d step outside only to walk into some rancid goo leaking from a huge pile of rubbish… what a great start… oh the smell was like death mixed with death’s mother in law. I did the best I could in the Mc’s lavatory but somehow my breakfast didn’t taste so nice, still deciding if they had forgotten some chemicals or was it just me and the rancid goo on my feet.

There was nothing else to do except to return home for a quick wash and a debate on what to do with the rest of the morning. Your mother had just gotten a new phone and needed to get a new SIM (micro), so off we went to Central Rama 3, I must say everything went smoothly (at the beginning, lol). Your mother go her SIM, Matt was bought a couple of new shorts (for home). Mar was bought a new dummy, only because we had forgotten to bring one from home, and of course it could only be me who can buy a child a wrong dummy, should have gone with her usual brand… haa haa haa haa haa, so much for trying to be adventurous, Mar couldn’t spit it out quick enough, lol.

Soon lunch was upon us, we were all quite relax, the noodles came quick and hot, by the time we were finishing lunch it was close to 13:00… as lunch wound down our conversation turned to Matt’s Chinese lessons once again… in effect I said ‘Matt isa already doing a lot on Saturday, Golf, Music and … ‘ as soon as I had mentioned ‘Music’, your mother’s face turned absolutely white and so was mine…

Matt Pre-Concert-27-EditWe had totally forgotten that Matt had his pre-concert evaluation today, some important big shot was coming in especially to review all the students who were to go on stage… Matt’s time slot was, you’ve guessed it… 13:00. Noodles were still half way from the bowl to my pouted lips haa haa haa haa haa.

It must have been a strange sight to see a family ran across the mall with noodles still hanging down from the dad’s mouth, haa haa haa haa, oh… it wasn’t that bad. The worst thing was that we had to stop at home to pick up Matt’s music sheets first. All along the way I was calculating how late we were going to be, 5 mins for this bit of road and another 3 mins at the traffic lights and so on, of course I have never been correct in any of these little calculations, it was more like a mental study to keep my cool, and of course that have also never worked either, lol.

Driving a van like a Nigel Mansell driving his F1 car was a bit of a lark, haa haa haa. Anyway, I should have been given a gold medal to drive from Central Rama 3, stop at home and managed to have Matt in his class in approximately 30 mins.

Then came a second surprise, all we have been told was that Matt was going to play his piece in front of this music guy, but what we didn’t know was that it was going to be like a mini concert in itself… haa haa haa haa, your mother was sweating it because she hadn’t made Matt practice this morning… but on the other hand Matt was cooler than a cucumber that had been left on Pluto for a millennia :-)

Afterwards, Matt’s piano teacher came up and said that he’d done really, really well (much to her surprise too, because yesterday Matt was off the ball just a little). Soon we were back home greeted by your waiting grand parents.

As the afternoon wore on, the both of you were getting restless, so off to Lumpinee park we went, we haven’t been back here since the protestors had taken it over several months ago. The park was as beautiful as ever, taking our usual boat ride on to the lake was amazing, it has been so long.

pageDinner was  uneventful (still fun though), but by the time Matt was getting into bed he said he had a headache and felt a little cold… I am hoping it’s because he is just tired (did not have an afternoon nap today). Look like another sleepless night for me, will need to monitor his temp for tonight.

LY :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Long weekend in Pattaya

Pattaya July 2014-05835-EditDear Matt and Mar,

Timing was just right, you two are on summer holiday and will be starting summer activities/camp soon, it was also a long weekend and most importantly your mother will be going back to work on this coming Tuesday, so the timing was just right for us to go on a short break.

Being a long weekend we were ready for a fight to find a place to stay and eat with the massive exodus of Bangkokian trying to find a place to relax just like us... haa haa haa. Anyway, we decided to go back to Pattaya to visit uncle Chat, it has been a while and Matt has been asking to go  back and we know Mar will have fun talking to uncle Chat’s dogs again, haa haa haa.

Anyway, by some miracle we managed to find a room at the usual resort (literally next door to Uncle Chat’s house). Actually I don’t think Pattaya was busier than normal, but come to think of it we’d only went into Pattaya once and that was quite late.

To beat the traffic we’d decided to leave after my work on Thursday evening, eventually the wheels turned just after eight, and we ended up at the resort at almost eleven, the drive down was peaceful, because you two were fast asleep, haa haa haa haa haa.

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Day One - Glorious Day.

We woke up to a glorious Friday morning, breakfast was terrible as usual, haa haa haa haa, your mother can go into much more detail than me, lol, with nothing really on the card we decided to have some pool time, much to the delight of the both of you.

After the swim when we were back in our room, and while Matt and us were running around doing this and that, Mar surprised all of us by falling asleep... haa haa haa, and as usual if either one of you fall asleep all of us wait, lol, and waited we did.

Pattaya July 2014-05706-EditLunch time came late, the first of many seafood for this long weekend, lol... you’ll discover soon when you are old enough that I am not picky in the slightest when it comes to food, and I mean in the slightest, lol, and that is why your mother makes all the decisions, lol, oh I do make suggestions but they are usually shot down by your mother... haa haa haa.

After lunch we headed off to Silverlake, but took the wrong entrance and ended up unexpectedly in quite an awesome place. I believe the common English name is Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan), the name leaves nothing to the imagination, but when we turned into the car park we didn’t know this place even exist, and so to see this unexpectedly was pretty amazing.

Anyway after a quick walk around the grounds we took a very, very short drive to Silverlake, a vineyard, it feels like one is popping up every other day now in Thailand, there was a tour of the facility and to get a chance to walk among the grapes so to speak, but the sun was again angry, you two were a little tired and I was too busy with the cold grape juice, haa haa haa haa, so we skipped it. Instead we stayed in the visitor area high above the vines, the breeze was amazingly cool due to the rain earlier, the view was stunning, much better than all the similar places dotted around Thailand.

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For about forty minutes we stayed to enjoy the surrounding, after which came a longish drive to a local fresh market to pick up crabs and something, something for uncle Chat’s famous barbecue :-), your mother did the shopping while us three spent time in the local park playing tag... haa haa haa. The ‘appointment’ with uncle Chat was at six but we were fashionably late much to your mother’s delight (not).

As usual Mar spent most of the night talking to the dogs, Matt was hogging the TV and wouldn’t share iPad with uncle Chat’s children (but that is going to change after our stern talk), uncle Chat, your mother and I ended up chin wagging all night :-)

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Day Two - What a day :-)
Saturday started off well enough, instead of having breakfast at the resort we decided to head to McDonald for some morning fun treat, it may not be very nutritious but the fun factor definitely was worth the trip. The first time we had breakfast at McDonald was through necessity (at the airport), and looking at how much you two enjoy this we’ll certainly do this again.

Pattaya July 2014-05775-EditAnyway, the previous evening auntie Larb suggests to us to visit a new attraction in Pattaya, ‘Pipo Pony Club’, the facility looks great and because we were there early the crowd was very light, in terms of fun I think it was more for Mar rather than Matt though.
Matt was having more fun drawing pictures in the sand while Mar was over the moon with all the tiny horses, lol. Matt decided he wanted to take a ride in the car (customised Mini) that was going around the facility, that was a surprise for me because you could walk around the place in less than 10 minutes. Anyway we decided to let Matt has his way because he certainly was not having that much fun. While that was happening Mar and I popped over to the food zone for some much needed ice cream... and that was where the fun begins.

While choosing the ice cream, the dreaded word was faintly uttered from Mar... ‘Papa, Papa, Pee Pee’... then she began to cross her legs... a sure sign of ‘must move quickly’... lol, unfortunately I was not fast enough. After profusely apologising to the staff (they were really kind), we headed off to clean up. Discovering shower facility was a surprise and  of course very welcome... haa haa haa.


 

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After Pipo almost everything went down hill, haa haa haa haa haa. We know that you two wanted to play on the beach and not wanting to disappoint the both of you, your mother and I searched high and low for a nice quiet beach, and we came up with two in Sattahip (which is the next district from Pattaya).

The plan was to find some place to eat near the beach then spend the rest of the afternoon playing on the beach, the two choices were ‘Hat Toei Ngam’ (Beach Toei Beautiful) and ‘Ao Dong Tan’ (Bay Dong Tan), both situated within the Thai Navy grounds.  To my understanding these two choices were local beaches, meaning where the local come to relax and picnic on the beach, and that involves a large amount of alcohol. This being a long weekend, these two places were absolutely jam packed.

The first stop was Ao Dong Tan, literally there were more people than the sand on the beach, and that was because there was no beach, haa haa haa. The water comes right up to the wall (that was why people were learning to sail here). Anyway we decided to drive the whole length of the seafront, by the end there was a small stretch of sandy beach, but of course by then there was no restaurant.

We weren’t worried, we still have Hat Toei Ngam, luckily on the way there (only 15 minutes away) and along the way we managed to find a restaurant for a quick lunch (it was more like 14:30 pre supper, haa haa haa).

Hat Toei Ngam was even worse, probably with more people than the previous place and after driving around for a while we were lucky to have found a parking space, not hoping for much we decided to change into our swimming gear anyway. Walking from the car to the water’s edge I was sure we would see the beach as soon as we have reached the water’s edge. We didn’t, there were steps leading straight into the knee deep sea... I was the first to reach the steps, looking back and signaled ‘help, what should we do’ kind of a glance to your mother... by then it was almost five.

As there wasn’t even enough room to sit down, your mother and I made the decision to drive back to Ao Dong Tan as at least there was a sign of a beach there. As soon as we got back my priority was to find a parking space as soon as possible, the sun was quickly setting and we just wanted you to have fun.
Well, the beach was only a couple of meter in width but it certainly was long, the quality of the sand was filthy, Mar parked herself close by, but Matt really wanted to get into the sea and was expecting as much fun as he had while we were in Phuket.

How can I say this, I was sticking very close to Matt as he walked deeper and deeper into the sea, then I saw it... a used male contraception of a rubbery kind (well I can only assumed it was used, haa haa haa). Of course that broke the camel’s back, I couldn’t lift Matt out of the water quick enough. Luckily Matt wasn’t having that much fun anyway, so we headed to the shower which sadly to say was just a little better than the sea, lol.

By the time Matt and I was out of the shower, Mar who at first was reluctant to leave the beach was now heading towards the shower, I was hoping the girls' shower was better than what Matt and I had just went through, but by your mother’s description it was definitely worse, to the extent that Mar refused to stand in the shower... haa haa haa.

Well, at least you two were clean (kind of), at first we were going to head back to the room to have another shower before heading into Pattaya for some supper and some more fun at Ripley. But the traffic was so bad heading back to the resort would have been the wrong decision. So we decided to head straight to Garden Park Royal (by chance, along the way picking up Matt’s golf clubs that were given to him from a very kind and generous old friend from our BMW days).

Ripley Believe it or not museum occupied most of the top floor with several (and expensive) games and rides, your mother’s friend recommended a couple of rides, we were sure that Matt was going to enjoy it but we weren’t so sure for Mar, lol. The first ride was ‘Scream in the Dark’ a crossover between shooting and haunted house (kart style) followed by the Infinity Maze (at Matt’s request), both of them were not bad but I feel a child need to be six or more to enjoy them.

Supper was a non event, quick and simple, and to no surprise both of you fell fast asleep in the car.

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Day Three - Going Home

We were playing safe on this third day, pool time after breakfast was a hit (as usual), then we were back in the room to pack, and once again Mar fell into a deep sleep. By the time she woke up it was almost one. Uncle Chat was there again with another recommendation for a new restaurant, Chor Seafood, the quality of food and service was fantastic, I never knew you two could eat so much :-)

Driving back was a bit of a pain though, especially the queue for the toll road was a huge pain in the bum, but after a couple of hours we were back, hoorayyyyy. Overall it was a great long weekend :-)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

End of School Year 2014

Dear Matt and Mar,

Can not believe that another school year is over for you two, Matt ends the year with what I think a Prince and Princess Dance? I understand that they wanted to end the year with a bang, hence this dance… can’t say I am use to this type of idea though and here is my old age rant… For me, the end of term was special, saying goodbye to friends (and in my opinion especially true for boarding schools) was a bit of a big deal, but everything behind it was honest and didn’t need to ‘Hollywood’ it in anyway.

End of Noddy 2014-2014End of SHB 2014-Not sure if this was because you are still in Kindergarten, and so they just wanted to have fun before you go up to year 2, which I am assuming going to get more serious. Well whatever, at least all the kids had a great time (judging by the photos), just don’t be expecting all this glitz and glam when you are home though, haa haa haa. If there is time I think we are going to send you to Buddhist school again this summer.

All in all Matt has developed quite a lot in year one, thanks to Ms Granger and her team :-) the job must have been very tiring… haa haa haa.

For Mar, Noddy ended the year with free ice-cream, which was perfect for you, your mother sent me a pic of you retiring to your little house to enjoy your ice-cream, and I just couldn’t stop thinking that your white shirt will probably be chocolate colour by the end.

Mar’s end of year report was fun to read, haa haa haa, for me I judge your happiness by the amount of singing you do, and lately you’ve been singing non stop :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

20140629 Long time coming, Full Family Ayutthaya Trip

Ayutthaya-05583Dear Matt and Mar,

In the past, whenever I am back in Thailand, every Sunday that I am back my parents and I would travel, mostly to visit temples, however since you two have arrived this ritual (no pun intended) has suddenly stopped.

Today (29.06.14) was the first time in a very, very long time that we were together on a trip as a full family (my parents, my Aunt and a cousin), and it was a fantastic day... We were supposed to be on the road by nine, but your grandmother had spent so much time preparing your snacks, haa haa haa, we didn’t move out until almost ten. Oh by the way we were all grateful for all the snacks she had prepared, it was amazing how that much food can disappear so quickly, haa haa haa.

After about an hour drive we were approaching Ayutthaya and our first stop was a small but very well known temple, it is famous because of one of its monk, Lhuang Por Glan, the temple was Phra Yart Ga Ram. It was surprising to me that my father has never visited this temple considering how many million of times he had visited Ayutthaya, and of course I was over the moon that I was able to bring him here today.

 

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The second stop was quite close by, Wat Phramen was only on the other side of Ayutthaya. Driving across Ayutthaya was literally as bad as driving in Bangkok and on a bad day too, that was surprising to my parents, then we realised it has been almost 7 years (Matt’s age, haa haa haa) since they had visited Ayutthaya, lol.

Wat Phramen is one of my father’s favourite temple, as to my understanding it was one of the only temple that was not burnt down by the Burmese (their old name) when they occupied this old capital city of Siam (old name for Thailand). Apart from all that, the Buddha’s images were quite stunning too.

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To throw things into the mix, the next stop was a place where your grandmother said we had to stop for the both of you, about 40 Km to the north of Wat Phramen was Bann Hun Lhek (House Robot Metal, a direct translation). I think I was more impressed by the place than you two, to tell you the truth it was quite pretty amazing, making popular art from scrap metal, but for me the most amazing thing were the sculptures that were made from tires... wow...

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Another 17 Kms further north (by this time we were in Sing Buri province) was where we had a rather late lunch, I think we’ve been coming here since the pangaea was still warm, lol. Let me get this out of the way, your grandmother loves to cook and is quite passionate about food, so it is rarely that she will compliment a restaurant. This one was one of her favourite, that is until today... haa haa haa. To be honest I can not tell a difference between a Chocolate and a Strawberry ice cream (of course this is a slight exaggeration, but I think  you two get the point), so for me, today’s lunch was pretty much the same as the last time we were here. Well not according to my mother, the icing on the cake was the state of their toilet, it was in dire need of renovation the last time we were here, and it was still the same today, actually worse because the last time we were here was about seven years ago... haa haa haa. I’d guess we’ll all  have to look for another place to eat now.

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The final stop was Wat Chaiyo Worawihan, in a way this is a mandatory stop, funny enough last night your mother and I was looking at the photo library and found one of Gio (heavily pregnant with Matt) sitting in Wat Chaiyo Worawihan, and that was how we know exactly when we were last here, lol. We never get tired of coming here, one of the most famous monk in Thailand was originally from this area and thus had build this temple.

In seven years, we are glad to see that the temple is now much better organised, better parking better management of the retail areas and so on, and that brought much joy to your grandfather :-) After visiting the three halls we headed back to the car to head home.

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A pretty uneventful drive back, the highlight was probably of me emptying half a cup of black coffee onto my pristine white shirt, and trying to get it off when my mother, aunt and cousin stopped to buy brooms.

We got back to the condo way past seven, and you two were fast asleep... so another dry cleaning night for you... haa haa haa.