Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prodigal Daughter

     I know. I'm a record breaker. I broke another one and stayed gone for far too long. In my defense, I have a nasty head cold and don't feel much like posting, even now. But people actually read this thing so I'll try and do better, even if it is just me whining about having a cold in 90 degree weather. I haven't really been up to much other than working and sleeping.
     I did attend a wedding party here. Boy, was that a hotel or what? Very swanky and very beautiful. My employer explained to me that in Thailand there are specific days that are predicted every year by a fortune teller, and those are the days that everyone wants to get married on. Supposedly, there is a best-day-of-the-year to be married and a worst. It was very busy and the wedding guests were so numerous I don't think I saw the same face twice.
     I couldn't wear black since it would be considered bad luck, so I chose a fancy little blue/grey number. The food was ridiculous; there was so much to eat and it was all so good I felt guilty. I also felt a little like a crasher but then it was also explained to me that probably only half the people in attendance knew the Bride and Groom. Another thing that struck me was the sheer magnitude of pictures taken. I don't mean just by iPhones or cameras all willy-nilly like, I mean the professional wedding photos that use a spot light that is on equal footing with the sun, in terms of heat and the light emitted. The entire time I was there (about 2 hours) all the Bride and Groom did was pose for photos. Each photo was a long line of anywhere from 7 to 17 people, maybe more. I was told that it is the standard to take so many.
     I also loved the string quartet they had set up; they played so many songs that I recognized that I was singing along without even knowing it.

     That's all for today folks. I'll return and regale you with something amazing when I'm less dizzy.

Have a wonderful holiday. I wish you all lots of happy, new memories. Don't forget to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Am I a Dog?

     We spent the day at the giant mall. And if you think I'm exaggerating... See? Told you so.
I bought some batteries and some please-stop-this-itching-from-that-behemoth-mosquito-that-infiltrated-my-bedroom-and-drank-my-blood-like-an-angsty-teenybopper-vampire-last-night cream. I'm serious. I got welts. This must have been a mosquito trained in covert operations. He had skills. I must have been bitten at least eight times before I noticed.

    I also laughed hysterically today at a communication speed bump. One of the other nannies was trying to ask me if I was tired but neither of us knew the word in each others language. So then the other nanny tried to pantomime it. Only she held up her hands, bent at the wrists and stuck her tongue out panting. Like Fido would. I frowned and asked, "Dog? Am I a dog?" Which then caused a cacophony of laughter from them because they knew what they were asking. I spent a minute or two confused while they looked up the translation on their phone (thank god for internet on phones) and then when I saw what they were asking, I joined in on the laughter.
I now plan to tease the other nanny mercilessly about this. Yay! My first inside joke. It definitely helps with that isolated feeling. I've also decided to devote at least a half an hour to an hour each night to learning more Thai each night. Today I'm feeling like I can do this and do it well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I know I have been remiss in posting. Mea culpa. Nothing extraordinary has happened so I decided just to post a few random things. Unrelated and moderately unremarkable.

Flossy Pork.
No, that wasn't a typo. It has swiftly become one of my favorite ingredients. Even if it does look like yarn.

Don't judge too swiftly. This stuff is yummy! It has the texture and consistency of cotton candy--only it's pork.
I first had some in some whole grain rice and though the appearance had me guessing, I went for it and am glad I did. 

I'd also like to take advantage of this lag of exciting to show you where I sleep. Nothing amazing but it's my own private room and I adore privacy. Infinitely better than when I was living aboard the cruise ships and sharing about the same space with two to sometimes five other girls. 

And now for something else completely random, check out the box the Cornflakes come in at the local supermarket call Tops.
Pretty retro huh?

     I walked up to the local mall today and discovered that I'm completely spoiled by going to Seacon Square every Friday. This mall is much, much smaller. Only three measly levels and I walked around the whole thing in less than forty-five minutes. It took me almost that long to walk up there! It takes half the day to walk around Seacon Square. There was an IMAX movie theater there. And when you see on the news that the 'Twilight Phenomenon' reaches overseas, well, yeah, it does. There was a line of about eight girls/women waiting to take their pictures with a large cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen and a blown up wedding announcement from the movie. The movie came out at least, what, three weeks ago? And there was still of line of estrogen waiting to take a picture with a piece of cardboard in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday...but hey, I'm all for forms of expression and entertainment and as long as it's not hurting anybody I don't have anything to say about it. Well, anything other than 'Really?'. 

     I will endeavor to do something exciting this week. Or at the very least something very specifically Bangkokian to write about.
     As always...questions? comments? I welcome any interaction. Except if you want to call me a complete idiot. Just don't. Trust me, I call myself one plenty.  For instance, about twenty minutes ago, when I slipped on a completely dry floor and bruised my buttock. Also, a klutz.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Like a Poisonous Mushroom

Yesterday, we were at Seacon Square; it's a HUGE mall with so much in it I get dizzy just thinking about it. A very funny moment occurred. I was pushing Nadia around in her stroller and we were just gazing at all the merchandise when I recognized a song playing over the PA. The melody was soft and it sounded like a crooner-tune. The voice didn't sound like Frank Sinatra but the style was exactly the same.
     So you've got the right vibe going, right? Very much swaying music.
Okay, now imagine my surprise when I recognized these lyrics.

         the extreme, I rock a mic like a vandal. Light up a stage and wax a 
                      chump like a candle...

It continued the whole song that way.

               ....Dance. Bum rush the speaker that booms, I'm killin' your brain like a poisonous mushroom. 
                   Deadly, when I play a dope melody.

I tried to find a link for you all on you tube or another site but surprisingly a lot of videos are removed due to copywrite issues. I say surprisingly because Vanilla himself stole the song and added a 'ching' sound to the end of the rhythm.

I was laughing way longer than I should have and I'm sure I might have made the other nanny self-conscious. But since we can't communicate too much yet, I couldn't really explain.

*For those that didn't get it, the song was 'Ice Ice Baby'

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Grand-Poohbah of Grand Palaces

     So today I lived up to the name tourist and visited the Grand Palace. It basically consists of royal residences, throne halls/banquet halls, government offices and museums. For a ‘farang’-a foreigner of Western decent- the admission fee is 400 Baht, about $11 USD.
     Well worth it in my opinion. I paid an extra 200 Baht for a PAG (Personal Audio Guide) and that was less than $6 USD. It is a nifty little device that offers an audio tour that you can follow along with at your own pace. There were at least twelve different languages to choose from. I quite liked it.
Paige's PAG for the day

     The main entrance was very easy to spot and I felt especially lucky, since my employer had her driver take me there and pick me up. So, yay for not having to use public transportation to such a busy venue! Plus the benefit of added security; I knew I had a ride coming and did not have to worry about catching a taxi.

     *Side note-As a frequent traveler, it is always smart to read before you go-if you can. I read up on the Grand Palace a little bit and some popular scams that are run. One, in particular, was a scam where you’re approached by someone who says ‘Sorry, closed today’ and then they try and lead you off to some fake gem sale. I was approached by FOUR people saying the Grand Palace was closed today, and I COULD SEE the people walking in/out the entrance/exit. It was laughable. Knowing ahead of time that it was probably coming was pretty beneficial and I can not stress enough how important preparation is, when you have the opportunity.*
     I saw so much in a 2 ½ hour time span that there is no way I could cover it all. Well, I could but I think I’d lose readers, or at the very least put you to sleep. In lieu of that, I’ll hit the highlights.
     When you enter you are immediately surrounded by murals and ornate intricacies EVERYWHERE. I took quite a lot of photos, which would just cause clutter here, so instead go to this Flickr page I set up to see a slideshow. Also, note the nifty new banner I made for my site at the top of the page.
     The Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha was soo-ay, which is Thai for beautiful. They will not allow photography inside and I’m afraid I can’t do it justice but I’ll try. You have to remove your shoes to enter and since it was so busy, I know my shoes must’ve sat alongside at least 12 to 14 different shoes from different countries. The ceilings were about (aw jeez, measuring distances has never been a strong suit) fifty? feet high. There were two very prominent, large Buddha statues on the left and right, one seated Buddha on the lowest level and several other Buddha images/statues placed throughout. At the highest point, sitting in a gilded-carved throne is the Emerald Buddha.
     But he’s not really Emerald. He’s Jade. There’s back story there, and if you want to know I’ll tell but for now I’m skipping.
     It is very peaceful, and the ambiance-the air-is filled with a deep reverence. I very much liked being in there and I sat for about fifteen minutes just taking everything in.

     Chakri Maha Prasat Hall was my other favorite from today.

Look at these door! Aren't these beautiful doors!

     It was built as the official residence for King Rama V (the King from the Yule Brenner movie-note that the movie was a work a fiction, I’m just giving you a point of reference) but now it’s only used for state banquets. The doors were gorgeous! OH, oh, oh, and another highlight from this building was the Weapons museum located on the first floor. There were weapons from previous Kings in there as well as traditional Thai weapons. But my absolute favorite-and I’m not kidding you here—Tridents. Yep. They had actual Tridents. So cool.
     One of the revolvers owned by King Rama V was so beautiful. It looked like carved ivory, and very intricate.
     I’m still stoked about the Tridents.
I forgot to mention the Belfry. So maybe I just wanted to use the word Belfry in a sentence. It’s not everyday that you get to, so I’m capitalizing. They ring the bell on special occasions. I like how the sun is glinting off the top of the Belfry. The Belfry is really quite opulent.

Belfry. Belfry. Belfry.
Ok, I’m done. I think.

     I was hot, very hot at the end of my walk around the Grand Palace, so I purchase a Pepsi for 20 Baht and a bottled water outside the Palace for 20 Baht. Remember one dollar USD is about 30 Baht. I even took a picture of the currency exchange they had outside the Palace entrance.
     It was about 12:30 when I was done so I walked across the street and got some Pad Thai from a vendor for 50 Baht (no tiny portion either) and then a Kiwi fruit drink for 25 Baht.

     I had a very full, fascinating and fun day for 715 Baht. If you do the math, or use the nifty currency converter I put at the bottom of my site, then you’ll see that it equals less than 21.00 USD.
     I love exchange rates.