Tuesday, 21 November 2006

What have we been up too well, we have been here, there and everywhere since I last wrote. OK, maybe not everywhere but we have actually left Bangkok……twice.

Moon told us that there was a Thai festival at the beginning of November and invited us to go and stay with her sister in Pattaya and to take part in the festival.

(Now for the cultural bit)
The festival is called Loy Krathong – krathongs are small floats made from a slice of the trunk of a banana tree and decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks and candles. By the light of the full moon the candles and incense are lit and the krathongs are set adrift on the rivers and khlongs (canals) to honour the water Goddess and wash away the previous year’s sins – it is also believed that if you make a wish as you float your krathong then it will come true. (It looks absolutely spectacular – watching the little floating lights going off into the night was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen).


We got the bus from Bangkok to Pattaya with Moon and her Aunt Naparon (I may have mentioned once or twice that the Thai’s do like their big gold Buddha’s…..well on the road to Pattaya is a shop (I say shop – it is more like a huge bit of land) which sells big gold Buddha’s – and I mean BIG gold Buddha’s so for those of you planning to visit and that have the urge to buy a 10ft gold Buddha I can now point you in the right direction!!). Moon’s sister, Dow, lives just outside Pattaya in a beautiful big house (She is going out with a Dutchman called Robert) and makes Moon look tall. (I’m not convinced she even came up to Chris’s waist which caused much hilarity).

We went swimming in the sea, had the best seafood I have ever tasted, met the campest man I have ever seen, visited a National Park (Lions and Tigers and Bears….Oh My – well we did see a tiger), went on an Elephant ride (Chris was bemused when my guide tried to chat me up – he actually pointed out which hut was his – Ahhh!!) and attended a rock concert on the beach. There was only one negative – Dow only seemed to own one CD…..which she played ALL weekend (and sang along to)…..it was a compilation of Country and Western songs (aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggg) – Chris thought the worst one was ‘Acky Breaky Heart’ but I thought it was ‘Love Me Love My Dog’ which was so bloody repetitive that three weeks later we can both still sing the chorus – I think it may haunt us forever!!



Phimai, Phanom Rung and Prasart Muang Tham

The following weekend we went on a bus tour to Northern Thailand to look at the history of Khmer art with the National Museum Volunteers. (More culture – god we’re good). Despite our initial reservations (The first place we visited was laughingly called a quarry – it was a big rock with grooves cut out of it and the second ‘temple’, and I use the phrase loosely, was just a big lump of rocks) it was absolutely fantastic. We arrived in Phimai (Home of the Siamese Cat fact fans) on Saturday evening in time to attend their annual sound and light show which takes place in an Historical Park in front of a spectacular khmer temple.(http://www.istc.org/sisp/index.htm?fx=event&event_id=20342).
They re-enacted the birth of the universe, had choreographed thai boxing and then released about 100 Thai Balloons (They are called Khoom Fay which means Fire Lanterns and are made from thin tissue paper and bamboo – you light a paper wick which has been soaked in lamp oil and that provides the hot air needed to make them rise gracefully into the sky) at regular intervals to form a chain of lights which looked amazing. It was also helped along by the fact that the lovely woman, Suzy, who had arranged the tickets had also brought along some wine (Yes, we got on famously – actually it turned out that she had got married in Park Circus Registry Office in the same room as we did about 4 months after we did – how weird is that!! (She was Australian and he had only lived in Scotland till he was 2)). On the Sunday we visited a temple at Phanom Rung which, we were reliably informed was what Angkor Watt was based on, and it was beautiful – not so sure about the stairs we had to climb to get
to it but it was worth it when we got there.


Chris has been working amazingly hard and is keeping me entertained with ‘Tales from the office’ my favourite is the fact that the Thai woman make their way to the office in their high heels then change into their slippers when they get there. Completely the opposite to what we would do in the UK – Chris says that it is very difficult to take someone seriously when they are wearing bunny slippers (I can imagine). The other thing that makes me chuckle is the fact that his colleagues put coats on when they get into the office as they find the air conditioning too cold – Amit, who is from Bombay, has even been known to put on his beanie hat!!! I think he is still enjoying work despite the fact that he is working all the hours god sends!!

It’s Moon’s daughters 10th birthday this week and, since it takes over 6 hours by bus to visit, she doesn’t get to see her children very often which she finds really hard especially when it comes up to birthdays. (We’ve given her 4 days off so that she can spend some time with her family - she is not going to tell her daughter and is going to surprise her by being there on her birthday when she wakes up). She had been feeling a bit low (till I insisted that she take the holiday) and had mentioned that she loves curly hair ‘same same you Madam’ she informed me (She is a strange girl!!) so I ended up getting my curlers out and doing her hair, then I did her make up and took her out for a drink (making sure she had lots of water so she didn’t end up too Maw Maw). We actually had really good fun and I think it did her the power of good.

Plonchit Fair
Chris and I also attended a fair (Plonchit fair) which is for charity – I was helping out at the BWG cake stall and was forced into wearing a union jack waistcoat (Chris pointed, laughed and took a picture on his mobile). We had a great day – we sat in the beer tent section of the fair and watched the various acts that they had provided for the entertainment. There were some very bendy children making human pyramids and at one point two men and a woman came on stage wearing kilts and proceeded to play Scotland the Brave (This prompted the comments – ‘This is really weird’ and ‘God they must be hot!!’)

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the latest update

4 comments:

peter_may said...

BWG? British Women's Group? More like Belly Waggling Girls, or British Wally Gathering. And Union Jack Waistcoats? I'm surprised Chris's phone survived the experience (I suppose all that rain makes him the only web-toed Dalek in Thailand!). Keep up the good blog. Tales from Thailand make for jolly good winter reading.

Peter (sometimes known as Dad)

Bill Hutcheson (occasionally known as "Uncle" said...

Fascinating Account of life in Thailand. I could supply you with a CD of the WurlitZer at Clydebank Town Hall to supplement Moon's sister's only CD!!

Pleased to see that Chris kept the tie on to the last - it's people like us that made the Empire Great!!

Glad to know that all is well.

Best Wishes - Bill Hutcheson

Scot said...

I am still laughing at Chris working incredibly hard. Nevermind, it'll pass soon.

Great to see that you have both settled in quickly and re doing really well.

Hope that its not too long till we see each other again!

Scot x

KatWoman said...

Love the blog - what a good idea! Does this make you a 'lesser-yellow-spotted blog dweller'?

I look forward to your regular Thai news bulletins, and always enjoy the next thrilling instalment. Live the dream :-))

ps British women in large numbers are scary - you must resist the sinister Beefeater costumes...'

Love, Mum XXX