Our Trip 2012 (12) Rhian and Oscar

The women at our table, Rhian is taking the pic., including Dawn Lynn, Myself, Anna and Claudia

On one of our trips to try and find Billy’s bar we ended up in  Molly Malone’s bar on Convent St. in the Silom area of Bangkok. While we were refreshing ourselves with a cool beer we chatted with some  Brits. They were Rhian and  Lance who, together with Rhian’s mum,  were in Bangkok for a few  weeks to celebrate Rhian and her twin brother’s 50th birthday. Rhian’s brother has lived in Bangkok for 10 odd years with his New Zealand(?) wife.

Another night we were in the Robin Hood bar on Sukhumvit (did we spend a lot of time in Bangkok in pubs?) when who should walk in but Rhian and Lance. We got chatting and Dave asked if Rhian would like to accompany me to the Oscars Breakfast event. The American Women’s club in Bangkok usually organises a Breakfast  for the Oscars, it starts at about 7am, in Bangkok, on Monday morning (it is Sunday evening in Hollywood).

This year the dress was early morning casual (?) and the usual breakfast food was available from 7 am to noon, we of course brought our own booze. There were  10 of us at our table all enjoying breakfast fare and champagne while watching the Oscar event screened live in the ballroom we were occupiying.  After the screening was over ( I had seen The descendants and The Iron Lady) a few of us ladeis were left still enjoying the wine and the music. The room was being transformed around us but we were not asked to leave. Rhian had left to go back and do some work but Claudia was still with us and we decided to go to Tenderloins on Sukhumvit  soi 33 and someone gave us a lift in their car. At  the bar Claudia and I ordered a bottle of champagne we were sitting with some of the other ladies who had come from the Oscars. A guy who was in the bar offered to buy us all a drink, apparently we were making a lot of noise and he wanted to know what it was all about. Turned out he had climbed Everast and so had one of the ladies husbands as had she, but only up to the first base camp. Not a bad achivement none the less and an amazing coincidence that we should bump into 3 people who had all climbed some or all of Mount Evererest (more on this in my New Zealand blog).

Tricia and Rhian at the Oscars breakfast in Bangkok

 

Our Trip 2012 (11) Book Club

Our stay in Bangkok is almost at an end, we have taken two side trips, one to Vietnam and one to Myanmar (Meeanmar) the newish name for Burma, both will be explained in separate blogs.

I still have a few adventures to relate. One day I went with a group of ladies in a book club to a members house to listen to a discussion on the book “Bombay Anna”, about the true life story of Anna Leonowens (The woman whose “story” is supposedly portrayed in “The King and I”)

This book club started life while I was living in Bangkok and is called  “The Fiddleheads”, it began life for members of the Canadian Club who wished to read and discuss  all kinds of books, we focused first on books about Asia as well as Canada, but really anything is read so long as it seems good.  It also usually involved lunch, I am happy to see it is still thriving, no longer just for Canadians, but anyone who likes reading. The get together was hosted by Tessie who lives somewhere out of town and who organised a van to pick us up and drive us to and from here house. Tessie provided a delicious lunch of seafood and many other dishes, not to mention the wine! we also had a guided tour of  her amazing house which is decorated in a Rococo Style with floral overtones.

The book discussion was lead by MOM Betty (an American woman who is married to a member of the Thai Royal family, thus her title.  MOM Betty had been a teacher and her detailed explanation of the book and indeed of Anna’s amazing life was very well received. As I hadn’t read that book (I have read other’s on Anna’s life and knew some of her real story, but not all) I found I know want to read the book, in spite of its title!

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Ladies of the Fiddleheads book club at Tessie's house. Mom Betty is in the centre of the sofa, Tessie is seated on the far right and i am standing centre back

Our Trip 2012 ( 10)

Back in Bangkok after our beach trip, we decided to visit the museum again, this time to actually look at some of the exhibits. Although I have spent a lot of time there over the years Dave was always working thus he never really had a good look around. We went around part of the south block before going to lunch, in an open air restaurant on the museum grounds, where we met some of the library staff.  As we were about to pay for lunch I realised I didn’t have my wallet and was leaving to go and check my other bag, left at the entrance lockers, when a member of the museum security staff asked me where I came from and when I said Canada he indicated I should follow him! Turned out I had left/dropped my wallet (Seems to be a recurring story with me and wallets) at the entrance and the staff had been searching for me for about 1 hour. I got it back from the museum director and of course was very grateful, I tried to give her some money but she refused and only said I was to come back to the museum and she wanted to make it very clear the museum was a very safe place where tourists are not ripped off. I was very impressed. Needless to say Dave was a little perturbed at my tardiness!!! However we continued with a  tour of the Palace itself until we were tired out with the heat, none of the museum is really air conditioned.

The Canadian Club crowd on the Valentines dinner cruise

 On 18th February we went on a dinner cruise with a bunch of friends and others from the Canadian Club. We enjoyed delicious Thai food while cruising on an old rice barge up and down the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok.

After the cruise was over, about 10:30pm, Dave and I went off to finally find the bar Billy had gone to, you remember he used to manage the great bar off Sukhumvit, “The Boars Head”? We found the Barbicon and that is where we heard the story I told in no 8  of how  the “Bulls Head” came undone.

Our Trip 2012 (9)

We took off for the beach after we had been in Bangkok for 11days. Went to Koh Samet, we have been there a few times in the past.

Patricia with background showing how the beach is set up for dinning at sunset
  • Took a taxi to Ban Phe,  takes about 2 hours, where we got a ferry boat across to the island. Samet is a National Park but honestly you think it by all the building now going on. It is a bit sad as it has some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, certainly in the gulf. The beaches are soft and white and you can wade out to sea for quite a way before it gets above your head.
    Valentines Day on Samet roses are even availble here!

    We stayed at Saekaew beach, which is very busy with all kinds of tourist, we didn’t like that. Also the Thais were not very nice, I guess they are fed up with a lot of rude tourists who have no idea how to behave in Thailand and shout and complain about everything. This is a laid back beach area and a lot of the tourists expect “American polish” service instead of appreciating and enjoying Thai ways and having a laugh and some fun when mistakes are made instead of getting mad which archives nothing in Thailand. Anyway we had some fun,  tried to ignore the loud mouthed Russians and very fat old men in tight “speedos”, found a coffee shop with free wifi and met a lovely Finish couple with whom we spent a couple of fun evenings. Their English was excellent!!

The day before we left we saw some jelly fish in the sea, only tiny ones and not too many, but the next day their were loads of them and we neither of us liked to get into the water. They stung but only a little and it didn’t hurt, it was just the thought of swimming with all that jelly that put us off!

 The one thing that disturbed me a little was the fire dancers, mostly young boys/men they performed every night, whilethey were very good, the smell  of petrol fumes was intense and I am concerned for their health breathing those fumes every night, not to mention the fact that they must occasionally get burnt! They are like street performers so go amongst the audience to collect money after they dance.

Our Trip 2012 (8)

A lot has happened since I last wrote here.

We went to visit ‘Tip, she was staying at her sister’s house from Wed. to Sunday so that she could rest and relax before starting back at work on Monday. Tip came to us last Thursday to do some ironing, which she does much better than I, as well as some cooking. ‘Tip made us a Thai meal of  Pork Omelet, with stir fried morning glory. It was delicious.

‘Tip cooking for us.

  We went to another lecture series at the museum. This time the first lecture was called “Wat Hopping” about some of the differnet temples,  around Bangkok, and their mural  paintings. We decided to go to one of them and it was interesting to study the wall murals rather than just look at the temple. You can just make out the mural behind the Buddha image showing the world according to Buddhist cosmology.

The Ubosot of the Golden Mount Temple

 The other lecture was about Spirit houses which are everywhere on Bangkok streets. I have heard this lecture before, years ago, and it is just as  fascinating and informative 

Spirit houses on Samet

 Went out for dinner with two couples to The Fish Market opposite our hotel. It is a huge place, a cross between a supermarket, aquarium and restaurant. One goes “shopping” with a trolley and picks up the fish/seafood it is judged will be needed for the group (always better to go with a group) as well as any vegetables one feels the need of. Then it is off to the liquor store to buy the wine and thus sit down and wait for the  dishes to be prepared. We had a very jolly and delicious evening chatting about all sorts of things, most of which seems to have escaped my head at the moment.

In amongst all this I managed to get to MBK, a cheapish indoor shopping experience, where I was able to buy a few items. Happily too, the Thai Craft Sale was taking place on one of the Saturday mornings and I went shopping to it. Unfortunately the night market, Lumpini Park, has now been closed down. it was a wonderful noisy place full of stalls selling all kinds of interesting items as well as a live stage where all types of amateur singing and dancing acts performed. Also every kind of street  food you could imagine all sold in a clean environment together with beer and wine. A very civilised place. Now the whole area is just left to return to the jungle despite threats of it being built on sometime soon.

Another sad event, we discovered, was the closing of a great pub in Bangkok, one of the best British pubs outside the British Isles. Apparently the owner of the building decided this pub was becoming very popular and thus increased the rent by a huge amount which the owner of the business said couldn’t be done and so didn’t pay it. The case went to court but the owner of the building won (probably by the use of “Tea Money”). The owner then gave the business 11 days to vacate the premises and a big farewell party was planned but in the end they were kicked out after only 4 days. The pub was called the Bulls Head, off Sukhumvit, and was very well run by Billy. To cut a long story short Billy now finds himself  half owner of another pub, The Barbican, off  Silom Rd. Now we have found it we shall go there as often as is feasible while we are in Bangkok. I guess shit happens but it really was most unfair. The Bulls head is still a pub, with a new name, terrible food and absolutely no atmosphere. We shall not return there.

Our Trip 2012 (7)

Melbourne Cup dressers

  Today was the Melbourne Cup Retrospective. As all you Race Meet aficionados know the Melbourne Cup takes place in Melbourne Australia every November and from what I gather is somewhat like Ascot with a bit of The Grand National thrown in. Anyway those Aussies manage to celebrate the event almost where ever they happen to congregate in the world and one of the biggest of those celebrations takes place in Bangkok every November: I was privileged to attend 3 of them while I was living here. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) last November’s event was postponed due to the flooding in and around Bangkok and it was decided to hold a party of similar magnitude in February. As they couldn’t screen live footage of the actual race they did a digital rerun of all the winners from the last hundred years of the race thus we were able to have the sweepstakes. I had a winner with a 100bht bet on the horse who came first I got 500bht back (it helped towards the 2,000bht I spent on bets). All the money raised by this extravagant get together goes towards various charities and this year it is going to help flood victims. The event attracts mostly women who get all dolled up in fancy gear to try and win prizes for their outfits. All kinds appear some outrageous and some elegant with everything in between always including a hat of course. I made a fascinator from scratch which I was very proud of. Anyway the party starts at 9:30am with champagne and canapes, then proceeds to lunch and more wine, eventually finishing around 3pm at the venue but continuing at another bar/restaurant until the last one is standing!!!! I was not able to make it after 7pm, my jet lag was catching up with me and I was in bed by 8:30pm. A great day none the less.

Tricia at the Melbourne Cup

Our trip 2012 (6)

Monday we did laundry and caught up on Internet stuff etc. Then we ventured out to taste some wonderful Belgian chocolate. Their is a chocolate shop near the hotel, on Sukhumvit, which has  good hot chocolate thus we usually get a cup, even in this hot weather it is still delicious and happily it is still there, the shop that is. Then we went shopping, just to Central department store, but I was suffering from “not shopping yet in Thailand” syndrome. We mostly just looked but I did buy a pair of shoes, possibly for tomorrow. Early to bed as Tuesday 7th Feb. is the Melbourne Cup Retrospective.

“Tip telephoned me at 11:30pm from the hospital, she had fallen on the street and banged her head so they were keeping her in for observation. Bit worried, why did she fall in the first place?

Our Trip 2012 (5)

Sunday 5th Feb. saw us in the swimming pool, it was very cool to get into, usually it is warm at this time of year but due to the rain and cloudy skies it has really cooled off. After a light breakfast  we  went to church, holy Redeemer on Ruamrudi. It was our local church when we lived here and some of the same priest are still there, including Father Cotant who must be nearing 100. He is from the US but has lived out here most of his life now. The priest who run the church are of the Redemptorist order. www.holyredeemerbangkok.net

Dave Andre, Tricia and Claudia at the Eruwan Hotel

We then went to the Eruwan hotel where we met Andre and Claudia for Sunday brunch. It was fabulous. Their were Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Western dishes available, the fresh fish was perfect and the lamb chops the best I have tried in a long time. We spent a pleasant 3 hrs chatting and eating. Needless to say, Dave and I had a quiet evening in.

Our Trip 2012 (4) ‘Tip

Tricia and Tip

“Tip, our housekeeper while we lived in Bangkok, came to visit us Saturday morning. We have stayed in touch, helped by the fact that “Tip speaks and writes English, not perfectly but good enough for us to understand each other. “Tip and I also share the same year of birth, although I am 9 months older than she. We had a good chatter and shared photos. ‘Tip’s daughter and son in law where badly affected by the recent flooding in Thailand. They live and work in a garage near Don Maung Airport, the water came almost to the top of the walls and of course all the garage equipment was ruined, not to mention their household stuff. they did manage to save the computer by putting it on the roof! They have two school age children and so mum and kids moved to Surin where Dad’s family lives, until the flooding receded. Apparently it happened very quickly. Now they have all moved back and the Government gave them 5,000bht to help rebuild!!!!. They are still very worried about more floods this year so haven’t replaced all their stuff in case it happens again. Son in law says if it does he is moving his family to Surin. Apparently, our friends say, the rainy season which usually last from May to Nov. has never really ended this last year so the river is still very high and flooding persists in some areas and then if it starts to rain heavily again, the big floods will just return. Thus our world weather is changing by disastrous means.

We all went for lunch in one of the close shopping malls and then Tip went home and we had a nap before we went for dinner with Barb and George to one of our favourite Italion restaurants, l’Opera (apparently the first one in Bankgok), it has had a facelift but the pizzas are just as good as always. Later we repaired to the Londoner Brew Pub on Sukhumvit, lots of people where watching various British football matches and waiting for the Rugby to happen at midnight. A very good evening.

Our Trip 2012 (3) this and that

Friday3rd Feb. At breakfast this morning we bumped into Johan and Britta. They lived in Centre Pointe while we did and Dave worked with Johan for about a year, again it seems to be a very small world.

 I met with an old friend, Claudia, we went to lunch and caught up on what had been going in our families since we had last seen each other two years ago. I am surprised at how alike the two of us are in some ways. Later we visited a wonderful book store where we found our likes and dislikes in the literary world are very similar. The main difference being Claudia can read French which excludes me from some works.

Dave and I stayed at home in the evening, to recover from last night and prepare for tomorrow!