Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy New Year

Monday, December 21, 2009

We eat together.

When we have visitors

We play together.

In front of our house. Yes we are ready for Christmas. Thanks to A'Poak. Adi helped with the tree. We even have snow on it. Well cotton balls.

Our wonderful kitchen where Wiley cooks all of his dishes. "Wiley's test kitchen"

Our living room. A spare bed room on the left.

Our house in BKK

The room we never use. It's the first room into the house.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Having a baby in BKK

Having your baby at St. Louis Hospital is one of the best things I've ever spent my money on while in Thailand. A vaginal delivery package (2nights 2 days) 29,900baht ($900). Includes:
For mother a single room, meals and nursing services. 2. delivery room services, medical supplies and facilities. 3. medicine and medical supplies during hospitalization. 4. Obstetrician fee. 5 and much much more.
For baby incubator and newborn nursing care. 2. laboratory examination for newborn baby: ABO blood group, Rh, TSH, PKU, and hearing test. 3. Medicine and medical supplies for baby and home medication. 4. Vaccubes for baby: BCG and viral hepatitis B. 5. Pediatrician fee. 6. Birth certificate and photo. Our bill came to 30,050 baht, which is a bit more because we drank some juice, made a phone call and got Ahmalie a blood test. Pretty freaking good for how I felt after leaving the hospital. I was able to recover faster and got plenty of rest while I was there. There were some strange moments like when I had three nurses looking over me. One other thing they do this hot light treatment to heal the area.
Glad to be home and learning how to be a mom to a newborn baby again. I forgot how much and often they eat. I am about 95% recovered. Amazingly fast compared to the first time. Sending out hugs and kisses to all my Seattle people. I wish all of you guys to see her. Adi is so good. He has been so helpful. He wants to help do everything. Feeding, washing, and holding her. Wiley has flash backs of the good old days of not sleeping. Love it when old memories kicks in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More uniforms

As a child that could go to school in jeans with holes and ratty hair, the whole school uniform concept fascinates me. These kids actually have more than one uniform for almost every day of the week. Monday is traditional dress day. Tuesday is PE day (with the lovely pink polo). Wednesday is swim day, where the kids bring their swimsuits to school under their normal uniform (PK noted this in an older post). Thursday and Friday are normal uniform days. Note the special black Ultraman shoes (yes, we had buy these, too - but every kid wears the same shoes, takes them off before going into the classroom, and I think Adi brings home a different pair of shoes every day.)
I am beginning to think that this array of uniforms is a test of the parents of these children rather than to the children themselves. The parents that have the ability to figure out this uniform schedule and make sure that the uniforms are washed and ironed in time for the 7:30 AM motorbike departure are the real champions here.
I forgot to mention the rental bed that they have at school, which is also part of the uniform. Adi brings the bed home every week to be washed. Also the school issued backpack. Also, Adi wore this blue T-shirt home the other day with the school's name on it - apparently it is used for some sort of all school (pre k - year 6) games. I wonder if the schools here are actually some sort of clothing mafia.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adi's swimsuit for school

Adi loves to try on this outfit on but will not go swimming at school. His school has swimming lessons every Wednesday. I hope he will jump in at least once before his quarter ends.

found the store for pregnant ladies

Yes it took me almost two months to find where all those pregnant ladies get their dresses. It's at JJ Plaza ladies.

the best crab curry stir fried ever

My aunt Na Peed makes the best food ever. Her famous crab curry stir fried is sweet, salty and full of favor. One dish one can never get enough of.
The two and an a half hour drive to get there is worth it.

Thai teacher

She is making sure we get our tones right. Ar Thing comes to our house twice a week to teach Wiley and I how to read Thai. It's so cool to be able read signs and menus. Love learning.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Learning things the Thai way

Now that we are settled into our new house I would like to enjoy my cup of coffee. I love a good strong cup of coffer with a splash of 1/2&1/2 in the morning. Well after spending days looking for 1/2&1/2 or cream I realize that there is no 1/2&1/2. Every one uses evaporated milk here or condense milk. Learning something everyday right.
We bought an hot water maker made by Sanyo at Lotus on the 26th of last month and guess what the pump broke already. Wiley and I are learning that in Thailand there really isn't any good mid range priced items to by and use. When it come to buying thing for the home. The items can not be returned nor refunded. Cheap is Crap oh except for food.
When it comes to auto mechanics the rule holds true for all of human kind. When you find a good one you can trust tip him well because he is worth it. I just found out that our first mechanic who fixed our Audi did very little to the car. He charged us lots of money for nothing. Good news is we found an honest man to work on our car now. His name is Soom. Soom lives within walking distance from us so it's real easy for us to call him for help. My entire family uses Soom.
Today: The Audi broke down without a fight. We lost our minds trying to deal with this Lemon. Moving on now. We spent too much time and money on this thing. We spent a weeks day trying to sell it. Comes to find out no one wants it. Then we spent way too much trying to fix it. It's time to set it free from our lives. Happy to know we still have a nice cool house to come home too. We got back today at about 8pm. Oh we had to catch a bus from Pattay to Bkk then a taxi home. We had new Air conditioner installed while we were gone. A very nice investment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

department store

Central Rama II try to find Wiley in the video.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Caap Moo

We went way up North for the holiday and found foggy jungle mountain tops, red and white pomegranates, persimmons, jelly candies, a surrealist temple, coffee, but the highlight was fried pork skins.
The skins are seasoned with some chilli, garlic and onion. Adi was an instant fan, dubbing them, "the crispy things that I like."
Outside of Chiang Mai there were several spots to buy them in small bag size and duffel bag size. When we stopped at a rest area to eat, this lovely young lady was frying up a small batch right next to us.

Deep fried pork skin. It is eaten with a spicy sauce like Nam Prik Noom.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our car for now

Yes, this is an 1995 Audi 2.0 E80. If I was an auto mechanic then this car would be prefect. My mom had it for a while and it has been sitting around for about 8 months before I got to it. The gears needed to be replaced so I got it done. It was so expensive that I wanted to give it back to the guy. I was told that there are only a few of these left on the road because it's so expensive to fix. I need to get an Toyota instead if I want to save money. Oh well it's good for now. Wiley, Adi and I are cruising along in this fine automobile.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sand and Sun

Sattahip: Adi and his cousin Noong Boaan.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

political situation

The Thai political situation is very confusing to me. The more I ask about it the more confused I am. The red shirts want an non active Monarchy. The yellow shirts wants things to stay the way they are. Will have to learn more about this. My family members are all over the place on this matter which makes it even harder to get to the truth.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wiley's office

Wiley at his office.
Adi's classroom.
Wiley and Adi saying goodbye.

Monday, October 12, 2009

pregnant while in Thailand

OK, consider yourself lucky for not having to wear such a big dress while pregro. This is what I tell myself. My aunt told me that it is very common for ladies to wear this kind of dress at 3months. I couldn't believe it, "really?" There are some advantages to being pregnant. For one people will get up for you on buses and sky trains. One should never walk, lift, nor drive while pregnant. Oh, do not ride on a motorcycle taxi, well, this one I agree with.
I first met with a Doctor, who I should call "Dr. know it all," cause I have a PHD in front of my name. He was really old school with his methods of birthing. I couldn't question his way at all. He even told me that I was wrong for not getting a blood test for some strange blood disease called. Thalassemias (thal-a-SE-me-ahs) are inherited blood disorders. "Inherited" means they're passed on from parents to children through genes. Only common in some areas of the world. I tried to explain to him that in the US they do no such test because it's not common. Well, that didn't go well. He threw his head back with disbelief. Then he said I can't make me take the test, but it's a must. So I say, "It's kinda too late I'm 30weeks into my pregnancy Doc."
Let's move on to the birth it self. I would be in a room with about 40-45 other ladies with labor pains. They will only let you in a room when you are close to delivering. Once you are done delivering then you are moved back into a large room with other mothers who just had their babies. Doesn't sound fun right but the kicker is this. The nurses will be mean to you too. The doctor told me this with a smile on his face. I shook my head back with disbelief. I couldn't contain myself. I stopped speaking Thai at this point and said "NO Freaking Way". I left his dirty office with fear for myself and my baby. Before I forget he also told me that he'll give me a stick to fight with the nurses. No Thank You...
I am happy to say I did meet a very nice EDUCATED Doctor at St. Louis Hospital. Clean friendly and no stupid remarks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adi New school

Yes, we are putting this cute little boy into an Thai school. Not to worry there is one English speaking teacher there. We hope to have him there for a couple of terms which is about 4 months for each term. This school is very close to our house and it's very affordable.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

To my eyes, Thai desserts are from Mars. These sweets are undoubtedly tasty, but when you look at what you are eating, you get a sense of vertigo. Strange jellies, sweets made from unsweet ingredients, manipulated egg yolks and smoked cookies are all part of the tradition in Thai patisserie.

What is lacking in wheat flour, butter, cream and all things dairy (except condensed milk, of course,) is made up with ingenious technique and rice flour, glutinous rice flour, coconut cream and a smattering of agar agar.

I went to Old Siam Plaza today, which is the aging and proud grandma of Bangkok’s burgeoning a/c shopping malls. This place has three floors of vendors, but the real reason I went is that on the bottom floor there is a food vender area devoted to the art of Thai desserts. There are not many other places where this many sweets vendors converge.

Here’s a sample:

Fried/ dried any veggie or fruit chips

Pumpkin custard

Sweet stews of mung bean, taro and corn

Smoked cookies

Kanom krok with various toppings

Egg yolks blended with sugar and drizzled into sugar syrup to create perfect threads…

…To make these

Sweet pickles

Kanom beung

Nothing like breathing exhaust on the back of a pickup taxi after eating way too much sugar

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Leaving the market in Lopburi

Who needs a car? When a family of three can sit up front and there's still room for two more people in the back.

There seems to be a dilemma when making a meal in Thailand. There are many options.

The easiest, of course, is to simply go to the market and buy some food to take home. This may seem ridiculous, but it is actually easier and cheaper than any other option. One can get almost any dish on the street for less than 50 baht (a couple dollars). Almost any meal can be bought in any market packaged in endless large and small plastic bags for the purpose of your enjoyment at home: rice and chicken with broth, sauce and cucumbers; any variety of curry; stir fried noodles with all of the appropriate condiments; anything. This is not exactly making a meal, but creating a meal to be brought together at home.

The other option at the opposite end of the spectrum is to go to any of the a/c supplied superstores popping out of the red earth like frogs appearing after a hard rain. Central, Big C, Lotus and Carrefoure are the places to shop if you want hygienically packaged meats, 20 varieties of hot dogs and veggies good enough to pose for Japanese wax food models. Unfortunately, while shopping and paying for this experience, there is the image of the outdoor market playing in your head and you realize that 1. you are getting ripped off, and 2. it is no fun. There is no haggling, no shoving, no motorcycles to dodge, no deft stepping, knowing that there is just 1 cm of open aired flip flop rubber between you and the market muck of the fish scales and pork blood.

Creating a meal at the market is fun in many ways. The challenge is keeping your meal defined in your head while keeping your head from being decapitated from the Thai head high umbrellas. If you are not careful, you will go with an idea for a meal and you may come back with a disparate variety of ingredients and way too many sweets for one family to eat.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

When food is good is good

We stopped at a very good noodle place while on our way to Lopburi. Their Ba Mi (egg noddle) was so chewy and tasty I had two bowls. It was the first time Adi ate everything. This place was run by a couple who could be anyone's mom or dad. They took care of us and they treated very one like friends and family. Man I have to go back for more later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First days in Bangkok. Our threshold for culture shock is lessened by the fact that we have been here a few times. The sharp noises and funky smells are not as mysterious as they once were. I guess that means we can just dive into our goal, as my wife described earlier, which is learning somethng new every day.
The first thing I learned is that I forgot that it takes forever to do anything here. We tried to get into our bank account here, but we need our bank book, which is in Lopburi. Well, we'll go up to Lopburi today to get it. I'm sure we'll get plenty sidetracked up there with all the family.
Went to get SIM cards for our phones. Our phones don't work here, so we bought some cheapo phones. The guy was nice enough to tell us that he would buy them back after we left.
My wife went to go interview a doctor for our upcoming baby. I'm sure she'll have something to say about that later.
At least the one thing that is easiest to do here is eat. After all that is why we are here. We have not gone off the path too far. Our family has been very accommodating, letting us acclimate to the heat by buying us dinner, although we did make dinner last night.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One year to learn as much as we can

Our journey will start on September 26,2009. Bangkok will be our home base for a year or so. Our plan is very simple which is to learn something new everyday. Our main focus is to spend as much time as possible learning about food and the culture of Thailand and the surround countries in Asia.
A couple of thing I should point out is that I was born and raised in Thailand until I was nine years old. So this trip will be such a great welcome home. My husband and I have a three and half year old son who we name Adi. Who will have a little sister in December. Yes we will be having our second child in Thailand. We are excited but yet scared about this experience. I know only second grade Thai so it should be a fun. right?