Published: November 22nd 2007November 22nd 2007
This one's for Amanda
A Hello Kitty Bar-Van! (The top flips off, the bar flops out, the glitter ball and twinkly lights come down, the music goes up, a few barstools...Voila!)
THIS is how it should be. 20 hours in transit, our bags pre-checked through seamlessly, passed security smoothly and with no glitches. Our seats were comfy, no squalling babies around us, and we earplugged, took our Benadryl and slept about half the journey away. Only 3 people ahead of us in the immigration line, and we were checked into room 2412 of the sumptuous Peninsula Hotel Bangkok (2006’s #1 hotel in the world!) within an hour. Our room wasn’t ready quite yet, so we strolled down to the riverside garden terrace to sip something cold and put on our best hoity-toity act.
The room, which we would never have splurged on for ourselves, was a gift from a friend, and had a gorgeous view of the river. We amused ourselves for awhile using the button next to the bed, which opens and closes the curtains. Then it was time for a bath. The bathtub is so deep and long that I think they should install some toe-holds so short people can stretch out without sliding under…high-end toiletries, including a luscious bubble bath (which I promptly used the whole bottle of) and-of all things! A television set mounted in the wall
Our Honeymoon Suite in the Sky!
at the foot of the tub! I’ve never watched tv in a bath before. Pruny fresh, time to get out. THE TOWELS! Thickest, biggest, fluffiest towels of my life. I’ve had blankets and bedspreads smaller and thinner.
So, like the country bumpkin geeks we are, we actually took photos of the room! You know you’re smalltown when you do that. Once it was dusk, the ferries and river taxi’s turned on their lights, and it was a beautiful show like Christmas boats floating to and fro. Thanks Richard!! Wonderful gift.
We both went for facials and oil massages…no, not at the Peninsula, but on Khao San Road, a savings of about $200. Took a taxi rather than a river taxi back, because we were so relaxed that we were afraid we’d fall off the boat. We then checked into the Majestic Suites, a very difficult hotel to get into - you have to book ages in advance, because it’s an exceptional property at shockingly reasonable price. Strolled out and immediately tracked down one of my mostest mostest favorite dishes, fried morning glory. Yuuummm…( A side note about morning glory. I adore it. And I had this great idea! We
Our Sweet Little Home
Not quite the Peninsula...same good, but different different.
have many friends and neighbors whose yards are choked with the stuff! "FREE MORNING GLORY REMOVAL...WE HAUL!"...Only, I got online and found out, my beloved Thai Morning Glory, is actually more of a watercress, and not at all the stuff I thought was growing in our backyards. In fact, that stuff is poisonous. Thanks Google! You saved my life! (Rats. Why can't weeds be delectable?)
We met with Stacia, small world, she’s from Woodinville and traveled to Thailand, got the bug, fell in love with the hilltribe children, and went home to sell everything she owned, came back in May to stay and teach at the same school where we will be next week. She happened to be in Bangkok when we arrived due to a glitch in her Visa, and she had asked if we had room to bring some things her mom sent us that she was missing in Thailand. She’s a really cool chick. Boon for her, and for us, as now we’ve offloaded her belongings, I have a half-empty suitcase (more room for shopping!)
Did a little recon for stateside work, then hooked up with Oi, our translator/negotiator/teachers’ assistant/chef, and flew to Chiang Mai.
Green Eggs, Hatted Cat, Etc...
Thanks to all who generously donated books for our book drive. And thank you, EVA Air, for the transport!
2 days of intense shopping in the local markets, feathering our nest and cozifying our sweet little villa…aaah, home sweet home. Sam, Karen, we got the one next to the VIP, backing up to the creek and all its charms (fireflies at night, tropical blooms for the taking, banana tree full of fruit)…had a decadent sushi blowout at Tsunami, and they had a local fair going at the Suan Sanuk (amusement park) nearby, so we spent a few hours NOT winning giant stuffed Hello Kitty heads, watching a fun live band on a big stage, gorging ourselves on who-knows-what (we put ourselves in Oi’s hands) and then went home happy and exhausted to our sweet bed (NOT 2 twins pushed together, but a real mattress!)
We are concentrating on our health, with a strict regimen including a (Sammi would say moderate) 14-K hike, every morning. My feet hate me but my waist is beginning to look familiar again. What's funny is that we get so many offers of a free ride up the mountain, from genuinely concerned, kindhearted Thais every morning! I think they think we're crazy...
Now. About Ban Kew Sua. This is the village where we
Thai Jersey Barrier
A little bamboo, a little red paint...that'll keep 'em safe!
teach. It’s name means “The track of the Tiger”. We hope we don’t see any! The kids are adorable and voracious learners. There is only 1 other English-speaker there, Stacia, so we have been picking up Thai faster than ever. We live in a treehouse made of dried leaves and bamboo, and have heard noises at night we never dreamed existed. The first morning, we awoke about 7:00 AM (4:00 PM the day before, Seattle time) and had just started getting ready for the day when a little boy sped up to our treehouse with a note. It reminded me of the old movies, where a "runner" messenger speeds a missive through the warfields! The message was an invitation to a wedding in the village, the party was leaving in 5 minutes. Yes, a wedding! At 7 AM! Dan chose coffee; I've never been to a Thai wedding, so sped through a brief cleanup and left. Ah...Thai time. Our party ACTUALLY left about 45 minutes later, arriving at the church just after the ceremony ended. Next time! However, we were honored guests at the reception, despite having only been there one day. We were seated (I mean seated, crosslegged or
with legs bent behind so as not to offend by showing the bottoms of our feet) at the HEAD TABLE, me next to the bride and groom! A mite scary, in light of all the taboos I know exist but don't know about yet. It was lovely, and nobody pointed out any errors on my part (I KNOW I made some!)...We spent our first week strategizing. There are so many needs there! The fruits of our book drive were accepted with delight and fascination, and Dan has already become a celebrity among the children, since their reward for a "Hello, my name is...____", being rewarded with a theatrical and enthusiastic high-five, has resulted in early introductions (6 AM!) at the top of their voices, in unison.
We just returned home for R&R weekend - today was Thanksgiving, this weekend is the huge festival of Loy Krathong, one of Thailand’s biggest holidays. Beautiful floats made of banana wood and decorated with flowers, candles and incense, are lit and sent to float down the rivers, carrying away your sorrows and troubles. At the same time, paper lanterns (I’ll spare you the mechanical details) are lit and sent floating up into the sky, by the thousands, sending up your wishes and prayers for the coming year. It’s beautiful everywhere you look, and if that weren’t enough, each person is also issued their own mountain of totally-illegal-in-the-US fireworks…we’ve learned to become earplug connoisseurs.
Up next...Loy Krathong, and Dolly's birthday on the 25th! I'll fill you all in after Loy Krathong and the next week up in the village!
Life is Effing GREAT.