Momalot Hits Thailand

Last Thursday, at 3am, the woman who personally spawned the miracle otherwise known as me entered the world Bangkok. She arrived 5 hours past her due date, which isn’t bad, considering how far she had to come.

Same gene pool and same penchant for light brown pleather purses

Corrine, aka ‘Momalot’, is one spry old(er) lady, but she hasn’t had the chance to do much travelling yet – turns out that raising 5 children is a bit of a drain on the ol’ free time.  We were really excited to be her tour guides on her first trip to Asia.

We started by introducing her to our favourite activity: eating.

Momalot’s arrival coincided with Songkran, the Thai new year celebration. This is a time of good luck and blessings, which sounds nice, except that luck is publicly expressed by throwing cold water on people in the streets, and smearing chalk/talc on their cheeks. This is fun on a hot day, but it gets a bit tiresome after awhile.

This is one blessed woman

After a few days of hiding in our apartment, we set off for Koh Chang, an island 6 hours from Bangkok.

Momalot made sure to wear a lifejacket for safety, as well as her favourite facial expression

No one accosted us with water or chalk when we got off the ferry, and we thought that we were finally home free. Unfortunately, our friendly island neighbours had other ideas. As our song-taew (open air shuttle) raced through hair pin turns, group after group of people heaved buckets of freezing water into the back of the vehicle, soaking us and all our stuff. What a friendly custom.

Trying to regain her composure with a little light music

It seems that the wettest part of Songkran is now over, and we are enjoying relaxing by the ocean. Momalot has promised to write a guest post for this blog – I have a feeling it will focus on Thai toilets, so get excited for a photo diary of ceramic bowls. What can I say – good taste runs in the family.

More Misadventures + a Taste of Home

I have to admit, I am having a small pity party here in Thailand. While living in the tropics has its undeniable charms, the truth is that I would love to be freezing my buns off in my native land right now. I miss snow, I miss my family and friends, and I am missing Christmas. I just really want to bury my entire head in a pile of Christmas baking. Instead, I am sitting in Ikea, drinking coffee-whitener enhanced hot chocolate and listening to bad Christmas music. While I appreciate the sentiment behind “Happy Christmas (War is Over),” every time I hear Celine Dion singing it, I want to gouge my eyes ears out. Today is no exception. Woe is me. My life is so hard.

bad day

So is T-bone’s.

Enough whining. On to happier things. This past weekend, T-bone and I went on another strange adventure, this time accompanied by The Gurus. The Gurus have many fun qualities, including their faces: all the school secretaries seem to think that Therese and I are the same person, and Eli is one of those lucky souls who could fake basically any ethnicity. Good times.

The Doppelganger and the Serbo-Egyptian-Thai-Israeli-Spaniard.

Therese wanted to check out a park called “The Green Lung” in Bang Krachao, one of the most unique/bizarre neighbourhoods in this unique/bizarre city. The Chao Phraya river runs through Bangkok, and at one point, it loops back on itself, creating a neighbourhood that is almost an island. Bang Krachao was settled by the Mon people in the 19th century, and the area is still a unique enclave. Apparently, it also had good parks, and we were looking forward to lounging in the grass.

We took a taxi to a small pier, and jumped on the first boat that drifted by.

It dropped us off in what looked like someone’s backyard. Cement pathways snaked through the jungle, and we had no idea where the alleged “park” was. “The Lung” was extremely “Green,” but there didn’t seem to be any capillaries that would lead us inside.  A helpful dog from the Thai department of tourism acted as our guide for awhile, but ditched us when she realized we weren’t handing out food. All we managed to find was a sleepy village that reminded me of small town Alberta. A crew of roadside motorcycle taxis tried to be helpful, but they laughed so hard every time we wandered past them that they couldn’t properly form words. I just love bringing joy to peoples’ hearts.

Ahh. Idyllic village life replete with soi dogs and yellow shorts.

After awhile, we gave up and walked back towards the pier. On our way, however, we first saw these two treasures:

Buddha in his “Svelte Youth” phase…

And later, after discovering the joys of Thai food.

And then stumbled upon this gem. The Bangkok Tree House is a boutique hotel hidden in “The Lung,” and offered a partial redemption of our adventure.

The hotel’s welcome committee

“Dude,” says The Doppelganger

Each unit has a hammock bed on top of the roof, perfect for watching the sunset.

We watched the tourists watching the sunset. Not awkward at all.

We ordered a drink, and lounged under the massive trees. Other than the apple sized fruit falling on Todd’s head, it was a lovely and relaxing place.

After a concerted effort (ie: using our peepers), we found the real pier, and boarded a ferry. And that’s when I saw it. A site calculated to banish my homesickness. An oil refinery, gleaming in the twilight.

In all its glory.

Bangkok may be a little short on snow and Christmas baking, but this beauty almost made up for it. Oh Alberta. I am home for the holidays.