Bannock: the bun that just keeps on baking

Well, I can’t say that I was expecting to have to write the last post on being overdue, but I reeeally wasn’t expecting to write this one. At nine days overdue, my little rib-stomper is still frolicking to her heart’s content inside my innards. I know that wombs are generally warm and soothing environments, but mine must really be providing the ultimate resort experience.

To distract herself from the fact that she still has no grandchild, my mother has started a new hobby which involves taking horrific photographs of me:

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That may or may not be a knife in my hand…

Much as I enjoy cracking jokes, the past two weeks have been a psychologically difficult time. Every day has felt like a bit of an emotional roller coaster – at times, I have coped pretty well, but at other times, I have been a full-on basket case. It’s like being a kid again and waiting for Christmas morning, but Christmas morning keeps getting indefinitely delayed. I know in my (semi) rational brain that Christmas WILL come, but at times, I forget. (To make a truly accurate analogy, I guess the eventual Christmas morning would need to begin with a few sledgehammer blows to the uterus before opening presents from Santa).

And another one of my mother’s gems:

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Making the pedicurist nervous that I am about to give birth in the foot bath.

We managed to waddle our way over to church yesterday, and were reminded that it is the first Sunday of the Advent season. On the way there, we were debating what the first Advent candle symbolized (different faith traditions follow different patterns). Turns out that at our church in Bangkok, it symbolizes waiting. One line from the bulletin jumped out at me: “Waiting is difficult. But when the object of our waiting is a treasure of great value, the waiting is worth it; the waiting is rewarded.” While the message was referring to the world waiting for a Messiah, I also felt like God was reminding me that He holds Bannock, the little over-baked bun, in His hands, and that I can trust Him with this whole crazy experience. She’ll arrive at the right time.

And one final photo from my mother:100_2494

Todd and Zach prepare themselves for labour…

 

Chatuchak Market: organized insanity

Like any good gallivanting mother, Momalot wanted to buy a few stereotypically Thai trinkets for her brood back at home. In a moment of blind stupidity, I suggested that we check out Chatuchak Market. Chatuchak is located across town from us, which in Bangkok terms means that it’s basically in another galaxy. However, it is probably the biggest market in Thailand, and maybe even the world, so it seemed like a logical starting point for souvenirs. Armed with her water bottle, rickety wooden hand fan, and gimped umbrella, Momalot figured she was ready to brave the market.

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Pink, gimped umbrellas: so hot right now.

Turns out she underestimated the beast that is Chatuchak. The market is comprised of thousands of stalls laid out in a loosely structured grid. Some of the stalls are outside (as in the photo above), but many are inside, in cramped, sweaty rows that barely accommodate two Thais (let alone farangs) trying to pass each other. The whole joint is bathed in a certain ‘eau du garbage’, and the odd rat scampers over the open sewage system.

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But there are many extremely attractive artificial flowers to make up for these deficiencies.

The market does, however, contain basically every item known to man, from clothing to puppies to pirated DVDs, vegetable seeds, fish balls, and photos of the king. Basically, it’s the Thai version of a Walmart. We wandered for what felt like hours between row after row of stalls filled with t-shirts covered in obscene slogans. Good thing Momalot’s vision isn’t as keen as it once was. When it all became too much to process, we stopped for some tasty fried food. The best thing about Thailand/Chatuchak is that calories are never far away.

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Grease bombbbbbbs

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You can’t see it, but my handy styrofoam lunch container is catching the sweat that’s pouring down my face.

While Momalot could handle the rats, obscene t-shirts, and crowds, the heat really did her in. Something about 40C/100% humidity was just a little more than this gal from the Great White North could handle, and she quickly lost interest in shopping.

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The smile was a little forced.

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She tried to persuade these vendors to throw water on her (seriously), but they weren’t biting.

She finally said “screw the souvenirs. Let’s bounce.” Ok, so those weren’t her exact words, but you get the gist of it. After very little prodding, I relented, and we clambered back on the train for the ride back to our galaxy. Once we reached the southern echelons of Bangkok, we decided that our equilibrium could only be recovered by getting pedicures for our nasty, battle weary feet in an air conditioned mall. Don’t worry – we tipped.

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And this smile is real.

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My gorgeous feet against a stylish backdrop of a MEC backpack and a bored boyfriend.

With prettified, extremely exfoliated feet, I was able to more calmly contemplate the Chatuchak experience. I realized that I have visited it approximately every four months since arriving here, because that is how long it takes me to forget the heat and horror of it all. After four months, though, my memory involuntarily resets. So if you ask me in September where you you should go to buy souvenirs, I’ll probably recommend Chatuchak. And I’ll probably volunteer to take you there.