Day 13: Woke up later than usual at 9am (GMT +7). Internet is still alive! Harharhar... after a few minutes online, the Three Little Pigs took a bath (like I said, Little Pigs always stick together!) then off we went for more... you guessed it right, shopping!
Today's shopping was supposed to be less about me and more about pasalubong for the peeps back in Manila and stuff for my family here in BKK. Operative word(s): supposed (to be). Because I still ended up buying a few things for myself... specifically, more dresses and a pair of shoes. Harhar... I also got me half a kilo of Bing cherries for 200 THB. Not bad! They're sweet and juicy and good... and a good snack while walking. The pits are the pits, though (pun very much intended).
I actually have more shopping to do but this time it is strictly for pasalubong purposes. Strictly! But first, kailangan ko muna ma-holdap ang tatay ko. I need his ATM card... Mwehehehehe...
Planning to welcome Year 2010 over at Central World with the family (sans Bro and Wifey, who will be spending their New Year's Eve and Day with Wifey's family and their two little furballs, Doug and Hunter, in Bataan)... The city has some sort of countdown like in Times Square. Might as well... it's not like fireworks will be everywhere here in BKK. I miss Manila. =(
Ok, just a short post for now. I'm really not in a good mood. Maybe a better mood and a better post is in order... on the first day of 2010. Happy New Year, folks!
Day 12, continued: I finally got connected on the darn expensive WiFi at Starbucks on Convent. I got to check my office email, post the docs I needed to post, send the emails I needed to send and clean up my inbox. After that, I chatted with Kyx for a little while then went on home.
Still no internet at home. I'm so pissed... Then Sister tells me about a site that gives out free internet (one hour per month) for every username you create. How easy was it to create a username (and claim one hour of internet usage gratis)? I won't say it's easy as pie, since I don't bake and baking is not something I will categorize as simple (this is also a classic Kasseopeia digression, which is a good example of "easy"). Let's just say, all you need is an active imagination and the ability to type. SO, with that in mind, I created a username and I surfed for free for an hour. Hurray!
The plan for the day was: shopping. Then shopping. Then more shopping. But things change, especially plans so we ended up doing laundry (how exciting!), watching a few movie downloads, writing on journals (I did this) and reading a few verses. Shopping was postponed... for the evening!
So we watched Paranormal Activity (I'm so glad I did not choose to watch this at the cinema over 2012. I would've felt so cheated!), Shutter - Hollywood version (not so scary. The idea of Megumi didn't scare me since she was a benevolent ghost and that damn Ben Shaw deserved everything and more, damn him! So I can't wait to watch the original version, which Rap kindly lent me early in November and I haven't gotten around to watching. Sorry...), 2012 (the first five minutes, which we missed in the cinema because Italianni's has horribly slow service) and The Proposal (at this point I was already writing on my journal so I was just glancing back every now and then. I've seen it, anyway). I miss watching TV (or in this case, the laptop) with my mom and sibs. We're all night owls and we usually did this a lot in Manila - stay up late and do nothing productive. Heck, it was great for bonding. I'll miss this when I go back to Manila.
After dinner, my dad went for the bed (he's the only one in the family who subscribes to the early-to-bed-early-to-rise philosophy. The rest of us think sleep is a waste of time if we're gonna do it for all eternity anyway) and the rest of us went for... Thanon Silom! Shopping should be an Olympic sport!
I walked away with two new dresses (fit for the office, how about that?) and a couple of pairs of earrings. I got my mom a dress for herself, two shirts for my nephew (Bradir's kiddo), a bottle of acetone for Sissy (for her nails, not to manufacture illicit substances, you idjit!), and a couple of chilled sliced melons. After sundaes at McDonald's, we went on home and hit the sack.
Woke up at around 1am and checked my phone. Missed a couple of messages (which made me very sad), couldn't go back to sleep, wrote a little bit on my journal... then finally drifted off to sleep.
This is the beginning of Day 13 and I'm due home in 9 days (theoretically 8, but my flight is in the evening so the last day still counts. Besides, it makes me less sad)... and I got my Internet back! Woohoo! Thank goodness. Strabucks WiFi and international calls and texts on roaming was becoming extremely expensive...
My internet has been on downtime since Christmas Day. Am now at Starbucks (it's more expensive here... just like in Seoul. A bid to lure the peeps to buy local? Maybe!) taking advantage of the Wi-Fi, which is peng mak (very expensive) at 150 THB for an hour. WTF?!? But what the hey, beggars can't be choosy... on second thought, I chose to pay for this so I should stop complaining and start blogging, yes? Yes. On to the post...
Anyway, Day 9 found my family in Thana City in Bang Na (near the Suvarnabhumi Airport) for CFC Central Bangkok's get together. It's theoretically a post-Christmas party but it's really just an excuse to get together, have a potluck lunch/dinner of delicious Filipino food and sing karaoke the way only Pinoys can.
Momsie and Popsie camped out in the living room until early morning to finish cooking pork spareribs adobo and my Mom's special kare-kare (to the uninitiated, it's pork hock in peanut sauce and eaten with shrimp paste). Mom and the Three Little Pigs made the nata de coco delight on Christmas Eve.
Thana City is like Eastwood City - a veritable garden of condominiums and golf courses. Of course I exaggerate. There was just one golf course. I stick by my claim of a garden of condos, thought. At the Prestige Condo, there were two swimming pools. TWO, darnit! While in our condo at Silom, we had a shower. No tub. Where's the justice in that? Oh... we're just a few minutes by bus, train or cab from the nearest malls. Bang Na takes half an hour by cab on the highway. There's the trade-off. Ok, I rest my case.
Being the picture-fiends that we were, we had several sets of 10-second timed ten shots in the playground (yes, there was a playground) and the gazebo. My family is a crazy lot, as you all probably already know. Pics are on Facebook, just in case you're curious. Friends-only, though, so don't say I didn't warn you.
As I've said, Bang Na is near the airport so every now and then a plane roars through the sky, making us look up. I have the habit of trying to identify the airline by the markings on the tail fin and body, so I kept chanting "Thai Airways, Air France, Cebu Pacific, AeroFLot... wait, is that PAL?" with every new take-off. Bro and Wifey cringed at each one, though, as they were due to leave in a couple of days. Boohoohoo...
We got home late to Bang Rak... like 10pm? The sisters and Bradir stayed up till the wee hours of the morning. I hit the sack at midnight. The next day was shopping day, so I needed my energy to be UP UP UP!
Day 10 - Jatujak, here I come! We left for Jatujak at 11am. We took the BTS to the Mo Chit station then walked. And walked. And walked. Then we shopped. And shopped. And shopped. Oh, yeah...we shopped too. Then we got sunburned. But who cares about sunburn when I was able to buy my pasalubong for my whole team plus my officemates... and a few other items for special peeps in my life? *wink wink*
After Jatujak, we took the MRT back to Sala Daeng Station. After a close encounter with the not-so-dead/not-so-living, we walked on to Burger King. After a heavy snack (no lunch... we opted to stay hungry and keep shopping - not a bad idea, on hindsight), we decided not to go on to MBK and Panthip that day. So Bro and Wifey went on to MBK with Popsie to buy more pasalubong while the Three Little Pigs plus Mom and Bradir went on home.
I had a bum stomach that night but I still went out with my sibs and Mom to feed Bradir some kwai chap. We also proceeded to get drunk... on soy milk (I prefer the one with sesame seeds - not too sweet). We also went walking along Silom in search of a few things to buy (shopping, of course, is first and foremost on everyone's mind). But my tummy allowed me to walk just one block when it beckoned me home for "call of duty". There's still tomorrow, anyway.
Day 11 - Bro and Wifey are flying back to Manila at 11pm tonight. I also finished re-reading The Time Traveller's Wife... and cried again, like I did the first time. FInally, Jen and I can discuss the novel (again) without me forgetting the little details (I need Memo Plus Gold - Kuya Kim had something going there!) and muttering "I need to read it again". I also made a BIG decision today: something that will change the course of three lives, one of them mine. What that is and why I made that decision is for me to know (and for you to find out, dear reader. Unless you're one of those whose lives will change) so don't ask. I won't tell. Let's not waste each other's time.
Cooking is a sure-fire stress reliever for me so I defrosted and peeled a kilo and a half of shrimps. Then I cut up five heads of broccoli, minced a head of garlic, a large onion and diced four tomatoes. I made garlic-buttered broccoli and gambas. Both dishes were wiped out at dinner.
So now, it is the beginning of Day 12 and my internet is still dead as Ninoy and Cory. But free internet is out there...somewhere. It takes patience to find it and not have to exchange a new dress for an hour online. Unfortunately, patience is not my virtue...
Day 7: The plan was to get up early and frolic at Lumpini Park. What do you think happened? Of course none of my supposed companions woke up in time to go to the park! So what does a girl with thwarted plans do? Stay online, of course! I edited my photos list and posted what I thought was postable... then I slept. For a little while.
When I woke up, Sissy and I helped Momsie cook one of my favorite foods: spareribs casserole! So in our bed clothes, we cut and squeezed the limes then peeled and minced garlic. Fun, fun, fun!
Early in the evening, Momsie and Bradir dragged me to United Center to fetch Popsie. Before I knew it, we were on the BTS at the Sala Daeng station en route to the grocery.
Now, I do love trains and all its incarnations (digression: I've never been on the PNR trains. Although I know the rails have been rehabilitated and new trains have been installed, the trains of yore still haunt me... you know, coffins on rails?) so I expected to be wowed by Bangkok's BTS. I was not disappointed. Stations and trains reminiscent of LRT Purple Line (aka LRT2) had me at....errr, I dunno what the announcer said. It was in Thai. Hehehehe... Nonetheless, I absolutely loved the train. Though the foot traffic reminds me the MRT at rush hour (think Magallanes North Bound at 6:30pm), Thai peeps don't bump and jostle. In fact, they don't mind being a few minutes late in boarding the train as long as they make as little bodily contact as possible. Practical, maybe not. Polite, most definitely.
So... on to the grocery. It's pretty much an ordinary grocery store. Kinda like Shopwise or Cash and Carry. Except I found a few things to shoot (covertly, as cameras aren't allowed in there) and they scared me sh*tless...
We got home quite late, which made me miss a few important YM messages but what the hey... I can always leave offlines. *wink*
Day 8: Christmas Day. Sissy's 19th birthday. Temple Tour day! I woke up at 8am (GMT +7) after just 4 hours of sleep... Since the Little Pigs were still snoring, I went online and chatted with Kyx. I also saw Jen and Nikka via webcam for a few minutes. (Ang laki na ni Nikka! I really miss her!)
After a quick lunch at Somtam Convent (Bradir's first time), we were on the BTS towards the Saphan Taksin station where the ferries were to take us down the Chao Phraya River and on to the wats (temples).
First stop: Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) where the Hundred Buddhas are. There's also an obelisk-like tower which we were able to climb for 50 THB (about 70php), which was all good except that 1) I was required to wear a cardigan over my sleeveless dress and, 2) Wifey was afraid of heights. Nonetheless, we got some great shots (including one of moi sitting on the higher terrace overlooking the Chao Phraya River... before the guard blew on his whistle vigorously and signalled furiously for us to get off that darn terrace).
Second stop: Wat Po (Temple of... I have no idea). Home of the Reclining Buddha... that HUGE piece of gold shaped into the classic Buddha. We actually took more pictures here than at Wat Arun, mostly because we were fascinated with my camera's 10-second timed - 10 shot function. Just kidding! We were a photo-crazy lot so we took lots of pictures!
After dragging ourselves around the wats, we went on to the Grand Palace. Unfortunately, we got there 20 minutes after closing time so we took a couple of tuk-tuks to Siam Paragon, BKK's answer to Power Plant + Shangri-La Mall. We had dinner at Sizzlers (reminiscent of Friday's), which included unlimited soup, salad and dessert for everyone who ate there. We spent 3,000 THB for eight hungry peeps... not bad!
With full bellies, we went on the BTS back to Sala Daeng to have some ice cream at Swensen's. Alas, we arrived a few minutes after closing time (not our lucky day) so we postponed it for another day... hopefully on the 27th, as Bro and Wifey are leaving on the 28th.
So, will tomorrow be as busy as Day 8? I sure hope NOT! However, there's still a lot of shopping ahead... and Swensen's... and Gelatoni... and...
Like Day 4, I didn't get my requisite 15 minutes of sunlight for maximum Vitamin D synthesis. I did, however, go out with Mom to the laundromat down the street for two loads of washing. Sis (KT) came too, acting as the photographer. Harhar...
Carrying the laundry... heavy!
Staying indoors, I was online checking office mail, chatting on office IM with my team mates eager for the long Holiday weekend, and on YM with Kyx testing out the webcam on my sisters' laptop. Thanks to that, our meal of kai yang and pad thai was broadcast over the web... while it was being devoured by one (huge) happy family (sans Bradir).
When one stays indoors for 24 hours, one will get bored eventually... Which happened to me! So, what's the best thing to do when indoors and bored? Turn on the A/C and eat! After eating, look at pictures to decide which to upload.
Bradir arrived a couple of hours ago and finally, we're complete! You bet there were tons of pics taken and I ought to post them soon. But since I'm feeling lazy right now and it's 3:20am here, I prefer to sleep... so goodnight, world! Will post the pics tomorrow.
Shopping is not something I enjoy doing on a regular basis. But when I shop, I do it all in one go. For me, shopping is a One-Time-Big-Time affair. It also means it's a one-time, big-time drain on my wallet.
Having visited Platinum Mall on Day 2, the family and I (minus Dad, who had work) made our way to Bo Bae Tower. I had awakened at 8:30am; late by my standards (as it is by that of Bro and Wifey) but crack-of-dawn early for my mom and sisters. So instead of traipsing around the six-floor paean to consumerism at 10am, we ended up hailing a cab at a half-hour past that time.
Arrival at the Bo Bae Tower meant two things to me: food and shopping. With the last meal being more than 12 hours before, the former need was crying for attention. I put my arm around my mom's shoulder and whispered "I'm hungry. Feed the monster!" She's my mom, so she didn't freak out; she's so used to me. So without further ado, my mom lead her brood to the 6th floor Food Station. Here I got a bottle of water for 20THB, a dish of kai tom (chicken rice) for 30THB and a huge chunk of honeydew (looked good but tasted watery) for 15THB. Not a bad hoard eh?
The monster thus fed and already behaved, the shopping began. Shirts, shirts, and more shirts were the order of the day! With a few pairs of underwear thrown in for good measure (pun intended - it was a needle-in-a-haystack search for MY size, durnit!) and a few good cycling shorts, we were battle-weary and ready to head home.
At 5pm, the rush hour begins so we had a hard time getting a cab. Having successfully hailed one, mom shepherded my sisters, Bro and Wifey into the car and off they went. Mom and I had a leisurely walk to the main road, intending to take the train back to Thanon Silom. Luck was on our side, though, as a kind taxi said YES to Mom asking him to take her to the heart of traffic-land! Upon arrival, we found the sisters, Bro and Wifey on the street... eating! Of course, what else was new?
Back at the condo, we all went through our purchases. I must say, all the shirts I got (most expensive being 130 THB) were treasures. Now all I need are shorts and jeans.. I can't wait to shop again!
The light of day did not touch my skin yesterday... except through the windows of the living room. The sisters and I yacked our heads off till midnight, after which I fell asleep. We were planning to go back to Lumpini Park the morning after: to jog, take pictures and cavort on the playground. Alas, the sisters decided that Hotel 626 was boring and went on to Assylum 626, effectively depriving them of sleep that caused them to snore until past 2pm. Go figure!
So Mom and I kept ourselves busy with laundry and cooking. Yehehehesss! If there's good food on the street, there's better food at home! While mom sorted the laundry, I cut up some tomatoes, onions and ginger for pinaputok na pla-pla. The tilapia she bought from the market were HUGE! Picture a behemoth with singkong butas for eyes. Deciding to stuff the giant swimmers a few minutes before grill time, I cut up some kangkong for a stir-fry.
Chuvaness was doing her 6-millionth reader contest and I was watching the site meter sporadically throughout the day. The prizes were COOL... and not to mention, madami!
So anyway, I stayed in the house reading Her Fearful Symmetry (I finished it at around 2am this morning. I loved it more than The Time Traveller's Wife - maybe because the protagonists are twins. Two sets, at that!), surfing the Web (and getting fashion tips, harharhar), and checking my office email. My mom said, I should be on vacation but I can't help it. Anyway, if an issue comes up while I'm on vacation... guess who's gonna handle it anyways? *lol*
As I mentioned earlier, my dad's condo is smack-dab in the middle of the CBD. We live on a street parallel to Thanon Silom, kinda like Ayala Ave back in Manila where the office buildings are. Everyone walking around the area is dressed like they're all leaving on Lear jets at any second or will be airlifted to their next meeting destination. It doesn't help that down the road is a Catholic school that caters to children of diplomats and those of the hi-so (high society aka anak-mayaman). So what, you say? Like I said, we live in the middle of the CBD and as such, we're given to going out on the street dressed in full pambahay regalia (my Havs get lots of exposure here... *lol*) in search of the elusive manong roti (he's so hard to find...), the addictive puto-pandan (not its real label, of course) and the sweet merangue barquillos (not its real name, either). On our way to Silom, we bumped into my Dad walking home from work. We didn't find the treats we were looking for, so we went home.
In the evening, the sisters and I took more vain-pics (aka self-portraits) and did more ten-shot antics than should be done when wearing only underwear and wearing sleep clothes. But what the hey, I won't see them again for another five or six months and there is no better time to be a kid and be crazy than NOW! =)
On other news, I tried voice chat on YM using my work machine. That's when I discovered I could use it without the need for a headset! Hurray! Thanks to Kyx for urging me to try. Wouldn't have discovered it if not for you! Goodbye, cumbersome headsets! This beats hands-free overseas calls anytime!
So today, we're supposed to be shopping (again) but the two other Little Pigs (my sisters - I'm the third one, hehe) woke up later than expected and are now pulling me towards the shower. After all, the Three Little Pigs always do things together. Ciao!
This is my series on my holiday vacation in Bangkok. Here are the other posts: Day 1 and Day 2
Day 3 began lazily... literally. My sisters and I were in bed until 10AM. Though I woke up at 7:30AM (force of habit: 4 hours of sleep is plenty), I stayed in bed for an additional two hours, on office IM with Kyx and checking office email (eeewww!).
When the household began to stir, I went to work making two kinds of fried rice (oyster sauce and adobo), frying hotdogs and making sunny side-ups while sipping Betagen (Yakult but way better!) in front of the stove. Sissy took over my IM, chatting with Kyx.
After a particularly heavy brunch (made heavier with some spicy dumplings to be dipped in a black-vinegar like concoction), the family members all took our own individual naps (I didn't... I just wrote a few notes, took stock of my shopping expenses and packed away the stuff I bought from the day before) while Bro and Wifey opted for some QTT.
Three hours later, we were taking our baths (The Three Little Pigs always bathe together... hehehe) and trading sneakers to go walking/running/jogging at Lumpini Park. The park reminds me of Burnham in Baguio. Burnham on steroids. It has two (?) lagoons, vast running paths and a multitude of people. It had at least three areas for aerobics or yoga or whatnot... and at least two playgrounds.
The family and I got there late; it was almost evening when we started walking (and Bro started running with Wifey and Sis). Not much photo opportunities so we vowed to come back when the sun was higher in the sky and our cameras didn't need a flash to get our faces on memory. Harhar...
So we walked along Silom again, stopping to look at some shoes on the sidewalk (killer heels ala-Blair for only 140 THB!), some funky shirts (caricature of a sad groom and happy bride with "GAME OVER" written below), and some mango with sticky rice. Mango with sticky rice!!! Aaaarrgghhh... I bought two orders (80THB each) with a fist-size ball of sticky rice and one whole mango each.
We hurried along to have steaming bowls of kwai chap... fresh rice sheet noodles and various animal parts that never see the sunlight in a meaty and satisfying broth. For only 45 THB, this was good chow. A big serving too, as I barely finished mine.
Patpong was part of the plan, but it was still too early (8pm) and we wanted to wait for Bradir on the 23rd so we postponed our... adult education for another day. So on we walked, stopping by 7-11 for a bottle of yummy soy milk and a few bottles of freshly-squeezed dalandan juice.
Back home, we talked more about our childhood - mostly gross, embarrassing stuff like who pooped in whose jeans (not me!), who got lost in the department store (me!), and other childhood antics. I missed these guys... and am glad I'm here.
So back to the mango with sticky rice... it was gone in five minutes. Sweet, juicy slices of mango chased down with rice topped with viscous gata... heaven in a mouthful.
Now excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin... That vendor will see more of me every night!
After a 30 minute delay, three gate changes and a lot of cranky passengers, I finally got on the plane for the 3 hour, 25 minute flight to see my family. I picked the wrong flight to get on, apparently, as I got here almost 1am BKK time (2am Manila). Next time, I'll pick an earlier flight.
Methinks, coming here to see my family over the long vacation is exactly what I need in this crazy period in my usually uneventful life. Though I put my personal phone on roaming, I am receiving only text messages. The calls cost too much so I diverted all my incoming calls to my office number, which is turned off BTW. The text messages I've been receiving have been... inspirational so far.
Day 1: Dinner at 2am, sister bonding till 5am. I can't believe how much I missed my mom's adobo and ginisang munggo. I missed my dad's corny jokes and my sisters' chatter. Coming home to the smell of home cooking and seeing my mom's happy face wiped away all the chaos from NAIA and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Bro and Wifey arrived on an earlier flight but they waited for me (with my Dad) before we all came home. We ate dinner discussing our favorite food, our strange eating habits and the difference between international airports in the countries we've visited.
After dinner, we all stayed in the living room and chatted for a few more minutes. Then my mom and dad turned in. Bro and Wifey retreated to their room. The sisters and I camped out in the living room and chatted our heads off until 5am. Bliss!
Day 2: Woke up at 7:30am GMT+7 ... and the house was quiet. Nobody woke up until after 10am. I can't speak for Bro and Wifey, though. They may have opted for a little... loving time. Hahaha... So after a quick breakfast of sliced dragonfruit (sweet and grainy... unlike the waterlogged mess I get in Tagaytay), we were off to go SHOPPING! But before that, we stopped by a carinderia along Convent Road for some yummies! Among all the stuff we had, my favorite was definitely the som tam... the dressing is SO good... I even dipped raw cabbage and fresh mint into it for snacking. I think I ate a farmload of raw veggies yesterday.
So...shopping. Shopping! I went crazy, methinks. Although I bought a few pieces for my mom, I still think I ended up spending almost 7K THB (about 9K php) on that one shopping trip. Can you blame me? SIX floors of shopping madness! And that's only the beginning. I haven't even gotten started on bags and shoes yet!
My dad's condo is right smack in the middle of the CBD, so all around us are office buildings, right-hand drive vehicles, traffic in reverse (North-bound comes from the right side, South-bound comes from the left... it's disconcerting, I tell you!).... and food carts. Food everywhere! If we hadn't eaten lunch before shopping, am sure I would have bought something off every vendor I saw on the street.
Som tam stalls shared space with those amazingly good puto-like cakes that smell like pancakes and pandan (1 THB each... I couldn't stop munching on them). Beautiful fresh strawberries (20 THB, 100 grams... sweeter than a Baguio strawberry but crunchy), glistening emerald honeydew and brilliant papaya reposed on ice, fried tofu and a lot of other stuff - they may have made their way into my gullet!
Tomorrow, I vow to to brave getting lost (my crappy sense of direction is legendary), getting misinterpreted by the locals ("hoy" in Thai is... THAT part of the female anatomy), indigestion and being run over by cars and buses speeding in from the wrong side of the road... I will walk around the neighborhood. After all, there's a Starbucks a few blocks from home. Gotta go get my tumblers and mugs! Harharhar...