On Halloween morning a notice was posted near our elevator asking which apartments would welcome Halloween callers. Naturally we checked our box (5A) as we wanted to ensure that the gatherers would get some wholesome snacks for their goody bags.
However, one visit to our supermarket's Halloween shelves made us recoil in horror after we witnessed acres and acres of tooth decaying sweets. But, backing into the dairy and fresh vegetable aisles we luckily found the perfect bag stuffers: cherry tomatoes and slices of low fat cheese.
You can see from their little faces that they were very pleased not to have the same old tired candies shoved at them by some uncaring dweller.
Can you spot helper Pom handing out the slices of Kraft?
Ok, at first blush it might look like there was a double standard operating here. While I had a lovely four course dinner at the Shangri-La's Next2 buffet restaurant, Watcharee, Pom and Golf were sitting on the floor of 5A eating soi food and watching TV.
The three were watching their favorite Thai soap opera ... and since for some really unknown reason Thailand does not have anything like Tivo time shifting is not yet possible in Bangkok.
So, I was forced to eat alone.
Thailand is getting ready for the King's 80th birthday.
A perfect evening: reflexology at River City, a boat across the river, the Zeta lounge at the Millennium Hilton and a dinner of a dozen oysters and a NY strip steak at The Prime (the latter served by two beautiful waitresses.
Last night we (along with Pom and Golf) went to JW Marriott for the first time. The buffet was pretty good but the camera censors jumped me before I could get off more than one food shot.
A visit to our neighbor's living room.
Several years ago, Watcharee gave some money to her old primary school so that it could buy some adjacent land on which to build a new set of classrooms.
This morning we drove to Sena to visit this primary school that Watcharee attended from age 5 to age 12. Today she wanted to give some additional funds for the construction of the buildings.
This small rural school in Thailand is probably more advanced than its American bible-based wacko-Christian counterparts, as it teaches youngsters about Darwin and science and math and things that really matter (*).
While at the school, I got a tour of its hydroponic laboratory. This little school is growing its own food; food that is free of fertilizers.
The school has 300 students and 20 teachers.
(*) Check the credits on latest version of Adobe Photoshop ... a lot of Asian names there.
OK, so I sort of went wild with the shutter when we arrived at Watcharee's mom's house and the house owned by her grandmother.
We first went to her mom's house, where were welcomed by two of her aunts and two of her uncles ... and of course by her mom, dad and sister. And, two pets: Sinsod (*), the dog and No Name, the cat.
On the way to grandmother's house, we visited Watcharee's primary school (I wrote about that yesterday).
Grandmother is in her 80's, but she still maintains her ritual of chewing betel nuts (**). Since she is the mother of 12 children, I suspect that she looked forward to that morning betel nut lift that today's mothers find in something from Starbucks.
Later, we returned to Watcharee's mother's house for a full lunch.
I sort of apologize for the plethora of pictures. They don't really tell a story; rather, they just show what I was looking at while wandering about the two houses.
(*) Sinsod made his first appearance on these pages when Pom brought a couple of these soi dogs to our apartment sometime last year.
(**) From Wikipedia: "Betel nut, also known as Bettlenut, Paaku, Pinang, Areca nut or Cau in Vietnamese, Chalia in the Hindi language, Supari in Bengali language and Bïnláng in Taiwan, is the seed of the Betel palm (Areca catechu). Betel nuts can be chewed for their effects as a mildly euphoric stimulant, attributed to the presence of relatively high levels of psychoactive alkaloids. Chewing it increases the capacity to work, also causes a hot sensation in the body, heightened alertness and sweating. Chewing betel nuts is an important and popular cultural activity in many Asian countries. It is also used as an offering in Hinduism. In East and North-east India, Betel nut is chewed with Paan (Betel leaf). Betel nut and betel leaves are different in chemical compositions. Betel nuts contain arecaidine and guacine whereas the betel leaf oil contains a number of terpeneols."
This is from my friend Dan who comes from Shanghai and Taipei.
Those hydroponics that we saw being grown at Watcharee's old school the other day? Well, they made an excellent salad last night.
Today I had to mail a 'special delivery' letter back to the States which necessitated a personal visit to Bangkok's central post office. Every Saturday the Thai Post Office erects tents on its front parking lot to allow traders and collectors to buy, sell and swap stamps.
The bronze statue of someone sitting at a small table in front of the post office? At one time I knew the answer to that but I have forgotten. But, with all the fresh offerings placed beside it I am sure it must be a likeness to one of the former kings. I don't think the founder of Thai Post would get that much contemporary flower attention.
By the way, the current king's 80th birthday is only a few weeks away: December 5. He is, by far, the most loved person in Thailand, so everyone will be celebrating this birthday.
Next: Part II