Saturday, September 29, 2007


Nope, I'm not there just yet. I'm still adjusting back to my routine and all. Lifestyle here and there are so much different; it will take me another week or so.

Since I've turned 30 several months ago, I've been thinking a lot about my health and what I am supposed to do to make myself age smoother. I guess my purpose isn't something like wanting to live forever, but I also do not want to die by 50 either. Before I left for Thailand, I had made an appointment with a family doctor, and here last Thursday, I went off to see him. I'm very proud of my choice of my very few docs and he is one of them. Dr. Stines is about 52 years old and is a very very nice guy, though that isn't what I will be talking about him. His wife told me the reason he has left a big coporate practice is because they never allow enough time for him with his patient though he felt like he needs more time with each one of them. So here he is, having his own practice and his wife has become his medical assistance. I just think that's really cute. Anyhow I talked with him last Thursday about whether I should get a physical exam--you know those annual blood works, choresterol, stuff like that. He signed, and said there is no need for it now. He said something like that is used to detect bad stuff and he feels it is not needed by people younger than 50 years old. He said he guess if I want to I can go ahead and get that done, but he doesn't think that the result of my exam will help him treating me anyway. He went blah blah blah of how inessential annual is for another 10 minutes and told me, " I will let you know when you need it, alright!"

Now....I don't know. I guess I will just listen to the MD--the degree I don't have. I mean, I have to listen to him, right?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weight Gain and Other Stuff

As I've expected, I came back to the US with weight gain. I will not even want to mention, how much, but I can feel my work pants get tighten. What a frightening experience!

Shopping in Thailand is a lot of fun, but eating in Thailand is much more fun. I'd chosen to eat almost everything I like and cannot find back in the States. I remember making a daily trip to Bon Marche Market to get a bite off Piek-Poon--a kind of desserts I cannot even explain why I like it and what it tastes like. Yes, another thing I cannot find in this great country of America. I've bought several kinds of foods back. As much as I hate to have a trouble getting inspected at the custom at the airport, I have agreed with myself I must take a risk. I packed things like Pla-Salids, Pan-Sips and some nam-prik in my suitcases (of course, they were well sealed!) taking my chances. If I were to get picked for an inspection and they'd take those yummy stuff away from me, so be it. At least I know I've tried. Luckily, it was one of those very few days. I didn't get stopped. I passed ALL DA WAY!!!

It is funny (and that was why I insisted packing my suitcases alone to avoid humiliations, ha) and I'm not sure if other fellow Thais do have a taste like me. Besides food shopping to bring back, I'd do personal hygiene items shopping as well. Items such as cheap facial cream, facial foam (love the Shogubutsu), Parrot soap bars, toothpaste...stuff like that. I love buying those stuff back here because they remind me of Thailand--something that is a little hard to explain. Like Parrot soap bars, they smell sooooo good, sooooo refreshing. So far, no soap bars in the US can beat it, so how can I resist the temptation to spend 32 bahts on 4 soap bars--it's hard to beat the deal. When I was shopping for these stuff at Big C near by house, I was thinking about how many Thais pay so much money to use imported goodies. Me, on the other hands, pays less than ever, to carry back made-in-Thailand items. The quality may be as good if you know what I'm saying. There are some wise venders carry several Bath and Body Works items. A regular 10oz bottle of shower gel costs over 450 bahts. A little one sold for 250 bahts. I wonder how Thai college kids can afford these stuff? Oh..I'm just complaining like an old lady!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

First Day Back from the Thailand Trip

I miss home already! Getting home sick at the age of 30......sounds funny, but very very true.

3 weeks and a little bit have proven not even close of enough time to visit family and friends, but enough to make I miss them when being away. Monday the 24th, I got to the new airport by 4am to take a flight to Narita, then Chicago to Indianapolis. Pretty smooth flight I must say--no problem with immigration and custom whatsoever. 6 hours and a bit for a flight from BKK to Narita. About 11-12 hours from Narita to Chicago and another hour from Chicago to Indy.

The whole home sick thing didn't hit me until the plane actually landed at Indy airport and worse when I walked into my very own apartment--no parents, no siblings, no dogs. It's strange.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thailand Trip # the last weekend

How am I going to make my last weekend worthwhile? Too many things needed to be done--seems impossible:

1) Visit other family members
2) Other friends to talk, to meet
3) Buying some books
4) Doing more eating

During my trip home this time, I've discovered this mall 'Platinum' near Pratunam area, selling very very cheap goodies. I bought many crystal-look alike key chains for 50 bahts a piece. Another day seeing the same one sold at JJ Plaza for 159 bahts--triple the price at Platinum. This shopping archad will be my must-go destination during my next trip home. Oh gosh, I feel like a tourist in my own town. Seeing things, getting so excited with such bargain prices. Bangkok has been changing, new ways, new streets, new routes--I hope these changes are leading the city to a good destination. What am I going to do this weekend? My last weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thailand Trip # precious things

Many Thais wear yellow shirts to honor the
King's 80th birthday. Government and workplace now encourage their employees to wear *yellow* which is the King's birth day (Monday) on Monday. Though anybody, really, wear this shirt and I'm talking about everywhere, especially on Monday. It's so cute. I guess this really applies to any day, but Monday will be the day I see 80% of the people wear them.
Who knows? My trip to Thailand is almost over already! What am I going to do without:

1) All these great Thai foods, desserts, snacks. I'm not a big fan of cake, yes, cake, but last week manage to discover this little cake shop at Bon Marche in Prachanivech called Bow Cake. The Bai-Teiy flavour makes me wish I weigh 35 kilos, so I can just eat all I want.
2) The cheap tropical Thai herbs.
3) The foot massage.

And during these past 2 weeks, I've managed to get addicted to a Korean series, Ju-Mong. By the day, only a few days left, I should start planning a serious shopping trip. Last Sunday, I got a chance to visit Platinum mall near Pratunam. GREAT PLACE TO SHOP! No need to go to JJ market. Here is air conditioned and is very very cheap place to buy stuff. So many earrings I got from that day. 10 bahts a pair, can't find this deal anywhere else.

Food of the day: fish noodles, pan-klips, more tod-muns, kao-tung-na-tung etc.
News update: Total death from Phuket plane crash = 89 bodies
Initial compensation from Orient Thai = 100,000 bahts

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One-Two-Go Airline's accident in Phuket

Deputy Phuket Governor Worapot Rattasima said at least 66 bodies were retrieved from the aircraft. Earlier report said most of the victims were foreigners, have been retrieved from wreckage of a One-Two-Go plane at the Phuket airport. The budget airliner exploded and broke in two after it crashlanded and skidded off the runway and crashed into nearby walls on Sunday afternoon. More are feared dead.

Some reports put the death toll at about 80, but this has yet to be confirmed. The nationalities of those onboard are not immediately known, but Phuket is a highly popular destination for overseas tourists. There were 74 Thais on the plane. It's the first local disaster involving low-cost airline following its profileration about four years ago.
A 1126 telephone hotline has been created by the airline to provide immediate information about Flight OG 269. A surviving Thai passenger said the plane "landed hard" and "bounced" and then skidded off the runway. Civil aviation official Chiasak Angkauwan said, "the airplane requested to land but due to the weather in Phuket -- strong wind and heavy rain -- maybe the pilot did not see the runway clearly."

"The plane then fell onto the runway and broke into two. It is expected that there will be a lot of casualties."
"We are rescuing people from the aircraft ... we know now there were 123 passengers and five crew," he told the news channel.
"We won't know what really happened until we get information from the black box."

The airliner services Bangkok-Phuket flights six times a week. The ill-fated airline left Don Muang airport at about 2.30pm. Information now coming in said the plane, which was being used by local budget travel company, One-to-Go Airline, had 123 passengers and five crew.
Officials said victims could have died on impact, or from suffocation and fire resulting from explosions. According to an initial account, the plane's fuselage was torn open when the aircraft crashed into an earth wall, and some of the survivors were those thrown out through the opening.

The aircraft, flight number OG 269, approached the Phuket airport at about 3.40pm from Bangkok. Phuket had earlier been hit by heavy rains. It crashed into trees and walls surrounding the airport. Eye-witnesses said the impact of the crash caused the plane to break in two and they heard a series of explosions. Rescue teams and navy personnel were involved in the rescue operation. All flights in and out of the Phuket airport have been cancelled.
An Irish tourist, identifying himself only as "John", said he was on board the flight. He and his friend survived with bruises all over their bodies. "We sat on the 18th row. The weather was real bad and there were lots of unusual noises during the landing. Something was obviously wrong [during the landing]," he said. He and his friend escaped through the emergency door.Meanwhile Transportation Minister Thira Haochareon said Phuket International Airport was temporary closed after the crash.Thira said the body of the aircraft hit the runway and was on fire fire while the pilot made an attempt to pull it off after failed a landing attempt, he said.
Key features of MacDonnel Douglas MD82

Passenger capacity: 175 seatsEngine type: Pratt & Whitney JT 8D217 A/CAircraft speed: Faster than sound by 0.76 times; 430 miles per hourFlight ceiling: 37,000 feetFlight distance: 3,500 kilometres

(Photo and Story Courtesy by the Nation--Thailand) at 8:28pm

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thailand Trip # another joy of being here

I know this will sound funny--another reason I love about being here is I get to indulge all of those Thai-translated Japanese cartoons as much as I can take it. I've been a big fan of Japanese cartoons and animations since...I can read. This means business. I started of reading a classic cartoon *Doraemon* just like any other kids. I bought my first cartoon when it was sold for 10 bahts or a little less a piece. Those old cartoons have been kept nicely here at my parents' house here--untouched by others. My family knows not to throw them away...ever. Then from classic/ kid-friendly Doraemon, I've expaned into other series, girls, boys cartoons I read them all. I especially love those with Japanese history story base.

Many of my friends who were into it with me back then no longer read them now. They let go of cartoon when they went to college or a little later. Me, as a 30-year-old, still faithfully read them......very religiously. It's almost impossible to find one in the States. I can't make myself reading cartoons in English. Since I can't read Japanese, Thai fits best here. My trip this time has been a joy. When I get a minute here and there, there are cartoons I spend most time with. What a happy life not many people understand.

The recent price update: 35-45 bahts/ cartoon (black and white)
80 bahts/ colored cartoon

Most recent favorite cartoonist: Ueda Rinko

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thailand Trip # Southern of Thailand

No no no, not Phuket or Ko Samui. I left BKK on Monday to visit family living in Had Yai in Songkla province. Tomorrow, Friday, will be my last day here then heading back to my good ol' Bangkok. Had Yai is a pretty good town--even though the city, for some reasons, does not carry bunch of the same groups of tourists as its neighbors, Phuket and Samui. Most tourists visiting Had Yai are largely Malaysians, Singaporeans and Chineses. Not sure why. Maybe Had Yai does not carry the *atmosphere* similar to the two places mentioned above. Shopping in Had Yai is great! Lots of tax free and fake goodies are like heaven to me. I pretty much buy anything I need, except for perfumes and electronics. I'm not an expert in these areas, so chances are, I will end up with fake/ low quality goods with a higher price. So I mostly leave perfumes and electronics alone just to give myself a peace.

Conversation between vender and customer in Had Yai usually goes like this:
Vender: "Do you want a fake _______ or a real one?"
Customer: "em........real one."
Vender: "Here it is. It's 100% genuine. You can trust me."
Customer: Flipping through the good back and forth, "how do I know?"
Vender: "Here" while pointing to different label on the, say, a bottle of perfume.
Customer: still not so sure whether it's real.

Venders here are good. They know when to lie and who to lie to. They can tell whether you are a local or not. Every shopper must be careful.

Foods of the day: not sure what anymore---too many things like southern kanom jeen, all the popular southern dishes (since my mom's family is from here so I've been going to so many famous restaurants and childhood food spots. Can't even list them all here.)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Thailand Trip # foot massage

Oh gosh..................who says money cannot buy happiness? Money definitely can buy some happinesses and foot massage is something money can buy.

Money = Foot Massage = Happiness

This is one thing I've been dreaming of being done. Getting massaged in the US is something I'd call, luxury. Who want to pay $60 or more/ hour of foot rub? I don't. I know these well-trained Thai fellas can do a much better job with a few dollars an hour. I pay a little higher price for my foot rub today, well, higher than average of Thai standard. Say, 300 bahts. I pulled out my calculator and it shows me about $8.

Foot massage. Something I'll get on a daily basis while in Thailand. Something money can buy. I can hear my feet cry in joy today...loudly.

Thailand Trip # the changes

Visiting Thailand this time, again, many things have changes. Bangkok has turned to be one concrete-made city. The city is, worse than ever, over crowded, polluted and well concreted. I have been thinking, whenever the city has enough money and free of corruption, I hope sky trains and subway trains can reach all the suburbs. This will fix the traffic problems.

Sept 8 (Saturday): I got to go to *Water Front*, a cool restaurant by Chao Phraya River. It was nice. It was a reunite with old friends I went to CMU with and that I've not seen them for a very long time. A very nice restaurant with good food, nice scenery, great price. I remember coming to this restaurant a little over 3 years ago while working for the Nation.

Stopped by Kao San Road before heading to the restaurant. There is this convenient parking lot near the market by the road. Almost went to JJ market earlier, but after sticking my facing in the steamy market, not sure I could fight the crowd and the heat. So JJ market plan was cancelled.

Today Sunday Sept 9: went to Siam Square again. I found this purse shop in MBK. I'm so grateful being in Thailand. Really appreciate our country's craftmanship. 199 baht/ a purse, as good as it gets, works with me. I don't need no brand names to keep me happy. I figure if I really want a brand name one, no need to come to Thailand for it. Also swung by Siam Paragon, OMG!, this place is so expensive. Can you believe a scoop of ice cream cost 300 bahts. Again, no need to come to Thailand for this. I prefer 15 bahts a scoop from a street vendor.

Love it: the BTS bridges from the station to Central World to Siam Square to MBK. Genious thoughts whoever made it.
Hate it: Thai kids spend their parents fortune on brand name stuff, eating out at a restaurant that will cost more than many people's salary.

Food of the day: Kua-Kling (southern dish), Japanese grilled salmon, Pad Pak Boong Thai (southern style) and other stuff I can't even keep up with.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thailand Trip # Too Little Time

Sept 5, 2007: Went to Silom and Lalai-Sup with dad, mom and sister. Just realize today I shop well *alone.* This may be a habit, but when I need something, I am more comfortable doing it alone. So yeah....visited Lalai-Sup without getting a thing. In the evening, went to dinner at this place called 'Yuu.' It's like an old Daidomon with better location, beef and much higher price. First time eating iberry icecream--Durian flavor (sure keep my breath exactly like Durian for the rest of the night.)

Food of the day: Grilled beef, iberry Durian, Dim Sum.

Sept 6, 2007: Actually, three weeks and a few days can be either just enough or not that close to enough. I've become to realize today that it'd be much better to make two seperate trips to Thailand--one devoted to family and another for friends. In this case, there is too little time.

Went to Hua-Hin to visit my aunt today (dad's sister.) So much changes going on there since last time I was there a little over 3 years ago. See, this can be a good thing. Since I remember, when I think about Hua-Hin, I think about my dad's side of family. It's strange since I've never once thought of it as a beach town, seafoods or vacations like others. Going there doesn't give me a vacation vibe, but more of a visit with my family. Anyhow, change is good in this case. More stuff to do there I must say.

Food of the day: Hormok (again), fish noodles, kao-gang

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thailand Trip# The food

Went to Central Ladprao today. I didn't get to walk around a whole lot; just basically there for lunch and very sadly to admit--for Japense cartoons (I will blog more later about Japenese will take more than a few lines that's why.) We ate at S&P today and speaking of S&P, I'm not sure how other Thais feel about this place, but man! I just love it. Their foods are so good, creative (we are talking about variety of foods and how they develop these good old traditional Thai foods into something very very awesome! Though, eating there is pretty pricy comparing to amount of foods I get.) My lunch there was great as usual. I also went to Big C, a grocery store, to buy some day-to-day supplies. Again, it takes about 3 seconds to spend 1000 bahts nowadays. Things are pricier I must say. I didn't realize it takes close to more than 100 bahts to buy shower gel. Most shampoo and conditioner cost over 100 bahts. Wow....even though I can't hear what I write, but I do realize I'm falling behind and it sucks. I find myself asking so many questions since I get to Thailand this time and don't know so many things and so many ways people do things around here. I don't mean to sound weird, but it's true!

Speaking of food, I believe, Thai foods must be the best in the world and that coming to Thailand this time is like an eye opener. Foods are available for consumers anytime and everywhere they go. The connection between Thais and their foods are so great. I mean, seriously, Thais eat just about anytime and these vendors sure make it convenient for us all to eat. Until now, I'm not so sure how these girls stay skinny with all of these great foods available within an arm reach. It is one of those few things I miss a lot about living in Thailand.

Food of the day: Yum-Tau-Poo, Por-Pia-Sod, Kao-Mun-Som-Tam, Watermelon shake, Kao-Yum

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thailand Trip: when I've been so far behind

I forgot to add this into my previous blog today and figure it's worth a mention. Visiting Thailand this time is an eye opener. It shows me how far behind I've been all of these years. In the past 3 days, I've been VERY behind more than you can imagine, and yes, it's only been 3 days!
1) Reading Thai gossip magazines, I know almost nobody, no stars, singers, models etc in there. I mean, seriously.
2) I know very little about Thai politics (which no, it doesn't surprise me. Never follow it in the first place.)
3) Any popular celebraty who appeared after 1999, I really don't know them.
4) Never got on the subway.
5) So many new restaurants in town. I can't even keep up with it. Anything I think is hip, it's just not...well.....not anymore!!!

Thailand Trip # the first weekend

On Saturday, I tagged my sister and mom along to Fortune to buy some CDs for my uncles who lives in England. I didn't even know how Fortune set up and that buyers may not need to visit Pantip for this kind of buys. Plenty of cheap CDs and movies. After that, we went to eat at Nai-Nuad restaurant. It's so funny how many things have changed while I live in the U.S. I'm not sure how others feel about it, but it seems to me that 1000 bahts can be blown away in just a second. Many things seem to be much more expensive comparing with the past three year.

In the evening, a friend and I went to Riverfront Restaurant by the Chae Phraya River. I remember coming here once a few years back.

Foods of the day: Tod mun khoong, yam pra dook foo, tom yum koong, kao pad kang keaw wan gai and kai kem.

Sunday: Visit Siam Square and MBK. Since I've arrived to Thailand, one of my missions is to bring back cheap purses (as many as possible) to the U.S. It's hard to beat 199bahts deal here. Many people said 'you've gotten what you've paid for', but heck, who cares? Very very tried. I haven;t sweated this much for a very long time by just walking, but numbers of people in the city are just unbelievable I mean. Back when I was still living in Thailand, I was so used to it.

Foods of the day: Shamu....something. Basically, little bit of sushi and mixtures of sukiyaki-style foods.