Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eating cheap and Grocery shopping in Bangkok - July 31

Today was a day to get some necessities done....necessities like grocery shopping!  Friday night, some of Joshua's marines are coming over for dinner...so we needed to start looking for all we needed.  Food shopping isn't the easiest here in Bangkok...if you're a westerner!

We went to Siam Paragon...the shopping mecca with an unbelievable food court.  There must be 75 different restaurants on the same floor... it's unreal.  However, there is another section that is only Thai food...and they aren't really restaurants.  It looks like a cafeteria, except different people have different sections.  They are each cooking their own food..and the prices are much cheaper than in the restaurants of the food court.  

We decided to eat there.  After much deliberation, I chose this soup... pork, noodles, vegetables, in a delicious broth...for 75 baht...equivalent to about $2.50.  It was so, so tasty!
These are the napkin holders...
This is a panorama of that part of the food court...

After eating, we got a smoothie..and then before going grocery shopping, we made a stop at the restroom.  I thought this was the perfect time to take a photo of Thai writing/English writing.  Now, if you look at this, you can see that in English, it's 6 words....Thai?  2 words.  Although, I don't really think it's words.  Often, I've seen both writings together and the Thai will have NO breaks between the characters.  

Tonight on the way home from grocery shopping, I asked Sunshy - our driver - about the language.  I asked him how they knew it was a new word since there was no break...he chuckled and said, "You just do."  I asked him if it was hard to learn English... (Yes)...and he told me the tenses were difficult.  He said, go, going, went...that's confusing.  In Thai we just say 'go'!  I go to store... I go to store yesterday..I go to store tomorrow... 'go', it's all the same in Thai.  

From eating lunch, we walked to Big C...the grocery store where Erica has been doing her big shopping trips.  It's a trip to go there...with Thai writing, you just have no clue what the labels say.  I've been looking all over for buttermilk,  so I asked Sunshy if he had heard of buttermilk.  "Milk?" he asked.  "No, buttermilk,"  I said.  He just shook his head.  So...that's why  guess I haven't been able to find it.  I bought a lemon instead.

I remember when Joshua and Erica first moved here.  Joshua told me one day that Erica had come home from the store frustrated because there were so many fish sauces...today, I understood what he had been talking about... 



Do you need some oil?  Here's about 1000 different kinds...

Or if you need fish sauce, there's another 1000 different kinds to pick from...


Mushroom sauce???

How about some Heinz ketchup?

You just can't imagine the selections of some items.  Buttermilk choices?  ZERO
Corn tortillas?  ZERO
Wine?  EXPENSIVE
Bread?  only white :(
chicken?  it's not refrigerated in the store
eggs?  not refrigerated in the store
cilantro?  There's probably 5 different herbs that all look exactly like cilantro
etc...


On the way home, Erica pointed out that even though some homes look like shacks, they have a dish on the outside!  I hadn't noticed until she said that...

But as you can see, it's obviously true!

We also booked our trip to one of the islands next week... oh boy!

Another great day in Bangkok!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A day of exploring - July 30



We went to go see Joshua...and then took off walking towards the BTS.  We passed through the area where there are lots of embassies... This one above, with the bulls, is the Netherlands.  I have NO idea why the Netherlands would have bulls???



This is the Community Liaison's home...

We got to the BTS and rode it to the stop by the river...



We bought an all day ticket for 150 baht (about $5) so we could get on and off the boat all day ... or until 10 p.m.


Memorial Bridge

This is on the opposite side of the river than we spent the day on...but I'm going back.  You can climb on it...there are steps...don't think you can see them in this picture.
It's called Wat Arun.  Reading about it, I learned it's one of the most symbolic landmarks.  It's also called the Temple of Dawn or the 'prang'.  
Construction of this was started during the reign of King Rama II (1809-1824) and was finished during the reign of King Rama III (1824-1851).  
That middle tower is 76 meters (249 feet+) and it's decorated with thousands of tiny seashells and pieces of Chinese porcelain. It's 'protected' by demons and monkeys!  

Here was our first stop.  This is the area around the Grand Palace which was started in 1782 during King Rama I.  This picture is of Wat Phra Kaeo...the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.  We didn't go in because of 2 reasons...one, we weren't dressed properly...and two, it was getting later and it closed at 3:30.  But...I want to go back and go in.  The Emerald Buddha was carved from a single block of jade. Apparently he wears a robe that is changed 3 times a year.


You see monks everywhere...and the nuns wear white and have shaved heads.


This is actually the entrance into the square...I took it on the way out.

This is the top of the Grand Palace...


There were guards standing in their guard house....and then all of a sudden, most of them came out in formation..

Back on the boat, we headed to the Phra Athit Pier.  I wanted to find Khao San Road.  I had heard it was a more laid-back part of Bangkok...and some of the things I read, I thought Thalia would also really enjoy it.

Here we are...I thought this was Khao San Road...and later found out that I don't think it was...but it's in the area.
It's such a nice area...definitely laid back.  It's a 'haven for backpackers'...because there are a lot of cheap guest houses....lots of little bars, restaurants...



See that blue building?  It's a Starbucks!  We went in and had an iced coffee...and a chocolate chip cookie...yum.  It tasted SO good!
This was the street I originally thought was Khao San Road.  "Soi" means side street.  So this was a side street of a larger street called Rambuttri.


This is common...little restaurants/bars...everyone sitting outside....
Then we met On...that's her name...and she made 5 dreads in Thalia's hair!

Her english was really good...she told us she's been here doing hair for 17 years!  
This was her daughter who is 5 years old...she was SO precious!


This is her brother...
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This lady, don't know her name, but she was on the same corner as On...and is On's sister-in-law.  On told me this corner is all her family!  She also told me that the past two years, it's been busier and she's been making good money.  The five dreads she did on Thalia...which probably took about an hour, was 200 baht.  That is less than $7.

On was SO sweet.... she told me how everyone comes by asking her questions...and she answers them for free.




Thalia wanted to take a picture with her...and On rallied us all together and had someone in her family take our picture!

I thought the last boat left that pier at 10 p.m. (22:00), but On thought it was 8 p.m.... so we didn't take a chance and took off for the boat.
I had to take a photo of the back of Thalia's hair.  When On was almost finished with her hair, some lady had walked by and they were talking about the back of her hair.  Thalia had really liked it, so On did this to Thalia's hair before we left.

Bangkok is transformed at night...

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All the lights....

 (on the boat)




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 We got off at the Central Pier...and then remembered about 'Asiatique'...and so we hopped back on a boat and went there.  Wow!  It was wonderful!






 It's like an outdoor warehouse mall/restaurant haven...all outdoor and gorgeous!

 We were all hungry... and couldn't decide where to eat....we decided on a Japanese restaurant.  We went in...ordered...and what they brought, we weren't sure what to do with it or how.  There were different parts to it...and there were burners on the table.  None of the waitresses spoke English...so it was a trip trying to figure it all out.  At several points, Erica would say, "Ok, I get it."  I would ask her if she really did...and she would say, "I hope so..." or "Well, I think..."... It was so much fun!  The food was absolutely delicious...and before we knew it, it was about 10:15 and the last boat left there at 11 p.m.  Thalia thought the BTS only ran until 11 pm....too.
(See Angry Bird?)

We hopped on the boat, got to the BTS, rode one line to Siam, transferred to the next line...and made it back...safe and sound.  It was after 11 p.m., so I'm not sure how late the BTS runs...but what an adventure today was...

Another great day in Bangkok!