Daily Archives: August 12, 2005

Pastoral Symphony

Pastoral Symphony

Bangkok is a city of Skyscrapers. Many of these buildings are modern structures with colourful glass, chromium and aluminium. There is also the traditional architecture of the wats and chedis with the colour of red and gold.

One big attraction in Bangkok is the element of surprise. In the by lanes we can encounter a place with exquisite beauty. There could be a calm, placid pond with lilies and lotuses. Even the roads may not have any movement. As if the whole landscape were meditating.

New To The Kingdom

Enquiring at the desk where the TOT[Tourist Authority Of Thailand]was, the jovial bell captain informed us that it was “just a little ways down the street”…

We should have been suspious, this was the same bell captain the previous evening that told us the great restaurant across the street[the street being the MASSIVELY wide Rama 4]was “just a little ways down the street”, we waited for the traffic to clear up, I was ambulating on my Canadian forearm crutches, since trying to hope the almost 1′ high sidewalk there in my wheelchair would be dangerous as best, stupid atleast, we waited about 20minutes, the traffic never slowed or cleared enough that an Olympic sprinter could have made it across that maze of high speed congestion without losing atleast a few toes…we finally gave us, returned to the hotel, where I unwisely ordered some type of fried eggs, but darling Patty ordered the noodles and was delighted!

Anyway, we made it out of the Malaysia Hotel, heading towards TOT, we have good assurance that it was nearby. After several kilometers, we asked a few of the locals how far TOT was…they ALL said “just a little ways down the street”, another 3 kilometers in the noon day Bangkok sun & humidity was all I could manage, we finally let one of the many TukTuks take us the “little way” to TOT, it turned out to be another mile!

TOT was extremely helpful however, they had thousands of leaflets and brochures of the Land Of Smiles, we were particularly interested in the southern Isle Of Phuket. It seemed to be something out of a south pacific dream.

Wisely TukTuking back to the hotel, were able to get a “deal” there on the scenic bus trip south to Phuket the next evening.

The humidity and heat had taken my health without much bother, we retreated to the air conditoned slumber of the coffee shop where an assortment of backpapers, expats and their “friends” carried on to an ever blaring theme of disco music and loud noise in general.

Looking over the many brochures filled our eyes with delight for the next days scenic journey!

Being an extremely slower learner, I once again ordered the mystery eggs, while dear Patty wisely ordered the delicious noodles.

We put up with the screeching elevator back to our suite, playing tag with misquitos for several hrs, we finally passed out.

The constant knocking on the doors at all hrs were never answered, we just snoozed til dawn, when the busboy managed to tip over a heavily loaded cart full of dinner dishes, right in front of our room, as he delivered the Milo and mystery eggs & noodles for breakfast.

We delighted reading the Bangkok Post that morning, a truely FINE world class newspaper, in particular we liked reading Crutchly & Trink columns. The large lizard had worked his way from behind the toilet once again to his enclave in the bathtub, my crutches made him retreat, hissing and screeching back to the safety behind the toilet once more, the shower was interesting, if you were able to dance and whirl around like a dervish, then you could barely connect with the few water droplets that tried to drip out of the clogged and limed up shower head, I finally gave up, sticking my head under the tub faucet, it had almost twice as much flow as the shower head, and it only took 15minutes to get that swell hotel soap out of my eyes.

We lazed around the room, reading the Bangkok Post til checkout time, then receded to the coffee shop for yet more mystery eggs[did I mention I don’t even like eggs?]and noodles with Greenspots!

Our time to depart was near, we got a TukTuk to the big bus terminal, the driver as death defying as the taxi drivers had earlier been, we knew they probably went to the same learn-to-drive academy! He swerved, jerked, and jostled the TukTuk constantly honking his horn as lesser vehicles and those on bicycles, barely dodging GIANT buses and often managing to be behind surfurious exhaust of trucks for most of the way, but, he finally slide into the big bus terminal, it seemed that the entire country was there, either getting in or getting out of the hundreds of buses.

The friendly driver told us the bus in front of us was the “express bus” to Phuket. We happily paid him, went to get into the bus, when a hand reached over my shoulder and grabbed me…I turned quickly, expecting the unexpected, when I saw this lovely Thai lady, a cross between Tina Turner & Mae West, saying “You Go Phuket”? to be continued…

Confession of a Spoiled Thai Brat

Oakley and her family maid Pueng
Pueng and Oakley in front of the house

“Oh, Oakley! Get away from the table and give me that,” exclaimed my manager Angela as I was wiping down the glass conference table after a little office birthday cake party.

“What? What? What did I do?” I surrendered the wet paper towel and the spray bottle of Windex.

“You have maids back home, don’t you?” Angela asked, spraying the table with one hand.


“You clean like a princess. That’ll take all day.”

Clean like a princess? Well, hell I am the frelling princess (another story for another time)! But that’s not the point is it?

An average middle to upper class Thai household usually comes equipped with a live-in maid. Can I be blamed for growing up without having to lift my fingers to do anything?

Don’t hate the player. Hate the game. Dawg. 😉

I grew up in a household where my and my uncle’s families each had a maid and a nanny (who also doubled as a maid), my grandmother had her own attendant, and the household shared the cook, the driver (the cook’s husband—also our driver), the laundry lady, and a groundkeeper.

With all that help in the house, I, for one, had never really laid my hands on any household chores.

The first time I actually had to do dishes was in 4th grade in home economics after we cooked a meal, and then at 5th grade we had to wash our own dishes after lunch. The first time I actually had to iron my own clothes–outside of Home Ec–was in 1993, when I came to the US. The first time I actually used a broom for it actual purpose–not as a flying device for Oakley the Mighty Sorceress or the microphone for Oakley and the Rocking Teddy Bears band–was in 3rd grade when students had to take turn cleaning up the classroom after school. The cleaning up duties include straightening up the desks, cleaning the blackboard with sponge and a bucket of water, wipe down the teacher’s desk, sweeping and mopping the floor, and emptying out the trashcan.

Outside of school, my mom tried to train me before I’d leave for yet another international adventure. Like going down to the main kitchen to learn from my cook. (I wrote about earlier.) Like going to learn to iron your clothes and fold your laundry with the laundry lady.

So there goes my extent of housewifery! I never really have to clean up that much, or cook my own dinner for that matter. Although through the 12 years in the US (holy crap…it IS my 12th year anniversary this month!) I have learned to take care of myself.

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