One Night In Bangkok…

I’ve got you singing the ’80’s song now, don’t I?

We thought that for our Tet break, we’d trade one city for an even larger one. Arriving early in the day ensured that we had plenty of time to sightsee. We arrived just before lunch and as soon as we settled in the hotel, we were off to find a lunch spot. As is often the case with us in Thailand, it took us a bit to find the restaurant. Once we started to figure out how the streets and alley’s worked (and a few stops to ask directions), we were happily enjoying some Thai coffee’s and the most amazing chicken wings. Bailey ate the first order pretty much by herself, so we of course had to order a second.

Oh the food in Thailand, we love it so…

Pink Guava-Bailey's favorite

Pink Guava-Bailey’s favorite

Eating at the weekend market.

Eating at the weekend market.

Coconut Ice Cream. We were all scraping the coconut shell!

Coconut Ice Cream. We were all scraping the coconut shell!

Can't pass up sticky rice & mango

Can’t pass up sticky rice & mango

We let our friend order lunch & it was  a great decision.

We let our friend order lunch & it was a great decision.

Green Curry Pizza? You wouldn't think it but it was delicious.

Green Curry Pizza? You wouldn’t think it but it was delicious.

Just in case you think all we did was eat, we also visited some amazing Wats and to see many interesting Buddha statues. The only one we were allowed to take pictures of is the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. Take our word for it, they were truly magnificent.

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Bangkok is a large city but for the most part we were able to get around by walking, taking the train or taxis (my least favorite way to travel). In the area we stayed in, we got around mostly by foot. This allows us to see the most and stop whenever we find something interesting. In Bailey’s case, it was stopping at many of the shops inside the numerous malls. It’s fantastic the way the malls are connected to one other. We were able to travel down a major chunk of Sukhumvit Road without being in the Bangkok heat. We all really appreciated that.

So Tony used to travel to Bangkok for work several years ago. He likes to tell us the story of the time he was sitting in a pub, looked up and saw an elephant walking down the street. While we didn’t see any just ambling down the Soi’s, we did see these…

The only wildlife we thought we'd see in the city.

And another one...

And another one…

Speaking of wildlife, many wouldn’t really expect to encounter much in a large city other than rats, etc.  But this being SE Asia, we saw a snake on the sidewalk (random, right?), a huge snake that a hawker was trying to get tourists to take pictures with (umm, no thanks), a million cats & a some rather intimidating Asia Water Monitors in the park. Seriously, these things were huge! We guessed about 5-6 feet long. The book did say that while they are capable of harming a small child, there’s been no recorded instance of them doing so. We really hope that’s the case.

The Baby...

                            The Baby…

...and the mama!

…and the mama!

We’re planning on heading back to Bangkok again sometime as it’s so close and has so many things that are unavailable here. I think I convinced Tony that a quick weekend trip around the end of the year for some Christmas shopping wouldn’t be unreasonable to consider. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I’ll leave you with this last silly pic of Bailey.

Goofing around in the mall while waiting for dinner.

Goofing around in the mall while waiting for dinner at Din Tai Fung!

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Trips week 2015

Hey! Bailey here! A couple weeks ago I had trips week at my school. For those of you who don’t know, trips week is a week where different grades go to different places and have a week off of school. My grade spent a week in Dalat in central Vietnam. We did a lot of really fun things such as camping, zip lining, ropes course, repelling (down a cliff) or absailing as it is called in British terms, trekking, and raft building competitions. Repelling was incredibly scary (it was my first time) but super fun too. You are basically hooked up to a rope and harness and then you walk backwards down the cliff while holding on to the rope. Repelling was 25 meters off the ground. You can also jump a little if you are a daredevil.

I also really liked zip lining and the ropes course. We did the leap of faith which is where you climb up a ladder and climb onto a small metal square where you stand and jump to a metal bar, hold on, then drop down. It was really fun but really scary. Another thing we did at the ropes course was monkey bridge. Monkey bridge is where you climb up to a wobbly bridge, walk (or run) across and when you get to the end, jump off. That wasn’t nearly as scary as the leap of faith.

Another fun thing was camping. We had to trek 11 kilometers to the boat area where we took a boat over to the campsite. The campsite had animals such as wild boars, horses, roosters (which we heard at 5:00 am), dogs, and cats who were always begging for food and head butting our legs. The thing I didn’t like about the campsite was the bathroom because there was spiders EVERYWHERE. Other than that, it wasn’t so bad. The food was okay (although we pretty much had the same thing for breakfast and lunch and dinner), and the tents were alright. I slept terrible that night. I was in my sleeping bag upside down on accident so I couldn’t zip the bottom so my feet were super cold. I was basically lying in a blanket tube. The tent wasn’t very well insulated so I was really cold and it was really foggy outside so the tent got kind of soggy and wet. Also, the tent was on a slope and I was at the top of the slope so I rolled down to the edge of the tent into my other tent mates in the middle of the night. Then the roosters crowed at about 5:00 am so by the time I finally fell asleep I was awaken by my friend who thought it was 7:00 am and soon realized she read her watch wrong and it was only 6:20.

Other than sleeping in the tent, the trip was really really fun with all the activities and the cool weather we got. Look below for photos from the trip!

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Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Happy New Year!

Happy Year of the Goat

         2015 – Year of the Goat

Vietnam is gearing up to celebrate Tet and everything is awash in gold, red and sparkling lights. Every street is lit up with these wonderful flower and light banners. The shops have their kumquat trees with red envelopes out.

Just a few of the many street decorations

Just a few of the many street decorations

Soon the flower market will start & I’m really looking forward to seeing that. It’s a good thing we’re comfortable crossing the street in traffic because I’ve heard that it can be wall to wall people, on both the road & sidewalks.

The Tet parties are also in full swing. Last weekend, our compound hosted a party that was huge. There’s around 180 houses in our neighborhood but the party was much bigger than that. It was beautifully decorated with many things that are symbolic and/or bring good luck.

Dragon Dance

                      Dragon Dance

Lots of lights & flowers

             Lots of lights & flowers

Enough Twinkly lights to light up the neighborhood

Enough Twinkly lights to light up the          neighborhood

Next weekend is the Nike Tet parties. Since Nike is celebrating 20 years in Vietnam, the parties are bigger than ever. There’s  a day of the employees giving back to the community, an “Olympics”, a viewing of the AO Show (an acrobatic type show celebrating Vietnamese culture) and a Gala dinner.

Since this is our first Tet, I’m excited to see everything and celebrate Vietnam’s big holiday. Both school & work are closed for nine days and most of the city disappears to wherever they grew up, so Saigon should be very quiet. We’re taking the opportunity to visit Bangkok for a few days. Now, some of you are thinking “weren’t you just there?” Yes, we were. But since Tony never left the hospital room & I only ventured out close to the hospital, we thought a proper exploration of the city might be in order.

Wishing everyone a happy & prosperous New Year.