Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bangkok Day 3 - The returning

Here's the long awaited third and final day of our Bangkok trip with a surprise ending.

We started the day with more shopping... more moaning and grumpling and complain from Isabel. The girl will simply tell us: "I don't like shopping."

Finally, I brought her to the video arcade while my wife continued shopping, we agreed to meet back at the hotel room half hour before the check-out time.

Upon check-out, the Hotel hailed a cab for us to the airport, 300 baht, everything included... meaning the highway tolls and taxi fare. I asked the driver to confirm that we are using the tolled highway, if not I'm not paying him the 300baht.

Last minute shopping again in the air port, Isabel asked for a big box of chocolate. Usually I wouldn't agree, but since we're on holiday, so I'll cut her some slack.

The plane was scheduled to flight at 4.45pm Bangkok time. At 4.15pm they were already doing the final call.

The took off was smooth... but 20mins later the plane sank and rose unusually, I thought it was the turbulance. Then the engine sounded different, an addition of irregular high pitch sound above and beyond the rumbling of the engine was heard. Thats when the captain's voice was heard over the PA system to announce that he's going to bring the plane back to Bangkok for an emergency landing due to some technical problem.

We were like "uh???" Ok lah, if its for the best of our safety. I was very ok with it, better to be safe than sorry. I even manage to sleep all the way back till landing.

We landed back to where we started at about 6.15pm. 10mins later Captain was heard again, this time saying we have to change to another flight. Everyone just filed out the plane without much complains. Only one loud mouth smart ass passed sacarstic remarks which is ignored by everyone.

Many people started to crowd around the counter inquiring the next flight out. I stood around without making a sound, found out that they have arranged the next available flight to be at 11pm. Most people's jaw dropped when they heard that, started to complain, saying they got work tomorrow, they got urgent matters to attend to... But the truth is I believe that the airline has done whatever they could. What's more, they are providing dinner... Burger King and mineral water.

A few Muslims came to collect the dinner, the reception asked them: "You want chicken, beef or pork?" The Muslims were furious!!! Bang table... So, the ground crew have to buy them pizza... Halal style...

Isabel kept asking why we are still here... I explained to her that the plane is spoilt, we are taking another plane. She took it quite well, just went on eating her burger.

There really wasn't much we could do or for us to do but sit and wait. We were too lazy to go out for shopping in the Duty Free area not to mention the hassle of going thru the screening again.

It was past 10pm, Isabel was still wide awake jumping around. I gave her a choice, if she sleeps, I'll carry her to the plane, if not, she'll walk on her own.

I knocked out before Isabel did, she placed picture cards all over me, mommy took photo of it.

At 10.30pm, a line was formed at the counter. But the ground crew informed us that the flight was delayed for another 45mins.
That's when we realised that its going to be cold up there if we are flying in the middle of the night, and we were all dressed for warm weather. I have no choice but to rush out to the duty free area to look for something that I can use as blanket for Isabel.

I scanned thru the shops as fast as I could, finally finding a shawl that cost 1,300 baht... no choice.

Isabel slept, I carried her to the plane, actually she slept all the way to Singapore with the shawl keeping her warm. I was shivering all the way without a wink of sleep.

Anyway we reached Singapore at 3.30am. Headed home and hit the sack without unpacking.
All will be done in the morning... afternoon whatever time I can wake up.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bangkok Day 2

Breakfast time!!! Its hard enough when back home to get Isabel to eat, out here in foreign country, its even harder. She'll take her time, probably 5 minutes between bites. She knows out here she can get away with a lot of things.

I tried to give her a variety of food... ham, scramble eggs, toast, bacon, pancakes... all these she'll shake her head and refuse.

But ultimately mommy knows best... my wife brought her cereal with milk, that she'll eat.

So of course I end up stuffing all the extra food down my throat, risk gaining a few extra pounds.

But I must say, the hotel does provide quite a variety of continental breakfast.

I thought Isabel only drag when having meal, she's lagi worst when it comes to shopping. If it doesn't interest her, she'll squat on the floor, moan, complain tired, suddenly want to go toilet, want to poo poo. She only liven up when we walk past a toy shop.

We took a train to Chatuchat Weekend market. We love going there, its our third time there, but every time we visit the place, there's always something new for us to discover.

Isabel like the Ice stick sold at 3 Baht each comes in flavours of various popular soft drinks.

Fear Factor Challenge!
I saw this man selling deep fried insects, ranging from cocoons to grasshoppers to cockroaches... eew!

The last trip I already saw him there, this time round I told my wife I'm gonna try eating a grasshopper.

I looked at the grasshopper and turned to my wife: "You sure they eat this and not bring it to feed chicken or something? I really don't want to look like a fool eating this."

In the end I ate the cocoon and the grasshopper.

That place is famous for selling pets. Puppies, kittens, squirrels...

We have to be careful not to let the puppies lick our hands, as it might make them sick so says the shop owner.

I once heard a man ever bought a puppy from here and brought home to Singapore. One day the "puppy" started to walk on hind legs. He brought it to the vet and they conclude that it is actually a BEAR!

End of the day... relaxing in an air con mall "Big C" shopping center, they have foot massaging for 250 Baht for an hour.

We started the massage at 10pm, Isabel sat in an arm chair next to us, fell asleep with 10mins.

It was rather relaxing. My wife wanted a full body massage, but with Isabel with us, foot massage is the best we can get.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bangkok Day 1

Last weekend, we flew to Bangkok for the weekend.
We were at the Changi International Airport at 9.40am checked in our luggage then went straight to the Duty free area for MacDonald breakfast.

Isabel always remember there's a indoor playground there next to the MacDonald.

She took a few bites then sipped her ice milo, but managed to spill some on her t-shirt.

Good thing I'm able to wash it off and dry it under the hand dryer.

The flight was scheduled at 10.45am, but it was delayed for half hour.

See the line of angry people waiting to go in?

Once we reached Bangkok, we went to this new shopping place call Siam Paragon, which is only a traffic junction away. The Paragon sells high class stuff which I think its not affordable for most local people. Even for tourist like me, I'm there for the cheap stuff, cheap with the capital letter "C". I won't even think of going into such shops.

But it has got a tourist attraction call Siam Ocean World located in the basement.

The entrance fee is 450 baht. There are seven section :
Weird and Wonderful; Deep Reef; Living Ocean; Rain Forest; Rocky Shore; Open Ocean; Sea Jellies.

You can go from one exhibition to another just by following the 'road'. Siam Ocean World consists mainly of small sized and bigger sized aquariums with various fish and other sea creatures. Fishes include sharks, a giant grouper, stingrays, giant crabs etc.

You can walk through some tunnels with water and fish all around you. There are also some small theatres for video displays and explanations.
But the sad thing is the spoken explaination is in Thai, no idea what he's talking no matter how lively he sounded.

One small exhibition displays various seastars, and you are invited to touch them. If you never did, we can tell you they feel like rocks.
The most disappointing section was the 'Sea Jellies' section, where we expected to see some large jelly creatures, but where only shown miniscule (2-3cm) though colorful examples.

All those walking... Isabel was starting to drag, but when she saw the Ball Pool, her eyes lited up and very soon she disappeared among the colorful land of slides and balls.

Saw this sign at the corridor of the hotel, its the name of a Japanese Restaurant.

Interesting name...

Just got back the homework I mention last time.

Got a Star for the chicken.

The body is covered in cotton, yellow wings are cut from paper.
The rest are colored by Isabel
Notice the star on the bottom right coner.

I can't find any picture of rabbit, so I drew and cut out myself.

Lion look familiar? From the Ad "The Wild"

Monday, May 15, 2006

I've heard about parents doing their kid's homework for them that they end up doing 90% of the homework.

Yap... it's true, heard it, now I'm doing it.

Last night Isabel took out 3 pieces of paper from her school bag and innocently came to me saying : "Daddy, I got homework, teacher say must give her tomorrow."

I was like: "!!!???!!!" "Do you know its 9 o'clock at night now? You are suppose to be in bed? Why didn't you show me earlier?" Sigh... I thought to myself: "If Playgroup got homework, so by the time she goes to kindergarten, she'll start bringing back projects???"

I picked up the papers from her thinking "OK, how hard can this be?" Man... was I wrong!

All of them require the parents to help the child to cut, paste, color, draw and it has to be of certain material...

One of them require us to help the child to decorate the chicken with recycle materials, tissue paper, cotton etc.
I searched through all the cabinets looking high and low for anything I could use, I found some cotton and began tearing it to usable size.
Not wanting to leave Isabel out of it, I asked her to color something while I paste other parts, which is about all she has done for the home work.

I began to paste cotton on the chicken as feathers, thinking: "Hey! This is quite fun."

The other one require the parents to cut pictures of animals, 1 eats meat, the other eats vegetable. I have no magazine of such things to cut and I'm not prepared to sacrifice my encyclopedia, so I quickly fired up the computer to google it on the internet, to later print it out on paper. Good thing my wife found an advertisement of the movie "The Wild" in an Entertainment magazine. "This will have to do" I said looking a the clock as it cheerfully tells me its near 10pm.

As for the vege eating animal, I drew a rabbit, cut it and paste it. Isabel asked me: "What's that?"

I said: "Rabbit." Actually if it not for the extra long ears, I would have called it a dog and she'll believe me.

I looked at the completed homework and admire it for a while: "Not bad..." I'm kind of looking forward to see what grade the teacher will give.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Isabel's new project: Planting green beans...

It was a project from the children church. At first I wondered why church would teach about science, but then I thought... God is a God of science too... so why not.

She was very excited when she brought it home. She asked me: "Daddy, what do I do with it.

I said: "Put it under the sun and water it, they will grow."

She quickly watered it and then brought to the window and stuck it out to catch some rays, 3 secs later coiled back in and looked at it disappointedly saying: "No? not growing leh?" I don't know to laugh or not to laugh.

As the days went by, the beans began to sprout and grew under her care. But when the plants stopped growing due to the lack of space, her enthusiasm also stopped growing. Now I'm the one continuing to water them.

That's also why I don't agree to buy her any pets, she wanted a rabbit for her coming 4th birthday to show off cos she was at a friend's birthday party where the birthday girl had a rabbit hopping around in her room. She also wanted a couple of hamsters, a puppy... etc etc.

I said : "No, no, no, no..." cos I'll end up cleaning and feeding them. Maybe at 5 years old... just maybe... if she can prove herself to be responsible. Otherwise, she can call the fishes in my aquarium to be her pets.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sounds of children laughter is the best melody in my opinion, especially when its your own children. Its infectious... Contagious... however you describe it, even more so when the child has just recovered from sickness. You'll feel a sense of gladness that the child is well enough to play again.

Not that any of my children were sick, but I just love to see them play and have fun.

We were invited to the Seletar Country Club for a evening where few of my wife's friend pot-lucked for the dinner. While the kids ran off in hurry to the Ballpool Playground, the mothers gathered and prepared for the dinner.

This was the place where I almost lost my handphone once.

I was in the ball pool swimming around having a good time, realizing I never did this when I was a kid... Then I felt the bottom of the pool and found a 20 cents, then I felt somemore coins here and there, I collected about a dollar or so. I told my wife wonder if I can find a handphone in here.

That's when Murphy's Law struck me: Whatever you think can go wrong, will go wrong.

I felt the back of my pocket and realize my phone was gone! Man... I'm now not looking for other people's phone but desperately throwing colored balls aside to look for my own phone.

Of course in the end I found it.

The evening went well except for the little rain and thunder, we can't go swim in the pool. Whenever we thought the rain has stopped, we started to undress the kids... then BOOM...thunder sounded. Life guards there stood by the pool waving people away from the pool.

Eventually it did stop raining long enough for us to get into the pool and played for 20 minutes.

Outings like these are not only beneficial to the children's social life, but for the foreign helpers too. Its a time when they can meet up and swap ideas and talk about home... help to unwind from the routine too.