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Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Blogging isn’t always easy on the road. So usually I write something in advance, and schedule it to post when I’m away. Facebook is easier to deal with – they’re like mini-blogs. A blog in a two sentences or less. I wish all my readers could see my Facebook updates – it would take the pressure off posting here. But even keeping up with Facebook can be a chore. So, in anticipation, here are the Facebook Status Updates I am most likely to post over the next 12 days. But now I don’t have to.

Day :

  1. I am seriously allergic to economy class. 10 hours is more than enough. Any more might kill me.
  2. On this day in 198X, I did. He did too. I’m glad.
  3. Sawatdee kha, prateyt tee ruk! (Happy happy happy).
  4. Mangoes, warm seas, white sand. Who needs summer in NZ?
  5. Another foot massage. Is there much more blissful than that?
  6. This. Here. On this island. This is where I’d retire if we won the lottery. Sabai Sabai.
  7. So funny introducing my sister to the joys of a road-side food stall, complete with the ubiquitous dogs, and chilli. Wish other sister was here with us for the fun.
  8. Felt very old today, watching my niece get married. We were all very happy – yes I cried – and there was a funny incident with the baby elephant which I can’t repeat.
  9. Sticky rice, barbecued chicken, and green papaya salad. Still the best picnic EVER.
  10. Hate leaving. Hate anticipating long flights. Why can’t you beam me up, Scotty?
  11. Gasp. Allergic … gasp … economy class … gasp … (And it’s even worse when you have to read Board papers on the flight.)
  12. But it’s only 1 am in Thailand. WHY do I have to get up now? Oh right, holiday’s over.

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13 January 1981

Our year in Bangkok was nearing an end. We only had a few more weeks left, and we were feeling that acutely. We’d spent most of the year relaxed, seeing things when we could, taking pictures when we felt like it. But by now, we had realised that it was now or never. So Fe and I decided we needed to explore and take photos. And in particular, we wanted to go to Wat Pho – The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Cee and Madeline decided to come too, and we were happy for their company.

It was a Tuesday, but by now, we’d well and truly given up on school. Time was running out, we weren’t getting any credits for our time in school, and the amazing city of Bangkok was quite literally on our doorsteps. Besides, we’d made some wonderful friendships over the year, and who knew if we’d ever see each other again? Time spent together was important. We felt it, even if we didn’t say it.

We headed off to the temple. It was quiet, tranquil, with lots of pigeons, and – for 1981 – lots of tourists. On my last visit (a year ago), I remembered how peaceful it had been in 1981. In those days, a busy temple probably meant 10-20 tourists in the compound. There had been no queues for photos of the Buddha’s feet, or to put coins in the bowls which line one side of the temple. Wat Pho in 2011 was still pleasant, and is always interesting, but can no longer be described as tranquil, though there were still spots you could find yourself alone for a short time.


Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s most ancient temples, and has always been a seat of learning, in particular for traditional Thai medicine and massage. It is still very much a working temple, despite the tourists, and you frequently see monks hurrying across the courtyards, on some business or other. We encountered two young monks, and must have said something – presumably something polite and respectful – to them in Thai. Astonished, they disappeared then quickly reappeared with their teacher (also a monk) telling him over and over again that “they can speak Thai!”

Soon we were surrounded by over a dozen young monks wanting to talk to us, keen to meet these strange young foreign teenagers who could speak Thai. We chatted for about 30 minutes, and then their teacher gave us a fascinating tour of the Temple. We went home happy, after yet another unique AFS experience.

Friends chatting with monks 31 years ago

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Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, chicken shawarma and kathi kebabs, ferries on the river, Turkish bread and dips, manicure and pedicure, prawn fettucine, temple serenity, khao mun gai (hainanese chicken rice), penang curry, batangkor (Thai churros), foot massage bliss, kuai tdeeo naam (noodle soup with pork balls), another foot massage, Chatuchak weekend market and shopping at Paragon and CentralWorld, aroma massage, more khao neeo gai yang and somdum, a facial, street market chaos, high tea and chocolates on the 52nd floor lounge every afternoon, passionfruit martini and berrytinis in the bar on the 64th floor at sunset, buffet dinner and a mango cocktail on the terrace of the Oriental Hotel beside the river, and fried bananas cooked and bought on the street.

Postscript – home without exploding (thanks Helen for your concern) to start a diet.

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