Bangkok, Starbucks

Pc310062Artwork in the Ambassador Hotel lobby – an auspicious start to our journey…

We headed out early to the weekend markets, but we quickly convinced that with the amount of crap on offer, it was going to be spectacularly difficult to find any crap that we wanted.  I did get myself a single souvenir of Bangkok – everywhere we go there are portraits of the king, and about every 10th personn is wearing a yellow t-shirt with the kings symbol on it.  I found one with a glittery background, it seemed a fitting souvenir of our experience of Bangkok so far.

I stumbled across the animal section (some entire rabbit pelts, and some extremely cute labrador puppies), so we decided to catch the skytrain back to Siam station, where I saw a “Loft” department store sign.  If you know Japanese department stores, you’ll know that loft is AWESOME.  Bangkok Loft isn’t quite as awesome, but we did find some evil “Bloody Bunny” stationery.

No pictures yet, as we don’t have the card reader for the camera with us.  WE have to be back at the hotel in 3 hours to catch a taxi back to the airport for the short flight to Hanoi.

It’s 7am, but my body thinks it’s 11

I’ve had 4 hours sleep, and rather more wierdness than I’ve experienced in quite some time.

The lovely Damian (parent to the trio of gorgeous bunnies I features on the blog a few weeks ago) has taken over as head chef at Club Denistone, and he was also kind enough to drive us to the airport, and usher us through security. My cunning postbag trick fell flat – no more post boxes at airports, and they don’t do the security check until after immigration – so I couldn’t even hand my weapons back to Damian if I got caught. I didn’t though! I practically had to take my pants off to get through the beepy door, but eventually they let us through to the duty free area.

We bought some booze, couldn’t find a Gorilla Pod (no internets while I am writing this in the hotel room, so no link, but you can google it), and then off to the plane. Mark had the blood supply to his left leg cut off for a minute or so while we took off (I am a slightly nervous flyer – saw rather too much of the Lockerbie disaster when working as a tape operator at Ch 9 years ago). We got exit row seats, and a pretty good vegan meal (except for the skim milk instead of soy, but no biggie), and three utterly crap movies. The iPod was great for 2 1 hour tv shows before the battery expired, so hopefully in this mecca for consumer electronics (Bangkok) we can find a battery pack for it today.

Checked in to the hotel after midnight last night, but were “upgraded” to a superior deluxe room which had been inhabited by tobacco breathing dragons. My lungs attempted to shut down, and so we traipsed back to the lobby to switch rooms. Once the guy with out bags finally found us in the new room, it was well past 1am. At that point I was too tired to sleep, so I considered going for a walk, but settled for a wee nightcap of duty free Baileys and Cointreau.

One small tip for anyone coming to Bangkok. Read an up to date guide book. The taxi fare from the airport is now 900baht, not 2-300 that it says in the guide book.

Off to breakfast now, and then heading to the sky train for a trip to the weekend markets. Apparently they sell live animals, and conditions are pretty revolting, but if I can avoid that bit I can pretend it’s not happening.

Last post till I find internets again…

So I’ll leave you with something amusing to while away the hours. It involves endless timewasting, and a very cute bunny.


And speaking of bunnies – here is some news I found rather heartening. Australian scientists are working on a variant of the myxo virus that causes infertility instead of a slow painful death. Go Aussie!

Another Christmas present reveal


Dad’s Christmas pressie.

When he was in hospital in Bangkok, about to have surgery under a general anaesthetic, Adam and I sent him flowers.  I hadn’t thought what we would write on the card, so when the florist asked, I got a bit flustered, and this was what I said.

Dad was chuffed.  He had never been sent flowers before, and he kept the card like a prized possession, and showed us when he got home.  So I figured a little subversive cross stitch was in order.  One of my better gifts…..

BTW.  Keen eyes will notice that the word “don’t” isn’t centred correctly.  Built in irony.

And tomorrow, the plane that interrupts your conversation in Sydney’s inner west around 5.10pm will be carrying me and my sweetie off to Bangkok to start out honeymoon.  Wish us luck.

No knitting

Emma and I spent today doing a yarn shop crawl, and choosing a project for the plane. Previously I’d looked online to find out whether or not knitting is prohibited on planes leaving Sydney Airport. Mijal has flown out of Sydney with knitting in her carry on luggage, and had no problems. I, on the other hand, am a magnet for security at airports, and if there is a chance of having my knitting taken away, it will happen to me.

So I’ve picked a project, bought yarn, and I’m ready to go. And then I found this. Note page 3 –

1 Make jokes about bombs or security threats.
This is now a criminal offence.
2 Pack sharp objects such as knives, scissors,
corkscrews, or knitting needles in your hand luggage.
3 Refuse screening.
4 Leave your hand luggage unattended at any time.
5 Refuse random explosive trace detection (ETD)
screening if you are asked to participate.

How rude.

I’m back on the internets!

Small problem with out hosting company not being overjoyed about the growing popularity of my blog. Apparently, more traffic = more downloads, and once we went more than 15% over our bandwidth limit for the month, we got shut out.

So we gave them more money, and we have double the bandwidth for the next 12 months. I am going to have to host my images somewhere else in future though – especially for picture heavy posts like the Nundle trip.

Glad to be back, but a little stressed – in the next 2 days I have to pack, tidy and clean the house for the wonderful Damian who is housesitting for us, sort out a knitting project for the plane/train/bus, and sort out what is going on with my lungs. Got a doctors appointment at lunchtime today to review my asthma treatment plan, and then a wee yarn crawl with the lovely Emma.

We tried bonding Custard With Blueberry and Monkey, but Custard ended up with a torn ear, and I am loathe to put him under that pressure again, but I also hate the thought of him being lonely. Grasshopper is mending well, and hopefully will be able to join the general population in the condo when we return from Vietnam.

The hardest working man in show business takes his last bow

James Brown is dead at 73.

Though I’ve never been one for raving about musicians, this is one man that I have loved since childhood. The Godfather of Soul was a living legend to me, particularly after The Blues Brothers became one of my favourite movies.

He was also very politically outspoken – he once said that “When you hate, you blind yourself. When you hate, you can’t communicate.” He lived hard, and was generally known as a drug user and heavy drinker, but his charitable and political side is less well known.

I’m going to turn up the stereo, and blast out a tribute to the MAN.

A good currency converter widget

I’ve been struggling a little with trip planning – trying to convert Vietnamese Dong into Australian dollars has been doing my head in. There are around 12,900 Dong to the Australian Dollar, so even though 200,000 Dong sounds like a lot of money for accommodation at the Banh Ma National Park, it’s really only about $15 in aussie beer vouchers, and a small price to pay for a chance to see endangered primates.

If you have the good fortune to be running Os 10.4, then you’ll already know what a widget is. And you probably have the default currency converter installed. But it has never been to Vietnam, and will only convert one currency at a time. This widget will convert multiple currencies, and has a huge range available (including legacy European currencies). So next time I need to know whether I’ll be paying more in US dollars, or if it would be cheaper to pay in Dong, I won’t have to take off my shoes to do the maths!