Monday, January 26, 2004

Sawatdee Khrab Thailand!

Hello Thailand!

I’ve just returned from a wonderful five day trip to Bangkok, Thailand and my head is still in a stir from the activity over the course of my stay. Bangkok is beautiful! It is clean, ultra friendly and English is widely spoken. I had a great time!

This photo was taken after the traditional Thai dancing show at the Vimanmek Golden Teakwood mansion. The Thai dancers were amazing!

Yep! That’s me alright, holding onto a rather large King Cobra at the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute and Snake Farm. I saw many poisonous snakes here, including the Monocled cobra, the Malayan pit viper, spitting cobra, banded krait, Russel’s viper, Indochinese rat snake and copperhead rat snake. We watched the King Cobra being milked and I chickened out when it came to posing with these slinky things around my neck!

Yum! The local Thai food was great! No, seriously….I DID try authentic Thai food but my GOD was it hot! It is said that one has not visited Thailand if one has not tried Tom Yum soup. So, I tried it. Good thing there was a fire extinguisher close by! It is also said that the herbal ingredients in Tom Yum soup prevent digestive tract cancer….easy to figure…the stuff must BURN the cancer out!

This trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Grand Palace and a walk along the Chaophraya River, sampling some local fare eats. This place was so beautiful and ornate. I also visited the Emerald Buddha which has to be seen to be appreciated (no pictures allowed!).

So, I loved Bangkok! I’ve applied at some schools there and am considering it along with some of my other considerations for travel such as Prague, Czech Republic – Myanmar, Vietnam, South America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives and other strange and far off places….stay tuned! I’ve only got five months left in my contract!


Saturday, January 17, 2004

Phan Thiet Dragon Fruit

This is a Phan Thiet Dragon Fruit.

Pretty exotic looking eh?

Well, begin peeling this sucker and what you’ve got is a whitish fruit flesh that is run though with small, black seeds about the same size and shape of sesame seeds.


Don’t count on it.

Dragon fruit tastes like soft, chewy,……….NOTHING.

No flavor. Zip, nadda, nothing, absent, hasta la vista baby, departed, gonzo, vanished, defunct, non-existent.

Pretty, exotic looking, but BLAND.

Now, check this ugly sucker out!

This is a mangosteen.

This ugly, pitiful looking fruit was introduced to me by some Westerners living here in China…a name placed on it by none other than the famous, “Annie from Malaysia.” My Southeast Asian connection.

You squeeze it and if it’s ripe, It’ll crack wide open for you, revealing the white, slimy garlic shaped fruit meat inside.


Absolutely delicious.

Go figure.

Yet another proof that judging the book by the cover never works!!!!


Saturday, January 10, 2004

Delicious Refuse

That’s what I read recently, on a package of candied peanuts sitting on the shelf at our local market. Delicious refuse. Ya gotta love Chinese interpretations of the English language. Yum!

So, I bought a bag.

Not bad for refuse. Pretty tasty actually. Today, while sitting in a taxi, stuck in traffic in downtown Guangzhou, I passed a store with a sign out front that said, “Drugged Store,” which was just down the street from an Interrational school.

Things that make you go, “Hummmmm”

But, Guangzhou isn’t tops on my list of places to go since to date I’ve been robbed and have been involved in a rather horrific bus accident. So I stay pretty close to home nowadays, mostly venturing out to farther destinations with friends, using Guangzhou as a jumping off place.

Speaking of friends, this is a picture of Sebastien. He’s from Montreal, Quebec. I received an e-mail from him one day entitled, “Hello from Phoenix City!” Seems he somehow managed to get on my blog site and found out I was working just down the road from him.

Sebastien used to teach English in Beijing but after returning to Canada for a respite from the SAR’s scare here, he returned to China and found a good job working at the Phoenix City Hotel, a five star hotel here in our sprawling community.

Sebastien works with two men from Nepal, named Tanka and Bala. These guys are a riot. It’s so nice to have friends here finally, who I look forward to getting together with. Don’t get me wrong, Chinese people are fun, but sometimes the battle over English is a tiring struggle.

After my fourth grade class yesterday, at 2:15 p.m., my teaching schedule for the term is over for a month. I’m now on vacation until February. Money is tight because I’m flying to Bangkok in nine days, but I was bored stiff and wondering what to do when Sebastien invited me to tag along with him, shopping in Guangzhou. We visited a couple of places I’ve never been to in the TianHe district; the Corner Deli, which specializes in Western food and the large market in the basement of TEEM Plaza.

I actually bought mustard and cheese! Now I can have real hotdogs! Something that is very rare around here. The market at TEEM Plaza was awesome and huge! I’ll certainly return there in the future. We ate dinner on the sixth floor of the Plaza building, at a food court that ads a new dimension to the word, “Affordable.” I had a wonderful meal of some type of spicy mystery meat (I think it was frog) served on a sizzling plate and piled high with vegetables, and meat and served with rice. The whole meal cost me the equivalent to about $2.25 U.S.!&nb! sp; Food here in Guangzhou, if you manage to find the right places, can be incredibly inexpensive.

After dinner we took a taxi and managed to get to our bus stop just ahead of the Phoenix City bus, arriving back home in short order, around 7:30 p.m. A nice respite from the lack of activity here in Phoenix City.

I’ll be in Bangkok for five days and then will return January 19 to wile away my time until school begins again, the beginning of February. If finances allow, Sebastien and I will be making a trip to Hong Kong for a day or so, just to check things out.

Oh, almost forgot…..Happy New Year, Merry Christmas and all that crap. I’m not much one for holiday celebrations and it’s hard to get into the spirit of the holidays when you live in a sub-tropical zone. Ha!



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