My first visit to Chinatown

Yesterday 4pm,  I boarded the village mini van and headed to the airport link station. This the start of my journey to Chinatown. I had no idea how long it would take and of course I was there way way too early…….changing from the airport link to the MRT and a very fast journey right to the end of the line . There I was to meet 29 other people for our food tour of Chinatown.

I sat on a small wall outside the Bangkok Center Hotel, the meeting point of our tour.

Soon I was joined by more people. Some ladies had brought their husbands, mums and guests. It was good to meet new people and exchange conversation.

Our large group was split into 3 smaller groups and we were met by our guide Olive. She was going to have a hard time as we were the group with food allergies. Some to seafood and me of course, chillies!!!! We were given history snippets while we walked. A very busy area and she was always watching out to make sure we didn’t get knocked over. Crossing the road in Bangkok can be quite a risky business.

Soon we came to this temple. I will have to return to go inside and view the 5 and half ton solid gold Buddha….wow what a sight that will be. Olive gave us the background to how the temple was built and why. I can’t remember what it was called now though. Sorry.

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Its a pity the light was fading as I sure this would have been a much better photo. The gold was amazing.

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Then onto the gates of Chinatown. Wow. The head of the dragon. I even got to stand on a special gold stone right under the gate. Apparently the story goes the stone is a supernatural stone giving you supernatural powers and a place to make a wish.

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Couldn’t resit really standing in such a special place. We were told to turn to the temple and face Buddha and make our wish. Lets see if it comes true.

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The detail on the carvings were amazing. Here’s a closer look.

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To the side of each pillar was a huge Chinese Lion. Olive asked us if we could see which was male and which was female. Turns out if you look closely the female lion has a cub under her foot and the male, can you believe it – a football……..

We took the path to the right of the gates, which is shaped as the body of the dragon right into Chinatown.

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Making our first stop at the shrine of mercy. Adjacent to the Chinese Hospital for the poor. Olive explained about acupuncture and cupping. I myself am having acupuncture for my poorly feet.  I have had acupuncture back in the UK and Chinese healing massages. They most certainly work.  There seemed to be lots of interest in alternative therapies among the ladies.

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The sun was setting and the lighting changed. The whole place seemed to come alive and the bright lights could be seen.

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I had been told Chinatown is hot, sweaty, congested but honestly I didn’t find it so. Yes, OK Thailand is nearly always hot but there was a good breeze. It was busy but not bad. I had expected a lot worse. There is so much to see. It seemed everywhere there were restaurants, street vendors, everybody selling their wares. I am certainly going back.

Our first stop was this stall Selling what I can only describe as a Chinese equivalent to donuts with green custard. The taste was amazing. You would never think to try green custard. It would be of course if you had any idea what was in the tub anyway. Here’s a photos.

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Absolutely divine. The owner (in the photo) had photos hanging up of himself, his stall and a member of the Royal Family buying his food. Olive told us he is the best. The custard was made from pandan leaves. So delicious. I can taste it now. You dunk your donut type treat into the custard. Delicious but of course very fattening. I tried to be good and shared one with another lady in the group.

Next stop was the red shirt sea food kitchen. Nothing to do with anything political just that each restaurant wears different colour shirts. We had a stir fry dish of mimosa (water vegetable) with garlic and chillies for the other ladies in my group. Followed by huge prawns and dipping sauce. There was also a chicken and mushroom soup. Delicious. It came in a steaming metal pot with a burner underneath and they had very kindly put the chillies in a separate dish so I could have some soup too.

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As we sat eating you could see at all the restaurants it was very busy. The restaurant over the street was the green shirt kitchen. Its a really good idea to find the restaurant you went to eat at and can’t remember the name.

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As you can see there was a lot going on. We were even subject of curiosity as people stopped to snap our photo. Maybe not seen so many western women all together??? just not sure as there was many Westerners (Farangs) about.

The next stop was the dumpling shop. Apparently a very famous shop.

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Again, how could you forget this chap. Certainly stands out. We chose bbq pork dumplings and some of the group chose the custard buns. I missed out as the other ladies said the custard buns were worth having again and again and again.

Then we went over the very busy main road. Olive asked the Policeman if he would stop the traffic so we would cross and bless him, he did.

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This was a shot taken as I waited for the pork and peppery soup. We sat on tiny stools and the smallest metal tables I have ever seen. Wow the pork was delicious but the soup unfortunately was too peppery for most of us and we all ended up having a bit of a cough. Remember to drink lots of water on  your way around. Olive made sure we got plenty of water to drink which was really thoughtful of her as it was getting very hot as the night wore on.

There was lots of fruit vendors around. Selling amazing looking fruit and fruit drinks. I got a big bag of crispy pears for 100 bhat (less than a pound in UK money). I could have bought loads but knew we still had loads to do and I didn’t want to miss getting to the MRT with the rest of the group.  There were some lovely strawberries. I had paid double just the other day and they were so horrible I had to put them in the bin. But these ones looked delicious

The next stop was Thai ice cream. There were some very strange flavors. From iced tea, coconut with basil seeds through to Lychee sorbet. I chose the last one. I thought the safest bet. It was I have to say quite good. One scoop being enough of course.

Then only a few yards to another stop for sesame dumplings in a ginger soup. It is a very popular Chinese dessert. I actually thought this was my favorite dish of the evening.

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We ended it rather strangely I thought with Dim Sum at the Canton House. Seemed to spoil it after having 2 sweet dishes but never mind. Only 2 ladies tried the fried jelly fish!!! I have to say, I passed….it looked awful. For those of the ladies that could not eat seafood. There was chicken and cashew nut, my favourite but alas, huge dried chillies in it. Deep fried sea bass with garlic. I was so full, I would have loved to have some but I just couldn’t eat another bite.

Then we meandered back to the MRT to end our night. I will go back as there was many shops with beautiful silk garments. Shops selling nuts and sweets and all sorts of things. Definitely worth another look and we only saw the main road through China Town.

Can’t wait for next months activity which is a visit to Jim Thompson House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olive Restaurant, Ekkamai

We went a couple of weeks ago to Olive Restaurant in Ekkamai. Soi 12. Just off Sukhumvit 63. Its not only beautifully decorated. Like being transported back to Greece but the food was fantastic.  The staff were friendly and nothing seemed to be too much trouble for any one.

We were a very large group of ladies and how they seated us all was amazing. We were served Mezze, a selection of small dishes of delicious food. Feta and olive salad to start us off. quickly followed by dish after dish of tastes. Hummus, baba ganoush, hot pitta breads, tzatziki, falafel , crispy fried squid and so much more. The food just kept coming. There was certainly more than enough to go around. I couldn’t say there was anything I didn’t like.

Oh I nearly forgot to mention the wine. A good sized glass for only 198 bhat. What more could one ask for.

The meal was finished off with a lovely cup of coffee and baklava. Not to sweet and clearly home made. Delicious. I think I could even find this in my car. Not too far from us if the traffic is light.

I am now trying to arrange for my OH and I to go back and pay another visit. I have told our Arab friends about it as I think they will love the authentic food.

Well worth a visit.  Hope they don’t mind that I took a copy of their photo and put it on my blog

Trouble in Thailand

Sure lots of people have read the newspapers and watched on TV the trouble that has erupted in Thailand. BUT….its not everywhere. Its only small pockets. Yes it must be very frightening to get caught up in such an area but rest assured most of Thailand and Bangkok its business as usual…

Even where we have observed protesters and all their tents etc they are only sitting singing. We have not seen any violence ourselves. We read in the newspapers that all the protesters must move to Lumpini Park because there has been attacks on their sites.

We just hope it is all sorted soon and no more people loose their lives. Stay safe.

Our friends are still coming to visit as we live way out in the suburbs and life just goes on as normal.

Cooler Weather, such a beautiful change

Most people know the best time to come to Thailand is the English Winter. November to March. This Winter has been the best that we have experienced so far. We had a cold front apparently from China….. so we have been told.

Ah the weather has been great. So cold in the early mornings and evenings. No humidity. A cool breeze blew. Wonderful. If only it could have stayed that way.

I was even wearing a hoodie in the mornings to walk the dogs. Brrrrrrrrhhhhhh. 20 degrees and I was wearing a hoodie. Could you believe it. I think I have been here to long to be feeling the cold at 20degrees. However, the last few weeks it dropped right down. No air conditioning required through the night in the bedroom. It was really cold. The outside temperature gauge measured 10degrees…..very very chilly for here. It did make me think about all the poor people here (many thousands) who live in tin huts. How on earth were they managing to keep warm.  To me it was wonderful for me but I have a nice warm duvet to snuggle into.  Having all the doors open and the breeze blowing through the downstairs  through the day instead of air conditioning was a refreshing change. Thank goodness we had insect nets fitted to the doors. Alas we are into February and mother nature knows the months have moved on and now we are back to very humid weather. Its still cooler in the mornings by a fraction but so humid with it. I can’t understand how that works.

So now back to air conditioning on through the day and sweaty sweat when you go anywhere. Except the hospital of course because they are ran like ‘ice station zebra’..

Roll on next winter.

 

Yet another trip to the vets

I think it would seem that not many weeks go by without a trip to the vets…….

We have been back down to Pattaya to get the dogs and cat their annual rabies jabs and vaccinations. In line with what we thought was a move to Singapore. Long story.

Tess has been weeing again. She is totally unaware that she is doing it. Sometimes its a complete flood but most of the time its just dribbles everywhere. Thank goodness we don’t have carpets. The rugs we gave away when we moved here and the smaller ones are now all rolled up and put away for the future…….. not a good thought.

Tiled floors are so easy to maintain when you have pets.  A consideration for when we move back to the UK.

The new vet took X-rays and was talking about a neurologist…….put her on tablets, which had no effect what so ever. Then they were talking about ultra sounds and all sorts of things. For heavens sake she is 14 years old now. Our original vet in Pattaya (Pattaya Animal Hospital on Pattaya Tai) advised that she is too old for treatments and to be messed about with. She is getting old. Its a fact.

I have tried nappies but alas to date I haven’t found any big enough. She is quite happy to wear them in the house but they just end up falling off. I even tried a pair of my knickers with a face cloth inside. She must have thought that hilarious. I should have taken a photo really. However, no matter how happy she seemed to be to wear such things they just fell off. Hence I just keep the mop and bucket handy….. Sure its just when she is tired and we have noticed its when she is waiting for food….

If we take her away from the table when we are eating and make her stay in the kitchen area we don’t have any dribbles….weir or what????

Then Buddy, bless him. Came down the stairs one morning to find his ears were fat!!! very very strange but I knew it meant trouble. I gave him an antihistamine and off we went to the vets. I know you are supposed to have an appointment but they were very accommodating. Yes, he had eaten something or been bitten by something that he had a reaction to. His temperature was off the scale!!!!! They gave him a shot of something to bring his temperature down and more antihistamines via injection. We had to wait for 30 mins and they took his temperature again.

Poor thing he hates the car anyway so I have to drag him inside and then he just shuts down. I have tried the Cesar Milan trying to make him go inside the car himself (which I know he can do as he manages to jump quite nicely into the truck on the return journey). He just doesn’t like the vets either. She said his breathing was very labored. I explained about the car journey and that the reason he was shaking was because of the car and the vet experience. He is so good at the vets though and they can literally do anything they want to him and he doesn’t mind.

So touch and go times for poor Buddy. I had to keep him indoors for a few days, which he didn’t like as he likes to sit on the step outside and guard the gate!!!!  It took nearly a week for his ears to go totally back to normal and he has scratched them quite badly.

He will never learn his lesson though as he is always eating things in the garden.

Next it will be Stella’s turn. It  seems to go around in circles…. lets not tempt fate..