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Making Pitta Bread

My bread machine went to Place of Grace. It would mix but wouldn’t rise the dough properly. However, they will get some use out of it, you never know they may even know someone that can fix it.

So here are my first attempts as per my Middle Eastern cook book. It all started off rather well. No need for a bread machine but it was going to take all day, from process to process, waiting for rising etc.,,

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This was the first stage, wow I couldn’t believe how much the dough had risen so all’s well after an hour to start the next stage. knead knead knead..!!! phew, tiring stuff…

photo 2(20)2nd stage, form into balls and leave to rise again

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This is them doubled in size, now to roll them out nice and thin

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But alas not thin enough it would seem coz they still rose too much and nothing like pitta bread at all more like Italian Bread

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So I guess I know how to make Italian bread instead of pitta’s so off to my friends from Syria’s house for a proper lesson in Middle Eastern bread. We had a fab fab day. Starting with a huge chunk of chocolate cake and delicious coffee, made just like my mama makes all milky and tasting like heaven. Made properly, no coffee machine froth in sight.

Of course the quantities are different and normally Issam doesn’t even measure anything, just tips it all in. She has even taught her maid how to make them too so she did all the hard work of kneading etc., first.

I was busy watching and scribbling away in my cook book. In hind sight so as not to make a mess I should have done a rough copy first then written it up properly. Now I have a messy new cook book.bbbbblllllaaaaa……………….

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Here’s the second stage after its been left to rise etc., the separating out and cutting of the dough. Then the maid rolled it really thin, so much thinner than what I had done. It was like paper thin. Then Issam uses a pan lid which is just the right size for pitta bread size as a cutter.

Samer her sister showed me how they make a special tomato and chilli sauce to make tiny pizza’s and also they mixed a dried cheese, soaked in water. They also added to this herbs etc…wow it was amazing.

Samer showed me how they make the pizza’s and samosa’s and tiny nibbles all out of the same dough.

photo 2(21)This is Samer putting out the cheese mixture onto the dough. The oven is very hot ready for the first batch

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The dark filling is Thyme and olive oil. Try it, its wonderful, especially if you put some yogurt on the top when its fresh out of the oven. A new taste for me.

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This is the mini pizza’s going into the oven. Straight onto the shelf, no tins required.

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This is Issam and Samer together, so much work and now all I have to do is eat them….heheeeee….what a great day I have had. Wonderful friends and fantastic food. Thank you ladies.

 

The Intercontinental Continued…..

Sorry for the delay, where does the time go…. I always seem to be busy these days.

So on with the story.

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This is the club room, well worth paying the extra for “Club” status. AND as a member of the management said “Its free”!!! Well actually its not. That’s what you pay the extra for..So still well worth it. Just don’t try and have your breakfast in there. Cool yes, bad service yes. The rest of the time, service great, girls friendly, efficient and very knowledgeable. The best thing. Peace and quiet….

Afternoon tea and early evening drinks and snacks. Well as you can see from the photo about, not just snacks. In fact really, you could fill up on these beauties and not bother with dinner. Unless you want to pig out of course and have both….ah hem…

Last night we decided to take a look into the Club Lounge as between 5 -7pm there is happy hour. Wow really nice. We decided to have a glass of bubbles each. Yep, Hubby had one too. Really nice. We had been told there were canapés and salad and some nice desserts. What was on offer was certainly more than that. Yes salads and beautiful tiny desserts but much more and besides….olives, anchovies, crusty breads, cheeses. Hot dishes of prawn cakes, sautéed mushrooms in spicy sauce, chicken satay… the list goes on . AND as much as you wanted to drink.

photo 1(11)Wonderful selection of small dishes and nothing too spicy either. The wine…ah…delicious. Red, white or bubbles and a selection of shorts too.  A nice way to spend the early evening before deciding which restaurant to eat at.

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Room Transfer Disappointment number 6
Our new room was ready just after lunch on Tuesday. Our Suite was ready… a double upgrade apparently for the inconvenience of having to wait 3 days. We had already started packing when the call came from the Club Reception to see if we were ready. We were escorted to our room by one of the Club Reception Staff. Oh my goodness as you will see from the photos below the room is big, spacious and beautifully furnished.Don’t now why I only have a photo of the bath!!!!

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Separate bathroom with a huge bath (not that we will use it of course) 2 sinks and separate shower and toilet just as the last room.

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A dressing room area. Ha ha…at least we shall have a wardrobe each now. Note…take extra coat hangers as these are limited. Sure you could probably get more though. We always take our own. I can’t understand why my photos are so dark but anyway it was a lovely room
The suite has a lovely big balcony which includes a Jacuzzi. All rooms come with butler service. We were encouraged to ask the butler to prepare the Jacuzzi when desired. Mmmm…not sure I will be taking one any time soon but you never know.
Disappointment number 7…..

What’s that smell in the room….. as the hours went by the smell… like stale air con vent smell. Mmm…needs cleaning I think. The kind of smell that gets in your nostrils and you can’t get rid of. A real damp horrid smell.

Then I decided to have a shower. Well, the overhead shower doesn’t work without the hand held shower and vise versa. Then I looked around to see water seeping out under the shower door…. Its now all over the floor in the bathroom and took quite a bit of moping up. The drain cover is broken and is not allowing the water to drain away.
The control panel on the bead head is loose and bare wires exposed. Oh yes and of course it doesn’t work either. Not a good start to this lovely new room.
Off down to reception to advise of the problems in the room. What becomes apparent when they show us another room (with no view at all) is that they had had complaints before about this room but they still gave it to us anyway……. some double upgrade eh???
We have stayed in the same room as they assure us things will be fixed but the smell we have to live with as it comes from an outside overhead water feature. That is why there is a diffuser in the room. To camouflage the smell….ah and I had turned it off…. Naughty.
Lets see what transpires today. What will be fixed.

All the items that needed fixing were fixed but we just uncovered more. So on our departure we advised them to not relet the room and try and fix the problems. Just really disappointed that they gave us a room that they knew had problems…

Despite being given one of our meals for free, it really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth….a nights free stay that was offered to date has never transpired. So I guess we won’t be going back there again in a hurry…..

Anyway onto the next

We were going onto our second drink when we were invited to join the celebrations for the Queen’s birthday. Front row seats…. Hahahaaaa… how nice of them to include their western guests in such a special ceremony.
We were given candles to be light and song sheets. The announcements were given in Thai and again in English which I thought was really considerate of hotel staff.

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We sang 2 songs. Kindly printed in English for us to try and keep up with. Hope we didn’t make too much of a mess of things.
We made two orderly lines, one of men and one of women.

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Then took it in turns to go to the front of the set area and place our candles in the designated planters filled with sand. Oh yes and I forgot to say we were presented with cocktails in the Queens colours. Delicious.
It was such a lovely special thing to be included in. A memory I shan’t forget.

So we had a lovely peaceful week at the Intercontinental with ups and downs. A beautiful hotel and  I would recommend it to anyone, providing you go in the winter months when it will be more manageable to sit outside and eat.

The view is amazing and no rooms are over looked due to the way the rooms have been sighted. Definitely loved Azure best and on the last morning ….ta da…….they had laid out breakfast at Azure. Fantastic. A lovely sea breeze and what a view. It was an experimental day as the owner wanted to try it. If they could get all their breakfast things down there then yes, definitely worth it. The setting was perfect. Would be great to return in the cooler months and sit and have breakfast there.

photo 3(16)This was a photo from one of the evenings we spent down there. There is also a roof top bar but it never seemed to be open. There was also a huge fire pit with beautiful seating but again after the weekend it didn’t seem to get used. Another lovely spot for a cooler evening.

Off to Kuala Lumpur next month to another Intercontinental Hotel. lets see what its like there.

 

Our First Holiday Since 2008 Hua Hin

Sitting here on the balcony of our hotel room. Just ordered a latte to get me through typing this again. Maybe it was God’s intervention for denigrating this hotel so much…. ha…I bet that was what it was.

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oh wait…here we go again……

How many times I have started this blog piece, probably about 5/6 times??
Well the first one was almost finished when my hand touched something on the key board while checking for mistakes and off it all went. Vanished into thin air….. oh how infuriating. While OH saying I told you… always save to draft. It will be in the bowels of this computer somewhere. So this time I am typing in word, while sitting at the side of this glorious pool. Well away from the water of course.

After lots of deliberation and humming and haring. We had decided to take a holiday. A real holiday. Not just a visit back home to our family and friends but some real R&R time. Away from the madding crowd in Hua Hin. Somewhere I have nagged and nagged my husband to take me.
So all was planned and thank goodness a hotel not booked when the news came through that his post was to be nationalized. For those that don’t know what I mean. It’s when a Thai person is given your job. You are to be found an alternative post or in our case “Please can we just go home”??? That’s another story.
So all plans were off. This was going to be our first holiday since Cyprus 2008. OK I can hear my friends saying, hey you come home every year but its not a holiday…its a great time but no way is it a rest and recharge time for husband.

We usually have an itinerary of lunches and dinners and pop in visits for the whole 2 or 3 weeks. So months ago we decided we would have a real holiday but in Thailand. I have so wanted to visit Hua Hin since we arrived. Susan’s fault as they holiday here twice a year and always tell me how much they have enjoyed their time here. Each year we have promised that will join them on their visit.

For a short period excitement had prevailed until the sad news of not being allowed to go home just yet sank in. To hell with the world let’s have the holiday anyway. We both felt it may do us  good. Take away some stress and worry if only for a week.
So back onto the internet – The font of all knowledge indeed. Ah the Centara Grand Resort and Spa had gone up a lot and it was going to be the start of the European School Holidays. Did we really want to be in a huge hotel surrounded by screaming children?? I think not. So back to the trawling through Trip Advisor to see what people said about different hotels. Finally settling on The Intercontinental Resort & Spa. Further South in Hua Hin but said to be peaceful and quiet.

Luckily Patrick (K9 Training and Boarding Kennels and our dog obedience trainer) still had room to take Tess and Buddy. Alas Stella our cat is still missing. Off they went on Friday, Buddy none to happy to be going in a car and Tess trying to jump in by herself as she just so loves traveling. The house seemed so quiet without them. No Buddy talking to me on Saturday morning.

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The journey started off well for us, first mulling over when to set off for our expected 2 and half hour journey. The trouble being almost 5 hours later and we were still stuck in holiday traffic. Oh goodness the traffic was terrible. Bumper to bumper we went. Saw some great statues on the way. Must remember to get some shots on the way back to update this piece. ( Alas we went a different way home, never knowing that was possible and getting in a right panic).
I did manage to get a couple of shots of a great bridge we had to cross. Wooohoo my daughter would say. How un-interesting is that….ha..

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We stopped off for a toilet break at a garage/service station. Ladies please. I could have been sick. My first encounter was with wading through dirty water. New shoes too. Oh God. What met my eyes…..

As some people may know in Thailand in a lot of places you have to put your toilet tissue in the bins in the toilets as the sewage systems is unable to cope. A bin full of toilet paper some covered in blood. Well we all know where from……It’s just so awful. Why oh why wouldn’t you try and cover it over or put it in a bag…..

Arriving at the Intercontinental Resort & Spa
So glad to arrive at our destination finally. It was just as well that I had seen on the internet the frontage of the hotel and the way it was set just back off the road as we would have missed it. In fact we almost did.
You would never know from the outside what a fantastic hotel lay beyond. Our bags were whisked away and we were greeted my the lovely reception ladies. A totally informal reception area of small desks. No huge chandeliers or imposing reception frontage. Straightaway after giving my name she knew I was part of the Ambassador Club (something I had paid for as part of a surprise for my husband). I was ushered through to the Club lounge to a separate check in, while waiting for OH to park the car. Btw, they also offer a valet service for parking too. Given a lovely refreshing drink of Rosella and pineapple juice. Quench the thirst after our long journey. I was even offered bubbles…slurp slurp but I was being good and declined. Keep my wits about me for now.

Only here was it apparent that there was a problem and understanding a little Thai it was obvious that our booking had not been upgraded. The Ambassador status “Guarantees an upgrade” well, not today it didn’t. So it spoiled my surprise for my husband. As I had to tell him why there was a problem and what it was. I had so wanted it to be a great surprise. Walking into a huge room, more than he had expected. The hotel was fully booked. The Queen’s Birthday, Mothers Day, a holiday weekend. This was obviously why there had been so much traffic traveling down.
No point in making a fuss. If there was no room upgrade available, there was no room. With the promise of an upgrade by Tuesday off we went to see our room. I have to say although it wasn’t large, the Club Rooms are spacious and extremely tastefully decorated. Ah and including a beloved coffee machine. A powerful shower and separate toilet. Don’t know how I ended up taking photos of only the balcony and the bath!!!! ah yes I remember coz Hubby popped himself right on the bed..
Sometimes I feel I go too far, packing extra coffee, milk, my herbal tea. David’s UK tea bags, fruit and nuts etc., but it was all worth it in the end. It means we have a much more relaxed stay having the things we would otherwise miss.

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If Liz is reading this post here is your day bed…will this do???? Its on the balcony.

 

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The first thing you see when entering the restaurant area of the resort is the vast amount of beautiful Frangipani trees, lawns and a huge huge pool, ending right down at the beach.

 

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Flanked all the way around by sun beds and umbrella’s. All matching and all good quality rattan furniture. Nothing tacky about this resort. Not a plastic chair in sight. Plenty of space. All facing the sea. Beautiful and yes, tranquil. Just what we are looking for.

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We ordered room service the first evening and I have to say the food was excellent. We opted for Italian the Feta Cheese Salad and the other salad we chose were lovely. The pizza looked like a standard home made UK edition. The taste was good though and I thoroughly enjoyed what I had. Of course we had ordered too much food….off to the gym for us then

 

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The next morning after a wonderful nights sleep, the soft pillows and black out curtains did their job and we did not for once wake early.

Sunrise over the resort

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Off to breakfast. There are only approximately 4 tables inside the two restaurants serving breakfast where air conditioning would be, however with doors open there isn’t much reprieve from any heat. Outside seating in all 3 restaurants. I certainly would not have booked this hotel if I had realized there was no inside cool space to eat. Hot flushes not included I find it most uncomfortable to eat outside in 80+ degrees. This being disappointment number 2.
Why didn’t they even have breakfast at the restaurant nearest the beach. At least there may be a bit of a breeze.

 

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one of the more shaded areas to have breakfast.

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If you love cakes, pastries and Thai food for breakfast you are in heaven. There is an “Egg Station”. I ordered poached eggs. I had intended to have some crispy (rather over crispy) bacon with some tomatoes. What I got was two poached eggs lying on a piece of ham on soggy bread, smothered in an oily sauce…..oh disappointment number 3.
Suggestion– take your own tea bags. The tea is p… water and there is no way you could call it tea.
Breakfast was crowded. People pushing past, walking into you. Oh this would never do for a 5* hotel.Disappointment number 4
Disappointment number 5. The Thai restaurant – Pirom. The food is OK but not that wonderful. I have an allergy to chilies. Some people would think this would be mighty hard in Thailand to get around. I have learned however the sentence for:-
“Never put chilies in my food”. My standard choice is chicken n cashew nuts or pad Thai. No one said anything about deep frying the chicken in batter before it was put in the dish of chicken and cashew nuts. YUK. Not impressed with the food at all.

 

We did try an evening of Thai buffet and the restaurant redeemed itself a bit. OH had a great evening. Of course these tables are nice and each one has a fan above the table and blinds that can be drawn down if you are having lunch to shield you from the sun.

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The biggest thing that strikes you about this lovely hotel is the staff. The staff are so nice it so hard to be awful about anything.
Service seems to be extremely slow for certain things. I just don’t they can cope with being full.

Room service not being one of them.
The next morning we (well I actually) that was the Royal “we” had decided we would have breakfast in the Club Room. Should we have wondered why there was no one else having breakfast in the lovely air conditioned room…?? some 30 minutes later when I was asking where my breakfast was I realized why…the girl takes your order and then has to wait in the queue like everyone else…… and although I had stated just eggs no oily sauce or anything, just with bacon. It still came on soggy bb…..bread.

I could have made full English breakfast for a host of squaddies in the time it took to make for a member of staff to queue up for those eggs. So so slow. Saving grace, good coffee.
We have enjoyed the resort. The leisurely walk along the beach. Pony rides for the children. Tiny fishing boats lined the beach. Amazing. Like stepping back in time.

 

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The Monks walk the full length of the beach very early each morning and you can partake in giving alms if you would like.

Each day I am sure we walked for miles along the beach back and forth. Well, you have to work the cakes off….

We decided on Monday evening to try Azure. This is the hotel restaurant situated right at the very beach side of the resort. Faith restored. Delicious. Thai Seafood Buffet of a very high standard. Nice wine, wonderful selection of food as it wasn’t all spicy. Oh and the desserts. Well, as you will see from the photos. Just delicious.

 

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and of course the best part, the desserts…..  photo 2(19)

 

 

 

 

We sat at a pool side table looking out to sea. With a beautiful breeze.

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As the sun goes down, a full moon. How every strange. The cloud underneath looks like a spaceship I am sure. Look closely at the picture and you can see a space ship. There was a lovely breeze and I didn’t feel hot once. This has to be my favorite spot.

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A wander into Hua Hin.

Asking how far the nearest shopping centre is…15 minutes walk!!!! Yeh right. Well Ok it was around 20 minutes and it all would depend on how fast you walked I guess. We just presumed that Hua Hin would be like Pattaya. A beach front promenade to walk along. A Big Shopping Mall, a Central Department store. DU……how wrong we were. A small shopping center of shops. Certainly nothing to splash out on. Just as well we didn’t need anything. Plenty of places to eat I am sure.
Be aware as usual of the tuk tuk drivers wanting to take you somewhere. One stopped us and told us another kilometer to the shops. When in fact we were less than 5 minutes walk away. Would have been taken for a ride – literally. Better to get your hotel or apartment block porters to get you one.
Again not impressed. You could certainly have a cheap holiday here. Nothing to spend your money on but food and drink. Unspoiled some would say.
We did however get a tuk tuk back. A fair price of 100 bhat to the hotel. We didn’t mind that we could normally go a very long way in Bangkok for this fare. It still saved my blistered heel from getting any worse.

A visit to the Gym.
If you are that way inclined on your holiday a visit to the hotel gym is a must. Great machines. Each one displaying information on what to do. I think hubby is going to take some photos of what its like. No one ever in there either. Plenty of towels and water if required.
The assistant in the gym was well informed, although a little shy with the Farangs I think, but he seemed quite knowledgeable. We ended up going only twice and am pleased to say he forgot his camera the next time. We did so intend to go everyday…..ah well…cake beckons…..

I am going to start another post to continue my story of our holiday and hope to get some more photos loaded.

 

Our time to leave Thailand is almost upon us but when???

My husband rang me over a week ago to say his job had been advertised on a work’s vacancies email………………..what a way to find out your job has been Nationalized….

So our time has come to an end and none too soon. I have lost 1 dog and 2 cats to Thailand. Our marriage has had very stormy times, most to do with the stress of work, the heat and the difference in culture.

Its not easy working abroad….there are many pit falls. Everyone thinks its glamorous living abroad but it can’t be further from the truth.  You try living your normal day to day life in over 90 degrees. Its not like we are living on the beach and having parties every day. How many people say “well you’re not very brown for living abroad”……

When he is released from his contract we have no idea (don’t forget you have no rights to employment laws) Its as if they own you. They hold your life in their hands.

We had finally decided a couple of months ago, after living here 4 years we would finally have a proper holiday. Our last was in 2008. However, now we have the news of impending unemployment we have cancelled our plans. We need to keep the money we have.

We have to sell off our furniture, give away what needs to be cast aside and hope that at the end of the day we get home without too much costs to us.

Thank goodness Tess and Buddy are ready for their travels. Loosing the wing nuts and bolts for their kennels was a worry but we spent time on Saturday and Sunday finding more. How hard would you think it would be to find the right size wing nuts and bolts !!!! No B&Q here……………..

We will be so glad to go back home. Save Thailand for a holiday and choosing to live here is different to actually working here but for this experience I am sure we have learned lessons and be better people for it. After all we would not have met Milos. Our acupuncture specialist. That has truly changed our lives for the better.

We have met some great people. Had some wonderful and some frightening experiences (fighting snakes) Seen some fantastic scenery and I will never ever get tired of seeing elephants.

We shall go away with friendships that will last our life time but for now we just want to be ordinary people living ordinary lives. I can’t wait to be able to get a job again and be amongst people without a language barrier.

Oh and I will never miss the “eau de toilette – drain smells” – ah the joys of living abroad.

To all our new friends we will miss and to our old friends back home, it won’t be long now I am sure.

STILL MISSING & REWARD 3,000BHAT

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It’s over 2 months now and Stella is still missing. Quite a few weeks ago now one of my neighbours on the compound was told by a security guard that a car passing through the main gate had told him that they had Stella and she was staying with them now. I went immediately to the house in question but alas when they did answer the door they said they didn’t have her.

Who’s to say if they are telling the truth, but why would a guard come and tell someone something like that if it were not true. So I guess someone has her.

Probably why we have not seen her around. I may have got the wrong house but someone has taken her AND what can we do about it………….nothing. No one cares about a little cat here.

I can only hope that they are looking after her properly. Sure she will be driving them nuts as she talks all the time and will be so unhappy not being allowed outside.

There are stray cats on our compound and she is not with them which makes me feel sure that someone took her. What cruel people there are here to do such a thing to someone else. Have they no heart………………

I have leaflet dropped again with a reward on the paperwork. I have also put the reward notice on her photo on the notice board but this last week I noticed that her photo at the security guards huts is no longer displayed and at the notice board near the top of the compound – no photo of Stella.

More reason to think she has been taken and the person has removed her info. Bas…..ds……I do hope something nasty happens to these people for stealing my baby cat.

 

Our Cat is still missing – REWARD

Well an update.

After more than 2 weeks our cat Stella is still missing. I can only assume that some one has taken her away. I have searched each and every street on our compound (of which there are many). I have carried out leaflet drops, there are posters up. I have stopped and asked people. The guards have her picture and info

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A few possible sightings but I still can’t find her. People have said because she is so beautiful someone would have taken her to sell for a lot of money….just great that people the world over could do such a horrid thing.

If someone has her here on our compound then they are keeping her inside as I have looked mornings, afternoons and evenings. All at different times in the hope of spotting her. We have even gone out at midnight looking for her.

I only hope she will be happy where ever she may be. I can’t sleep as I keep thinking that I hear her calling. Then the other day when I was having a nana nap on the sofa I thought I felt her jump up and cuddle in behind my legs. The imagination plays horrid tricks because when I woke up she wasn’t there.

Its the just not knowing what has happened to her that is so upsetting. Thailand has taken my soul mate, Molly, as you will read way back. She was killed by a Cobra. Then Stella’s sister Daisy went missing and we never found her. I searched for 3 months calling up and down the lanes where we used to live but nothing at all and now our dear little Stella.

If only someone would find her and bring her home. I would gladly give a reward. Each morning we open the front door in the hope that she is going to be sitting there and unable to tell her story.

Keep her safe whoever you are.

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Stella our cat is missing REWARD for her safe return

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HELP HELP HELP

Stella our beautiful cat  of nearly 7 years, from the Middle East, went missing over a week ago.

Please everyone help look for her. I really did think she would turn up on my daily searches for her but alas although there have been possible sightings, nothing yet.

She is micro chipped but not for our recent address…..She is mainly white underneath and chest, with browny/tan and black patches on her back and head. She is semi long haired and wears a very sparkly collar.

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Normally she is loud as loud as can be and if anyone has taken her I am sure they will bring her back soon as she has never shut up since we moved her to the Bangkok suburbs.

She is my baby and I need her back.

I have searched the streets of our large compound and with the help of a very influential neighbour I have been allowed to put posters up on the notice boards.

I have dropped leaflets in letter boxes in Thai and English but still I have no concrete news.

One cat rescue told me to tweet her loss. OK, I am not really very good with technology, but I have signed up, but how on earth do you go viral. Then the idea came to me that why not use my own bog to help find her.

She is a good hunter, there is plenty of water around. Plenty of empty houses to take refugee for shelter but oh those snakes and a few stray dogs to worry about.

After one week and not being able to find her I can only assume someone took a fancy to her and has taken her away. Please please please someone help me find her. There will be a reward of course for her safe return.

 

 

The weather has changed again. Hot and Sticky Season

Oh my goodness has the weather changed. Lets not mention the terrible forecast for a big storm, while I keep checking the sky for any signs of bad weather I wonder if I should batton down the hatches…..???

The hot and sticky season is definitely upon us. Now even when I open the door at 5.30am to let the dogs out for their first wee its hot. No relief. I now carry a face cloth when I am walking the dogs. You only have to be out more than 5 minutes and the sweat trickles. How I wish I could adjust and acclimatize to the heat.

photo 3(4) photo 2(4)Even Buddy our Thai dog is hot on walks now. I think he has turned into an English dog and likes the air conditioning. He likes to sit outside but on the doorstep where he gets the cool air coming through the insect screen. Crafty tinker.

This is the month of Sonkhran. So glad we are going back to the UK for visit. Keep out of the way of all that water throwing and wet talc being thrust upon your face….. watching from inside a car where you are safe is seems like hilarious fun but I don’t fancy actually getting soaked while out in good clothes or sitting eating a meal somewhere. I think a lot of expats come for the fun and a lot go home out of the way.

Time seems to go so quick. We have both had our second cold in 4 years. Both of which are since moving to Bangkok……must be all the people crammed together. spreading germs. No wonder they don’t hold onto hand rails on the BTS & MRT etc.,so as not to pick up germs,  but then quite happily cough in your face…….YUK…

I have been going back and forwards into Bangkok for Mah-jong. I do love it. Its good to sit with different ladies each week and have some new conversation. It seems to be the time of people moving on and a lot of new faces at the BWG lunch last month and at the coffee mornings….

This last week I have retreated from all outing and mixing with people as I was full of that bbbbbb…. cold. Makes you feel awful. My nose was just running like a tap. Don’t think I wanted to share it with anyone.

We both have been having acupuncture too. Its wonderful. To think I have been suffering from over tiredness for years and years. Turns out to be chronic fatigue due to my kidneys and bladder not working properly. Now after a couple of months of acupuncture I seem to have so much more energy. I don’t always need to take a nap now and I am staying up till after 11pm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!wooooowwwwwhhhhooooo…

I have been swimming and the bike is out and being used.

Milos doesn’t just deal with one problem. He looks at your whole self, how you feel, what you do, what else bothers you.  I went to see about my terrible feet. The pains were unbearable. I am still stiff in the joints but most of the time now I am pain free. All to do with my bladder and kidneys…. so much for hospitals, telling me I had hammer toes, severe strain to tendons, Achilles heal etc., a load of rubbish. I have been given so many different diagnosis’s and they were all wrong. So good to be pain free most of the time now.  It was amazing when I was able to get up out of bed and walk down the stairs properly. Not having to hang on to the hand rail and take one step at a time. Its the little things that make the difference to your quality of life.

He has also made me much calmer. Dealing with my anger issues. I feel a calmness inside now. Doesn’t mean to say I don’t get riled by stupid people, but I certainly don’t get half as angry and let things pass over my head now or look at them in a different light.

He has taken away David’s sciatica and is also helping him with his general health and well being.

Only 2 more sleeps and then we will be off to the UK. Bet we don’t get to travel business class. Ah well, I did get to experience it once. What a way to travel. At least this time we will be going via Amsterdam and I love the shopping there. All that cheese, smoked salmon. mmmm……and all those tulips. Just the perfect time to buy.

 

 

 

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