Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baby it's cold outside

It can be hard to believe, but it's actually pretty cold in Thailand right now. It's winter, which would usually mean it being a few degrees cooler and very dry. I was here the same time last year and I was so sweaty and hot the whole time. Now in Bangkok it only gets as low as around 14'C. People are wearing jumpers and scarves! Even I have been getting chilly at night time and reaching for a cardigan.

But up north and to the north east, things are much colder. Like below zero colder. You might think it's funny that people are cold in Thailand but it's really no laughing matter. Poorer Thai people are not at all equip for the cold. They generally won't have blankets or a mattress and their houses are usually a combination of corrugated iron and thatch. People are actually freezing to death. The cold snap has claimed 3 lives already including monk. Several places have been declared disaster zones. It's crazy.

It seemed like it was warmer in Bangkok today do hopefully this cold snap will be over soon before more lives are lost. It's really, really sad.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Permanent Marker

So after deciding 2009 will be my year to start making some real changes, my mind has ultimately swung back to the thing I have been thinking about for years: getting a tattoo. This is not something I take lightly. I have been researching it for years, finding out everything possible (which colours last the longest, how the size and detail affects it as it get old and wrinkly, etc.). I even have a shortlist of people I would like to do my tattoo. 1# on the list is Angelique Houtkamp. Her style is amazing and exactly what I'm looking for. Sadly, this would be crushingly expensive and she lives in the Netherlands. But anyways!

I have been wanting to get a little tatty done to represent Mr A. We've been together almost 8 years! But I think name tattoos are lame (so does he - he's KILL me if I got one). So here is my idea:

I want a little sweetheart lolly on my inside wrist that says "BE MINE", perhaps with another in a different colour peeking out the edge. Small, cute classy and totally cute! I definitely think I will get this done in the new year. But, like most people I'm scared of the pain! I suppose I shall just have to bite the bullet and get it over with! It will be worth it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby Blue Eyes

Is it bad that I want some of these?? They look so cute! I spotted them at Platinum Mall today and have been obsessing ever since! They last for a year which I think is a pretty sweet deal. I just worry they will look ridiculous on me! I don't have those lovely, big asian eyes!

What do you think? Do you hate them or love them?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's good to be King

Not Elvis silly! King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand! a few weeks ago it was his 81st birthday (meant to write this post much much earlier!). All of Thailand turns yellow to celebrate it, as that is his colour. It's pretty amazing. Everyone in Thailand loves him. He is almost a religion is his own right. This year, he was too sick to attend hi birthday celebration. His Son and daughter came instead. Some of my friends work at the palace school where the ceremony is held and they said people were devastated. Thai's had travelled from all over the country to see him. People were crying and consoling each other, not because they missed out on seeing him, but because he was sick. That's how much they love him.

He's the 9th Rama of Thailand. He's 81 years old and has been reigning for 60 years! WOAH! That makes him the longest reigning living Monarch. He actually took over from his brother, who died suddenly (and a little mysteriously depending on who you talk to) when he was 20. Rama really is a king of the people. In his younger days, he was actively involved in a lot of charity work and would actually get out to visit they people and see things for himself. He's also a very progressive thinker and helped make Bangkok a little more modern with the introduction on the BTS system. Rama 9 also banned logging in Thailand and since then the forested areas have gone from 20% to 30%. Once they reach 40%, elephants can start being re-released into the wild! He has done so many good things for Thailand.

Oh he's also a great musician and there are several radio station devoted to playing just the music he has composed and performed. He has also help to raise awareness for the plight of soi dogs in Thailand by adopting his very own in the hopes it will encourage Thais to do the same.

Sadly, he spends a lot of his time these days at Hua Hin, an affluent area on the coast. He's been pretty unwell for a while now. He has to use a walker. I am glad I'm leaving Thailand before he dies (fingers cross). His son is quite unpopular with the people. He is apparently a bit of a philanderer. They would rather one of the princesses take the throne as they have continued his charity work and seem to have Thailand's best interests at heart. The law has recently been changed so the princesses can assume the throne so there might be hope for the royal family yet! But there will be immense amounts of grieving is Thailand when the King passes away. If you work for the palace, you have to wear black for a year. Many people in Thailand will do the same to show respect for him. It's very touching.

If you come to Thailand you will see pictures of him everywhere. Every home will have one at the very least. Try to refrain from pointing at pictures of the royal family and don't speak badly about them in public. You could very easily offend a Thai person who overhears you. It's like insulting a member of their family!

After all, he is the father of modern Thailand.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Place to Call my own.

I know! I know!! I said I'd post more but things have been a little crazy since the start of the year. I've had visitors since the fourth and showing them around has been super tiring.

I'm going home in two weeks and I've trying to sort stuff out for that too. I have been thinking about own new house too. Mr A and I have very different tastes in interiors so we will try and keep the main area's of the house neutral. But we will both have our own rooms. Mr A for his guitars and me for my sewing. I can do whatever I like in my room!!!

A Place to Call my Own

I'm kinda going for a Kawaii Tea House/50's Boudoir/French Bordello kind of look. If you can understand that. I am completely in love with wall decals right now and I think some cherry blossoms would be beautiful. I really like the look of pink and red together also. Fashion Hayley pulls this off in her house so beautifully. I picked up some lovely red and pink frames at the markets on the weekend. I think I'll put some of my burlesque photos in them. I love the idea of bird cages too. I bought some in Vietnam. I want to fill them with butterflies and maybe even some plants/flowers! How sweet would that look!?

I like these colours a whole bunch! I'd also die and go to heaven if I could get my hands on a mirrored desk. Sadly, all the ones I have seen are way out of my decorating budget!!! BOOO!!! I really like the dressing table thing too. I despise having my make up and the such like in the bathroom. I'd love to have somewhere to sit and put my face on without having Mr A bugging me to get out because he has to pee or shave or something. I will defiantly get an inspiration board for my projects. I like to have everything laid out in front of me. I might even cover it with fabric to make it a little more aesthetically pleasing.

A day bed might be fun too!! Great for impromptu guests and lazily reading a book on a Sunday afternoon.

What do you think? I really want to make our new house more me. The one we are in now and even the one before showed far more of Mr A's taste then mine. I can't wait to start!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shi-an not Xian or the land that English forgot

After Hong Kong was behind us, we went to Xian, the home of the terracotta warriors. I was pretty excited. It one of the 3 things I crossed off my to do list

Xian however, is the most difficult place I have ever been. There is no written English, no-one speaks English and there are no English menus. China really hasn't been open to the western world for that long so I guess it's not that surprising. Plus I am not in an English speaking country so it's totally arrogant for me to expect any less.

Anywhoo, we got to our hotel pretty late after going for a ride in a far to expensive taxi (I made the mistake of assuming Mr A had researched all these things before we left. He usually does). It was really nice and cozy with friendly staff. The only problem was the cigarette smell (you can still smoke pretty much everywhere in China - gross!) and the bed was pretty rock hard, even by Thailand standards.

We decided to venture out and fine some food. Our hotel concierge suggest we go to the drum tower and kindly wrote down the address for us in Chinese. It was a lot colder than Hong Kong which was a lovely change from Bangkok and I got to wear my Zara jacket that I love more than anything right now. A short taxi ride later we were greeted by this:

Isn't it beautiful!!? See those things about the tower? The stringy things? Those are kites! These amazing rice paper kites that go on forever into the sky. I had to have some.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet. Maybe put them on a wall?

Anyway. We went to the market street in search of food. After accidentally setting off a car alarm and being laughed at by a Chinese guy, said guy informed us we were in fact on the Islamic street! It was really bright and colourful with lots of interesting souvenirs. I didn't buy any though. We were too hungry! after searching up and down the strip for an English menu, we decided to try our luck with this little kebab-ish type place. By the laughing and looks on their faces when we went in you could tell they didn't speak English. After a bunch of pointing and terrible mandarin on my part, we managed to get some eats.

Me trying to find the Mandarin word for beer. It's Pijiu in case you ever need to know.

Here's out food. I managed not to order anything weird, aside from there being chicken cartilage on one of the skewers (note: it's gross). It was all yummy grilled veggies with this tasty spice mix all over them. Mmmmmmm. Good.

The next day we went to see the famed warriors. The concierge organised a taxi to take us around for the day. It took around 40minutes to get there from the hotel. It was super warm in the car and I ended up having a little nap. Tehehehe! We had about three hours to look around. We were immediately assaulted by tour guides offering their services for around 100RMB which worked out to about $25 AUD. After saying no a million times we eventually gave in to a particularly cute girl who seemed nice enough. She ended up being pretty average. She repeated everything she said at least three times and yelled when she spoke like we were deaf. But she did answer all my questions, even when there weren't about the warriors.
We were walking around the complex to get into the museum and I suddenly noticed I was being stared at. A lot. By everyone. I've written about being stared at in Thailand before. You'd think I'd be used to it. But this was a whole new level. I was staring to think I had two heads or something. But my tour guide kept telling me it's because I was so pale and I looked like an actress. HA! I was very flattered but still very weirded out. Especially when one lady told me I "looked like the light". What???
So once we made it through the starey starey people, we were inside the first and largest warrior pit. HOLY SHIZMIT!!! The place was mind blowing. It was absolutely massive and full of the amazing terracotta warriors.

They think there are over 6000 warriors buried tin this pit alone, all in battle formation. They were part of the tomb of the first emperor of China. They are all in pieces because a year after the Emperor died, his rival went through and smashed and burnt them all. It takes 1 year to put a warrior back together. It's the ultimate jigsaw puzzle.

Each one is different. The faces are based on really soldiers. Isn't that amazing? The Emperor initially wanted to bury real soldiers but decided it was impractical seeing as they wouldn't last as long as the terracotta ones. That crazy guy! There are even terracotta horses.

After a nice noodle lunch it was back in the taxi to visit the royal baths! This place was beutiful and very serene, even if it had that odd eerieness that winter brings.

Next stop...BEIJING!!! WOHOOO!