Sorry for no update for a few days. It isn’t that there wasn’t anything happening. Rather, I wanted to leave the entry about the end of the English teaching at Bangkhonthiinai at the top of the page for a few extra days since many of my readers don’t subscribe to my blog and instead stop by from time to time to read it.
But five days is long enough, so let’s get back to blogging!
Saturday was a Khun Nui day. Tawn’s father was out for a school reunion and so Tawn’s mother was home free. After baking homemade buttermilk biscuits (right) for breakfast we drove over and picked her up.
Condo Remodel Progress
Our first stop was the new condominium to show it to Khun Nui and also to see what progress had been made in the remodel.
It seems that a lot of stuff is happening quite quickly, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. We were surprised to see that the two bathroom doors, which had been pulled out along with a section of wall around them, have been rebuilt, left.
The good news: they’re moving quickly. More good news: one of the doors is in the correct place.
Some not-so-good news: the other door was moved the wrong direction by several inches. Some more not-so-good news: they weren’t supposed to re-use the old doors in the first place as we have two new doors waiting to be picked up.
So it looks like the construction this week will begin with two steps back.
Some more bad news about the new neighborhood comes from Daily News, a local Thai-language newspaper: a 1.2-meter (4 foot) freshwater crocodile fell out of the back of a speeding black pickup truck in front of the Kasikorn Bank branch on Soi Thong Lor, one block over from our street.
No details on the truck such as license plate number and it seems the truck was unaware that it had lost its cargo, assuming that the cargo was intentional in the first place.
Can you imagine what the driver must have said when he got back home and looked in the back of the truck: “Well, dang it… where did that crocodile go? I could just swear I put him in here.”
In the afternoon we went for lunch with Khun Nui before she headed home in advance of Khun Sudha’s planned return. Above, Tawn gives his mother a sniff-kiss. A sniff-kiss is a Very Thai display of affection.
Somehow, Someday, Somewhere
Kobfa called Saturday afternoon to ask if we were interested in joining him for a Broadway showtunes concert sponsored by the Musicals Society of Bangkok (who knew that existed?) as a fundraiser for Thai Red Cross. He had just found out about it from a friend who had attended the night before. An internet search turned up only one entry about the event from the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s own website. I didn’t even know there was an auditorium at the SET.
It seems that this is the third or fourth annual concert that the Musicals Society has put on and we’ll certainly have to look it up next year. The two highlight performers were Suruj Predarat and Teeranai Na Nongkai, who it seems are perennial favorites. Khun Suruj is young, only 33, but has a marvelous baritone and excellent control. Khun Teeranai is a mezzo-soprano with a clear voice. Both have done a lot of stage work.
The selection of musical numbers was broad from well-known numbers like As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard and I Have Love / One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story, to lesser known pieces such as She Touched Me from Drat! The Cat! and Penny In My Pocket, which was written for but cut from Hello Dolly.
Princess Somsawaree was in attendance and showed up late so things started almost thirty minutes late. The concert was fantastic, though, and the Princess was an enthusiastic audience member, leading the applause at the end of each number.
When you have a royal family member in attendance at an event, a special seat is set up in a prime location which, I think, would make it quite unfortunate if, as that family member, you wanted to attend with a friend or loved one. You end up sitting all alone. Right, the Princess is seated in the midst of the small (350 seats maybe?) but very modern auditorium.
As the Princess arrived and entered the auditorium, her anthem was played and the audience stood up. Each member of the royal family has their own anthem that was written by His Majesty the King, a very prolific composer and musician.
A very good call on Kobfa’s part to suggest this event; we had a fantastic time.
Tell Me on a Sunday
I had a surprise planned for Tawn on Sunday afternoon. I wouldn’t tell him what it was or where we were going. All I would tell him was how to dress. Before heading to the surprise, we met up with some friends for dim sum at the Windsor Hotel on Sukhumvit 20. Ben’s family owns the hotel and he’s the General Manager, so it was very nice that he made the arrangements for us. Needless to say, the staff was extremely attentive.
After dim sum we took a taxi to The Esplanade, a new shopping “artsy” shopping center on Ratchadapisek that is owned by the same group that owns Paragon and The Emporium. The Esplanade has the full size Ratchadalai Theatre in it and this is where we watched Fah Jarod Sai (“Where the Sky Meets the Sand”), the musical adaptation of a popular pair of Thai language books by Sopak Suwan.
The story line is tremendously complex and the musical (at nearly three hours in two acts) tries to tackle nearly all of it. In general, it is set in Arabia where half-French, half-Arab orphan Michelle is tricked into being abducted into the King’s harem. The penalty for deceiving the King is death, but King Ahmed is so enraptured by Michelle beauty that he falls in love with her.
Just then, a coup is staged and the King is left for dead. Shariff, the King’s son, fights off the villains and barely escapes with his life – and Michelle – into the desert. All of this is the first twenty minutes of the musical!
Most of the story is about their time in the desert in which their contemptuous relationship (think Bogart and Hepburn in African Queen) slowly develops into respect, appreciation, and then love.
In the end, on the verge of death they are found by guards for the King, who is turns out did not perish after all and who is encamped in the desert plotting his return. Shariff leads the assassination attempt on the coup leader and, after some misunderstanding with his father, who is still in love with Michelle, all ends happily with Michelle and Shariff marrying and having a grandson for King Ahmed.
The story is complex and the sets are elaborate, but on the whole the musical does not deliver. The songs are enjoyable but nothing is particularly memorable. The cast is chock-a-block with well-known TV and film actors, most of whom haven’t the training or experience to effectively sing a stage musical.
Homemade Sunday Dinner
I concluded Sunday for Tawn with a homemade dinner. First, using some of the extra whole wheat pizza dough I had made last week, I made a vegetarian pizza. Since Sandelion commented recently on wanting to see more food pics, I took lots of pictures of the cooking process:
Then for dessert (since Tops Supermarket had a special on US imported cherries at 199 baht for 500 grams, about $6.00/pound) I made a cherry pie. Notice the latticework crust!
What a lovely weekend, eh?