A Whole Family of Visitors

Earlier in the week, we had the pleasure of entertaining a family of four from Hong Kong including two- and four-year old children.  There is nothing to make you look at your city through a different set of eyes than to see it with someone of an entirely different age.

But first, catching up on other news:

Kenny was curious what the flowers that Tawn buys and arranges look like.  I’ll try to include more of them over time, but here is the $2 bunch of orchids:

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Also, from one of the English-language papers in town comes this advertisement about various elective medical procedures you can have done by the Pratunam Polyclinic, the same one that did work on Miss Tiffany Universe 2007.   Please note that the orchiectomy is no longer available.  Instead of just revising the advertisement they simply crossed it out.  “Nope, we sold ’em all out for today.”

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Like me, you might wonder what an orchiectomy is.  A quick Google search removed the mystery: the procedure is more commonly known as castration.

Which explains why it is no longer available.  See this entry from April about the debate over teenage castration by young men who think they may end up being women.  (Interesting side note: when I browse through my blog’s footprints, at least a few times a week I find people who linked to my blog by performing a search similar to “teenage+castration” or “teenage+transsexual”.  That’s food for thought, isn’t it?)

Back to my guests.  Tehlin and I went to school together in California, studying the same major, and have stayed in touch throughout the years.  Tawn and I attended her wedding to Chris (same name, different bloke) in Manila in January 2002, where I actually did one of the readings.

After picking them up at 4:00 am thanks to a typhoon-delayed flight, I was back late that morning to meet them in their hotel lobby so we could set out for a little sight seeing.  They stayed at the Peninsula, a hotel so nice I felt guilty waiting for them in the lobby lounge.  Not so guilty as to forego an order of tea, served in this beautiful silver tea set:

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The Peninsula is on the west bank of the Chao Praya River, opposite the core part of the city.  The hotel is designed so all the rooms have a river view, below:

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We took the public river taxi to the Grand Palace and discovered that a nearly five-year old really isn’t interested in glittering spires and jade Buddhas.  Especially on a hot day.  Here are some shots from along the way.

Below, at the Oriental Hotel pier, directly across from the Peninsula, I saw what I thought was an interesting picture: a cross-river ferry completely surrounded by the water hyacinth that chokes many of the waterways in Thailand.

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I’ve been to the Grand Palace at least twenty times but I try to find one new angle from which to view it each time I visit.  Here, a kinaree – a half-human half-bird creature, stands in front of four Khmer-style chedis.

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Despite all the interesting things to see, Sam was most interested in the minnows hiding under the water lily pads.

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By the time we finished with the Grand Palace, there wasn’t much energy left to see anything else.  We returned to the hotel for a rest and then went out to dinner at a riverside restaurant with a great view.

Not wanting to wait for the public taxi and hoping to add some excitement to Sam’s life, I hired a long-tail speedboat, below:

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If you have enough people, it is actually a pretty affordable way to catch a breeze and zip around.  Sam was alternately thrilled, terrified, and tired.  Here’s a brief video:

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While Chris and Sam went swimming at the hotel’s beautiful pool, Tehlin and I caught up and had afternoon lattes.  Forgetting my senses for a moment, I ordered an apple tart to go with the latte:

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The next day we did some shopping as Chris and Tehlin were looking for home furnishings.  Having just spent a lot of time going through our own remodel, we had some ideas about where to take them.  Several hours later, passing through Central World Plaza, I decided to stop for one big bite of sushi:

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Sam and Chris returned to the hotel after Sam took a rather nasty header running directly into a bench at the Paragon mall.  Don’t know why he didn’t see it, but he side-swiped it and did a forward flip, landing squarely on his back.  Chris and Tehlin decided it didn’t require a trip to the emergency room, though Sam did look sore the next day.  Hopefully he is back up to speed soon.

Meanwhile, Tehlin and I kept shopping and then stopped in the afternoon so she could see our house firsthand.  Isabel loved walking on the jute rug, after first being a bit cautious about its texture.

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After an hourlong foot massage during which three staff members handled Isabel and kept her from injuring herself as she jumped from massage chair to massage chair, we headed out and regroups with Chris and Sam and Tawn for dinner.

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So nice to have visitors in town.  In fact, the day after Chris and Tehlin headed back to Hong Kong, we were able to have dinner with Steve, who was in town from Los Angeles for business.  You can check his blog to see if he gives a fuller account of the pleasant evening.

 

23 thoughts on “A Whole Family of Visitors

  1. Awesome pics, Chris! LOL that’s what I say every time I stop by your blog. (:Thailand seems like such an amazing country…it’s one place I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m hoping to do so sometime next year and when I do, I’ll be sure to ask you for tips/advice. =DBtw, Chris’ kids are sooo adorable. ^_^

  2. Poor Sam is still sore. Turns out he’s got a hairline fracture on his right collar bone. Nothing serious though. Doctor said he doesn’t need anything for it and will heal itself in a few weeks.Thanks sooooo much for being a fantastic tour guide. Will definitely go back again in the future… without the kids!

  3. @tehls – Oh, no.  I was going to give you a call this evening after dinner and see how he was doing.  The fracture would explain why he was still sore (and, subsequently, grumpy) the next day.  Well, I hope he heals quickly and is back to his usual self.  It was a pleasure having you in town and you’re welcome back anytime, with or without the children.

  4. CASTRASTION! @__@And that apple tart looks funny. It doesn’t even look like it has a crust.One of my biggest regrets about my last trip to Asia was having to back out of my Thailand leg. I HAVE to come one day to see all those beautiful temples!!

  5. It’s always better to have someone who knows the area to show you around a new place. I think you get a lot more out of the experience that way. I’m sure your guests appreciated you guys showing them around :)$2 bunches of orchids? I’m obviously living in the wrong country.

  6. people willingly go and get castrated? yikes! is it me or do the items on the list seem pretty cheap? *boggle* the orchids are lovely and $2 for a whole bunch? wowww….

  7. How fun it is to ride the long tail boat!! I remember the Peninsula Hotel has its own mascot, can you guess what? Hint: it’s at the gift shop near the river cafe.

  8. @brooklyn2028 – The apple tart was more like an crispy pancake with a little chopped applesauce on top.  Tasted fine but wasn’t what I expected.
    Yes, one of these days you and Felix will need to make the trip over here.  The temples are breathtaking and the malls are over air-conditioned.

  9. @babydot74 – Yep, people do willingly get castrated.  If you check out the entry that I linked to, there is an interesting debate going on in Thailand over whether or not teenage boys who identify as transgendered should be able to get this surgery even with their parents’ permission.  The idea being that it halts the development of masculine features (adam’s apple, etc) that would make it harder for them to pass as a woman in the future, when/if they elect to do gender reassignment surgery.  It is actually quite a fascinating moral question.

  10. Beautiful pictures. You are always so gracious with your hospitality, extending yourself in so many different ways to accomodate your guests.  What a wonderful trait!

  11. @YNOTswim – Well, you could say that it isn’t that Thai boys have a culture like this, rather that it is Thai MTF transgendered people who have a culture like this.  There’s a lot of sides to the issue and I think it isn’t a good idea to let teenagers start cutting off their balls.  But I do think it is a positive sign that young men who recognize that their gender identiy and biological sex don’t match receive a lot of support in society.  More so than in most countries and cultures.

  12. @christao408 – The fact that there is a market for it that they can even advertise that in a newspaper like this is why I said “there is culture” like that – if there is no enough market, who is gonna pay to advertise? Or is that a publicist stunt to get attention? If that’s the purpose, apparently it works here. 🙂

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