Coming to you live from Raintree Villa

… and we pick up right where we left off, except 3.5 km to the southeast down Sukhumvit Road.

It is Tuesday evening and I’m using a “borrowed” weak wifi connection that someone has here in the building.  Hopefully DSL will be up and running in the next week or so.  Meanwhile, there is a daily trip to Starbucks for some high-speed internet connection and a latte.

The move was smooth, all things considered.  Sunday night was our first night in the place and other than being woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of a pack of soi dogs barking loudly and sounding very dangerous, it was comfortable.

I’ll tell you the story through pictures taken over the course of the Thursday through Tuesday period:

 

Thursday

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Above: Installing spray foam insulation to fill the gap in the concrete wall where the stove hood vents to the balcony.  Below: The hole, before and after.

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Above: Organizing herbs and spices on the pull-out spice rack drawer.  What seemed like a good use of space may be a little inconvenient in my middle age as I try to bend over and read the fine print on label jars all the way on the bottom shelf!  Below: More storage, this time in the bathroom.  Make note of the not-yet-installed toilet paper dispenser sitting on the marble shelf over the toilet.  More about that in a moment…

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Friday

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Above: A design feature I have not previously shared with you is our faux fireplace.  It will not give off any heat (that’s kind of unnecessary here, really) but will provide a place to hide the DVD player and stereo system and run the wires through the wall in case we put a TV above it.  The handyman pictured here, his face hidden to protect his identity, was responsible for this next fun discovery…

Below: … the incorrectly installed toilet paper dispenser.  This guy has worked with our contractor on many projects and yet even though I specifically showed how I wanted it installed, the dispenser ended up ninety degrees off kilter.

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Below: Our mattress arrived on Friday, a good two weeks before the bed frame will be finished.  Shockingly, this is the deepest mattress (the highest mattress?) that I’ve ever seen.  It is so tall it barely needs a frame.

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Above: Returning to Asoke Place on Friday afternoon after moving some things to Raintree Villa, I was reminded why I’m so happy to be leaving Asoke.  Look at the crazy traffic at 4:00 in the afternoon.  And none of these cars is moving when I took the picture.

 

Saturday

Saturday morning, Tawn waits in the Asoke Place apartment for the movers to arrive.

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Above: During a shopping trip to the housewares section of Central Chidlom department store, I see a special Winnie the Pooh toilet sheet that proclaims – without any trace of irony – that underneath the lid is a “Pooh Splash Zone”.

Below: Halfway through the move on Saturday, Tawn waits for the movers to arrive with more of our things.  The small bedroom was eventually filled halfway with boxes.  By Tuesday evening there are only six boxes left to sort through.

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Sunday

The move has largely taken place and all that is left is the cleaning out of a few items in the old apartment and the official moving in into the condo.  I met Tawn at the condo, waiting outside the front door, just before the appointed auspicious time of 8:30 am.  Tawn was carrying a Buddha image selected for him from his father, along with garlands and incense.

In an interesting mixture of animism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, and Buddhism (and a pinch of plain old superstition), we opened the front door and announced to the spirit of the dwelling that we were asking permission to move in.  Then, holding the Buddha statue, we prayed that by following the teachings and lessons of Buddha we would have a harmonious and happy life in the house.  We entered, then placed the image on the mantle of the fireplace, adding jasmine garlands and lighting incense.

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We then went back to the front of the building where the condo’s spirit house is located.  This is where the spirit (spirits?) of the land that were displaced in the construction of the building live.  We lit incense there and offered garlands to the spirits.  The spirit houses often contain images from Brhamanist and Hindu belief systems.

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Sunday afternoon we took a break from the unpacking and met up with Otto, who was in town from Singapore with his partner Han.  Otto, you may recall, is the teacher at Singapore’s prestigious Raffles Institute prep school who made waves a few months ago when he came out of the closet as a gay man in an open letter to his colleagues.  Needless to say, the last few months have been a roller coaster ride for both him and his partner and it was nice to see them.

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Above: Rather artistic shot as Tawn and Otto ride the escalator at Playground shopping centre on Thong Lor.  Below: Tawn and Otto pose at Starbucks in a picture designed mostly to capture the mirror, which Tawn thinks would look good in the front hallway.

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Below: Sunday evening after several hours of moving the last few items out of the apartment, I’m ready to say goodbye and head out the door.  Lights out!

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Above: Driving back to the new condo on some of the back sois, we passed this lovely compound that has an elaborate front gate.  Thais seem to really like their elaborate metal gates.

Below: Sunday dinner was at Grand Ramen restaurant on Thong Lor (which is Sukhumvit Soi 55, for those of you playing along at home).  This is a very good ramen restaurant that caters to the Japanese expats.  At four tables sat four Japanese salarymen, each at the same corner seat at each table so they looked like schoolboys sitting in a row.  Each read the newspaper, drank beer, are noodles, and watched the football game on the television.  The pork tonkatsu ramen was very tasty!  Oishi des ne!

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Monday Morning

Monday was our first morning in the new place.  Most important of all, the coffee machine was plugged in and I was able to heat milk for the coffee on the new induction stove.  No more microwave here.

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Finally, since it is now just after midnight, I’d like to wish His Majesty King Bhumibol, Rama IX a very happy 80th Birthday.  May this man, who has been an inspiration and source of pride for his subjects, enjoy a long and healthy life.  Below, a mother and daughter sign their birthday wishes in a greeting book at the Sukhumvit subway station, one of hundreds set up at various public points through the Kingdom.

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