The gestational journey ends

Thank you, everyone, for sharing advice, for the visits, calls and gifts, and all the well wishes! We're still catching up with baby and sleep so for now, just a quick update :-)  Above is his first passport photo, taken by the hospital's photographer at about a day old. We flew to Bangkok at 35 weeks, since the airlines don't let you travel any later into the pregnancy than that as a precaution against having to deal with a woman in labor on board. Other mothers in Phnom Penh have driven either down to the border at Koh Kong (via a road that goes off the grid for a solid hour, as of 2010), or else up north through Poipet into Aranyaprathet, Thailand, and then bus/train it to Bangkok. But I just didn't think I could handle … [Read more...]

the occasional luxury that’s worth the money

Once in a while you just have to splurge on a multi-sensory dining experience: attentive service, innovative chef, great setting.I've only had excellent culinary and service experiences at Sirocco (euro- fusion) and Breeze (asian fusion). For sunset drinks splash out at SKY bar and Distil. These are just a few of the establishments at Lebua at the State Tower in Bangkok. … [Read more...]

Cambodia: How to do the Poipet Border Crossing

Border crossing from Arranyaprathet, Thailand, into Poipet, Cambodia, is more stressful than the other way around. The casinos are right on the border, with sellers and market stalls outside. $40 rooms are had here if the onwards journey is postponed and a night's stay is necessary. Otherwise, the main street just straight out from the border is lined with guesthouses of various price ranges. My $3 room was clean with a solid lock on a rickety door. The bus station was off this main road to the left, if walking away from the border, for my early morning bus ride. If you purchased a trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) or Bangkok-Phnom Penh, there is the possibility of a scam in Poipet. This can go along the lines of the bus breaking … [Read more...]

Thailand: Scene in Bangkok

People believe that spirits share the space that humans inhabit. When a house is built, a similar-looking smaller house is built and placed at a prominent location on the property, to house the spirits that were displaced by the humans moving in. This is done to pacify them or else bad luck will befall the new tenants. Many accidents plagued the building of the Erawan complex in this photo. These events stopped when this spirit house was built and dedicated. Khao San Road, the backpacking mecca of Bangkok. Jasmine vendor. The smell of jasmine is just heaven! Fish vendor. The smell in the meat market is NOT heaven! The absolute BESTEST iced tea in the world is at this particular street vendor in Bangkok! Drinks are put … [Read more...]

Thailand: Embrace the Chaos (Bangkok)

I was standing at a busy intersection waiting amid a large crowd of pedestrians to cross the street, when someone pinched my butt. I glared heavenwards at the asinine behavior before turning slowly around. And looked up. And up. There was a tree behind me. And it honked. Right in the middle of the Bangkok congestion, in rush hour, an elephant is standing behind me waiting to cross the street. Where else would you see this!! Alright, ok, it's still a novel appeal to me. I walked next to the massive creature for a few blocks, touching his trunk, his leg, a stupid smile on my face.Thailand is the only SE Asian country to have escaped the good fortune of Western colonization, a subject of much debate as to why (that was sarcasm). Farming … [Read more...]

Thailand: One Night in Bangkok

How good it feels to be alive tonightThe moon is shining in the skyReminding me of so many other nightsBut they're not like tonight –s.w.It is lovely here, though in the first hours outside it did not take long for me to lose voice from pollution assaulting my vocal tracts. Happily my body is well on its way acclimating to undesirable environmental contaminations and I no longer manifest short term effects...I don't normally do massages cuz I'm ticklish, but after the 28hour trip my entire left side was stuck in a knot from being curled up in a ball on those horrible small seats. So I went for a Thai massage. Do you know, they BEAT you vigorously with their fists, feet, elbows, and knees, it is not relaxing at all. In fact I think I forgot … [Read more...]