Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Tragedy

The Asian Tsunami disaster is just absolutely devastating. In the past two days alone, I have come to learn that a family of distant relatives of mine have gone missing at Phi Phi Island. Two of my brother's friends have since been confirmed dead, as have 5 relatives of a friend of mine. Thankfully, my dad's French business partner is safe, though he's still stuck in Phuket.

We're praying for the best, but it's hard when the death toll continues to rise. The entire death count thus far for the entire South Asia region stands at 55,000. It's absolutely tragic, like a whole slice of the world's population has just been wiped out - just like that.

I posted more about this at the Bangkok Metroblog. You can read more about it here.

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Monday, December 27, 2004

Lynn's Favorite 80's Rock Star's Visit to T-Land

So I'm a bit behind on my entries, but I've been really busy this past week. I just had my graduation on Sunday (the 26th), but will be blogging about my favorite 80's Rock Star's visit to BKK first. I'll get to the graduation entry in a few days. Hope y'all had a rockin' Christmas! But anyways, without further ado, I will begin my entry on...

Lynn's Favorite 80's Rock Star's Visit to T-Land

Ton, Gug, me, Siri, P'Geng.
Ton, an old RISian from the Class of '97, came jetting into town.
Hoping some of his uber cool rock starness would rub onto us, we invited him to lunch at Crepes & Co., the first and only Creperie in Thailand.
We shared a variety of dishes that day - French, Greek and Mediterranean - but it was my first time trying a Moroccan dish!
I cannot rave about this place enough - the atmosphere was gorgeous and there was a lovely tropical/Mediterranean ambience both inside and out.
Oh, and the food was pretty good too.
(Arai wa. Why the hell are all my entries always about food?!)

Gug, Mr. 80's Rock Star, Siri
Absolutely smitten with our last visit to Summer Chocolate House, we later hopped into P'Geng's car and headed for Sukhumvit Soi 39.

But while at Summer Chocolate House,
we ended up running into a real rock star (Parn Thanaporn).
Gug and Siri told me take a picture of her, and Ton even stood up and grabbed the disco ball so I could pretend to take a pic of him when really I would be taking a pic of Parn Thanaporn, who was sitting behind him eating with some cute Thai soap opera star.
But in the end I chickened out, so you'll all have to settle with a pic of Ton hugging that disco ball Gug's obsessed with.

Siri, Gug, me


We tried the macaroons and found them to be perfectly baked.
Hard and crunchy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside.

What can I say?
We just couldn't get enough of that chocolate fondue

While we were there, we noticed a couple of ferraris
driving into the restaurant's premises.
"Wow, some hotshot must be hosting a party here," we all thought.
Little did we know...

They were hosting a frickin Ferrari party!
Now how insanely cool is that?

There were lots of Ferraris.

And I mean lots and LOTS of Ferraris.

So we casually browsed and looked around,
trying to look painfully nonchalant,
like we're so used to seeing 20 Ferraris every single day.


Before leaving, Gug just had to snap one last pic of that stupid disco ball.
Are you happy now, Guggy Monster?!

We later swung by Soi Tonglor to pay our favorite Caroppi frog a visit.
Caro's visiting from London for a bout a month and a half,
and we were so happy to see her again.
We missed her sooo much!

Because my stupid camera is infamously demented,
this pic of me and my lovely husbands came out looking like crap.

OK, much better.

Later, we headed to Central World Plaza for a quick Japanese dinner (yes, we eat non-stop all day because we're gluttonous pigs, we are) at Fuji's before heading up to Major Cineplex to watch The Incredibles. At first we'd planned on watching Bridget Jones Diary: The Edge of Reason, but after much thought, we girls decided not to, as we pitied poor P'Geng who'd already had to endure very large doses of Estrogen that entire day. We figured 2 hours of very chick-flicky BJ2 would really do him in, hehe.

Anyways, The Incredibles! Hah! I loved that film! We laughed louder than everyone else in the theater and probably pissed everyone off, but it was a funny movie, dammit. But in case anyone who was in that theater that night happens to stumble across this, we're sorry Siri ruined the suspense when she accidentally shouted out the password (KRONOS) in the middle of the movie when Mr. Incredible was trying to figure out the password to Syndrome's computer system. She was really sorry. I can attest to that because even though it was dimly lit in the theater, I saw her turn an attractive shade of fire-engine red. Lovely.

Also, we're really sorry when, after the movie, as we were all squeezing and cramming into the elevator and Gug said, "I'm all squished", and Lynn replied, "Too bad you're not Elastigirl," and began laughing like a loon at her own very corny remark. We're really sorry. Really, we are.


In other news, my heart goes out to all the people who were affected by Sunday's Tsunami disaster in the south of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. I thankfully don't have any relatives living in the southern parts of Thailand, but my dad's French business partner, who was visiting Phuket for the holidays, has since gone missing. No one has been able to contact him as of yet, but we're all praying he's safe.

Also, this morning the nation was alerted that HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's grandson, Poom Jensen, died in the disaster while staying at Le Flora resort in Phang-Nga. The King's granddaughter, Ploypailin Jensen, is still missing, but everyone's praying that she and the thousands of other missing people are safe. Despite the horrible tragedy that has struck the nation, it's really heartening to see Thais all over the country coming together and sending aid to their fellow brothers and sisters in the south.

Whether or not you believe in the power of prayer, please don't forget to think about those whose lives have been affected by this tragic disaster.

Currently Playing: China Girl by David Bowie. (Sorry Ton, but David Bowie's thee bonafide 80's rockstar.)
Currently Reading: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Fun and Fondue

The other week Gug, Siri and I took Aparna to Spring Restaurant,
located along Sukhumvit 39 for one last dinner before she left for Bangalore.

Gug, me, Aparna & Siri
The restaurant's food was definitely very worthy of all the hype we'd heard.
If you can, get your butt on down there
and have a bite of their lovely ethnic fusion dishes.
Your taste buds will thank you!

After dinner, we headed next door
to Summer Chocolate House for some dessert.">
They had a pretty fab disco ball hanging from the ceiling inside.

GUG: Ooh, I like the disco ball! Take a picture of the disco ball!
LYNN: But I can't just snap a picture of the disco ball without looking really conspicuous. Get in the picture.
GUG: Did you get the disco ball? Did you? Did you?

Yes Gug, I got the stinkin' disco ball.

Though the atmosphere was lovely inside...
...we decided to take advantage of the cool "winter" weather (68F is as winterly as it gets around here) and have dessert outside beneath the stars!

(Well, alright, so maybe we couldn't actually see the stars per say, but I'm sure they were up there... somewhere above that big cloud of smog that regularly hovers above this much loved City of Angels.)

The only problem was...
...we had a little difficulty trying to get
those stubborn bean bags to sit up straight.

Only Gug managed to get the darn thing to behave.

So after battling with the bean bags,
we eventually ordered dessert...

And were given some brandy.
Just kidding.
The glasses were tinted so our unexciting water
would look a little more like alcoholic beverages.

So out came the chocolate tart.

And the bread and fruit dish.

And finally the chocolate fondue!

The chocolate was just perfect - bittersweet and heavenly.

Let's try that again.

Much better!


In other news, I finally watched Alexander the other weekend. I'm usually not very picky or particular when it comes to movies, but this one I thought was just ok-ok. While I normally think that films starring Colin Farrell make for some nice eye candy, I gotta say that the poor Irish lad just does NOT kick it with blonde hair. Do yourself a favor, Colin, and never touch the peroxide again.

Angelina Jolie on the other hand was downright gorgeous. Her dad, Jon Voight, looks pretty ordinary, so I haven't the faintest idea how Angelina here managed to turn out looking so hot. She must have inherited some obscure recessive Hot Gene that got lost somewhere along the family line. Lucky girl!

BTW, if you guys get a chance to watch the film, look out for the rampaging elephants in the battle scene in India (which was actually filmed in Thailand, and not in India). Those elephants belong to my brother's friend, Ploy, whose parents own an elephant farm over in Rajaburi. Now get this - not only did Ploy get to hang out on the set of Alexander for a couple of days, but she also got a chance to meet Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie. I kid you not. Now how cool is that? She can go around now and say, "Yo, Colin, Angie and me got to hang, dawg." Man, I wish I owned an elephant farm.

And in other celebrity news, feast your eyes on this:

I would have this man's babies in a heartbeat.
Lots and lots of them. Really, I would.
How can you look at this picture and not emit an involuntary "awww"?

Currently Playing: Glasgow Love Theme OST Love Actually. I love this film, and the songs from the soundtrack always make me think of Christmas. With the holiday season right around the corner, I thought I'd play this because it's so pretty. I mean, hey, it was either this or Bill Nighy's Christmas Is All Around.

Currently Reading: Rich Dad Poor Dad by By Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Loi Kratong 2004

So last Friday was Loi Kratong, and just like last year, a group of friends and I decided to celebrate. For those of you unfamiliar with Thai festivals, Loi Kratong is an ancient Thai water festival that's celebrated on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which usually tends to fall sometime in November. On this day, Thais all over the country convene at bodies of water and release beautifully decorated kratongs (floats made out of banana leaves, gorgeous flowers, candles and incense) into the water to pay respect to the water goddess, Mae Kong Kah, and ask her to "wash away" any bad luck and bless them with happiness and prosperity. While many modern-day Thais may not believe in the whole "water goddess" thing anymore, Loi Kratong is still a widely celebrated festival that gives the Thai people another chance to come together, celebrate and, hey, have fun.

So I met up with Gug at Siri's place at noon...
...and while Siri was away at work,
we went to Villa Supermarket to do some grocery shopping.
We returned later and cooked some lunch.

We grabbed our lunch...

Dragged some chairs out to the front balcony...

Kicked our feet up...

And looked out at the Bangkok cityscape.

Afterwards, Gug and I went back inside and started on dinner. We began cutting up the carrots as we yapped away in our usual manner. While talking, one carrot rolled off the counter and it just so happens that we both reached for it at the same time. The only problem was that Gug still had the knife in her hand. So yeah, you can probably imagine what happened next. It was all very surreal, like everything was happening in slow-motion or something. One minute the knife was embedded in my left hand and the next minute Gug had yanked it out, upon which chaos ensued.

Gug began scrambling around the house, running from room to room in search of alcohol and band-aids while shouting, "Is it still bleeding?! Oh my God, oh my God! Where's the alcohol?!" She was doing all this whilst cradling her cell phone on one shoulder, trying to get a hold of Siri to ask where the alcohol was.

GUG: Siri! Where's the alcohol?!
SIRI: Alcohol?
GUG: Yes, alcohol!
SIRI: Ummm, there's some Tequila in the cupboard above the stove...
GUG: No! First-aid alcohol!
SIRI: Oh! I don't think I have any. Why?
GUG: I stabbed Lynn! I STABBED LYNN!
GUG: In the hand! I stabbed Lynn in the hand and she's bleeding all over the place!
SIRI: Oh my God! We don't have alcohol but you can still use the Tequila!

OK, so poor panic-stricken Gug had exaggerated just a wee bit. While all this was going on, I was sitting calmly in the kitchen, running my hand under the kitchen faucet. The wound was a little deep, but it really wasn't all that bad. But anyways, Gug came running back into the kitchen a short while later and headed straight for the cupboard above the stove. Then she came charging at me with a bottle of Tequila and a cotton bud.

LYNN: What? You're cleaning my wound with Tequila?!
GUG: Why? What's wrong with Tequila? They used to use it in the old days, you know. Like in war.
LYNN: But we're not at war and this is 2004!

In the end Gug drove me to the pharmacist to buy some antiseptic; you know, non-Tequila alcohol. Poor girl was so panicky she was running around and driving like a worried mother. I kept telling her it wasn't as bad as she thought and that it didn't even hurt. Of course, I spoke too soon.

GUG: The antiseptic's gonna sting. You're not gonna scream, are you?
LYNN: Huh? No. I don't think so. Um, actually, maybe a little. Why?
GUG: Maybe we should do this in the car, because, you know, there are a lot of windows in the apartment.
LYNN: Oh yeah, they'll think you're murdering me. I promise I won't scream... that much.

And I kept my promise; I didn't scream. But I did squeal like Wilbur the Pig. Thanks for taking care of me, Mommy Guggy.

We thought it was only fitting we whacked the living daylights
outta the bloody carrot that started it all.
Die carrot, DIE!
We had quite the satisfaction munching on its remains later that evening.

Full Moon
Everyone began arriving at around 5 pm.

Aparna and Akira showed up first, followed later by Siri and P'Geng. Nick and his friend B'Zaro (nee Anthony) showed up shortly after. We learned later that B'Zaro is a hip-hop artist from LA (you can listen to clips of his music here, here and here) who's collaborated with the likes of MC Hammer (this provoked an impromptu Too Legit to Quit dance in the kitchen later when the girls and I went to get dessert), and though I've never heard of him before, apparently he's really big in Japan. We chatted a little and turns out he was a really all-around nice guy. B'Zaro was surprised to learn that we could all speak English and I think he also felt a little unsure of how to act, thinking he had to adhere to strict Thai customs and all that. I mean, he actually bent over and waied before going to the bathroom. We were like, Dude, saying "excuse me" works too, y'know. This isn't 16th century Siam. (But we didn't actually say that to his face, of course.)

Gug's famous Tunaritzi

Aparna's delish Indian fried rice

And Akira's super-spicy KFC

The night before Siri and Gug had slaved away in the kitchen, making Tiramisu.
We were all eager to see how it would turn out.

Apparently not that well.
So it didn't quite turn out as expected.
Tiramisu? More like Tira-almost-misu.
But it was nice and, um, mushy, like the Gerber's baby food I used to steal from my brother when he was an infant.
And apart from the creamy lumps that Akira pointed out about 497 times, it actually tasted really good.

Later we parted with Nick and B'Zaro and headed for Benjasiri Park, which is located right next door to Emporium. Seeing as how it was Friday night and the day of a national festival to boot, we summised that traffic was going to be insane and cleverly decided to park our cars at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel and take the Skytrain the rest of the way.

View from the Asoke Skytrain station.
Sukhumvit Soi 23 is to your right, which leads to the infamous Soi Cowboy.
Not so sure about cowboys, but there's definitely a variety of other forms of nightlife that can be found there.
Apparently Hugh Grant visited a place there called Tilac while filming the new Bridget Jones film last year.
Whilst dancing to Murray Head's One Night in Bangkok (how appropriate), some go-go bar girls recogized him and tried to grab for his crown jewels.
Don't ask me how I know this kinda stuff.

Walking down from the Skytrain station at Prom Prong.

Outside Emporium
The atmosphere was awesome.
People were buzzing around everywhere and the lights were gorgeous.

Beautiful, isn't it?
Thailand never ceases to amaze me with the
full-blown commercialism that goes on during Christmas-time.
I mean, 90% of the country's Buddhist, but still Christmas trees spring up at every shop window and street corner.

Windchimes and lights made up the Christmas tree.
Lovely tinkling and breathy chimes could be heard everywhere.

P'Geng, Gug, Aparna, me, Siri and Akira the windmill.

Walking to Benjasiri Park.

I guess this is the closest tropical Thailand will ever get to a snow angel.

"Konnichiwa! Light! 5 Baht! Konnichiwa!"
Damn light sellers mistook me for a Japanese tourist for the umpteenth time again.

Buyers flock a kratong vendor... she carries out a brand new batch of kratongs.

And after much pushing and shoving, we finally got ours!

But Siri wasn't happy with them.
"No, dammit! I want that kratong!"

Gug, Siri, Akira, Aparna and me with our kratongs.
We decided to share kratongs this year to be more environmentally friendly.

There were loads of people out and about that night.
People of all nationalities were there, decked up in Thai national costumes.
American, Korean, French, British, Swedish, name it, they were there.
The atmosphere that night was great and it was nice to watch a bunch of people from various countries and walks of life come together to celebrate an ancient Thai festival.

Lovely statues decorated the park's vast landscape.

Akira and Aparna

P'Geng lighting the candle and incense sticks on our kratong.
A nice American couple lent us their lighter,
but the wind kept blowing out the flame.

Shut up, you. Yes, I realize I look like a rabid dog.
But you see, the wind was really strong that night, so the candle's flame went and set our kratong on fire.
Panicking, Aparna had to kindly advise us by yelling, "Blow it out! STOP SCREAMING! Blow! BLOOOW!" while Akira went and sneakily snapped this pic without us even knowing.
Needless to say, he had a laughing fit and now uses this as his MSN profile pic.
Har har har.
Just you wait till December, Akira. I swear I'm gonna getchu back!

The poor carnations just couldn't stand the onslaught.

Before releasing your kratong into the river/lake, you're supposed to pray so the kratong carries your wish to the water gods.
"OK, if you want to redeem yourself, you worthless, burnt-down piece of crap, send Jude Law our way tomorrow morning and all shall be forgotten! Are you listening? Are you?! JUDE LAW!"

Gug and Siri make one last wish...
The three of us dedicated this kratong to Caro the Sanrio Frog;
that mad Mama Goose, Arwen; and Teresa the Moti Alloo.
They may be scattered at the four corners of the earth,
but they're still in our thoughts.
We miss ya guys.

...before releasing our kratong into the lake.
We borrowed the flame from a passing kratong to re-light our own.
According to Thai superstition, you're not supposed to do that (something to do with stealing someone else's luck).
But shhh, don't let the water gods know or else Jude Law won't be appearing on my doorstep tomorrow morning and it'll be all your fault.
Yes, yours.

And away it goes...
The kratong represents the year's sorrows and bad luck.
The symbolism is a nice thought;
wouldn't it be great if we could just cast our sorrows into the water like that?

Some people got creative and made chili salad kratongs.

Happy Loi Kratong 2004
Walked back to Emporium at around 11 pm for a late night chat,
where we watched the glowing kratongs light the lake afire from the 6th floor
as we chatted and reflected about times gone by.

Later, after saying goodbye to everyone else, Gug and I headed back to Siri's place to spend the night. Though Siri the Sleepy-Head Granny conked out at around 1:30 am (considered rather commendable, as her usual conking-out time is 10 pm, hehe), Gug and I sat around talking till 3. I apologize for any ensuing sappiness, but darnit, I feel so blessed to have such awesome friends. Where would I be without them? Best friends rock, yo.


(P.S. Thanks loads for the extra pics, Akira. Yes, even that one. Grrr.)

Currently Playing: Heroes by The Wallflowers. Though originally done by the Rock God himself, Mr. David Bowie.
Currently Watching: Shrek

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