We had our New Year's celebration 12 hours ago, but you guys in the US are having your snow. And you guys in Norway had yours, what, 6 hours ago? Anyhow, Happy New Year!
We were on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, we sort of crashed the party at the Peninsula hotel. We told them we'd buy ab otel of (overpriced) champagne and voila, we were in to the $400 a head party merely for the price of a bottle of hooch. We sat right along the river, outside, on a beautiful night.
And then the fireworks started. Holy shit, y'all. I have never, in my entire long life, seen fireworks like this. They were set off maybe 100 yards from us, from barges on the river, and each hotel set off their own firework show in tandem and in competition. It was like each hotel along the river was trying to show it had a bigger fireworks dick than the others. And boy did we appreciate it. 20 + minutes of sparkling booming explosions, it was like the finale of a normal show going on and on and on.
Am I a loser that I cried? I couldn't help it. It was so beautiful and it hit me that here I was, on the banks of a river in Bangkok freaking THAILAND, on New Year's Ever, having just gotten back from Bali and Mallaysia and Cambodia, and how fucking lucky am I to be here and experience this and who am I to deserve this much amazingness anyhow? So I cried. Rich was a bit confused, being surrounded by three crying women, all crying for different reasons (one because her husband died earlier this year and it's her first NYE without him (I cried a bit for her, too), one in sympathy and then me, just crying for life's rich pageantry). Rich just gamely drank and oohed and aahed.
Ok, so, one of the best NYE's ever. Definitely top three. (Bottom one being the NYE I got my appendix out.)
Gotta run, we are going to go to a see movie in a theatre where they also massage you during the movie (!!!) and you lie on chaises to watch it (we are seeing Australia) and then we are going to see a lady boy show. What a day this will be.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
We spent yesterday shopping in Ubud. It's pretty much been turned over to tourists and shopping, one long shopping street ending in a market selling traditional wares at semi-bargain prices. I went a bit nuts on textiles so got an ikat and some handwoven silk batik and some beaded baskets and some cotton batik and and and...dragon sandals. (yes be jealous!)
We head back to Bangkok today which means I have to remove myself from this white netted four poster heaven of a bed and go down to the public (sigh) pool where we have requested our breakfast be served. It is a hard life I lead!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Have had wonderful time so far. Got a tan at railay beach and went night snorkeling and swam in phosphorescent waters. It was absolutely amazing, like swimming in the sky and creating stars with a mere sweep of your hand. I felt like a floaty wet goddess. I'll never forget it.
So much more to tell, like about the great food (damn can Thais fry chicken!) and our flt over and the beauty of Cambodia and how much I like Kuala Lumpur and did I mention my tan? Have to run to board plane will update as can. Hard to get time and Internet simultaneously! Done nothing but run.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I think I am packed for Thailand. I know I am not prepared for the Great Apartment Destruction. But honestly, how do you go through everything you own and deem what is worthy to protect and what you leave to possible dust/theft/fire/etc? How do people facing hurricanes, etc., do it? Gah!
I've packed away what first came to mind to pack away and subsequent stuff that I found as I went along. As for getting the other apartment set up for our return, I've put some stuff over there that might do for a few days upon our return, but this is where I gave my self permission to just stop worrying. I'll just come back to our own house and get what I need when we get back. I just can't think about what I will want to wear/eat/do/etc in over three weeks from now.
That apartment is very austere, a bit of a winter version of a beach condo, so I've just layered that damn place with all our rugs and ethnicy things to brighten it up. Now it looks as if an owner of a shop in a souk in Marrakesh has temporarily moved operations to a small flat in Norway and some of his boxes exploded. Well, at least it has a bit more color and character!
Honestly it might have been easier to just have people come in and move everything out and store it. this constant thinking and detail managing is just too much.
And now, picture of the day: fishermen along the Mekong River in Laos.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I ate 1 1/2 day's worth of food in one meal tonight. Rock on Karla! Out of my 23 points per day, today I used 42.5.
31.5 were used on tonight's meal of steak, pomme frittes (that'd be french fries to y'all Texans), a helluva lotta red wine and a salad with a good (though not huge) quantity of dressing.
I try not to talk about the diet too much, as I think a blog where you talk about your diet all the time about as boring as talking about your kids' diaper habits, but still, I totally blew the lid off the Weight Watcher's numbers tonight.
I feel positively punk and rebellious (and gassy and fat and full and happy) right about now.
I am eating nothing but bran cereal tomorrow. You do NOT want to be around me tomorrow. Or tonight, for that matter. Oof.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So, here are pictures. Pictures of places I have been and that I will be visiting again next week. Warm places. Places without ice and snow. Where i don't need sleeves. Also a picture of drinks I will be ingesting. And some penises. Calgon take me away!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
It’s about 18 degrees Fahrenheit outside. For you non-Fahrenheit folks, that’s about 8 below Celsius? It’s so cold that it hurts to take a deep breath. I think I left my ass on the train platform this morning when it froze off as I waited for the late train. I heard a rather large thudding ‘kerchunk’ and there was my ass, laying there, frozen. I almost froze my tits off, but they were covered in a few more layers than my ass so I managed to retain them.
Seriously, even the Norwegians are talking about how cold it is. That means it’s COLD.
I basically skated to work today. The snow melted just enough the other day to refreeze overnight in a lethally slick coating on every walkable surface that has me shuffling like I have a stick up my (frozen off) bum so that I don’t fall. Just when you think it’s safe, you get false confidence and then BAM you are down on your face on a very cold hard surface and hoping to god you haven’t broken anything (as many people do every year). Norwegians grow up learning how to walk in this shit, they just zip by in high heels and normal shoes while I lumber along in my tight assed sliding walk in thick chunky soled winter boots, and yet STILL fall at the slightest provocation. I’m a Texan, dammit, this is not in my DNA!
Checking the Austin American Statesman just now I see that snow might be falling in Austin, but then I saw that the high for the day is forecast at a balmy 52 (+11c) and that makes me want to put on a bikini and get a tan. (That is 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than here, fyi.) Is
Are your kids making tiny snow peoples? I could build an igloo on our deck, if I wanted to.
Seems so strange to be packing bikinis and shorts and tank tops for
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
This past couple of weeks, not much silliness to report. Mostly stress (as has been reported previously) and trying to stay awake in the dark days leading up to winter solstice, on December 22. (For which we will be gone.)
We checked out the temporary apartment that we will stay in while they tear up our apartment. It's not a terrible apartment? But it's not home. It smelled funny and had approximately 3 square feet of closet space and NO BATH TUB. The lighting is not good (I'm a light snob) and the kitchen implements leave much to be desired. To live there for upwards of 4 weeks, we will need to bring a lot of stuff over to homify it. Carpets, kitchen stuff, lamps, and where the HELL am I going to put clothes? And it smelled funky....not like home, but of other people, who smoked inside.
So we are going to make many trips back and forth (over ice as it's snowed, melted a bit and frozen) to lug stuff over and get prepared. Envy me? Me neither.
Tonight I WILL pack for Thailand, to get that out of the way. I won't bring much, though. Gonna travel light. Mostly need just bikinis and t shirts, anyhow. No sweaters going into my suitcase. What a treat.
Spaking of treat...mmmmm...white wine and risotto. Risotto is low fat and so fits quite well with Weight Watchers, as does the shrimp I will make with it.
And now for random picture of the day (to be done for the rest of the week as I am obviously not doing so well with the words): Khao San Road in Bangkok at night.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
My hotel room in Bergen. I really liked the purple and brown together, who knew that could be such a good combination?
The Lepers' Museum in Bergen.
A collection of rooftops of the Leper Museum and surrounding houses. I was on my way to the train station at about 9:30 am. Not very good light yet!
A small back street off Kong Oscar's Gate in Bergen. Bergen feels very medieval and quaint and European compared to industrial Oslo.
This is not in Bergen. It's outside Oslo, but it was a gorgeous Fall day and I was testing my new camera.
People skiing in Finse. I was on the train from Bergen to Oslo and snapped this shot. (I did crop it a bit, the house was about a half a kilometer off the tracks.)
The train stopped briefly in Finse, and this lady just hopped off the train, put on her skis and skied away. More people skied to the train and traveled on to Oslo! It was pretty cool.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Was awakened very early this morning by what sounded like jackhammers directly outside our (5th floor) flat.
Got up to investigate, only to see scaffolding, with men in work clothes on it, using small versions of jackhammers directly outside the laundry room/kitchen/spare bedroom area of the flat. Digging into the bricks of the building right outside my windows. The floors are rattling, the noise is an appalling mixture of screeching, vibratey-pounding metal on metal and bricks breaking, and it feels like they are taking the building apart while I am in it. This is not fun. I don't like it. And I hate the thought of them being INSIDE our flat while we are gone, with everything we own, using jackhammers and soldering and welding and God knows what else. And why the FUCK do they have to start so early? They start before 8! For fuck's sake it's not even light outside yet.
My chiro when he adjusted me this morning (yeay escape from the noise!) told me not to go to work because he didn't want me sitting all day. He told me to keep moving, keep busy. I told him about the flat and packing up and stuff, and he said that sounded perfect and to do that so that I vary my movements and not to go to work. So now I am stuck in jackhammer land, packing shit up and being mildly freaked that the wall is going to fall down with my closet going with it. (They are right outside my closet. Where my favorite clothes are. I don't want my clothes hurt. Or, gasp, my shoes or bags. Which are also in that closet.)
And then I got news that the house in Austin, my little heart that I left in Austin, has a gas leak in the furnace. and they are going to fix it, but once again it's another big repair on a lease that so far, since it started in July, has had us in the negatives for the whole run of the lease. It's starting to stress me out. One repair or fee after another, and a substantial property tax hike (hello? Economy in toilet and you RAISE the value of my house? Bastards....what world are you living in?). I really want to have that house to come home to but right now it's pretty much a money pit, after I spent a lot of money two years ago to get her all fixed and happy.
And two friends yesterday within half an hour of each other got bad news, and I am worried about what the "three" is gonna be.
Unless all the above stuff is the three.
God what the hell is this new noise? Did they pull a girder out like a spaghetti? Holy crap y'all I am going to die in this fifth floor flat. Die or go deaf. It's like nails on a blackboard but MUCH LOUDER.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Just haven't felt the mojo. It's the dark days in Norway (morketider) and all I want to do is sleep. I go to bed at 9 and get up at 8. I have no energy and feel a little overwhelmed at all the shit I have to get accomplished in the next 10 days, to whit:
- Pack away anything I own that I worry about having stolen or ruined during the Great Apartment Destruction
- Buy Christmas presents for a widely varied (and located) family (Ever tried getting something for someone in Thailand when you know that they can get anything they want there and all they have here right now is winter stuff that is way to heavy for the hot climate there!)
- Think about what to pack (summery stuff) for vacation (luckily it looks like it will happen, so I guess things could be worse in that regard). Then pack it.
- Think about what to pack (winter stuff) for when we come back and we won't be in our apartment for another few weeks. Then pack it.
- Try to eat light and healthy on this Weight Watchers thing
- Getting all the stuff done at work I need to do before we leave
I slept wrong the other night (I normally sleep on my stomach, which is bad) and threw my neck out big time. Somehow when I did that, I knocked my shoulders crooked, so one is substantially lower than the other. I swear I am the biggest mess. Black eye, crooked shoulders, hungry, and lately I spill coffee on myself like, once a day. I only ever wear black now so that people can't see the coffee stains! People should not come near me, for I am Disaster Girl. The messed up back is giving me perfect posture, though, because it hurts too much to slouch, so I am walking and standing ramrod straight. I need to remember to keep that up. I've been to the chiropractor once, and have three more sessions before the holidays to try to straighten it all back up. He just tsked at me when I told him I sleep on my stomach, and says that he always gets people in with the same problem. Apparently we stomach sleepers are dumbasses. I hate being a cliché.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Our trip to Thailand is not looking good. Even if they get the protesters out, it will take at least a week for the airport to get back to the security level required for flights in and out.
Our airline is diverting flights to Phuket so we might be able to arrange a Plan B, but holy crap, what a nightmare! Grr.