Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our First Full Day in Bangkok

I woke at 0330. I got out of bed at 0400 and turned on the tv. I pulled out the book and map on Bangkok and worked on a plan of attack. Here is what I started with:

Visit Palace
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Lumpini Park then Suan Lum Night Market
Get BK Magazine (free at restaurants)
Buy Metro magazine (at bookstore)

Chao Phraya Express Boat Tour to Bang Pa

Ask if anything will be open (holiday?)
Erawan Shrine/Temple (Thai dancing)
Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha)
Wat Mahathat

As it turns out, it is nice to have plans, but it is even nicer to be flexible.
We went to the Grand Palace and visited the Emerald Buddha.
We went to the Chatuchak Market and we came back via the Skytrain.

At our hotel, we tested the swimming pool, but our thin Guam blood couldn't take the unheated water. So, we dressed and went to the Night Market. When we asked for taxi service, the concierge asked us if we wanted to eat at the Seafood Market restaurant. He would give us free transport if we ate our meal there. No, we said. We'll pass.

When we got to the Night Market, we decided we needed to shop on full bellies. Searching the signs for direction to the food court, a Thai dressed in a security uniform asked us if we needed help. When we explained our problem, he said he knew just the place and led us through a parking lot away from the Night Market to the Seafood Market restaurant! Accepting it as meant to be, we enjoyed a superb meal. We walked back to the Night Market but were only able to walk through a few stalls before Gregg said he couldn't carry a sleeping Drew for the rest of the market.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Traveling to Thailand

We arrived at the Guam airport at 0515 to leave for Thailand via Manila. At 0910 Manila time, we were sitting in the Sampaguita Lounge, passing a 6-hour layover. We initially investigated the possibility of exploring Manila, especially Mall of Asia, but six hours is a lot of time to sit in an airport, but not enough to safely travel to the mall and transit Immigrations. We did not realize how smart our decision was until Thai Airlines had to hold the plane for 30 people who were still stuck in Immigrations.

A good substitute for shopping was a full-body Thai massage....this is done with clothes on.

We made it to Thailand safely and our hotel. Unfortunately, the room they assigned to us had two double beds pushed together and promised to bring in another bed. Sleeping with Anna and Drew would have been okay, but I wasn't looking forward to sleeping in the crack. We requested a move to another room.

We were so tired by this time and it was only 1930. We went ahead and ordered room service so we would all sleep well. We had to keep waking Drew to chew his food.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Judo: The Second Tournament

Drew's second judo tournament was completely different from the first. I was worried that he wouldn't be in the 42 lbs and under group. If that happened, he would be competing at the bottom of the next heavier category instead of at the top of the lower category. It's been a long time since I pulled out the bathroom scale. Fortunately, ours reads heavy (well, I guess "reading heavy" might be upsetting for some people), but Drew was well within the limits. Consequently, he displayed text-book take-downs and scored full points within seconds of his matches---barely enough time to snap photos!

Drew was so proud of his medal---he wore it for the rest of the day and took it to school to show his teacher.

Here Drew poses with his fellow weight-class competitors:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Orphans' Thanksgiving

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

We chose to celebrate Thanksgiving with our extended Guam family---this meant a potluck on Calvo's Beach.

We discovered how scrumptious fresh coconut is and the deliciousness of fresh palm.

Now Gregg has an excuse to go to Home Depot and buy a machete...

The Marianas Yacht Club 38th Annual Challenge Day

We received an invitation to attend the Marianas Yacht Club 38th Annual Challenge Day on Sunday, November 11th.

We were able to experience kayak racing, wind-surfing, and small boat racing (Optimist, Laser, Hobie Cat) with experienced sailors by our sides.

Challenge Day also hosted the Trans-Pacific Six-Pack Race. The water craft are designed and built by the individual racing teams, composed of material of their choice so long as no parts are from actual boats. In this instance, the boats were made of empty plastic barrels. They were also propelled without the use of engines (but could use rowing, kicking, swimming or anything else).

In addition, we watched GI Joe take on Ken in a heated mini-raft race!

The MYC membership is composed of colorful characters: we met Peter Melyan, who told us he taught an accredited course on cockfighting at UOG. He regaled us with his Army stories. We could see he was in poor health; we never expected to see his obituary a short time later.