Monday, January 23, 2012

Nazi Visa Bee-yatch + Fajitas = T.I.T.

T.I.T. = This is Thailand. It was visa time again here in la la land. The thing about this is, that with the right paperwork, getting you work permit and visa should only take about 5 minutes. But guess what!? It doesn't! It never does! Either they have changed the rules and not bothered to tell anyone, or someone has screwed up the paperwork because they can't do their f'ing job. I miss the days when Roong did the paperwork. If there was a problem, she could fix it on the spot. But now, since I had to switch back to a Non-B visa, it's a damn merry-go-round to get anything done.

They opened an immigration office in Lopburi now. I don't have to drive all the way to Bangkok to get all this stuff done. That's a good thing. Getting my 90 day stamp is easy. I am in and out in 3 minutes. But, the nasty bitch that takes care of yearly visas is a pain in the ass. I assume that this is the first time in her life that she has had any amount of power. The 10 minute bullshit lectures on absolutely nothing, and the endless studying of the same papers over and over again gets old real quick. Since I wasn't teaching that day, I was dressed pretty casual. She said that I didn't look like a teacher, and that she thought that the contract from my school was fake, and that my wife had made it up. She also said that because I was going to have to make 2 trips to her office to finish everything, that I would have to pay the 1900 baht fee 2 times. Plus, she never gave me back the 100 baht change from when I paid for it the first time. WTF!!!

Roong spends most of her time trying to keep me from loosing my temper and getting in to trouble. But this, this was too much even for her. She pulled some serious rank. She stormed over to Sgt. Bitchy's supervisor and ripped the little Captain a new one. After she settled down, the little Captain pulled Sgt. Bitchy aside and had a few quick but very intense words. We were out of there about 2 minutes later.

I had to go back there today to give them a new copy of my work permit. I was so ready for a scrap. Roong wasn't there to shut me up, so it was looking like trouble. Once I got there, she didn't say anything to me, she just motioned for me to sit down, and stamped the new paperwork. I should have just left, but having worn my school uniform there, I couldn't resist asking her "Do I look like a god damn teacher now?". She just glared at me. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I will save the story of the nob newbie at the work permit office for another time. XD

I had real food for dinner!!!!!! After the victory at the Immigration office, I went and had lunch, and then wondered around Big-C for a while. Buried in the imported food section, I found a package of tortillas. Cool! All I needed was some salsa and sour cream, and I was in business.

Fajita madness!

Today was a very lucky day, because I did find 2 little containers of sour cream at Big-C, and some no name salsa that didn't look to bad. Once I picked Roong up from work we raided the market and got Chicken, peppers, chilies, mushrooms, and anything else I could think of to put in them. We went with chicken, because Thais aren't big beef eaters. I suppose that I should have looked at a recipe at some point for this, but having spent a fortune at Taco Ball, I was feeling confident.

Roong cooked the chicky in the oven, and I stir fried up the peppers, onions, etc. They turned out great. Probably just dumb luck, but they were awesome. I guess I would really have to attribute this success to the fact that if you dump enough sour cream on anything, eventually it will taste good. The only bad thing about it was the fact that I made enough to feed an army. Roong ate one, and I could only eat two. Hmmm...I wonder what I will have for lunch tomorrow?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Student Day 2012

Another Student Day has come and gone. They really went all out this year too. There must have been two dozen dancing and singing performances by all the classes combined.We had a good turn out of parents this time also. Here are a few shots from the action. It was very overcast today, so most of my long distance group shots were kind of fussy....

This is Fet and Taptim (Timmy). Great kids, and two of the sharpest students in their classes.

A few more of my youngins at Student Day. I believe that's Pop in the center. The little boy on the end (Yes, that's a boy) is Dommy. I have 2 or 3 "ladyboys in training" in every class, but this little fruit loop takes flaming to a whole new level. He's a good kid, but he has a different drama tragedy going on every day, and at least once a week I have to tell him to stop sticking things down his shirt to make fake boobs.

This is Took ta and Ae. Two of the so few good students in my M-2/3 class. These are the kind that meet you at your office to carry your books to class. Can't imagine life there without them.

This is the festival queen and her handmaidens.

Well well well, speaking of queens... That is miss Tuktan in the brown shirt, and her pack of ladyboys, that volunteered to do all the make-up for the performers. Imagine that! Of all the 100 girls that teach at Penpattana, Tuktan has got to be the most fun. She is one of the few that regularly likes to go out and party, and is always juggling at least 3 boyfriends.

I'm not sure who these 3 little girls are. I know that I know them, but it's hard to tell who they are under all that make-up. They look like they have been severely beaten with a box of crayons.

The girl with her chin on her hands is Miew. I have had her in all my classes since I started teaching at Penpattana. Wonderful student and full time "go to" girl.

I wish I had gotten better shots of this dance. It was a calypso type of number, and there were dozens of these little island girls running all over the place. It was like a Lilo and Stitch invasion!

This is just one small group of the Lilo and Stitch crowd.

The one on your right is Fern. I've known Fern for several years too. She does fairly well in class, but was most definitely born to be trouble! She has a mischievous streak a mile wide.

The boys. Mahn Mah, Rut, Tik, and Ball. All great students, and cool little dudes. Ball is one of the super jocks of M-2.

Two of my all time numero uno favorites, Beggy and Nuna. Both are little angels in my M-2/4 class. They have helped me a lot over the years. I don't know what I would have done without them.

The little bit of a girl in the center is Yo. Yo is another of the kids that I have known for all 5 years at school. She is possibly the most intelligent child I have ever had the privilege to teach.

It's Beam time! Beam (on the right) is more fun, and more trouble, than any teacher should ever have to deal with. That girl is always getting up to something. I also have her little sister Biw in one of my other classes. Exactly the same! Next year is going to be a hoot.

Monday, January 09, 2012

On the River

As you know, last weekend was our Bangkok adventure. Friday night, it was every man, woman, or child for themselves. The girls went out and did whatever it is that they do, and I hit my favorite watering hole. Saturday was Palmiez' graduation ceremony day, and that night we wanted to take her somewhere special for dinner. There's a lot to do in BKK, but we weren't sure what would be just right for this special day. I think it was Roong who suggested the dinner cruise. It sounded like a great idea, because none of us had ever been on one here before. So, off we went.....

First, there was a lot of this. Bangkok is the only place I know that can actually have a full scale traffic jam working at 9pm on a Sunday night. It's amazing.

Once we finally got there, we waited for about 45 mins until our boat docked and we could board. We ended up sitting out on deck in the bow. That was fine for me. There was a nice cool breeze, and Roong had lots of things to try and take pictures of. (key word = try) The food and bev selection was very nice and our waiter was great. My only complaint would be that as usual, the food was served cold. It was a buffet style dinner, and the food was in warmer trays, but for some reason they never seem to remember to put the candles under them to keep the food hot. I mean anywhere.

This is a really cool suspension bridge that was about half way down the length of our 2 hour cruise. Roong tried to get several shots of it, but this is the only one that turned out fairly well.

There were dozens of these little turtle boats running back and forth across the river. All they do all day and night is ferry people back and forth across the river. They also seem to try and cut as close in front of the bigger boats as they can, much to the delight of the passengers.

Here's another shot of that bridge from a little farther out. It looks like a giant candle from one side, and a flying V guitar from the other.

Here are Puk and her boyfriend Mack. This was the first time he and the rest of us had actually spent any time together. Partly because he lives in Bangkok, and partly because his mom is a kook.

More Mack and Pukkiness.

These 2 shots are of the King's Wat (temple). We have visited it before, but I didn't realize how close it was to the river.

Mack, Puk, and Palmiez

A few shots of Roong and I. Roong seemed to have a great time. At least that is what I gathered from all the camera snapping that was going on.

One last shot of the King's Wat as we were headed back to the dock. All in all, it was a very nice time, and I think we might do it again for some other special occasion.

A Great Escape and A 1000 baht Burrito

Haaaa! I got away from zombieland.....err..... Pattananikom for 3 whole f#$@ing days! Roong and I went to Bangkok for Palmiez' graduation last weekend. The ceremony was on Saturday, so we had Friday night and all of Sunday to wander about. Friday night the girls went out for dinner, and a little shopping. I on the other hand made a beeline to the Dubliner, of course.

The last 2 times I have gotten to go there, they weren't serving beer, because it was some Buddhist holiday or something. As I only get to go there once or twice a year, I was pretty pissed about the whole thing. No such troubles this time though.

The music was good, the beer was cold, and the waitresses were as pretty as ever. I don't remember the name of the band, but the singer's name was Mia. I talked to a friend of hers named Fred for most of the night. I also ran into Steve there. He was apparently heading off to meet friends at the Q-bar, but stopped at the Dubliner for a few first. I haven't seen him in months, so it was great to catch up.

Just before I left, I tried to order some food, but the kitchen had already closed. Luckily, there is a killer Mexican food place just a few blocks away that is open 24-7. I went in, and ordered a monster beef burrito with a side bucket of sour cream to go. When it was ready, they brought me the check and I tossed him a 1000 baht note, got the change, tipped him 100, and took off.

(judging by the photo, I think I had a few there too while waiting)

It wasn't until I was in the cab headed back to the hotel that I noticed that I only had about 40 baht in my hand. WTF?! I figured I must have given him 500 by mistake. As I was still pretty buzzed, it didn't bother me too bad though.

By the time I got back to the room, I was sobering up, and getting a bit irritated. I then looked in the bag, only to find not 1, but 2 monster beefy burritos, and more sour cream than anyone would want to deal with. No wonder it was so expensive, they're like 300 baht a piece. Anyway, I was in heaven. I think I ate about1/2 of one, and then was out like a light. I know I woke up at least 3 times during the night, and scarfed down another 1/2 of one of those bad boys each time.

I have to go to the doctor next week for my annual check-up. She's gonna be pissed!

Palmiez' Graduation Day

Roong, Palmiez, and Pukky

Palmiez - Serious

Palmiez - Not Serious

Me, Palmiez, and Puk

A graduated Palmiez

This past weekend, Roong and I went to Bangkok for 3 days for our oldest daughter Palmiez' graduation day. Pom Pom actually finished university about a year ago, but since they usually have a member of the royal family handing out the diplomas, it can take a while to get done.

The ceremony was held at a convention center on the west side of Bangkok. The place was pretty nice, and we had no trouble getting a taxi to go there, or come back. It was only about 20 minutes from our favorite hotel.

The thing that struck me about all this was that while there were some 3000 students there, there were also more than 2000 photographers. Each student hires their own personal photographer to follow them around for 4 hours or so taking photos. Some had 2. They had the kids posing all over the place. It got to be kind of funny, because it's not like they were on a set, or somewhere that actually had any scenery. Just a lot of concrete.

Anyway, our baby girl looked absolutely fabulous, and was having a blast posing for the cameras. We are so very very proud of her! Only 3 more years, and it will be Puk's turn.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Big Daddy and Little Pig vs The Croc

Oh yeah, we won! The girls are home for a 4 day New Year holiday this week. We didn't go out on New Years itself, because it is amateur hour around here that night. We did, however, go out last night for a bit of fun. Out of the blue, Roong said that she wanted to go to "Good View" in Lopburi. That in itself was a reason to celebrate. I like going there a hell of a lot more than going to Bannok all the time. "Good View" has real musicians that play relaxed folk music for a few hours, and then they change bands for a little more upbeat music. Anything is better than that awful karaoke at "Bannok". Besides, the food, and the atmosphere, are better, and the waitresses are soooooooo much prettier. The staff has changed since the last time I was there, but the lovely Miss Sai was still standing by the entrance waiting to greet the customers. It was great to see her again, and it was big hugs all around as usual.

The girls ordered pretty normal fare to eat at first. Som tom and big fish I think it was. After that, Pukky was still hungry so she took a more serious look at their new menu. They have always had a really nice seafood selection, but they have since added a few new things. The new ones that jumped out at her were the jellyfish and the crocodile dishes. Ok, the jellyfish didn't really sound to appealing to anyone, but Puk and I were determined to try the crocodile. I think it was a revenge thing, because ever since the floods came there have been a lot of crocs on the loose and making mischief in Bangkok. Though secretly, I had hoped that they might put a dent in the stray dog problem here.

Palmiez asked the waiter what crocodile tasted like, and he told her that it tastes like chicken. Umm...dude, chicken tastes like chicken pork tastes like pork, beef tastes like beef, and god only knows what jellyfish tastes like. Pukapow and I severely doubted that big lizard was going to taste like chicken.

When it finally arrived, the first thing the guy did was to set an empty red hot cast iron plate on the table. The serving portion seemed a bit small to me, but I didn't say anything. Then, one of the girls (whose name I can't remember, but whose ass will live forever in my dreams) dumped the dish itself on to the plate. It literally exploded in a frenzy of oil popping madness. We had to sit back for a few moments until it had settled down a bit.

Pukky was the first to attack it. Like she usually does with something new, she stabbed a piece and gave it a serious sniff. She made her "I'm not sure yet, so I better eat it" face, and then had at it. She liked it! That was good enough for me, so I dug in too.

Guess what!? It tastes like f*cking chicken! It reminds me of shark, because it has a very heavy, rich texture to it, but it really did taste like chicken. I was relieved, but also a bit disappointed, because I was expecting something at least a little more exotic for 200 baht a plate. After 10 minutes of coaxing, we finally got Palmiez and Roong to give it a try. Neither seemed very impressed, but they both said it wasn't bad. Whatever, Pukky and I had fun with it.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening, and a nice way to ring in the New Year. Palmiez will finally have her graduation ceremony on Jan. 7, so I am looking forward to trip to Bangkok next weekend. I haven't had a cheeseburger in 6 months. I hope to hell they don't taste like chicken!