The Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand was a colorful (mostly red) and festive event. It was a hodgepodge of traditions like face readings (horoscopes), prayer, food, dragons, emperors and empresses and protest of course.

Face threading, face readings, chestnuts roastings and prayer
Tradition

Prayer, face readings (horoscopes), face threading, chestnuts roasting, and oranges (I didn’t grab a picture but I think you’ve seen them before, they’re round orange fruit) all seem to be parts of the tradition of Chinese New Year here in Bangkok.

Emperors and Empresses
Emperors and Empresses

The emperors and empresses were the most fun of all. Each and every one of them were photo ready and looked liked they could have saved the day with their swords or laughter at a moments notice. With the exception of the guy with the leopard loin cloth – I think he might have been the nemesis.

Bangkok Shutdown
Bangkok Shutdown

Today was the first time that I walked within the Bangkok Shutdown & Restart protest. From my understanding as of now (the intent of the protest is in constant change) the people are protesting the upcoming election- they want to stop people from being able to vote for the a new parliament so that the old parliament that they want to replace won’t be voted back in. The protesters in Bangkok  are shutting down the streets by setting shopping markets, concerts, food stalls, marches and tents to prevent access to major roadways. There was a fair share of protest t-shirts, jewelry, flags, hats and noise makers at the Chinese New Year celebration. There was also a parade on the street leading to the Chinese New Year celebration. The top right and bottom right photos are from outside of the Silom MRT station which was on my route to Chinatown.

Dragons
Dragons

I was at the celebration for about 2 hours and was surprised to only see the dragons in the pictures above.

Food
Food

There were a ton of food options available, although there wasn’t that much Chinese food. I enjoyed a gyro, pork ribs, a little bit of stuffed crab (mostly bread), coconut ice-cream, and a fried coconut dessert.

Noodle Throwing
Noodle Throwing

Unfortunately I ate all of that junk food before finding the fresh noodles. Oh well, the line was super long anyways.

White dolls only
Doll Study

OK, so is it just me or does a doll study need to be done here? Out of all the things being sold I did not see one single Thai or Chinese doll for sale. At least this singing boy had one Asian puppet doll.

Random
Random

The feel of the day: crowded, fun and energetic

 

How did you celebrate Chinese New Year?

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Let them eat brunch!


Tabasco on oysters, caviar on pancakes, lamb chops and prawns seared on the grill, these are a few of my favorite things! #BRUNCH!

brunch

If you’re looking for a sparkling wine flowing brunch in Bangkok, check out the “Sparkling Sunday Brunch” at the Grand Millennium hotel on Asok and Sukhumvit.  The selection was not huge, but what they had was really good. Check out their raw bar, fresh grilled meats, and of course the desert room. I loved the chocolate fountain, which had banana cake as an option to dip in it! Yum!!

My only qualm, if you come as a group of four people everyone gets half off (making it 800 BHT/pp+ vat and service), but if a fifth person comes that person pays full price (1600 BHT) or you have to bring 8 people; Grand Millennium you’re missing out on money.

Overall, brunch was wonderful!  Grab three or seven (lol) good friends and make it a sparkling day!

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The White Beyonce in Thailad


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This Pepsi advertisement with Beyonce has sparked up some conversation among some of my black friends here in Thailand and apparently other people have criticized it as well as mentioned in an article from Bangkok Post (where I got the photo from). The advertisement of the “whitened” Beyonce are all over Bangkok Sky Train stations.

I believe it’s an issue here because having “pink white skin” (one of my Thai friends told me this term) is generally the preferred skin to have in Thailand. It’s rooted on the basis that darker skinned Thais work outside where as white skinned Thais work or don’t work inside. This is still such an important part of their society that you will see people working outside on a 95 degree day with a turtle neck, hat, and face mask; this is not as much to protect themselves from sun damage but more so to not become “dam” or dark. I have heard co-workers mention being upset about getting a tan on the beach and happy about it clearing up. Where as in the US people show off their tans as a badge of hey I just went on vacation.

So as a person of African decent here in Thailand you are constantly bombarded with “whitening” advertisements: spas for skin whitening, lotion with whitening, deodorant with whitening, face wash with whitening, nipple whitening cream, even anal whitening cream. So, as you can imagine some Black women (including me) in Thailand can be particularly aware of these things when you have to search for lotion without whitening products in it, because hey there is nothing wrong with my brown skin.

So my question are, is this advertisement in the USA and has it sparked the same conversation? What’s your opinion?

Side note.. Tanned and brown skin Thai people you are beautiful.

How to Have an Amazing Birthday in Bangkok!


I had an absolutely wonderful time celebrating my birthday this year! My birthday was on Thursday, March 21st and there were several activities set in place for that day and the upcoming weekend.

1.    Water Library

The library
The library

On Thursday night Matthew took me out on a great date for my official birthday dinner. First, we went to “Water Library” for cocktails, which is an amazing bar and restaurant.  The cocktail bar is all black and it reminds me of a modernly designed home library with classic chairs. They do not have any books on their shelves but they have a library of customized liquors and biters, which they have designed. A few to note were Johnny Walker Black infused with chilies, Vodka and M&Ms, and Louis XIII Truffle.  I had their amazing Sexy Lychee, which includes lychee of course, chilli infused vodka, their aphrodisiac bitters and a few other things served in a floating martini glass on top of ice. The second drink was the Bangkok Cocktail, which had a few different things in it including ginger, lemon, lychee, and a drop of their homemade bitters served in a classic cut crystal wine glass. Their service was amazing; everyone was really attentive and explained each drink to you as it was served.  Both were amazing, but the Sexy Lychee was my favorite. The mixologist there are definitely on top of their game, as you can taste all of the flavors in the drinks and it doesn’t taste like a bunch of muddled syrup and alcohol. I thought I had good cocktails before but these were by far the best ever. So if you’re in Bangkok check out Water Library on Soi 12 of Thonglor for a nice grown up drink. I’ve got to head back there for dinner.

http://www.mywaterlibrary.com/thonglor/

2.    Soul Food

Ribs!!!
Ribs!!!

After that we headed to “Soul Food” (no they do not have Southern soul food but they do have great ribs), which is on Thonglor. They have great food also, we had two appetizers of tasty lamb and chicken samosas and a great pork salad. For our mains I had a delicious creamy crab soup and Matthew got their fall off the bone sweet ribs. Thonglor is definitely a treat and similarly to American Soul Food it is filling and food for the soul.

http://www.soulfoodmahanakorn.com/

3.    Hibesha Ethiopian Restaurant

Picture via http://ethiopianrestaurantbangkok.weebly.com/gallery.html
Picture via http://ethiopianrestaurantbangkok.weebly.com/gallery.html

I met a group of friends at Hibesha on Soi 3 (Nana) on Friday night for some amazing Ethiopian food. We ordered their vegetarian platter, a few lamb dishes, and a beef dish.  The food is served Ethiopian family style and you eat the food with injera bread rather than utensils. This made eating more like a war because the food was so delicious and everyone wanted some of everything.  We went with a group of about 15 people but this might be a better option for a more intimate group (a few people decided not to join in the finger licking madness). (Thank you for the photos Aaron Owlex)

http://ethiopianrestaurantbangkok.weebly.com/

4.    WXYZ Lounge at aloft Hotel

After going to dinner we headed around the corner to Soi 11 off of Suchmuvit to one of my favorite watering holes WXYZ, that has a 500THB ($16) “Cocktail Marathon”. Good drinks, good times, good people, and straight tomfoolery. (Thank you for the photos Aaron Owlex)

www.aloftbangkoksukhumvit11.com/

5.    Siam Niramit

http://paktraveler.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/siam-niramit-show-a-review-by-paktraveler/
http://paktraveler.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/siam-niramit-show-a-review-by-paktraveler/

On Saturday, my husband had another surprise for me! We went to see a spectacular show at Siam Niramit. This was a remarkable experience. When you arrive you get to tour a traditional “Thai Village” that they have set up; which includes houses, a river, a massage house and more. The show is done on the highest stage in the world and one of the longest panoramic stages in the world.  The show depicts Thai life in various cities in the past; hell, in-between earth in heaven, and heaven (different mythical creatures are depicted in each); and Thai holidays. Siam Niramit had amazing colors, dances, and special effects including: a river that went across the whole stage, rain, flying people, a vertical view of the ocean with a person diving, live animals, and audience participation. Lets just say it was an amazing show! We got seats right behind their “Gold VIP Seats” and they were perfect.)

www.siamniramit.com/

The Look

 

Khao Tom Mud


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One of the admin from DSIL brought in Khao Tum Mud this morning. It is a delicious Thai dessert made of sticky rice, a banana, coconut milk, and black beans. The taste and texture kind of reminds me of a really thick and sweet cream of cream of wheat. It’s also good as a single serving snack.

I found this website with a pretty visual recipe if you would like to try to make it. The recipe is missing cooked black beans, so add a few on top of the banana. click here for the recipe FYI this dessert is vegan friendly.

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Good morning from school-caption this


Every morning a teacher from Darunsikkhalai School for Innovative Learning (DSIL) is assigned a morning duty. This morning it’s my turn to say greet the students and their parents. This is Gong, one of the youngest, smallest and most adorable kids at the school. He told me that this bag was not a squid snack, it’s a snack made out of squids.

Leave a comment with your caption, I’m sure he’d love to read them 🙂

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Wrapped in love


Wrapped in love

This is one of my favorite first photos with our new camera. It is of a tree in the park near our apartment. It is wrapped in fabric because it is believed by Thai’s to be a Spirit House. The fabric is a way to honor the Spirit House.  (I will find out more later- just wanted to share the picture with you

 

 

Pushing cars


picture via: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/app-parking-idINDEE88N0AJ20120924
picture via: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/24/app-parking-idINDEE88N0AJ20120924

I got to push someone’s car today without the owner being there!

I got a ride from a coworker and someone was parked behind them, we just pushed their car out-of-the-way.

So in Bangkok it’s perfectly fine to park directly behind someone blocking them in as long as you are parked perpendicularly (making a T) to the row of cars and you leave your car in neutral without the break on. That way, when the owner of the car you are blocking comes back they can just move your car by pushing it forward or backwards.

Yes for some reason this brings me a small bit of joy. When else am I going to be able to push a stranger’s car? LOL