These past few days have sped by so fast... I have been on an advocacy course and have run a million errands, all before going on holiday with my Dad to Thailand. And now I'm here!
Dad 'discovered' Thailand long before it was a trendy tourist destination. He has been coming here for years. His love affair with Thailand began when he was young and trying to make ends meet as a diamond dealer. Let me tell you, it's a tough life. Anyway, at that time he met his friend Eddie. They have been friends for 40 years! It's amazing. Dad gave Eddie his first order, and whilst they are certainly no longer business buddies they are loyal friends. They watched each other raise families (Eddie is married to Moon, and they have four children, who are now grown up). Eddie is the softest spoken, loveliest man who emanates an aura of calm and faith. He is Buddhist and this shines through I think. He has a thirst for life (and food, don't get me started on the food). What wouldn't Eddie do for someone he loves? The sky is the limit. He is just so so good to us. He takes us everywhere, shares his new restaurant discoveries, bends over backwards to give us a good time. A precious friend - there aren't people like that anymore, who are happy to go out of their way for you.
My trips with Dad to Bangkok are always a great time together. Dad comes alive in the hectic mess of it all - he loves discovering new places to eat, the trolleys of food on the streets, the fact that it is less developed than Europe. It reminds him of growing up in Jerusalem, I think, as it was then. The authenticity. I often think that he could quite happily live here.
We got here yesterday afternoon and immediately went to our hotel, the Shangri-La. It's beautiful! And around the corner there is a department store for locals. The brands tend to be inexpensive and the whole thing is authentic. We love that. We always start out our trips here. I buy the toiletries I couldn't be bothered to carry and we stock up on soft drinks and snacks for the room. Here's something that irritates me. This is Thailand. A coke can costs 13 baht (about 20p/25-30cents). How can the hotel justify charging £3 ($5) for one can? We refuse!
Then we went to one of our favourite restaurants in the market. The food is so so good, so fresh. Dad had crab and octopus and I had steamed fish and vegetables. The restaurants here are so different from back home! Messy, they are brimming with clutter and they look dilapidated. But the food! Hues of lemongrass and wild mushrooms, tom yum paste and charcoaled egg friend rice. Love. Tomorrow I will buy a camera cable and share photos with you.
But now it is 4.30 in the morning. I am jet-lagged and can't sleep. So here I am, blogging, with a cup of mango tea and exotic fruit by my side. Don't you just love the beginning of a holiday? All the excitement ahead of you? It's nice to have a moment to basque in that. Can't wait for breakfast!