MontanaRon

Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.

Month: June 2013

At Nai’s Home

Well, it’s off to Nai’s home outside of Vientiane, but first, an obligatory shot of the sun going down over the Mekong. This one’s from Nongkhai looking into Laos.

Sunset over the Mekong

Sunset Over the Mekong

New Household Members

Nothing much new at Nai’s except for these new additions to the household. They’re quite a handful, as you might expect. They don’t have names yet, so I’m calling them Puppy 1 and Puppy 2.

Puppy

Puppy One

Puppy

Puppy Two

Puppies

Puppies One and Two

Cute, aren’t they. All the kids, of course, love them. Here, a young niece and a nephew have fun with the pups.

Kids and Puppies

KIds and Puppies

Kids and puppies

Puppy Love

Lao Snacks

Snacking throughout the day is a normal activity, but, oh, what snacks. Here, Nai is frying up a batch of crickets. Most Lao folks eat these like popcorn, dipping them in a spicy sauce for added flavor. I think I’ll pass this time.

Cooking crickets

Cookin’ Up Crickets

Fried crickets

Fried Crickets

Run out of crickets, you say? No problem. How about some nice juicy grasshoppers. Nai, nephew Kim, and sister Nui cull some grasshoppers caught by one of Nai’s brothers.

Picking grasshoppers

Picking Out the Juicy Ones

Here they are, getting the fried-in-oil treatment. Again, I’m not really that hungry, thanks.

Fried grasshoppers

Fried Grasshoppers

All is not lost in the snack department. Nui thinly slices a Thai vegetable (or fruit?). I don’t know the name, but it’s slightly sweet. Fried in oil (what else?) and salted, it resembles potato chips.

Slicing a vegetable

Slicing Time

Here are the grasshoppers and pseudo potato chips with a few sauces and some cucumber for your enhanced snacking pleasure. Dig in!

Lao snacks

Lao Snacks

Finally, a glance out the window shows that the sun is actually out for a change. Writing in hindsight, I know that there is plenty of rain to come, though. Much more, in fact, later.

Laos Landscape

Nai’s Backyard

Rainy South East Asia

There’s been boatloads of rain here in Vientiane the last few days, and more is in the forecast. The Internet connection has been spotty, at best, and I also spent a few days in Nai’s village, where there is no Internet. So, I haven’t been able to post in a while. Here’s what’s been going on.

First, here’s a bit better look at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple near Soi 20. It was fairly crowded and difficult to find a good position for a shot, due also to the heavy traffic in the area.

Sri Maha Mariamman temple

Sri Maha Mariamman

Sri Maha Mariamman temple

Sri Maha Mariamman

Here are a few more shots of the Soi 20 street food area. The Islamic Mosque can be seen in the first one, to the right side of the photo.

Soi 20 in Bangkok

Soi 20

Lots of fruit to be found on Soi 20.

Fruit Market

Fruit Market

Fruit Market

Fruit Market

So, I had a lot of time to kill before catching the overnight train to Nongkhai. Mainly, I did a lot of walking around the Silom Road area, and I hit some of the big malls near Siam Square. First, here’s a shot of the spirit house outside of the hotel. I find these little shrines quite interesting and there’s thousands of them in Bangkok. This excellent article says that they are houses for invisible helpful spirits. Most of them are fascinating and beautiful.

Spirit House

Spirit House

Here’s a couple shots along Silom Road. One is a dragon statue not too far up the road from the hotel, and the other is a shot of a new building framed by the sky train.

Dragon Statue

Dragon Statue

Bangkok Skyline

Bangkok Skyline

I bought a couple of books in the Siam Paragon mall, a really upscale shopping area. How upscale? Wanna buy a car? Take a gander at these that you can find there.

Rolls Royce Dealer

Rolls Royce Dealer

Maserati Dealer

Maserati Dealer

This one’s a Lotus.

Lotus Dealer

Lotus Dealer

Finally caught the overnighter to Nongkhai. It departs at 8:00 p.m. and is supposed to arrive at 7:45 the next morning. The last few times I’ve taken it, it’s been almost two hours late arriving, so I asked Nai to meet me around 10 o’clock. Unfortunately, I guess, it was only half an hour late, so I had a bit of time on my hands until Nai got there. Started reading a book, but I also noticed the station crew giving a good scrubdown to the cars.

Cleaning the train

A Clean Machine

Nai got there around 9:30 and we stayed a few days in Nongkhai, then went into Laos and to his village outside of Vientiane. I’ll have a future post about that, hopefully in a couple of days. More later.

Greetings from Thailand

Yes, I’m currently in Bangkok, Thailand starting my three-weeks vacation. I got here on Friday after an uneventful flight from Incheon Airport, leaving behind a dreary, overcast Yeosu. It’s beautiful here this morning, and I’d like to stay longer, but I’m leaving on the overnight train to Nongkhai, Thailand, there to meet up with my friend Nai. Here’s a view from my hotel window taken just a short time ago. I couldn’t get a better shot because the windows don’t open. If there were a fire, I wouldn’t be able to escape out the window, but that wouldn’t make much difference–I’m on the 7th floor.

View from hotel room

View from Silom City Hotel

I usually stay in the Sukhumvit area, but decided to stay in the Silom district. I’m at the Silom City Hotel, which isn’t too bad. Certainly, it’s not a five- or even a four-star venue, but it’s location is its big selling point, and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Right around the corner is one of Bangkok’s excellent street food districts on Soi 20. Loads of delicious, cheap Thai food are yours for the taking.

Here are a few shots of the area, but I neglected to take any photos of the food. This is one of the typical vendors along the soi.

Food vendor

Food vendor

Once the rains come, which do so with regularity this time of year, everyone covers up or gets under an umbrella.

Soi 20 Rain

Soi 20 Rain

I met up with one of my colleagues from the university, Mike from near Toronto, Canada. He arrived here a day earlier and left for Nongkhai and Laos last night on the train. There’s a good chance I’ll run into him up there eventually. He also stayed at the Silom City Hotel, so we hung out together the last couple of days. Here’s a shot of him on Soi 20 at night. In the background is a famous Hindu shrine in the area, and farther back is a Christian hospital, I think. I like the juxtaposition of the two religions. Behind us, up the Soi, is a mosque, which just further emphasizes the religious mingling of mostly Buddhist Bangkok.

Mike at Soi 20

Mike at Soi 20

We also spent a little time at Lumphini Park on Friday evening. Here’s mike relaxing on a bench at the park.

Mike at Lumphini Park

Mike at Lumphini Park

It’s getting close to check-out time at the hotel, so I’d better wrap this up. The train doesn’t leave until 8 p.m., so I’ve got several hours to kill. I’ll take a walk down Soi 20 to get some better shots than the few I’ve already taken, and I’ll take a short walk over to the Hindu shrine for some more photos. I’ll probably do some book shopping at Siam Paragon mall and take a look around at the Mahboonkrong (MBK) mall. If time allows, I’ll do my usual thing and go dining at the Bourbon Street Restaurant.

I’ll have many more posts to make and photos to share, I hope. So, watch for more later.

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