Back in Bangkok

Trip Start May 28, 2008
Trip End Aug 26, 2008

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Have now learned how to make a cool lotus flower out of an onion, cook fresh peanut sauce, make Tom Kha soup, cook a Panang curry, roll spring rolls, scrape fresh coconut, and long shred carrots and veggies. Had a wonderful cooking class from the vegetarian-only May Kaidee school in Bangkok. May is local veggie legend and was away teaching in Japan, but we still had some great instruction and had a chance to cook many different dishes.

Designer veggies... cool.
Picking up Thai kitchen tools for home... cool.
Stabbing self in back... improbable (but not cool).

Travel Tip #2:

When purchasing small carving knives in Thai supermarket, DO NOT store in backpack compartment nearest to traveler. Said stowage may result in self-inflicted wounds when boarding Thai long-tail river boats. You have been warned.

Um, Laura?

That's blood on my hand, right? Right. OK.

Fortunately for me, I dropped the backpack at once and only ended up with a small cut at the base of my back. Our resident "half-a-nurse" was able to apply pressure while we enjoyed an hour and half ride through Bangkok's back canals - a whole system of transit waterways and neighborhoods that coexists with the street system - and make some quick repairs that night with the handy first aid kit we put together before leaving home.

We also docked at the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun), where we all braved a steep climb to the top for fantastic views over Bangkok. Wat Arun has been known by many other names over recent centuries, and like some of the older Buddhist temples here it includes some Hindu deities in the design. This temple was also home to the Emerald Buddha for a brief time, before it moved to its present home of Wat Pra Kaew in 1784.

The wakes and chop in the main river were a bit rough with the tug boats, barges, and wind. Adventurer Stirling insisted on the bow seat, for the best thrill ride bouncing over wakes and waves, but after watching this for quite some time her nervous parents were very happy to get dropped off at the central pier for a quick trip to the mall before catching our train to Nong Khai as we embark for Laos.

Travel Tip #3:

The secret to traveling with children is an endless supply of food, provided at two hour intervals.

15 minutes before train departure?
Time enough to pick up steamed rice for our homemade curries we have from this afternoon, dash into the minimart for water, juice, and snacks, and run past the donut counter for sweets before boarding. Full tummies = happy junior travelers.

Cooking 10 Thai dishes in vegetarian cooking school, enjoying ice cream in the park by the river, exploring canals and Wat Arun, picking up supplies at Siam Center, and handling payment arrangements in China for our train to Mongolia next month. Not bad for
one day in Bangkok! We are definitely getting a feel for the city.
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