e the blog o' moosh
 

Monday, October 30, 2006

How come your cups are so clean? Mine go brown after a while.


Swap Parcel #2
Originally uploaded by mooshimooshisan.

If your name is on this list, you should expect a parcel very soon:

Lea Ann
Adeline
Diana
Liz

Not disclosing who is getting this parcel, but I wish it were me!

I have conjunctivitis. I am not happy. I am going home to coory in, it's inky black out there and not even 6pm!

posted by Claire @ 10/30/2006 05:28:00 pm | 2 comments | links

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Crack whore is an insult. Hooker is a compliment.


Sock Monkeys!
Originally uploaded by mooshimooshisan.

Well, THAT was an experience! Our trip to the Polish club turned out to be somewhat how I would imagine a trip to the restaurant in purgatory would be.

I suppose it didn't help that we arrived later than anticipated due to horrendous traffic hampering Lee's dash home from work in the wilds of Bellshill. But when we did arrive, we stealthily negotiated the buzzer entry door (by tagging on to the back of another, clearly more seasoned party of visitors) and soon we were in the hallway of what seemed to be someone's gran's house.

A quick call to Mum's mobile confirmed we were in fact in the correct place and Andrew soon appeared from downstairs to escort us down to the basement where the bar and restaurant are.


The bar seemed very nice, quite cosy and with some authentic Poles scattered around drinking Polish drinks. We had time to order in the zubrowka and apple juices and then file through to the restaurant. The decor is reminiscent of a guesthouse in Torquay circa 1958, with little Hansel and Gretel style carved back chairs, but as the place only had one other table of diners (the ones we snuck in with), we thought we'd be fine for eating this side of midnight.

How wrong we were. Despite the other table only arriving 5 minutes before us, to cut a long, long story short, they had completely finished both starter and main course by the time we even had a sniff of our zupa. There was one very harrassed Polish lady in charge of cooking, waiting on tables, clearing plates, etc and she was clearly not expecting 12 hungry people to show up at 8pm.

In fact, it was just a shade off 2 HOURS from ordering to actually having some food in front of us, during which time my dad entertained us with his mildly drunken antics and his tales of how him and Aleks' dad Valdek are going to get on like a house on fire, despite the fact neither of them speak each other's language. It sounds like it would be a LONG 2 hours, but in actual fact, it wasn't too bad.

What was bad that after all that waiting, when the first round of soup arrived, it was cold. Not just a little bit less hot than you'd like, but actually cold. So Aleks had to take her and Lee's soup back to the kitchen and explain that it was stone cold - very handy that she could obviously say that in Polish.

That aside, the food was actually really nice. The soup I had was lovely, kind of chickeny broth with pasta and carrot. Lee's was some kind of broth with a sausage and half a hard boiled egg in it (which caused my father to almost fall off his chair when I asked Lee how his sausage was) and there was the ubiquitous beetroot soup (borscht) with croquette (which is a bit like a findus crispy pancake with mushrooms in it).

Our main courses arrived surprisingly quickly after that and were hot (or at least the bits that were supposed to be hot were), much to everyone's relief (bearing in mind it was after 10pm by this point). I think Aleks was pretty embarrassed for her fellow countrywoman's poor showing, but really I think the woman was just overwhelmed by it all, especially just being by herself. We were joking about seeing her with her coat on, walking out the door, but after last night, she may well decide to do that!

Main courses were plentiful - I had goulash with potato pancake and salad which was lovely. The potato pancake was a little like a giant potato rosti and omlette like - ie folded over half moon shape with goulash inside. Lee had pierogi, which is little half moon shaped dumplings with meat inside (very reminiscent of San Francisco's pot stickers - mmmmm!) and Dad had some pork cutlet-y thing, and it was pronounced a good choice by all (except Mum possibly who couldn't get round the fact that there was gravy and cold salad on the same plate).

Thankfully, we had been forewarned that the desserts were all sold out (at 90 pence for cheesecake, I'm not surprised!), so we paid up (only £35 for a 2 course meal for 6 people!) and got back out into the cold and headed home. The food was lovely but the service really was farcical. I think Aleks is going to go back at a weekend to see if it's any better, and if it's not possibly defect to being Ukranian or something! ;)

Sadly, I didn't get to take any photos of the evening, such was our bewildered state, but I did get some photos of our family, relaxing at home!

posted by Claire @ 10/27/2006 10:47:00 am | 0 comments | links

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Beads! October 2006


Beads! October 2006
Originally uploaded by mooshimooshisan.

These are said beads from my previous post - booo Blogger :(

posted by Claire @ 10/26/2006 12:59:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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I asked for an Americano. I think this is a latte.

I had such a nice day yesterday. I went into town and met Mum and we had a wander around and generally I was very happy not to be at work.


We visited the new Matalan on Jamaica Street which was most unexpected - I had no idea it was there. We also took some jeans back to DP (taking things back is integral to any shopping trip for me - things just don't fit) which were inordinately long, despite saying regular length on the label and had a swatch round VV Roleaux or however you spell it.

I must admit to being slightly let down by this shop, as I had built it up in my head as being some kind of wonderful dreamworld where I would bankrupt myself buying lots of lovely things, but in actual fact I found it alarmingly easy to keep my purse in my bag, so uninspired was I by it all. It's no Nash's that's for sure. Nash's, or C. F. Nash to give it it's full name was without a doubt my absolute dream shop. It was the best, biggest and most reasonably priced traditional stationery shop I've ever encountered.


It stood on the site of VV Roleaux on Miller Street and sold everything you could ever want, stationery wise. It had things like 100 brown envelopes secured with an elastic band for 40p. And it started selling Christmas cards in March, but you could get lost over it's 2 floors for days in a whirl of marker pens and paperclips. The smell of old musty books and ink was so exciting as you went in the door, to the sound of the wee bell above it pinging and it was always mobbed. Unfortunately it closed down a few years aso, seemingly without any warning and I was gutted! There has not yet been another shop to surpass it for me in terms of excitement (although as Lee will testify, Old Navy comes close!).


Anyway, after that I took Mum to Ichiban on Queen Street for her first Japanese food encounter, which we both enjoyed. It's not quite as nice as the Partick branch in terms of decor, service or food (my noodles were a bit undercooked), but it was lovely nonetheless. We then took a stroll through Princes Square and up to John Lewis for a swatch in the wool aisles and a huge slab of strawberry cheesecake and by then we were pooped and it was time to go home.

I was ready to drop, but a restorative Coke Zero got me in the mood for knitting whilst watching back to back episodes of Two and a Half Men on Paramount and I managed to get an entire scarf finished in one evening for my Craftster swap! I am very pleased with the way the colours turned out, but I am not posing a picture until the recipient has received it!


However, for your viewing pleasure, please see a collection of beads which I am going to turn into some jewels this weekend hopefully. I've not yet decided if they are for Miso Funky stock or Crimbo presents, but either way, they can be reproduced if anyone likes them!


Tonight I am bowing out of the trip to see We are Scientists in favour of going to the Polish club for dinner with mum and dad, Andrew and Aleks and Lee. I am quite excited to try out some of the things on the menu, although I think I will be giving the chicken in jelly a miss . . .

**Blogger is being an arse with the photos for the billionth time this year, so will need to see them later!

posted by Claire @ 10/26/2006 12:46:00 pm | 2 comments | links

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

10 things you didn't know you didn't know

  1. I'd rather have a toasted bagel than a slice of toasted bread.
  2. I have never been on television, but I have been on radio twice.
  3. My favourite colour used to be brown, but now it's green.
  4. I love the smell of bleach.
  5. I am scared of the dark.
  6. I have trouble saying the word domino aloud.
  7. I've had my big toenails surgically removed.
  8. I read books faster than you.
  9. I don't like marmite.
  10. I got the mumps when I was 25.

posted by Claire @ 10/24/2006 12:09:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Monday, October 23, 2006

I don't think you can class Greggs as a patisserie

Well! What a real weekend of highs and lows it has been!

The Miso Funky Market continues on the road to global domination! It was another good day on Saturday, despite the quiet streets, the head count was healthy and our stall did pretty well. Our new stock is going down extremely well and we've managed to shift a few of the older items too. On the downside, the library seem incapable of following even the simplest of instructions, even when they are written down in red pen in capital letters, so we had to spend the first hour of the day humffing tables about and making last minute changes to the table plan. A few technical hitches with the music and the projection also meant that we were woefully tardy in our set-up, but we got there in the end and after a while we were struggling to keep up with customers.

We had some very exciting news on Saturday of a potential Miso Funky development that I am not going to jinx by talking about, but watch this space! Suffice to say it was exciting enough for Jo and I to be jumping around like loons out in the hallway of the library, that's all you're getting for now.

The next low was our unfortunate run-in with the police. Jo got done for parking on a wiggly line outside the library despite the fact there is nowhere else to load up and despite the fact that countless other people have done it in the same location. Not that that makes it right, but still, it was pretty galling to be unlucky enough to be caught. No amount of uncontrollable tears on Jo's part could persuade bad cop to not be a dick and just give her a telling off, but good cop was at least genuinely concerned for her well-being. I, meanwhile, sat in the passenger seat, paralysed with the fear that they were going to bust me for imaginary crime. By the end of it I was almost weeping myself!

Saturday evening I can barely even recall what happened. I had a snooze to try and shake off the headache that started pounding in my noggin at the precise second the police car's siren started wailing and then repacked all of our crafty stuff into a smaller, more manageable set-up for Sunday's craft expedition to the Botanic Gardens.

Sunday morning was spent collecting my mum (who's up from Suffolk for the week), having a flask of tea leak over my jeans in the most unfortunate area and trying to make a t shirt stick to a concrete wall with sellotape. It was a slow day on the sales front to start off with, but it really picked up in the afternoon and in the end exceeded my vague weekend target in the takings department.

Sunday evening we all piled into Lee's mum's car and headed off to sunny Blantyre for dinner chez Andrew. It was a very pleasant evening and I am most jealous of his huge big house. Imagine the craft possibilities where you could set up a work station and not have to trip over your stock every time you enter the living room! And you didn't have to wrestle with the sliding wardrobe doors each time you wanted to check where the glue is! And a whole corner of your teeny tiny living room wasn't overtaken with wool! Oh, the possibilities!

This week is shaping up to be a busy un. Tonight I am planning to go straight home from work and go to bed, fully clothed and I might not even bother taking my shoes off. I am totally knackered after an entire weekend of what is essentially still working, albeit not for my real job. My real job was unfortunately splashed over the tabloid news this weekend, and not in a good way, so it's not the best of atmospheres today, after it being so buoyant on Friday (when we got an acupressure massage free - it was great! I am so going back!). Mum's up, so it is looking like a family dinner on Tuesday evening, hopefully a day's holiday on Wednesday to do some mother/daughter bonding and going to see We Are Scientists with Jo on Thursday nite.

Lee is unfortunately working Friday and Saturday nites, so not only will I not see much of him, but I am on my own for the epic trek to the dentist on Saturday morning! For those of you who don't know, I have a real issue with my teeths. I have spent well in excess of £500 having them filled in, filled out, covered up, root canaled, scaled, polished, crowned, veneered ... you name it, my teeths have had it. In fact, the last dentist I was with I saw so much of, I got a Christmas card from him and was practically on first name terms with his wife and kids. My new dentist though (well, I say new, but he's been there about 2 years) has a permanent cold and had a sense of humour bypass somewhere along the line. So it's not as fun as it used to be.

My front teeths have been melting away gradually for some years now and although they now have veneers, I still always feel like he's going to say, oh no, they'll need to come out and then I would want to DIE. I live in constant fear of something happening to them. They're the first thing I check when I wake of a morning ... tongue round the top ... the bottom ... yes, they're still there. I wake up in the middle of the night and check them and even whilst I am typing this, I am checking .. yes, they're still there. So to say I am a little obsessed with it, is putting it lightly. Still, I have managed to go from having an appointment every 2 weeks like I was a few years back (when I was in almost constant agonising pain, relieved only by high doses of Nurofen and Panadol together, gargling with soluble asprin and baby teething gel) and am now back to 6 monthly check ups like most other normals. Fingers crossed that continues this time.

This weekend coming is also one of the few free weekends I have in the run up to Christmas. We are craft-fair-ing like demons, so other than this weekend, the only free one is at the end of November, when hopefully Jo, Mar-c and I are going on a roadtrip to Lossiemouth to see her hometown. So, I had better get going on the old Crimbo shopping! Only 9 weeks to go ... :

posted by Claire @ 10/23/2006 07:05:00 am | 1 comments | links

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who would abandon a lovely child like you?

Today has been one long whirlwind of mystery mini-bar charges and barclaycard being arseholes. On top of my work woes, I am close to jacking it all in and going to live on a shingle beach with only a windbreak for shelter.


I am feeling like I have man-flu and I want to go and burrow into the duvet, but instead I have been forced into a life of domain name hell. And I have a billion things to do outside of work, and I just want to go and sleep.


Moan over. I think we've almost decided on a time to go to Cincinnati next year (April/May) and my brother and his lovely girlfriend are going to get married next September in Poland (she's Polish), so 2 trips to look forwards to, almost.


I am going to ride out the last half hour before freedom now.

posted by Claire @ 10/18/2006 04:10:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Maybe. Another day. Not tomorrow.

I am Jack's rage.

I have been running at an all time high (low?) this week on the work rage front. I am just too outraged to even talk about it.

Instead, I am going to knit a scarf for one of my 2 lovely swapees this evening.

Over and out.

posted by Claire @ 10/17/2006 05:28:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Monday, October 16, 2006

If I had known he was German I wouldn't have bothered.

Well, we didn't go to Coignashee as it is now closed. That's a bit of a shame, as it really was a lovely place. We didn't even go to Newcastle, oh no, we went to Leeds and then to York. It has been one of my vague ambitions in life to stay at Malmaison, and so we booked a swanky room for Saturday nite in Malmaison Leeds and off we went.

It was quite an enjoyable journey south until we reached junction 45 of the m1 and discovered that it was very closed. So we had quite a haul round Leeds trying to find Malmaison, a jaunt through a hideous shopping centre to avail ourselves of their map and then a journey round the ring road back to where we came in to find we had driven almost straight past it initially.

So slightly frazzled, we checked in and got to our room, only to find some woman on the phone there. Who said oh yes, I am just testing the phone - however, I heard her say as I entered the room oh i've got to go, I'll call you back. I was not amused. Anyway, the room was very nice, the bed palatial in it's proportions and we had just set about the important business of jumping on the bed like loons when yet another member of staff just breezed into the room unannounced. I was incensed and moved enough to call reception and ask if anyone else wanted to join us. Huh. You expect this from a Travelodge, but not a swanky place.

Mini bar explored, towels messed up, we took to the streets of Leeds for a wander around. We have been to Leeds before but only briefly to go to a wedding shop, back in the days before marriage. We took note of a nice looking Thai restaurant on the way, with a view to going back for dinner. We had a nice wander round, went to a few shops including my favourite Muji (yes, I spent a fortune, but some of it was Christmas presents, so I feel justified). We had meant to bring some of the free wine I got from Smile to quaff, but in our haste to leave home had forgotten it, so we set about trying to find somewhere to purchase some from. Not a single off licence to be had! We thought we had found an Asda just a few minutes from our hotel, but it turned out to be their head office. So we had to make do with the hotel stuff which was overpriced and not all that nice.

Back to the restaurant, we sauntered over at just after 7, famished as we were, expecting it to be quiet, such was it's location - however, it was absolutely packed and we were given a table only if we could be finished within an hour (of course we said yes, and then took our damn sweet time about it). Not even my sawasdee ka-ing could raise a smile from the maitre'd, but the staff were very pleasant and before long we were tucking into a very tasty meal indeed. I would recommend the Chao Phraya restaurant in Leeds to anyone! The food was delicious, very reasonably priced and you could even pay in bhat! I had some left over bhat, which I left as a tip and the waitress was delighted. The pancake with custard is to die for, although a little alarming in colour (bright green).

After a restful night's sleep in the enormous bed at the hotel, we were up earlyish and out to the car, having decided to go to York on the way back rather than spend the day in Leeds. I had tried to book into somewhere in York, as I went for a week at school and was keen to go back and see it again without being distracted by boys and being bullied by the cooler kids and indeed it was just as lovely as I remembered.

You could spend days exploring all the little alleys and all the old churchy places, but we contented ourselves with a stroll round the high spots and a hot pork sandwich and chips (it was FABULOUS). We took in the Shambles and a little market before heading up
to the Minster for the obligatory York photo opportunities. We also found the Japanese shop where I put my language skills to good use again with the staff, to squeals of
delight from the shopkeeper.

After all that excitement, we headed home and arrived in Glasgow just in time for some tea and then bed. The photos are here, for your viewing pleasure.

posted by Claire @ 10/16/2006 11:29:00 am | 0 comments | links

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

I couldn't live in a country with more than one time-zone.

I am finding it quite tough to get back into this time zone. Each morning this week I have woken up at between 3 and 4 am wide awake and ready to go. Which means by the time tea time rolls around, I am only fit for crawling into bed, thus perpetuating the sleepy cycle. I am hopeful that by the end of this weekend I will have caught up, but that will involve staying up late one day and I just don't see it happening. I will need to get Lee to poke me with a stick to keep me awake.

Anyway, it's been a week of unremitting cheesed-off-ness for me this week. Work is a monumental cocksucker at the moment for reasons just to dull to go into. I think it's just me being tired. I hope so, anyway. I seem to have no time for anyone but yet too much time for stuff. I dunno.

Last nite was the MF market meet-up which a whole 4 people attended. I am glad we have made these non-compulsory now, as it is quite annoying to make these plans only for no one to show up, so it makes it more of a social occasion than a thinly-veiled guise to collect money from people. At last nite's event, in between the roar of the football crowd, I learned that apparently Judy Finnegan is an alcoholic and that one of our marketeers has a book full of photos of mullets she has collected.

Tonite sees the return of Japanese class, meaning I am busy every Thursday evening now until Easter. Unless of course I drop out of the class, which is entirely possible, as I have done zero studying and I don't really feel like I am going to be up to Level 2. Maybe I can transfer to Level 1. We'll see. I have been trying to cram some information in this lunchtime, but there was important acorn gathering to do in Animal Crossing, so I didn't get much further than remembering how to introduce myself and scrawling my date of birth down on a piece of paper.

This weekend, Lee and I have decided to DO something. What this something is, we have yet to decide. We had thought on a trip to Coig Na Shee, but as it's closing very soon (or maybe has already), we may have to think of an alternative. Liverpool and Newcastle are being bandied about as possible alternatives, but we may just stay in Glasgow ...

posted by Claire @ 10/12/2006 04:29:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And I'm telling you that you're gonna need a raincoat.

I just discovered this. Which is a coincidence, as I was just discussing cultural swaps with someone earlier. I am hoping to make a cultural swap soon.



Things I can offer to potential swapees:

  • Knitted things
  • Small, strange looking things made of felt
  • Scottish things
  • British candy/sweets
  • Monkey related items
  • Paper things - stationery, stickers
  • British magazines
  • Craft supplies - yarn, beads, fabric
  • Funky stuff
  • Words of (faux) wisdom


Things I'd like to receive

  • Yarn
  • Monkey things
  • Sock monkey related items
  • Beads
  • Fabric
  • Savoury snacks/candy
  • Green apple flavour Extra chewing gum
  • Things from Old Navy
  • stationery
  • Japanese cuteness
  • Japanese childrens reading books/school books


I am a crafter, so crafty things are always a winner for me. I am a big fan of all things Japanese and cute and am currently (trying to) learn to speak Japanese. Oh, and candy of course. Oh, and I don't have my ears pierced, so no earrings!

Although new to this swapping stuff, I do know what I don't want to do. I don't want to be going round shops with a shopping list for you. I want to "swap" things I already have with you or stuff I can make/easily obtain.

Holding down a full time job and running my own business means I don't have the time to go hunting round Top Shop - that's what Ebay's for people! If there is a thing you specifically want, then I will try and get it, but I'm afraid I can't accommodate specific but vague demands - e.g. one brass rubbing of a shire horse with a green frame. :)

posted by Claire @ 10/11/2006 04:33:00 pm | 15 comments | links

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Have you seen my envelopes? Could you check in your bag please?

I fucking hate Pink Floyd. I hate them with a passion usually reserved for hating paedos.

That's all.

posted by Claire @ 10/10/2006 02:08:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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On the road again

I'm back, not in a tracksuit (name that song) but in the sombre black of UK officewear. But what of the intervening few days, I hear you cry?

Well, Friday evening Ammie and I spent whirling round the Siam square area, which I had somehow managed to miss entirely before. It is a warren of little stores and stalls, a lot of clothes stores, Thai music stores and of course, jewellery stores. I bought some more great stuff for MF and for myself and we had a general wander round. There was a big area in the centre (that'll be the square, I guess) where there were some Thai bands playing - we arrived there just as a scary Thai metal band finished. It was such a great atmosphere, something that could never happen in Glasgow, not least because the weather wouldn't stand for it.

After this, I went home on the BTS and decided to tackle packing. This was not as easy as I thought it would be in the end, as I had managed to accumulate quite a lot of stuff during my stay! I went out with one lightly packed suitcase and came back with one stuffed suitcase that had to be sat on to close it and an overflowing holdall. So packing took a lot longer than anticipated and I went to bed safe in the knowledge that I didn't have to be up for work in the morning. I had planned on going to Chatuchak market, but after packing texted Mimi who had offered to take me to cancel, as there was just no way I could pack anything else (and it's a given that you can't go to Chatuchak without buying a mountain of stuff!).

So, Saturday morning I spent pottering around, watching TV and generally not doing much at all. The ironing board was still there - never did figure that one out. I had arranged to meet Jamie on Saturday afternoon at the office as he was working, so I headed down there in record time due to no traffic and we hit the street. Ake and his brother Arm came along and we ended up going to the cinema to see Cars which was just out there (it was pretty good, for the record) and to Subway/Auntie Anne's at Paragon for some lunch. Auntie Anne's pretzels is one of my favourite snack stops in the US, so I was pretty delighted to see one in Bangkok and promptly ate my own bodyweight in pretzels. Just as well, as the popcorn at the cinema seemed to be salmon flavoured.

After the cinema (we arrived just in time to stand for the national anthem at the start), Jamie and I went shopping around MBK and Patpong for DVDs and other general stuff. I managed to squeeze it in to my case, but only just. I bought a pair of Puma trainers for £6.50! What a bargain, even if they do fall apart after 5 minutes. They are way too comfy. Anyway, I managed to do some more shopping that was quite unintentional, bought a bundle of DVDs including series 3 of Las Vegas (all 5 discs) for about a fiver - it's not even finished showing on TV here. It's great quality too.

I took my last tuk tuk back to the hotel (it was quite a nerve-racking journey as we hit a pothole at one point and actually took off) and spent the rest of the evening trying to cram everything into my bags and worrying about excess luggage charges. My ride to the airport showed up this time and we set off around midnight through the relatively empty streets of Bangkok. We hit a traffic jam at some traffic lightsout past the night bazaar which was strange for that time of night - it turned out that a marathon was takin g place and the police were holding up the traffic to let the runner pass. A marathon. At nearly 1 am. That certainly rounded off my trip nicely!

We arrived at the airport eventually and it certainly is a lot less shabby than the old one. I checked in with ease (and didn't have to pay any extra for heavy bags, mwuhahahaha) and paid my airport tax (they charge you 500 bhat to leave the country) and then began the lengthy trek to the departure gates. On the way, I passed an enormous statue thing of some Buddha figures which was most unexpected and quite spectacular.

Sadly, my first flight out almost was the journey from hell. It was quite a busy flight, slightly delayed and I was sandwiched in between a Swedish man with a heavy cold (and apparently testicles so large that he needed all my leg room too) and 2 of the fattest Asian men I have ever encountered in my life. I only mention their ethnicity as once they had sat down practically on top of me, and proceeded to sweat directly on to me, they then started to converse with their friends in the row opposite in another language and throw things backwards and forwards with apparently the sole purpose of making me cry. No matter what the other language is, you can always tell when someone is talking about you, or slagging you off, and to say that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable is a mild understatement. In fact, so visible was my discomfort that a nice Japanese flight attendant took pity on me and found me 2 free seats at the front of the plane for me to move to. I was very glad and almost wept with relief that I didn't have to sit to what was surely Birmingham's family from hell for the entire duration of the flight.

Dubai airport was also easier to navigate this time, despite my flight departing from the furthest away gate possible from arrivals. I should have feigned a dodgy ankle or something to get a shot in one of those golf cart thingumies. This flight was possibly one of the best I've been on. It was so empty that I got my window seat and the other 2 seats next to it to myself, so not only did I get to spread out, I got to LIE DOWN for the whole flight! I was quite excited about that, as I often feel that if I could just lie down on a flight, I could put up with travelling just about anywhere. So it was great to be able to lounge around and watch movies and snooze in comfort.

Lovely, lovely Lee came to collect me from the airport and I was sooooo glad to see him after having been awake for approximately 36 hours on and off. He had cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, bought me lovely flowers and he made meatloaf for dinner, one of my favourites of his many recipes. I was so relieved to be home, I could have wept. Nothing too exciting seems to have happened while I've been away, although I do feel that I've been gone for about 4 months, not just over a week.

It's now Tuesday and I am having real trouble readjusting to GMT. I have been waking at around 3 am, wide awake and raring to go - but then of course by lunchtime, I am dead to the world. Yesterday I went home at lunch time to try and get some sleep, only to be kept awake by the sounds of bulldozers knocking down the last of the flats at the back of our house. I slept a bit but was awake around 4ish, so eventually got up around 6 am and tidied up, did some laundry, unpacked some more and generally pottered around until it was time to come to work.

Work clearly has not missed me while I've been away and nothing majorly exciting has taken place in Miso Funky world either. Jo is in Mexico, so I am doing the Miso Funky market meeting myself this Wednesday evening, ably assisted by Jo from Stella My Star - although the football's on, so we will probably just end up having a natter and then escaping the crowds. Japanese class starts again on Thursday evening, for which I have done the sum total of NO studying for, so I am hoping the first few weeks will be revision of last year (otherwise I am screwed).

I will bring this epic post to a close now and insist that you go and look at the photos instead here.

posted by Claire @ 10/10/2006 11:23:00 am | 1 comments | links

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Oh the sights I have seen

Well, because of the absolutely torrential rain last nite, our plans were scuppered and we did not get to go to Patpong/Silom as planned. But I did pop out to China at lunch time. Instead we headed for Central World Plaza (or World Trade Center as it also known) to the shop with the luxurious stationery department, Zen. Sadly, it was closed for renovations - sorry Mar-c (but I got you a different calendar today, more of that later!). Anyway, here's me getting way ahead of myself. I must set the scene first:


The rain was literally bouncing off the pavements again, worse than i have seen it before. I tried to take some photos out the office window (we are on the 24th floor, so the view is quite spectacular), but not sure how they will turn out (yes, I still have not remembered the data cable for the camera, so you'll have to wait til Monday now). The roads were flooded and the pavements nigh on empty, as everyone sheltered from the rain. So, Phop and Panny decided to come with me, Ammie and Mee to Central World and as Phop has a car, he decided to drive the short distance. It took us TWO HOURS to make it through the traffic! TWO HOURS! I didn't realise it at the time as we were having such a good time, but that is surely some sort of record. The 2 hours were taken up with them trying to teach me some Thai (krai kai kai gai!) and me teaching them some English tongue twisters (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers) and generally chatting.


When we got there, we headed to Fuji for some dinner and I managed to speak a little Thai and a little Japanese all in one meal, so I was feeling pretty good about myself. We then had a stroll round a different shop for Hello Kitty things (yes, I spent too much money on what is essentially rubbish) and then Panny introduced me to possibly my new favourite shop on earth, B2S. It is like a giant stationery and book store and I was in my element. Again, I spent way too much cash, but I enjoyed it which is surely the main thing!


I headed home after that and shared a taxi with Mee back to Oakwood, as it turns out she lives just 10 sois away from there (a soi is like a side street - so I am on soi 24 off Naradiwhas and she is soi 14). I got back to my room to discover an ironing board and iron in the middle of the lounge with no explanation provided - maybe they are trying to tell me something. They have still not taken the hint and taken my pool towel back to the gym for me, so the iron will remain where it is. I reckon some poor Japanese businessman is probably waiting patiently to iron his shirt for some important meeting or other in room 5055 or something. I had a chat with Lee and then went to bed.


This morning I was up early again and headed for some more pineapple and bacon. Yesterday, I braved the french toast, which turned out not to be the American, sweet, disgusting version and was actually proper french toast. I was quite looking forwards to it this morning - and lo and behold, they had none left. So I thought the pancakes would a good substitute. Only to discover they were made with possibly condensed milk - ugh.

Anyway, after breakfast, I took what was probably one of the longest journeys of my life to the office in yet another taxi. I surreptitiously took photos on my mobile of the highlights of the journey, so I hope to be able to post those when I get back. The taxi journey was rounded off by a nice security guard man opening the door to the taxi for me and stopping the traffic for me to cross the road when I got to the office - what a nice guy.


No sooner than I sat on my chair (which is broken - it keeps sliding down til I have practically got my chin on the desk) than I was asked if I fancied a trip to China Town at lunchtime. Does Hello Kitty love apples?! (clue: yes) It was suggested that we check out a huge jewellery store there that we got some stuff from before, so off we went in a taxi, me, Visit, Ammie and Mee and relatively sped across town.

China Town here is pretty much the real deal - much more authentic than Glasgow's that's for sure. I saw some pretty phenomenal sights - including an authentic Chinese man with the balancing-scale carrying thing on his shoulders with lots of raw fish in (photo to follow). And some strange things in the Chinese medicine shops - shark fins, jars of whole dried seahorses, dried fish stomachs ... I am glad we have the NHS.


Visit took us to a Chinese place for lunch which seemed to specialise in dim sum. I could understand very little on the menu apart from something called "fried goose foots" which was served with cabbage. We opted for noodles and a selection of about 8 different dim sum things, some custard buns and some banana fritters. Oh and some truly disgusting chrysanthemum juice. It tasted a bit like Night Nurse and was so sickly and cough medicine-y that I had to water it down before I could even pretend to enjoy it. This princely feast for 4 people, which would probably have been around £40+ at home cost under £6 in total.


After this feast, we set off for the enormo-jewellery store along the road. We walked the half mile or so down to the store and I must becoming acclimatised to the heat as I was not suffering too much (and my hair is still mostly straight - it's been wilting in the heat). It was great to walk through China Town and I am only sorry that there is no way to capture the smells and the sounds at the same time as taking the photos. A great experience.


Now we're back at the office, having picked up some more stuff for MF. It's my last day at work now, so we are finishing off the training things, sipping frozen raspberry tea from Starbucks (delicious) and eating a strange concoction which may or may not be what tapioca is made from - it tastes like coconut cream biscuits, has the consistency of boiled potatoes and grit and looks like a giant barbecued parsnip.


Tonight I think we will be once again attempting the Silom/Siam area if the rain holds off (touch wood, so far it has) and my last full evening of shopping before heading home tomorrow.

posted by Claire @ 10/06/2006 03:46:00 pm | 1 comments | links

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Looks like rain again

There is a saying that when one is tired of London, one is tired of life. I like to think that it easily translates to shopping. And you'll be pleased to hear, I have not yet tired of life. Or shopping. Or, for that matter, Bangkok, or kokkers as I like to think of it.

Last night, Ammie took me to Suan Lum Night Bazaar, this time I managed not to get off to such a clumsy start. I managed to pick up some great stuff for Miso Funky and also somehow managed to buy 6 handbags - however as only 1 (ok, possibly 2) of these are for me, I feel that it is justifiable. I do have a problem with this sort of shopping - everything I see I think, "oh, Jo would LOVE that!" Or "hmm, mum would like that for Christmas", or as has happened so far - "Oh Marceline would look great in this t-shirt" and "sock monkeys for 180 bhat, I'll take 2". I always see things for other people and end up not buying things for myself really, although I suppose that might just make me generous. Or stupid.

Anyway, as we are doing more shopping this evening, and I still have a surplus of bhat, then I will endeavour to make more of it this time. I think we are heading for Patpong and Silom this evening - cheap DVDs all round. I have a list of scary movies to try to find for Lee, so I will be scouring the streets - or at least visiting the shop I went to last time to see if they are still there.

Last night I saw some real-life, every day ladyboys and I must say, they were absolutely stunning. It takes quite a few glances to even pick up the suggestion that all is not what it seems - very convincing. And very beautiful! I felt quite the heifer next to them! I also probably got a better deal on things than when I went myself earlier in the week, as Ammie was quite the haggler.

It is strange not really knowing what is going on when people are talking around you. I can pick up a few words here and there (strangely the words for full, lovely and 24 - they don't come up in one sentence very often though), but phone conversations are a mystery, for example. I can get the "hello" part and then a lot of "ka ... ka, ka ... ka ... ka.. ka" and then several bursts of something unintelligible and the phone goes down - I don't know what goodbye is, so it always seems very abrupt. Also, strangely, many people seem to answer their mobiles with "hellooooo" rather than the the thai "sawasdee ka" - maybe like we'd say bonjour or something.

Today, training went a bit better - in that when I got to work the system had mysteriously fixed itself over night and of course the company who look after said they had done nothing. They are notorious for not admitting their faults, so I have complained to their boss and hopefully they will get their collective asses kicked. The girls seem to have picked it up well, so time will tell if they have understood what I've been trying to get across.

For lunch today, we went to the Greyhound cafe, downstairs in the enormo-foyer of the office building. It was torrential rain outside, so it was totally heaving and we waited forever for our food, but it was very nice (Japanese noodles with chicken, mushrooms and celery - obviously I picked that out) and for afters Panny bought me an iced chocolate - basically a frozen milkshake. It proceeded to coat my hands and the floor in chocolatey goo, I don't think I was very popular with the cafe folks.

The office building needs to be seen to be quite believed. There must be several thousand people working here and in the basement is like a mini shopping mall, with lots of cafes and shops. There was also today a stall giving away Thai GQ magazine and strangely a stall by the entrance selling duvet covers and quilted blankets. The latter was a lot busier than the former for some reason. Today, I also saw a monk in his robes on the escalator. If only I had had my camera out in time! It was quite a bizarre sight.



Tonight, me and some of the girls and Jamie are going to Silom and Patpong, as aforementioned, so hopefully more larks to report of tomorrow. I have cunningly managed to book a flight home on Sunday morning, so I have all day Saturday here too and still make it home for Sunday lunchtime - because of the time difference, I am gaining 6 hours, so I will be back to reality on Monday - but I bet it's still raining.

posted by Claire @ 10/05/2006 06:14:00 pm | 4 comments | links

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Something fishy ...

Well, I was as good as my early night word last night and was in bed for 9pm. Not before I had some noodles and a swim though (not together) and once again watched some football on tv as it was the only thing I could understand that wasn't DOOM AND GLOOM news.

Today, I was up early, and at work for 830! And I paid for breakfast this time, they clearly weren't going to fall for that one twice. Crispy bacon and pineapple may sound like an odd combination, but try it, it's lovely.

Time to reflect upon some of the sights I have seen so far. Yesterday, sadly whilst I was in a car (in a jam, yes) and so not able to take photos, I saw not one, but two men guddling with fish at the roadside, seperately. The first man was on a moped and he had a large plastic barrel tied on to the pillion seat and he was decanting what looked like small fish from a large plastic tank in the back of a pick up truck into said barrel. Not quite sure why, but it was very intriguing, especially as this was all happening outside a building site. Maybe it wasn't fish, but I am sure it was.

The second man had 2 large fish in a black plastic bucket and was pouring water away into the gutter. The fish looked to be dead, and whilst this is perhaps not so unusual, consider that he was doing this by the side of a 6 lane highway in rush hour. Today I saw many interesting things, including a market stall under a motorway bridge selling nothing but flourescent orange overalls, a man playing the flute with a bucket hung round his ears by the side of the same 6 lane highway and a man with an umbrella strapped to his head - all at lunch time.

For lunch we travelled quite a distance to a district called Khlong Toei to eat ribs and chicken wings. This seemed to be a big treat by the reaction of everyone else and I must admit it was very tasty. But it was miles away from the office and with that and the traffic, well, we were gone for quite a while. Not that it's had too much of an impact on training today - I've not been able to do any as our system to manage things is dead and the Canadian company that runs it seems to have disappeared, despite their claims of being open 24 hours a day. It's most frustrating.

The rest of the week is shaping up to be quite busy. Some of the girls are taking me back to Suan Lum tonight, Jamie is taking me to the cinema tomorrow and I still have trips to Chatuchak and Zen department store (ostensibly to get a Hello Kitty calendar for marveline, but really to ogle their enormous stationery department and buy nice pens) to fit in too.

But now I must go and try one more time to shout at Canadians before I combust with rage.

posted by Claire @ 10/04/2006 09:41:00 am | 0 comments | links

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

oh oh

well, that was a mistake - the pizza. I have been chucking it up since about 8pm last night. Big style illness, not good, doubly not good in a foreign country when you don't have your loving husband to hold your hair out the way and mop your brow. I had a little weep this morning when I thought of missing him, but I have recomposed myself now.


Last night, I finished work and took the sky train to MBK. I had a half-hearted wander round, but by this time I was beginning to feel like I'd been thru a spin cycle in a washing machine, so I decided to hop it back on the train and then get a taxi back. Except there were no taxis to be had, so I had to get a tuk tuk.


There really is no other feeling I have yet experienced on earth like clinging on for dear life in the back of what is essentially a moped with a big seat on the back as you whizz round a corner doing an illegal u turn at night, your
hair going everywhere and the driver bellowing at you in a language you can't even begin to understand. It's a must do in Bangkok, most definitely.


The books I have read say oh you should get one once for the experience and stick to taxis, but if you can do it when the traffic is not completely chock a block (rare here!), then you won't inhale too much carbon monoxide and it's just as much if not cheaper than a taxi in most cases. Again - as long as you agree a price before setting off, then you're ok. It's best to offer a ridiculously low sum and then barter up. I ended up paying about 65p for my ride home and it was most exhilarating!


So, most of my evening was taken up by being too ill to move. I couldn't make it out of bed until 10am this morning, such was my plight, so I was late to work - no sooner than I got here, than we went for lunch (11.30am on the dot!) to a place in a nearby building. It was a beautiful place, a gorgeous pool outside the
restaurant which I'd have loved a soak in. But the menu was very bizarre. Apparently it changes every week. I had some lovely soup and then a roast beef sandwich - which was made with bread hard enough to sink a ship.
Jamie had quail stuffed with dates - which was most bizarre looking and tasting. He had apple in cage for desert - apple pie to you and me! Most strange!


This afternoon, I got going with the reason I am here - training staff. It's going pretty well so far I think and hopefully we will get it finished tomorrow. Not sure there are any plans for this evening - which suits me fine. All I am fit for is heading back to Oakwood, maybe having a swim if the rain stays off and collapsing into bed...

posted by Claire @ 10/03/2006 05:46:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Monday, October 02, 2006

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It's BOUNCING off the wonky pavements

Well dear reader, I can tell you must be on the edge of your seats to discover what the outcome of my debate with mineself last nite was - to go or not to go to Suan Lum Night Bazaar?

Well, I decided why the hell not, and so off I trotted all by myself, wet hair and all (not that it was wet for much longer about 10 seconds after I walked out the door). I also encountered the first taxi driver who was happy to just take me to my destination without trying to find some long way round that would cost a few extra bhat, and I arrived relatively unscathed at my destination in record time for Bangkok traffic.

However, upon disembarking, I was not to remain unscathed for long. No sooner than I put dog to pavement, than I tripped on a loose paving stone (the pavements are paved with whatever old crockery they find lying around here it seems, and rarely glued to the ground) and was only saved from going arse over tit by embedding my poor left foot on the pointy edge. I somehow managed to take all the skin from my toes and they have now gone a very deep purple colour and I wouldn't be surprised if they were broken, given the fragility of my trotters.

But anyhow, I was not to let this injury deter me from my goal, which was of course, to shop. Suan Lum is all open air and is basically lane after lane of little units selling everything from wood carvings to crocheted monkeys (I bought 3). It's great for vintage clothes, so if you're a size tiny, then this is your wet dream. I purchased a few things for myself and some others, including some fake shoes for me and Jo and the aforementioned crocheted monkeys and generally wandered around for a few hours, browsing and sweating (mostly at the same time). I bought a top which I am not convinced about at a shop called Fat Story, which I thought very appropriate although slightly misleading as the girl there was tiny. I also managed to buy the same t-shirt twice for Lee, but in different colours.

Whilst on my wanderings, I spotted about 500 stalls selling yellow polo shirts which I found slightly odd, until I realised why. As it is the anniversary of the accession of the King to the throne, everyone is showing their appreciation by wearing one of these yellow (the royal colour) shirts each Monday and some on Friday too. It had certainly made it very interesting today, but more on that later.

After I had bought just about all I could carry, I managed to find a taxi to take me back to base and once again I had to get my map out and show the driver where we were going. It is essentially a straight road with one turn, but he unfortunately got that turn wrong and we ended up getting on some express way and going a long way round again. I think that this time it was genuinely a mistake, as the driver got quite distressed and kept looking at me in his mirror with an apologetic smile (rather than the greedy glint in the eye that some previous ones have had) and when we were waiting at some traffic lights almost at our destination he turned and said something that sounded very apologetic in Thai (of course, he could well have been saying "ha, suckered you again, bitch" for all I know, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

I was pretty ready to collapse when I got back, so I had some room service satay (total cost, approximately £4) and hit the sack.

This morning, I was awoken by the minus 10 air conditioning early and managed to stagger out of bed and get ready whilst watching some show jumping on ESPN. I also managed to blag free breakfast as the waitress for some reason just did not want to get me to sign for it and I didn't have all day to hang around.

I managed to get in a taxi and head for the office thinking I would make it in plenty of time, however the journey of about 1 mile took around 40 minutes, owing to the horrendous traffic here. Seriously, think of the busiest road you've been on in the UK and then quadruple it. No one seems to get too agitated and the horn is rarely used (I was in a colleague's car today and he tooted his horn at a motorbike taxi, but it was to tell him to move over slightly so he wouldn't brush up against him, rather than to tell him off).

I did see what looked like 95% of the population wearing yellow t shirts though, which was rather freaky, as it gave the impression that everyone works in the same place. It wasn't until I got to our office that I remembered about it being to do with the king, so I did spend most of the morning wondering where the huge place was that these people all must have worked in.

The office here is so much quieter than at home, mostly because everyone is so dedicated to their jobs and seem to actively enjoy working. Today at lunchtime we went to Visit's house (which is amazingly beautiful - everything I would ever want in a house) and saw the little baby KowPoon, who was asleep. She is very cute and Wan, Visit's wife is back to her slender self already, only 6 weeks later (although she told me she has 12 kilos to lose, she looks amazing). We had some pizza for lunch (yes, I know, I have been feeling very dodgy all afternoon) and then came back to the office and I've been tapping away at this and that ever since. I am not starting my training until tomorrow as some of the people who I need to train are off today.

Not yet decided what to do this evening, but as it's still CHUCKING it down (it's bouncing off the wonky pavements), whatever it is will be indoors...

posted by Claire @ 10/02/2006 05:32:00 pm | 1 comments | links

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Water, water everywhere ...

Who even knew there was a 5 am! Although, in real time, it was actually only 11pm back home. But at any rate, it was a bit strange.

The whole day has been a bit strange really, in the grand scheme of things. It has been very heavily featured around water, which is fitting for a Pisces, I suppose.


I was up at 5am to go to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market near Samut Songkram, about 1.5 hours away from the city centre. I had to go across town to another hotel to meet Ammie and Jamie for the pick up of the tour. It was a bit disheartening to see a fairly rickety looking mini-van, but thankfully it was air-conditioned. The journey gave Jamie and I plenty of time to catch up on a year's worth of gossip and we were soon at the market. We got out the van and more or less straight onto a long tail motor boat for a jaunt round the khlongs (canals), where we saw some traditional thai houses by the canal.

Once we got back to the little jetty area, we got on a different oar-powered longtail boat for a slower, more detailed tour of the khlongs with the actual market on. Most of the "stalls" are not actually floating, but on the canal banks, however, there are plenty of boats still going up and down selling mostly fruit and vegetables. It is definitely catering for the tourist market, with most of the stalls being souvenirs and handicrafts, most of which are available at a fraction of the price in Bangkok itself. However, it's definitely worth a visit, it's so much fun to go whizzing down the canal with a nice breeze in your face!

Of course, it being so early, we had to have some sort of breakfast. Jamie bought some coconut pancakes from a woman who was actually cooking them in her boat! They were delicious, as was the pork and noodle soup that we had when we got back on dry land, also cooked by a little old lady in her boat. I had read that it was not wise to eat anything from the market due to the vendors using water from the canal in the cooking (which is the colour of mud), but you really do have to try these things as you never know if you'll be back! I am glad I did and so far my delicate stomach has not complained!

I also enjoyed some coconut milk fresh from the coconut whilst on our second boat ride. I don't actually like what I thought was coconut - but these are not the brown hairy ones that we know back home. These are young, green and non-hairy coconuts, basically with the top cut off with a machete and a straw stuck in - very sweet milky water and very refreshing in the 34 degree humid heat!

Ammie very kindly had organised the tour for us, and I had thought that once we were done with the market, we'd be heading back to the city, but in actual fact we ended up going to a few different places first. Next after the market, was the elephant trekking place. The elephants didn't look best pleased to be there and it was very expensive to ride them (well, for Thailand it was expensive) so we relaxed with a drink whilst some of our group went off through the woods on the elephants.

Next, we stopped off at the Cobra Show. We had seen loads of posters advertising what was supposed to be "the most exciting show on earth", so we coughed up our £2.80 and went on in. The main show was based around some crazy guys, some cobras in sacks and a mongoose. You have to wonder about the wisdom of putting 3 poisonous snakes in your mouth, but these guys seem to do it several times a day.

Jamie managed to semi-overcome his fear of snakes, but touching a cobra - it felt a bit like a garden hose - not scaly at all and very soft and warm. We also saw a crocodile, some big birds and some tortoises. The entire place looked and felt like it was due to be shut down by the RSPCA any second, but it was really something to see the snakes so close up. We were examining some water snakes, which were all hanging in the water, looking like they were dead, discussing whether they could jump out of the water when a leaf floated down and landed on my hand and we all leapt out of our skins!

Then it was time to head back to our van, and on to a wood-carving centre. Some of the works were really amazing, but we only had 10 minutes to spend there. I would have liked to have spent some more time watching the paper-making demonstration, but we had to get back to town.

Once back, we were all pretty knackered, so we decided to go to MBK to Fuji, a Japanese restaurant which I had been told about. We had to take our shoes off to sit at the table and ate like kings on several different dishes for less than £3 each. We all headed back to our respective homes and I came back to the hotel and decided to investigate the pool. It's a lovely bit pool with a bridge over the middles, surrounded by palm trees, so I really enjoyed having a good dunk in it! It's very shallow, but I'll definitely be dipping the old dogs back in there before I head home.

Now, I am sitting in my room, taking the photos off my camera ready for Flickr uploading tomorrow (the internet connection is way too expensive in the hotel!) and debating whether to go to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar by myself this evening. I am so knackered I might give it a miss, and head for bed though. I have been here over 24 hours and have not yet shopped! Crikey ...

posted by Claire @ 10/01/2006 05:40:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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