Ahh...I have made it to the half term holiday - one week and one day off before the next stretch up to Easter which this year co-incides with the Buddhist New Year - what the Thais call Songkran. Tomorrow our daughter, Frances, is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok. I will meet her at the international airport whose long name - Suvanarbhumi - means "the golden land". I rather like that. Conversely, I think Heathrow must mean the opposite!
On Sunday morning, we will take a government bus down to the island of Koh Samet in the Gulf of Thailand. It is popular with Thais and by car is only two to three hours from Bangkok. Fortunately, we will mostly be there during the week for weekends can be especially busy. We're staying at Jep's Bungalows close to the beach but as you can see from the photograph - everywhere is close to the beach!
After five days in Koh Samet, Frances will fly over to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam to see an old school friend who is living and working there. Then she'll come back to Bangkok and hopefully we will have enough time to see some of the sights. She is also going to spend a day in the primary section of the school.
Last Sunday evening I went to Chinatown where Chinese New Year celebrations were in full swing. Some streets were temporarily pedestrianised and there were hundreds of food and souvenir stalls. Thousands of people - often in red shirts thronged the streets and at eight o'clock Princess Srindhorn arrived amidst tight security and much palaver. The Thai Royal Family are greatly revered and foreigners are advised to avoid asking questions about them - especially the demigod King Rama IX - Bhumibol Adulyadej who came to the throne in 1950 and is the world's longest reigning monarch. His image is everywhere.
|King Rama IX - Bhumibol Adulyadej
Not sure when I will next have chance to blog - possibly not for a few days...