Bangkok and Cha Am, November 2015

 Bangkok is getting more familiar. The sky train is simple to navigate, we found a wonderful homeschool group, we are relatively settled in our apartment, we’ve been to a beach, we mostly figured out how to eat (vegetarian is a challenge!), and we know how to order the delicious cold orange-colored Thai tea.  Im not sure what makes it orange but they add condensed milk- yuuuuummmmm.

  Bangkok sunset and a view near our station, both seen from sky train platform:

  

  A rare vegetarian dish, not sure where we got this but I took the photo to help communicate that we eat eggs but no meat:

 We went to the science center for education a little run-down but very affordable and we liked the ‘zero gravity’ slide experience. 

  

  

  

 The kids also liked the arts area where they painted ceramic piggy banks and cartoon horses on silk frames. 

  

 Another day we took public transportation in the form of a canal boat, kind of like a bus on the water. There are stations and tickets and a bold driver with a roaring motor. You have to move quickly to get on and off, and it got very crowded later on the way back. We could see the backs of houses on the canal. 

  

  

  

  

 Ridiculously, we went ice skating in Thailand before ever setting foot on a beach! There is a weekly homeschool meet up at one of the several (?!) ice rinks around the city. It was great to meet homeschoolers and to be somewhere cold! 

  

 We also joined an English-language library in town, the Neilson Hays Library. It is a beautiful space with wooden cabinets full of books for kids and adults. They also have art activities in Saturdays.  

  

  

 The kids made beautiful floating flower baskets with candles for Loy Krathong, a festival to honor the goddess of water.  This was a library activity and we hope to release the baskets on a body of water on the festival day later. I was happy the craft used cross sections of banana trees for the base of the basket, rather than styrofoam as we hear is sometimes used.

  

   

  The day after ice skating, we went to a beach recommended by a coworker of Mr. F. It is not too far from Bangkok, tends to be frequented by Thais rather than foreigners, and is not crowded during weekdays. We took a minibus to Cha Am and stayed overnight.   

    
    
 
Cha Am beach was about half covered by umbrellas with beach chairs and tables underneath. You rent a chair and vendors come by selling all types of food, souvenirs, foot massages, you name it. Weekends they say can be quite crowded, but the weekdays we spent there were quiet. 

 

Back in Bangkok, we visited the Jim Thompson House. This is an interesting historic building comprised of six traditional Thai houses of teak which Mr. Thompson bought, had disassembled, and had reassembled on his Bangkok property.  

  

  

  

 Jim Thompson is an American known for reviving the Thai craft of silk fabric and for collecting Thai artifacts, some over 1,000 years old, over his 25 years living in Thailand. He is also known for his mysterious disappearance in Cambodia at the age of 61. His house is now a museum where visitors can see his collections and the house itself. It is  a beautiful oasis in bustling Bangkok.

    
   
These are traditional dancers that performed, and some silk-making displays: 

    
   
The big kids were at a movie, and though the place was not designed for kids the twins did alright during the 40-minute tour. Afterwards, the tour guides seemed to enjoy making tiny origami sculptures with them! 

   
That is some of what we are up to in Bangkok, more to come!

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