Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Strawberries, almonds, yoghurt and raisins

My new favorite thing...The fantastic weather in Thailand these days (clear skies, 24 C) have brought the strawberry season...At 3-4 euros a kilo it's such a bargain...Mix'em up with some almods, plain yoghurt and few raisins to replace pure sugar..DELICIOUS!
This is one thing I love about Thailand. If you wanna eat healthy food, you can easily aford fact, it's probably cheaper than the junk option.

Our little boy takes his time...At our last check-up he was 3,500 and as the doctor says quite a long baby...We went thourgh our family history to find out who's to 'blame' for such a basketball player. It's Ake's granddad, a 190 cm chinese man!!! Since neither myself or Ake are really tall, it would be funny to have our boy turned teen overtaking us in height...

Anyhow, doctors orders were clear: WE SORT OF NEED TO ENCOURAGE THIS KIDDO TO COME OUT...Spicy food is supposed to do whenever it's not strawberries, it's curry!!! I've had buckets of curry since, but no dice! In fact, he seems to enjoy the combination of flavours...

Back soon....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Birth Story - Bangkok

So I knew that Thai policemen are trained in delivering babies, but never actually thought it often comes to that. Well, it happened to a friend of Ake's family.

The woman got stuck in traffic(and in Bangkok that may mean, your car is moving literally few metres an hour), the taxi driver panicked and grabbed the first policeman he saw. The guy was very reassuring and said with a huge smile:'No worries, Mam. This is my 8th delivery on the streets of Bangkok!" I'll spare you the details, but basically, within an hour the baby was out. And where in Bangkok? In the most crowded spot in the entire city, Victory Monument, where you basically have to fight your way through. Naturally, when it was all over, the ambulance arrived as well...

This one was great to hear as my little one is ready to pop any day now...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just few days away from entering the last strech...the 9th month...I kind of stop growing, so what you saw in the pictures below is pretty much all...
Very very excited to see the little one and take him around..Well maybe not for the first few months, but after that. I was reading somewhere that a kiddo born between two cultures that grows up traveling is called a 'third culture child'...That's what we're having gang! I wonder what he's gonna answer at 'Where are you from?'...But hey, he'll figure it out...

We miss traveling a bit..I must say...but I'm sure these few months are just a break...and we decided, that while the kiddo is small we'll be targeting the poshier destinations...New Zealand, Japan...We're throwing in China in there too - the wild card.

Did I say China? Have a look at what I found on the net...


Monday, October 23, 2006

Back with more photos of that gorgeous pool...and a better view of the bump at nearly 8 months...especially no 3 side view.

It's big, folks! But not big enough yet! ;)


Well, me managed to calm down the kiddo, so he would layed off the contractions and after a 7 months dry of holidays we headed for the beach...We'd missed several opportunities in the past and we were really really hoping for this one to work or else we'd go bonkers! Enough of Bangkok!

We drove to Cha-am, some 200 km away from Bangkok. The plan was to just get there and find some place to stay. From the express way you see loads of signs like ' Beach Garden Resort. > 500 m'...easy enough.

PAMPERING was the name of the game. We were looking for something with a swimming pool and a massage parlor nearby...and boy, we foud it. We stayed at Baan Rom Mai, a U-shape designed resort with a tropical garden and a 200 metre swimming pool with tiny whirpools all around. HEEEEA - VEN!!

So, for 2 days, we did nothing but soak our selves in the pool or go for oil massages...It's not like I can be too adventurous at this stage. :))

Pregnancy wise...

HEAT! That's the only thing I hate about being pregnant...I sweat my butt off even when it's just 23 C...not to mention the total agony when the termometer hits 30 or 35. Therefore...the pool...

I'm a week away from entering my 8th month now, feeling great...Yeah, sure, I'm not a spring flower anymore, I need to catch my breath after couple of stairs, my stomach is basically inside my rib cage...but other than that, it's a fabulous thing watching and feeling the little bouncing all over the place.


This service is going from bad to worse...took me 20 min to upload the 3 photos..and I'm totaly won't upload the rest...I'll give it a ANOTHER go in a few hours.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Coup wise ...

It's all fact this coup was more of a big scare than actually dangerous...Sure, I went to work for 2 weeks driving by tanks and soldiers with guns, but by the second week everyone was oblivious to all of it.

It was just the first couple of days that people were shushing in noodle shops...after that they pretty much went on with their lives.

No economic effect either (so far..). The baht is still where it was before, in fact in has come down a we're still NOT working for peanuts.

Some new guy is the PM now...but I've lost count of it all, so can't tell you much there...

Baby wise ...

7 months now and starting to feel like a punching bag...Those first few delicate flutters that I first felt way back, have now turned into sharp jabs and hard kicks, some powerful enough to take my breath away!!

It sort of funny the way the whole belly waves when kiddo decides to start his tumble turns...great great stuff for dads!!!

Getting out of Bangokok wise...

In 2 weeks we've got a 9 days holiday...Our first PAYED holiday...!!! Gotta celebrate, right?

We'll be packing our troubles and heading towards central Thailand...couple of hours north of Bangkok. Main destination : LOPBURI. Some classic Khmer temples and lots, lots of monkeys...I've been there before and loved it...the monkeys have literally taken over the city, they've conquered the temples, they're walking the streets and robbing the naive travellers...
Last time I had to literally fight 5 baby monkeys to keep my bag...I WON"T be swinging anything this time!:)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

State of emergency in Thailand Possible coup!

We fell asleep around 7 pm. Got up around 10 pm...Ake was ready to go out and get some food, when SHIT the streets are empty. That's always odd on our street cause normally the street stays packed until midnight.

Opened the TV. All channels BLANK, some add saying 'we will resume trasmision later'...then we got a phone call from Ake's best buddy saying that tanks have surrounded the parliment (that's half of the army that supports the plot). Bad news for us! We live 10 min away from the parliment! RATS!

Just as I'm typing now tanks are rolling down our street.

TV still out, all Radio channels out, cell phones not working...hurray for the internet.

A minute ago PM's oponent (Who's this guy? No one knows about him...I mean not even the Thais) announced on TV they took over the parliment and Taksin's (that's the PM) house, propreties...This guys acts like the PM's a dictator..I mean is one thing to take over, another thing to take the guy's house while he's in NY.

GOOD NEWS! The school called...NO school tomorrow! Possibly until Friday!

...we'll keep you guys posted...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Not lazy, just really really sorry

1 - British weather in Bangkok. Heck , we haven't seen the sky for ages...a classic modern combination of polution and in Bangkok's case monsoon skies. I've counted 3 raining episodes just yesterday...absolutely pouring!

2 - Went to see MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND...I read on some good reviews and thought maybe the jokes in the movie are terrific or something. Don't go, guys! A total waste of time..yeah, sure few jokes here'n there, but not enough to make it interesting...Silly is the best word for it!

3 - I'm just about ready to enter my 7th...starting to waddle like a duck. Nowdays, I think twice before approaching a tight spot..he he he, not that I was ever so slim to disregard the lack of space....but in pretty good shape otherwise...

4 - Despite 'daddy's' fingers and toes crossed, WE'LL HAVE A BOY!!! Makes sense for me...I've been craving my all time favorite on cheese and tomatoes and lemon juice and banana shakes. Graparents prayers have been answered!

5 - Following tomorrow ... one of the 'funniest birth stories' ...well written...what can I say..I'm getting ready for the big PUSH!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hi gang!

Moving into the 6th month and feeling (still) very sporty...heck, working 7 days a week, but who's the end of this there is a 3 month maternity leave!

Finishing the materninty class tomorrow with a tour of the baby ward...bless them...up to 10 newborns sleeping like sausages.
Other than that, once you're pregnant you're pretty much all together in the maternity


1. Everyone around you has an attitude problem.

2. You're adding chocolate chips to your cheese omlette.

3. The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans - and those are maternity jeans!

4. Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.

5. People stop asking 'how was your day?'

6. Your husband is number one on your speed dial. Only so you can add yet one more grocery item for him to pick up after work.

7. You cry at TV commercials featuring babies, mothers, fathers, animals.

8. Your moher in law has stopped calling when she knows you'll be home.

9. Department stores in your area know you by name - at least their complaints deapartment does.

10. You can't beleive Haagen Dazs only comes in pints.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wedding season...

Some of our friends here decided 'it's time to nail the coffin' (Thai saying) and so we were there with bells on to cheer for them.

The first one was the Thai style wedding of Ake good friend Ton. Thai weddings are lovely, but man, there always 10 chiefs trying to direct everyone and everything. It was the same for us a year ago, and that tought me a great lesson 'You gotta let go!' WE DID and had a was like it wasn't even our wedding...These guys took our advice and enjoyed themselves. What if the mother-in-law picks the food and 3/4 of the guests are father-in-law's friends, right? Let go...cause there nothing to be done.
A really nice wedding...and as it is in Thai weddings, you don't get to hang out much with the couple...cause they were either taking photos, pouring tea, basically being put on the spot in all 4 corners.

The second one was an ALTERNATIVE WEDDING PARTY...Great idea! But proved the point above. If you want YOUR KIND of wedding, you gotta make sure your parents are up for it or go against all odds...It was all set up in an art gallery, great music, great photos, self served drinks, lots of young people and you've parents!!! In fact hardly anyone over 40. The couple getting married was a distant cousin of Ake, both working in the movie - advertising bussines..and IT SHOWED.
Loved the party, but felt a bit sad to have the parents excluded...I know I would miss my kid's wedding for the world...Fingers crossed I'll turn into a cool mom!
(sorry...we didn't take the camera with us for this one)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Our first pre-natal class...

We've been chillin out big time lately, going for massages, movies, cafes since the weather in Bangkok was pretty cool. 30 C with clear blue skies (a real treat!!) and seldom showers. Staying in Bangkok totally paid off!

Moving along, we've signed up for a pre-natal course...3 weeks, 6 sesssions of talks, exercises on how to deliver, what to do when labour begins and stuff. Mommmy and daddy classes basically. :)

First day was mainly Pilates exercises, pair streching. So we watched a video first, and all the guys were joking that the woman must be a yoga instructor with a pillow tummy ,'No way my wife can stretch like that!' I'm just 5 months and compare to the 8 months mommies I'm still small, but, man, these women can stretch! I've read in all the books, but never actually believe it. The closer you come to 9 months the more flexible you are. Ake is a guy you can bend in half and he wouldn't blink, and I could still bend or stretch further. (Clap ! Clap! Clap!!! :)) Yeap, it was really funny watching all the dads suffering while we weren't even breaking a sweat. Mommies kicked butt!

All in all a great day! Looking forward to the second session.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

5 months update

Alright, we've completly slacked off this month blogging wise, but following we have a 2 weeks holiday. The plan was to get out of Bangkok (finally!) but I got really sick(all good now!) so we'll be staying close to hospitals at least till December. Rats!

The good news is, we'll be having enough time to post some more, although, heck, who's gonna read it cause everyone's on holiday, right?

To all my curious friends out there, as promised my 5 months tummy. I expect it will be at least double if not triple in size by the 9th month...Don't know if I'll have any guts to post 9 months photos. I'll probably be like a giant whale by then...he he he...Well, not to worry!

...and of course...the proud father...:)

Friday, June 23, 2006


All is good, but with the bump in my tummy I was afraid I'd start talking only baby stuff or football so, I decided to take a break until things calm down in the bump department.:) We know now the little one is safe and bouncing.

Moving along, Ake passed down to me an interesting article that appearred in several newspapers around the world - A GOOD MANNERS survey in the world's biggest cities.

World of Courtesy: Ranking of 35 Cities

Below is a ranking of the most courteous to the least courteous -- 35 major cities included in RD(Reader Digest)'s Global Courtesy Test. Figures reflect the percentage of people who passed in each city. When multiple cities had identical scores, they are listed in alphabetical order.

New York USA 80%
Zurich Switzerland 77
Toronto Canada 70
Berlin Germany 68
São Paulo Brazil 68
Zagreb Croatia 68
Auckland New Zealand 67
Warsaw Poland 67
Mexico City Mexico 65
Stockholm Sweden 63
Budapest Hungary 60
Madrid Spain 60
Prague Czech Republic 60
Vienna Austria 60
Buenos Aires Argentina 57
Johannesburg South Africa 57
Lisbon Portugal 57
London United Kingdom 57
Paris France 57
Amsterdam Netherlands 52
Helsinki Finland 48
Manila Philippines 48
Milan Italy 47
Sydney Australia 47
Bangkok Thailand 45
Hong Kong 45
Ljubljana Slovenia 45
Jakarta Indonesia 43
Taipei Taiwan 43
Moscow Russia 42
Singapore 42
Seoul South Korea 40
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 37
Bucharest Romania 35
Mumbai India 32

Note from the Editors:

Our Three Tests

We sent out undercover reporters—half of them men, half women—from Reader’s Digest editions in 35 countries to assess the citizens of their biggest cities. (In Canada, we tested the people of our two largest population centres, Toronto and Montreal.) In each location we conducted three tests:

• We walked into public buildings 20 times behind people to see if they would hold the door open for us.

• We bought small items from 20 stores and recorded whether the sales assistants said thank you.

• We dropped a folder full of papers in 20 busy locations to see if anyone would help pick them up.

To allow us to compare cities, we awarded one point for each positive outcome and nothing for a negative one, giving each city a maximum score of 60. We did not attempt a strict scientific survey; it was the world’s biggest real-life test of common courtesy, with more than 2,000 tests of actual behaviour.

So, which city emerged as the most polite and which as the rudest? Here’s what we discovered:

The Top Three: New York, Zurich, Toronto

Carmen Says...

Bucharest - No surpise for me here, Bucharest hanging onto a 34th place, just ahead of Mumbai...Romanians are gonna be the first to say that people in our capital are used to bossing everyone around and wether you speak Romanian or not, getting proper directions or a decent taxi is a huge struggle there. Everytime foreigners tell me 'Oh, you're from Romania? I've been to Bucharest!'...I'll go ' Boy, that must have been awful, cause for me it is...every time..'

Bangkok - Yeap, I can totaly see how Thais would fail the 'hold the door for the next person' test...Everyone just marches in, not to mention squeezes in trains, buses...and, boy, getting a seat on the sky train in Bangkok at rush hour is a challenge EVEN if your 8-9 months pregnant. That's so far one of my biggest disapoitments with Thais..Rats! My friend was in labour several months ago in the BTS (sky train) and NOT ONE person stood up, until Jen made a loud remark...Having said that, Bangkok's 45 points were prabably Thank yous and helping hands in picking up stuff..

New - York - I'm a fan! I love the city...although I must say it didn't strike me as THE MOST POLITE, I can't also remember any incidents when people weren't polite.
Am I getting old? :)

I'm surprised that Budapest and Warsaw are highly positioned...I expected them to be Bucharest's better buddies. Good on them!

Times online - source

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What's up...

1 - We've been on baby routine for weeks now...but hurray as the first trimester comes to an end I'm getting my strength back, though I'm not out of the 10 hour sleeping patterns.

2 - It's agreed, there'll be no flying this year, so the coming summer holiday we'll rely on the car, maybe train. North of Thailand is the number one destination, however that looks a bit far, and our 20 year old Toyota has long lost any hill challenges, so maybe just NORTH of Bangkok will do. :)

3 - Number one on the waiting list is Merryl Streep's movie, 'the devil wears Prada'. I've always loved her. I could watch Out of Africa a million times. Ahhh, when Robert Redford washes her hair...:)

4 - Of course, the world cup. Betting has started at work and we're all up to our neck in statistics...It's great! The football fever!. I've put in my dad's predictions as well and boy, there was a bit of dissapointment on the Englishmen side when he predicted England out - second round ('He's serious? England out so early? - We'll , you'll be crossing blades with Germany and Sweden).

I haven't put in my predictions cause I'm stuck with the African teams. All those newcomers that'll be there to give their best shot ever, Togo, Angola, Ivory Coast.

Dad's no 1 contender is still BRAZIL...I'm hoping Czech Republic or Argentina.

Not too much hope for France, Italy (sorry Roberto :)), Japan.

Curious about Spain and England, always aiming high but hardly making it to quarter finals.

Da da da...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just feeling a bit nostalgic today, checking some traveling sites. Yeap, no more traveling this year. My rucsac will be all 'rusted' over.

But then again who has the energy. One of the great things about having a bump in your tummy is that you sleeeep a lot...I'm basically like a 3 year old. I need my naps, my 10 hour nights, I'm spoiled rotten...and... IT'S GREAT!!

Monday, May 22, 2006


We've entered the rainy season, so the fun is officially over. We stacked our cameras on the shelf after our last failed attempt to shoot on Sunday Ake's cousin becoming a monk ceremony. It's was pouring again. In fact reasonably clear skies will have to wait till September. To get an idea, it rains heavily pretty much every day, so guess where we're hiding? Cinemas...

After all the controversies, The Da Vinci Code made it to Thailand, funnily enough with constat Thai subtitles reminders "Be advised : It's fiction!"...I know probably half the world read it, but I just started reading a book so I saw the movie with no reading comparison. While it isn't one of my favorites, I really liked it..a well paced, intriguing Indiana Jones feeling.

The sad/funny thing was that just as the movie started this guy sat next to us. He had the 2 smelliest feet the point where Ake dropped the Thai politeness and said to the guy :"Oh, God!!! Man , you totally stink!" Don't know what he did...but the overwhealming odor seemed to diminish and we watched the movie in peace. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Woman in HANOI

Hanoi's Old Quarter in home to all the tourist guesthouses with a cool Vietnamese touch serving excellent bread and cheese for breakfast and to large number of the old Vietnamese generation.

The Lake that rests in the middle of the quarter is just gorgeous've got the lovers (by Asian standards I thought Vietnamese guys were quite up front and confident), the retired bunch and office gang looking for a mid day break.

I couldn't help thinking that all these old guys were the ones that fought in the war and the women the ones that fed the country throughg those rough times.
They looked very peacefull and contemplative smoking their cigars, reading the comunist papers, playing Chinese Chess...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mission Impossible III

The actually did it!!! They made Mission Impossible without showing the mission. All you know at the end is that Cruise gets in and puff puff a bunch of guys and steals the rabbits foot which we're left to guess it's some chemical weapon.

Bottom line is...among several dodgy survival scenes (Yeap, Cruise has just about 9 lives), there some good moments which truly resemble original idea of the movie. The first half is captivating, but the second one is more like 'the hero saves the day, and darn it, we don't even know how'. The bad guy, Philip Seymour Hoffman is an ace. Best point about Cruise, he's unbelievably fit, or we're left to believe so, but anyway, it looks good.

MI I stays a classic. MI III overtakes MI II, which I thought was a disaster.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hanoi - The Water Puppet Theater

Fabulous really!

We got first row seats and my only regret was that I could not see any of the kids behind. The show was magical. Bright colored paper-mache puppets, live Vietnamese folk music, few words and great simple stories, plating rice, catching fish, going to school and getting married -Vietnamese style.

The absolut highlight of Hanoi for us. As we read in Lonely Planet, the water puppet theater is one of the UNIQUE things about Vietnam. Superb!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What else is new? ...nothin' much really...another jam in Bangkok.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hill People - Cat Cat Village - Vietnam

Here's our favorite Vietnamese. This old guy was peacefully walking the hills around the Cat Cat village near Sapa, minding his own bussiness, stoping at time sipping the cold air and enjoying the scenery.
We managed to get up close when, as we were chatting with some guys around they called him in Vietnamese to check out how Thai coins look like. He took one, turned over and handed it back smiling. We told him that he could keep it as a souvenir if he wanted to. He nodded as to say 'Thank you' and walk away happy, tossing the coin around.

Best of all, out on the hills the villagers around Sapa were casually following their daily routines. People approached us rarely and it felt like being a fly in a Vietnamese village.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Hills of Sapa - Northern Vietnam

Some of the most pitoresque hikes in Vietnam are those around Sapa. Gorgeous place indeed. Poor foreigners catching their breath while patroling the rice paddies while, naturally, the Hmong think nothing of it.

The lower hils are so wonderfully sectioned in rice paddies, higher past 2000 m the jungle rules. We were considering hiking Fansipan, the tallest peak in Vietnam but once we read the requirements (fit chaps = 2 days, regular guys (like us) = 4 days) we decided strolling around on the lower hills (1500 m) was good enough for us.

As I said, our first stop at Bac Ha we were pretty much ignored by the locals. Sapa was strange and funny most times, cause 70 year Hmong grannies were shouting stuff in English at us, normally selling all kinds of embroidery (good looking stuff - I cracked under pressure and I bought some in the end - actually I really loved colors), and kids were either innocently charming (again running empty bottocks through the rice paddies) or ferocious entrepreneurs chasing us for miles to sell us stuff. I believe they must hold the world record here: we had 2 10 year old girls walking behind us with merchandise for 30 min. Patience is a virtue, right!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Food in Vietnam

Although we never had a bad meal in Vietnam, in fact all our meals were from 8-10, we missed the spices. One thing we were convinced of was, that pretty much all South East Asia indulges in spices. Not Vietnam! I know Thais are literally nuts when it comes to chilli, but Vietnamese chilli is even weaker that Hungarian paprika which is pretty much the European Standard for spicyness. Nevertheless, you gotta try the PHO BO and PHO GA (noodles) and the absolutely delicious fried bamboo (forgot how it's called).

More on vietnamese food later with some of our hottest bakery picks.

Again - our first stop - Bac Ha Market...