Vientiane Kitchen & Sweet Dreams at Lub'D

My Taiwanese friend Bill paid me a visit a couple of weeks ago. He flew in from Australia while his girlfriend flew in from Taiwan. Since they wanted the authentic Thai experience, I, with the recommendation from my friend, brought them to Vientiane Kitchen.

From what I gather from comments posted online, this establishment has been around for quite some time now. They did mention that if you wanted to try Thai-cooked seafood, this is the place to be.

Located at Sukhumvit 36, this quaint restaurant is about a 10-minute walk from the Thong Lor BTS. It is behind a new apartment building. This wooden structure does give you a feel of how it is like in the Isaan area. As with many other Thai restaurants (even here in Muak Lek) they had a tree growing within the restaurant which had decorations dangling off from its branches and bark.

Since I don't take seafood, I had a plate of Kau Pat Kai which was excellent. Coming from Malaysia, we prefer fried rice which still retains the taste of the wok. Vientiane Kitchen really blew me away with the rice. I read in their website that they have live music and dance. I was a little worried if the syncopated Thai Luk Thung would batter our ear drums. However, I was rest assured with the band's choice of traditional music, one of the many was performed using bamboo instruments. Back in Sabah we call these Sompoton, they're basically brass-like instruments made of bamboo.

Just before we left, the dancer emerged. She was graceful and was very friendly to us when we left the restaurant.

My stay in the evening was at Siam Square's Lub'D. My friend and I have been wanting to stay at this place for a long time now. We discovered this chique-backpacker-boutique hotel a couple of years back. At that time they only had the one in Silom. This new one at Siam Square was recently opened.

It is conveniently located at the National Stadium BTS. Checking-in went smoothly. I did notice at the front desk that even the hotel patrons were allowed behind the desk, where all the money are kept... or perhaps one of the ladies behind the counter was dating a farang hulk.

The room was really cute. I don't know how else to describe it. What I found interesting, aside from having to shower in a communal bathroom, is how other restaurants/shops advertise themselves in the room.

I was fortunate to get a 50% off from the original price, which was 1800 Baht. Despite the modernity seen through the design and layout of the premises, I don't think I'll see myself coming back here. Unless it is with a group of friends and a whole bunch of us rent out the whole dorm. For that price, I would rather stay at my regular 24Inn and have my own bathroom. My stay there was nice. It was rather noisy after midnight, though, with all the 'backpackers' hanging out at the lounge 3 floors below me. Yes, it was THAT loud. Plus, the early wake up call from the construction site right next door and the election campaign happening right at National Stadium. Not forgetting Starbucks who mixed my order up and did not give me my decaf caramel macchiato.



24Inn

If you find yourself looking for a place to crash in Phrom Phong Bangkok, look no further!

24Inn is a boutique hotel conveniently located steps away from the Phrom Phong BTS and the Emporium Shopping Mall. I've stayed here twice, once in December 2010 and another time in March. Phrom Phong is an area where you would bump mostly into Koreans and Japanese. Perhaps the concept of this hotel came from the two major expatriate groups in this area: small, convenient, and cool... like the capsule hotels in Japan :P

The reception service has been great (the times I've been there). Even for a small hotel, there was a bellboy who came to bring my bags to my room. I tipped him, of course, with my dashing smile and a note of 20 Baht.

The bed is awesome, there is a safe in the room, there is a tub with a huge rain showerhead. There is cable TV with Chinese, Hindi, and English as well as Thai channels. During my two stays at the hotel, I didn't hear the traffic noises from the streets outside nor did I hear anything from the passing sky trains. This, you will experience only if you pick the superior rooms, as I did (1500 Baht a night). The standard room faces the street. I've never stayed in these rooms so I'm not sure how high the noise level is (room costs between 1200 - 1300 Baht).

There is a huge variety of food available around this area. As mentioned, Emporium is right next door. If you're craving for Starbucks or something along that line, there are many restaurants in Emporium, from Greyhound to Burger King. There is a 24-hour Subway across the street. All you need to do is get on the BTS Phrom Phong Station and exit to the other side of the road (if you're scared to dart across Bangkok streets). There are also pushcarts and hawkers right outside Emporium and 24Inn. Right next to 24Inn is a 7-Eleven. There are also a couple of bars along Subway, Dubliners, Robin Hood. Along this stretch, you would also find a second hand bookstore: Elite Bookstore. They have recently renovated their space and the books look more stable now (I've entered the store once and tipped over a tall stack of books).


Absurdities

Frog Porridge anyone. Saw this billboard somewhere in Damai while on my trip back to Sabah last May.

Absurdities.

Absurdities is when you walk to your office, and you see two students trying to open the main door to the faculty on a Sunday. They know it's a non-working day. There are no lights in the faculty building. It becomes even more absurd as I approached them:

Daron: Hello, can I help you with something?
Girls: We want to send our homework (in Thai)
Daron: To which teacher do you need to send your homework to?
Girls: Mr. Somporn
Daron: Oh, his office is not here, it's at MC Mart
Girls: Oh, do you have the key to his office?
Daron: !@#$!%^%^&$%&$^?????????????

My face was a mixture of perplexity and suspicion.

Absurdities is realizing that that the radiator is leaking - two months after you sent the car in for an engine overhaul and a new radiator. It becomes more absurd because we don't drive the car regularly.

Absurdities is when my neighbor's male cat comes to harass my Milky Way (my female cat), not knowing the Milky Way has been spayed.

Hats in my Wardrobe

This is my hat collection.

1. The Straw Hat: I bought this back in 2008 before leaving for Australia. There was a market fair of some sort in between Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon.
2. Brown Fedora: I bought this last year May at a J.C. Penny in Cali.
3. Brown-checked Cap/Messenger Hat: My mom got this from me while holidaying in Kunming, China.
4. White Cap/Messenger Hat: Weekly purchase from the forever-on-sale Cotton at Jesmond Shopping Center, Newcastle, AUS.
5. Black Cap/Messenger Hat: Got this from Burlington Coat Factory, Cali.
6. Black Fedora: Given to me as a gift prior to leaving Aus for Thailand.
7. Black and white-checked Cap/Messenger Hat: Bought this from an H&M, Cali.
8. Kungsri Ayuddhya Cap: Stole this from my Dad.

approaches and methods

it's interesting how we try our best to have exact definitions. in today's class we were talking about the differences between approaches and methods. i had a whole load of answers for that thanks to the textbook. then my student asked me, what is the difference between objectives and goals, and what about aims? i couldn't come up with a good explanation. i simply said they mean the same.

stephen krashen defines acquisition and learning differently. someone should come up with specific definitions for goals/aims/objectives

i was pretty stoked with how my nursing classes went this week. we talked about the phrasal verb, 'used to.' i decided to speak really slow in class and they did understand more. i started doing this for my international classes as well. hopefully they will learn better.

a friend of mine recently said to me that i've been blogging for the longest time. i actually HAVE been blogging for the longest time, ever since my moving away from malaysia to thailand.

i was just quickly browsing through the posts looking for a long lost picture... and saw that i've been quite profane in some of the posts. i was pondering whether or not to delete them... just in case some deranged student comes after me... i hope they would cut me some slack...i was once young too and i think i am allowed to be crazy :)

some special photos

fun facts: did u know that the during the first three years of college, i highlighted and dyed my hair orange, purple, and brown?

i think i look cute here with my blue camouflage

replaceable

I love my job despite the amount of stress it entails. Especially the next few days before our faculty submits our QA reports.

i am a little freaked out at the moment. i am replaceable. i've never been jobless. how does it feel being jobless?

two rhapsodies

I always have an inclination to perceive rhapsodies as songs which are happy and exciting. Brahms' opus 79 is definitely none of adjectives mentioned. Agitated and stormy describe it better. My first piano lesson, after a six-month hiatus, was an interesting one. I've got an Indonesian teacher this time, he's a new teacher who recently joined our faculty. My previous teacher had returned to New York and have since relocated to Arizona to be a full time mom.

I've had three piano teachers before this and I must say that this is the most expressive one, which really did push me over the edge to do better. At one point, while teaching me about weights and touch, he suddenly dropped his arm on the piano. I try to be reserved when I'm at work or in class, so I did the same but ten times less energy... more like a shy and controlled drop of my arms, which the teacher disapproved. He promptly lifted my arm, told me to play dead, and dropped it hand-down (i guess face-down wouldn't work here) on the keyboard. (I was apologizing to the piano in my heart).

That was what happened this afternoon. The morning was a different story. My favorite class for this semester is the 4-student Development of Language Teaching Methods class. We've only had four classes but I know this will be my favorite due to the small number of students :P (all my other classes consist of 30 or more students). One remark that one of my student made, in response to my discussion of linguistic awareness, was that Americans are smarter. I did ask him to repeat what he said to confirm the statement he had made. He did. I tried not to be angry and asked him to explain why. He then went on to mention that some of the missionaries that he knew and some of the university faculty on campus knew how to speak more than one language.

I don't think 'smart' is the correct word to use. Many Asians can speak more than one language. The student who made that statement speaks three. It seems the notion that the farangs know better is still very widespread not only in Thailand, but in Burma as well (this student comes from Burma). I, of course, am not making a generalization. I do believe that there are those who view everyone as equally capable beings. This reminds me of a statement made at a conference I recently attended, where the speaker mentioned that the Thais need to be educated to not simply hire a farang backpacker off the roads of Khao San.

summer time

the sun keeps creeping in earlier than the day before.

i did my run this morning under the full glare from the eye of the sky... there were less joggers on the tracks this morning but it seemed like the neighborhood dogs have gathered for a quite important discussion.

thinking of how i should go about the day. i'm not quite sure if the materials i have for my 11 am class would interest the students. i'm having my first piano lesson again in 6 months!

read a chapter from luke today. lesson learned today: don't test god. that has been a struggle.

new day of the semester

getting sick on the first day of school isn't fun.

i've been unwell for the past few days and today was the worst. probably due to not being able to sleep the night before. i did go to my classes, only to quickly drive back home to lay my exhausted body on the bed. the doctor said i'm too tired and hadn't had time to recuperate (jumping straight into school) i was charged a hefty amount for consultation and the meds... my mom bought the same meds i got from the pharmacy for about 1/8 of the price i paid

only in thailand can u easily get medication over the counter.