I’m reaching the point in the trip where I’ve been here long enough to have developed a semi-life of my own; which means, I’m busy, just like when I’m at home.

Today:
Today was Songbae’s last day, so Christian and I tagged along with him this morning with the sole intent of hanging out with him and buying him Korean food for lunch (bibimbap at the Food Loft at Central Chidlom). It was a full morning of errands, so Songbae threw on a backpack and carried the Guitar Hero guitar (which needed repair) and I threw Christian on my back (which Noi naa now imitates – she squats down, looks over her shoulder, and says, “come on Ti-ti, hop on!”)

First we walked down to the sewing man with two thumbs. He is one of the ubiquitous tailors who set up shop on the side of the street with foot-pedal operated sewing machines. He said he’d patch Songbae’s linen shorts by 4 pm. I don’t know if Songbae picked them up though, so I’ll check tomorrow.

Then we stopped by Villa, the western-style (read “expensive”) grocery store to exchange the wrong Milo for the kind that come pre-packaged in little individual packets. No go. Maybe we’ll break the habit of individual packets. At home, I generally save individual packet use for travel, but it sure is an easy habit to fall into.

We bought fresh squeezed juice (carrot, apple, and beet) from the guy who doesn’t handle money with his food gloves on and then hopped on the skytrain to MBK. MBK is a huge mall – lots of deals and air-conditioned, but since I’ve decided to be obsessed with Chattachuk market, I had little interest in shopping at MBK today. Plus, I’m pretty much maxed out on fake Le Sport Sac bags. Christian and I shared a crisp crepe with meringue and coconut while Songbae haggled with the Wii guy. Turned out that Songbae not only brought the guitar and game back, but also the console to make double sure that everything worked before he left. I guess this was his third trip back. Everything was working properly when we left (we have a newer version of the gaming console, so we need an older version of the game???)

Next we went to yet another mall – this time, Central Childlom. While Songbae shopped for new running shoes I hunted down a new potty for Leela and a handprint kit. I was going to buy the parking garage from Plan Toys for Christian’s belated birthday gift (Plan Toys is a Thai company, so everything is 40% less), but then I realized that I might not have enough cash for the whole day – and decided to put it off.

Meanwhile Songbae and our friend Mook joined us and we went up for a rather ritzy lunch at a fancy food court. I got exactly what Sue had ordered when she took me there last week: two bibimbaps, one mandoo, one hyper monkey (banana milkshake with coffee), and one barbed wire smoothie (no idea what’s in it). Mook had a Korean ramen – noodle soup. It was all delicious and satisfying. And since I treated for lunch, Mook bought us each an espresso and a warm brownie to share for dessert.

Mook and I split from Songbae in order to go to a fabric market she’d been telling me about on the other side of the river. Unfortunately, there was a shop she wanted to show me on the way out and I SPENT ALL MY MONEY THERE (hip little Japanese store – jaimie, I got you POST-ITS there. I know, that’s a strange souvenir, but I think you’ll appreciate the colors). Luckily, we ran into Songbae on the way out and I borrowed 1000B (about $30 Am). Whew!

Mook, Christian, and I took the sky train all the way to the end of the line, the name of which I won’t even attempt to remember or type – but it’s new and it’s across the river to the south. Apparently, when the sky train extended across the river, that line got so massively busy from ecstatic other-side-of-the-river people flooding into down town that the line almost shut down. My sweet boy Christian napped on my back the whole way and even missed the tuk tuk ride into the market.

The market turned out to be a neighborhood of dense shops selling every type of buckle, handle, shoe heel, and sewing accessory you could think of. I scored with a 50 meter roll (yes, 50 METERS) of rainbow webbing that will be used to string together lots of birthday banners. Fifty meters cost me $10.

Then we hopped in a taxi and scooted back uptown towards home. Christian and I skidded in just in time for Leon’s 12th birthday at the park (Leon’s my b-i-l’s second cousin). We played musical statues, which Christian LOVED, but then hurriedly packed up and moved the party home before a thunder storm moved in.

Amid the thunder clapping outside, we played pass the parcel inside amid much screaming and excitement. Have you ever played this game before? You pass a large present around a circle while the music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the package, unwraps one layer of wrapping and gets the gift that falls out. Each child got at least two gifts! Gifts that were especially picked for them! Talk about fun way to give out hostess gifts.

At that point, it was evening and the kids were starting to melt down. We sang a nice happy birthday (in key!), cheered Leon while he unwrapped gifties, and then said good night. Songbae slipped out the door to the airport at the same time.

For a late dinner I made a simple nachos with leftover chili.

When all the children were washed and sleeping, Sue, Joss, and I stayed up to eat chocolate cake, ice cream, and watch District 9.

I hung up one load of laundry (maid doesn’t come on Wednesdays…) and

here I am.
Good night.

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