I think he really likes this!

Bens new Wheels
Bens new Wheels

Cha went out the other day and bought a present for Nong Lemon but she really isnt sure about it. But as for Ben………. He absolutely loves his new car.
What is really great is that its radio controlled so we can send him across the carpark and bring him back without any worries.
He found the horn on the second day which is permanantly fixed under his left hand. That was until he discovered that by holding the wheel and turning really hard he can overide the radio control…. It only took him three days to work this out. Me thinks he is going to driving a real car as soon as he can.


Kangaroos!
Kangaroos!

I have been in Australia for the last two weeks and thought a Kangaroo would make a good present for Ben. But he didn’t think much of that, he was much more interested in my phone. Never mind you can’t win them all..

More Hospital Goodies

Yesterday we took Ben back to Hospital for the third round of his vaccinations they told us he would probably get a cold and be a bit hot for the next couple of days. Wow was he grump last night. Neither Sa or I got any sleep and he isn’t much better this morning. Normally he is such a lovely quiet little boy but not today!

A Nice Present
A Nice Present

While we were there we also collected the last two gifts from the hospital. These were the DVD of Master Ben being born and a large photo frame with all the hospital pictures. It really does amaze me. This is all part of the service in the hospital and you don’t pay extra.

I am also surprised nobody in England offers anything like this even if it were a paid for service.

Getting a Cold

Not a Happy Chap!
Not a Happy Chap!
Sa and I think Master Ben has his first Cold.
Last Night he didn’t sleep at all. Cried and Sniveled until 3am with intermittent snotty sneezes full of milk. I don’t understand how you can get a cold when it’s the middle of summer and 35 deg outside! Maybe it’s because he is new born, or maybe it’s another of those only in Thailand Moments!

Best Friends

Ben and Neon - Best Friends
Lucky and Neo - Best Friends

When we brought Baby Ben home from the hospital I was quite concerned about Neo and Lucky. I have heard lots of stories about animals being jealous and hurting babies. So when we arrived back and let them have a good look and sniff at Ben it was with a degree of apprehension.
But it seems there was no need to worry. For obvious reason they have both got side lined a little since Ben arrived so what have they done. Become best friends, I have never seen a cat and dog sleep together, eat together and play together like these two. Maybe they understand the Thai family concept of everyone living together.
Who knows, but only in Thailand!

Having Babies in Thailand

Hospital Room
Hospital Room

Yesterday Sa and Master Ben left hospital and came back home. It’s really quite nerve racking leaving hospital with this little bundle and absolutely no idea what to do with it if it starts screaming or something goes wrong. Having said that Phya Thai Hospital were very good. Although there is no public health service in Thailand it’s not too expensive to go private. I also think the quality of much of what was done was as good if not better than England.

For starters the level of staffing is probably double that of a UK Hospital and the quality of care and attention to detail was excellent. Sa and Bens room was also excellent. It was a huge room with a Flat screen TV, great view, fridge, microwave, kettle, safe, and a large sofa so anyone else can stay with the patient, (which is encouraged). They offer full room service and anyone can order from the extensive menu 24 Hrs a day and it was good quality, tasty Thai and European food.

On top of that, being a commercial business they offer lots of extras like, a professional video service for the birth and hospital stay, professional portrait photographer permanently on site for the all important first pictures. They even do framed, copy birth certificates with plaster foot casts of your baby attached – completely over the top, but there  if you wish.

They also handle all the legal paperwork and just provide you with the birth certificate.

When you leave they pile you high with nappies, books and all sorts of free stuff to get you started. I suspect most of this is free from suppliers to try and get you hooked on their brand of whatever.

All in all very impressive and what was the cost. Everything including Cesarean, all nursing costs, medicine, 3 nights, 4 days in the room, food for everyone , video and portraits ( Ug – Anything to make Sa happy) cost around 800 GBP which I recon is pretty cheap if you think about what it would cost in the UK or US.

Grumpy Old Me

On Friday Sa said to me, I want to go to the temple in Bangkok on Sunday, you know the one you usual take me to and the family are coming with me. To say the least, I was a little surprised, as Sunday was the day that our new Salon promotion was due to kick off. But being a nice person and thinking, well Sa is 7  1/2 months pregnant I will let it go but knowing in my heart that the whole thing was going to be a disaster.

Well sure enough Sunday came. We arrived in the salon to find it full of customers and kids running everywhere.  I waited for 2 hours while everyone pitched in to get customers turned round then I mentioned to Sa that we really needed to go as it was along drive. As I suspected the first people dropped by the wayside as all the staff including sister said in unison “we can’t go. to many customers” . The first smile of the day – told you so.

So 30 minutes later we set off with Grandma the children and two other people. It took 2 1/2 hours to get to Bangkok and the temple which is in the north east of Bangkok. As we arrived the heavens opened and everyone ran for cover. There was no where to keep out of the rain. Every last piece of dry space was piled high with sleeping bags and ground sheets as everyone was suppose to be sleeping in the open air. I should point out that I had told Sa till I was blue in the face that it wouldn’t be dry but nobody listened to me as usual.

When the rain stopped we trundled off through the mud to pay respects to various Monks and Buddha statues with me getting crosser and crosser as I see Sa handing over more and more of her monthly allowance to various monks. It didn’t help that as the rain stopped the humidity shot to 100% and with the heat everything was sticky and unbearable making me even more grumpy.

Well given an hour of mud and rain everyone was already thinking that its wasn’t a good idea to stay but Grandma was nowhere to be seen! Eventually after 2 hours she was located somewhere and returned to the car with a very grumpy me waiting inside.  We all piled in and set off for home. As we left Sa says, well lets go into Bangkok and do some shopping for the baby, we still haven’t got a push chair or a car seat. My reply, a very strained where exactly are we going to put these purchases as I now a car full of people and luggage to take all the way back to Pattaya!

By this time the kids and I are hungry so we stop at a service station to eat. Sa says lets all eat some nice Thai food, the kids reply KFC! tee hee hee.

Well, we eventually get home at 8:30pm with a very tired grumpy me, after 5 hours driving and petrol, food, road tolls etc making my wallet about 3000 baht lighter and for what. 3 Hours in a soggy temple throwing away money and trying to find Grandma.

Welcome to Thailand!

The Temple Trip

At the temple
At the temple

Before Sa gets any bigger she told me she wanted to make a trip to her favourite temple for a few days.  Any bigger and she won’t be able to sit in the car for a long time.

So off we go to Lat Buri which is about 4 Hours drive from home. Driving up today staying overnight then me returning the next day.

During that evening while in the hotel I had an eye opening conversation with Sa and Cha about Temples and Money. This was one of those times when I needed to put pen to paper and as an avide reading of Stickmans WEB site (An excellent source of Information about Thailand and Living here) I drafted a submission which I have also attached below entitled “Temples Money and Charity”.

** Submission **

This weekend my wife and I went to a temple in Lat Buri. It’s a temple she has been visiting for many years. I have been with her many times and enjoy the trips especially as there are some falang monks whom I can talk with.

However this latest trip turned into a complete disaster because I asked too many questions.

It all started on Saturday evening. We drove from our home in Jomtien all the way to Lat Buri via several of my wife’s friends in Bangkok collecting large bundles of envelopes from various locations. I am sure many of you know the routine. Your other halves get given wads of envelopes to distribute in aid of various temples expecting them all to come back with 20 and 100 baht notes in side with the giver’s name carefully written on the outside.

Anyway as we arrived late we decided to stop at a resort close to the temple. I promptly went to shower and upon my return found my wife ripping open all the envelopes and counting up the money. This was the start of my down fall.

Very foolishly I asked her what she was doing. The reply obviously, counting the money. I then very stupidly went on and asked what was to happen with all the envelopes with the names on. Oh, we can throw those away. Remembering that my wife ALWAYS insists on writing on every envelope with every single 100 baht we have ever sent to a temple I very stupidly asked why everyone bothers writing on them if the temple never saw them – BOOM. Not important was the reply. If we give all those envelopes to the temple they will give them back and ask me to open them. It’s only the amount from “the group” that matters!

By this point I already had steam coming out of my ears, but I wasn’t going to let this go so easily.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against giving to temples in moderation and for a good cause. So in I plunged with my next question. What will all this money be used for? I should explain at this point that we also had my son-in-law with us who had been a monk at this very temple for 3 months last year. So while my wife at this point completely clammed up (knowing better) my son-in-law proceeded to pick up the conversation, much to my delight.

Oh! he says. Well they have lots of bills to pay and they are building a lovely new temple (which I agree is spectacular). I proceeded to push the point about how they helped others; we went through lots of answers. Yes they help other temples that are not so well off, yes they help sick monks. And so it went on. Eventually we got the point I was eluding to. What charity work do they do! This drew a very blank expression from the poor boy. What do you mean he asked? Well for instance, do they support any orphanages or poor people or hospitals. The answer, why would they do that, the government does that!

Now In all fairness I am aware that some temples do wonderful work with orphanages and hospitals but I still found it quite amazing that I was given this answer from someone that had just finished 3 months in orange!

By now I could see my wife had steam coming out of her ears and was turning purple as I had dared to ask too many questions. Not being put off, I though I would change tack slightly while carrying on the general topic.

This February in Pattaya the local media was promoting the first ever charity bed race on Beach Road. All proceeds to local orphanages etc. You know the score, the sort of thing that happens everywhere in the Western world. Now having a business in Pattaya, I thought great free publicity and for a good cause, so why don’t we join in I dared to ask. Well my wife didn’t make the connection at first. There was just this puzzled look on her face and eventually the questions I was waiting for.

Why would anyone do that, and then the second question, are there some envelopes and from which temple!

Yes, got her!

No, I explained the money goes directly to support a charity.

The answer, well nobody will give money as there are no envelopes from a temple and it sounds like really hard work pushing a bed!

At his point I smiled gently to myself and retired to bed having put another piece of this wonderful country in to place.