Archive for the ‘Thailand’ Category

More “Diet” Food

June 16, 2008

David and I made some delicious food over the weekend. We had plans to have a chicken stirfry combined with THISrecipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. However, when we stopped by our local grocery store, they did not have Tahini. There’s a Middle Eastern grocery store that would have it, but we weren’t anywhere near there. So we improvised. And it turned out to be AWESOME.

The peanut was really what interested me, and while browsing the Asian food aisle, we came across some Thai Red Curry Paste. We picked that up and a can of unsweetened coconut milk, and headed home.

David made a delicious sauce with our natural peanut butter, coconut milk, and just enough curry paste to give it a slow, sweet burn of an aftertaste. I’m sure there was other stuff in there, but he likes to improvise. I think this sort of sauce lends itself to that.

We had cooked chicken the night before, and I threw strips of that into a big heavy saucepan with some canola and sesame oil to give it a bit of a sear. After it was seared and heated through, I removed it and threw in our veggies- sliced red bell pepper, mushrooms, watercress, and snap peas. I stirfried those and then covered them to let them steam through.

Meanwhile, a big bundle of asparagus was roasting in the oven, according to that recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. It had been a long, long time since I’d had asparagus, and when I tried a piece to test it’s done-ness, I was rewarded. It was tender and flavorful. I wish I had tried this sooner. I’ve been missing out! Hopefully asparagus will be on sale again soon at our grocery store. When the asparagus was just about done cooking, I took it out of the oven, and tossed it in with the rest of the veggies. We threw in some soy sauce and the chicken and mixed everything together.

We put the stirfry into our bowls and scooped on a generous helping of the peanut sauce. It was awesome! It really brought back memories of Thailand. I had an amazing chicken satay on the beach at Koh Samet. Our peanut sauce was less spicy, but the flavors were all there.

YUMMY!!!

Tonight’s dinner was really simple. We made little mini cheeseburgers and served them over a salad with tomatoes and avocado. We drizzled it with a mustard vinaigrette. It’s a great dressing that we’ll probably use again, and I think it would be a yummy marinade for chicken or fish.

I combined about 3 Tbsp of mustard (I used dijon, because that’s just what I had) and about 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. I slowly drizzled in about 1/8 cup of Olive Oil. You can use more or less to taste. That’s it! You can add to it, salt, pepper, herbs, onions, garlic, chives, etc. I kept it simple.

It was a fast, delicious dinner. Like a loaded cheeseburger, but without the bun.

Again, I’m on a diet?!

And that diet is going well. Even with all my, ahem, “distractions,” like booze and “bad” food, I am officially down TWENTY pounds! Over the weekend I hit 185! I celebrated with a gyro and popcorn. It was worth it. I’m really feeling better about myself. It’s nice to see my waist again! I think my goal was 170 by the end of the year. I’m feeling really confident that I will be able to meet that. If I keep this up, I think the chances are good that I will drop even more than that. I am SOOOO happy!!

Le Sigh

February 29, 2008

I am at work and bored. It’s Friday. I got back from Thailand less than a week ago. I am restless. I could use a nap. I could use an extra 8 hours to do nothing but catch up and journal about every day of my trip. And so, I give you this random list.

 -I am going out with some friends for sushi tonight at Ichiban. Apparently this place is cool now? I remember going here years ago and it was pretty dive-ish. Either way, I’m excited. I have a photo order ready to pick up at Walgreens with a random assortment of pictures to share tonight with anyone who’s interested.

-Even though I went to Thailand, I had enough money to pay my credit card bills in the full amount that I’ve been budgeting for. Of course, I have about $30 in my savings account, but it was worth it. Right?

-That savings was kind the start of my “(dream) wedding fund.” So that set us back. Now who knows when we’ll get married. Maybe we’ll win the lottery and I can have that pretty-pretty-princess wedding after all.

-It’d be pretty funny if my younger sister got married before I did. It could happen since she’s engaged now!!! I like the guy even though he proposed while I was in another country without a phone.

-I had no idea it was going to snow this morning/last night. I forgot I have to pay attention to weather reports now. You never had to check the weather in Thailand. You could just assume it was going to be about 85 degrees, sunny, and humid. It only rained once, for about 20 minutes, while I was there.

-I start rehearsals for Death On The Nile on Sunday. We’re supposed to be familiar with the script. I had hopes of being completely memorized but my obnoxious motion sickness ruined my plans for memorizing during my 40 hours of airplane travel in the last two weeks.

-I will have rehearsals about 5 days a week. Hrmmm.

-I am also supposed to be learning/rehearsing for a part in Little Shop of Horrors. The movie. No, it’s not what you think. You know how the Oriental Theater has been running The Rocky Horror Picture show with a live “shadow cast” forever? Well, the same group is now going to give other movies the same midnight treatment at the Times Cinema. And I’m part of it! A tiny part, but it’s my first time doing this kind of thing, so that’s good. Except I might have to actually sing. ME. I’m scared of singing solo. And I’m probably the only person who will have to do this. How’d I get so lucky??

-I also want to start South Beach next week. I hope I can manage that. I’m determined to keep off and add to the few pounds I lost on my trip. I’ll also get back into the habit of hitting up the YMCA on my lunch hour next week. I better start to rekindle my love of salad.

-I will hopefully have some time on Saturday night to write some entries about my trip. If I’m not flat-lining from exhaustion. That seems to be happening about every other night. In the meantime, here’s a cool picture from the Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaeo:

Hopefully I can use my mad photoshop skillz to remove that fan in the left corner.

One Night in Bangkok…

February 19, 2008

Oh, thank goodness it’s not just one night!

I really wanted to write an entry at the end of every day, while everything is still fresh on my mind. No, this is not to brag for you readers about my amaaaazing trip, it is so that I can remember everything I did weeks and months and years from now. I don’t want to forget a single detail!

I am forced to start today, because my camera battery died part way through my day. Hopefully I will catch up later…

Today I went with a tour group to see a few sights outside of Bangkok. For 600 Baht (about $20 US), I would go to a Floating Market and see a Crocodile farm and Elephant Show. The tour was from 7AM-5PM. It was my first day “on my own”- apart from my friend. I was nervous. The tour place (MAMA tours) and buses were pretty… low-tech. But I’m so glad I went! My day was fantastic.

We started with the Floating Market. It was a long drive from Bangkok. When we got there, we hopped into a boat 1hfloating-market-our-boatsmall.jpg and our “driver” paddled us to the market. I was so excited to finally experience this! 1ifloating-marketsmall.jpg

The market is people shopping on boats. And people selling on boats and in stalls along the canal. It’s an interesting experience. The canals were very crowded and hectic, but it was so exciting to see everything going on. I bought a lot. I mean… A LOT! Along with touristy crap, there were dishes, clothing, and food. There were boats that were selling fruit and vegetables (I ate a delicious mango!) and then some boats were actually MAKING noodle and rice dishes in their boat.
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There were a lot of traffic jams! I didn’t like that they allow boats with motors into the same area. It made it loud and stinky! We got to get off the boats for a while and walk around to the vendor carts along the canal. I got suckered into buying a whole bunch of stuff because I got the “pretty lady discount.” Yeah, whatever. It’s cool stuff, so I’m not that upset.

Then, it was onto a cheap lunch on a floating restaurant farther down the river. It was very pretty and relaxing and they had good chicken fried rice!

Next was the part I was really excited about… the crocodile farm and elephant show! It was at the same place… the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo. This is when I noticed my battery about to die. I was SO UPSET! I had to save it, but I still got some good pictures. We caught the end of an incredibly lame magic show. The tricks were fine, but the magician was so dumb and cheesy.

Then the elephant show started… It was supposed to be a history of elephants in Thailand, but they mostly just wanted to show off the cool elephant tricks. I did learn some interesting facts, like any white (albino) elephant that is discovered automatically becomes property of the king. The white elephant is considered royal property and is very rare.

The elephants did some cool formations and tricks.
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I really reget not having enough battery to capture everything I wanted. The elephants did so many neat tricks like balancing on their front legs and noses. It was totally cute.

Then came a bunch of elephants in “soccer jerseys” and the people put up a sign saying “Elephant World Cup 2008 Thailand.” They played that “Ole Ole” soccer song and the elephants danced around and “warmed up.” Some of them seriously looked like soccer players getting ready on the field. Ronaldo was a total ham. Here he his, spinning is trunk round and round like a windmill. Later he spun a hoola hoop on there too.
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There was a demonstration of elephants used in warfare. The elephants all came out in fancy dress and there was a full on battle reinactment, complete with cannons and fire!
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After that, the show came to an end, but the excitement wasn’t over yet. Carts of bananas came out and you could buy a bunch for 10 Baht to feed to the elephants! I was all over that. I fed them my bananas and pet some of them for a while. They’re so gentle and beautiful. It’s really amazing to see them so close!
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That picture was the last one I took today 😦 as that’s when my battery died.

I went on to the Crocodile Wrestling Show. This is the kind of craziness where people put their heads and arms inside crocodile mouths. It was a very short show, but it was crazy to watch. I almost couldn’t watch as one dude reached all the way into the croc’s mouth and down his throat. I was so sure I was about to see an arm get ripped off.

Then I toured the rest of the zoo/grounds. Here is where I missed my camera. The elephants were all out on display! And you could sit with them and have your picture taken. I settled for feeding some more. There were a few small elephants. But then I got to the tiny little baby elephant and it’s mother. OH MY GOD! It was SO CUTE! It was like a little Dumbo, but with smaller ears. It barely came up to my hip. I pet him a lot and the mom nuzzled my arm with her trunk, looking for banana treats. I got lots of elephant snot on me but I didn’t care. That little baby was just too cute for words.

Here’s a picture I found online. It was probably even cuter than this, if you can believe it. They’re Asian elephants (duh…) so they have smaller ears and this prickly hair on their heads. But the baby’s is still soft…

I wandered around until it was time to leave, and saw the hundreds of crocodiles. There were enclosures everywhere, seperated by age and type. I saw giant salt water crocs that were 20-70 years old! They were huge and scary!

And then it was back “home” to Bangkok. The tour was well worth it, although a little scary, just because I switched busses a lot. Oh, and by busses, I mean oversized vans. Although there was a point when I was sure it was my time to be sold into slavery, nothing bad happened and everyone was very friendly.

After I got back to Khao San Road, I had a while wander while waiting for my friend. I got a spring roll from a street cart and some iced green tea and did some serious people watching. It is just so different over here. On our way to get a cab, I got some pad Thai from a street cart (my friend thought this was very brave) and walked down the street eating it.

Oh! then, this scary dude bumped into me. I think he might have been Indian, but I’m talking like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom dark skinned creepy mountain people scary. And I don’t mean bumped. I mean shoved. I was next to a car, but not so close that someone couldn’t get by. Not to mention, um, that there’s a whole ROAD. Anyway, after he shoved me out of the way, this white tourist (I’m thinking Austrailian) quickly brushed by me and body checked the creepy dude in the exact same way he had done to me. Then he turned and looked at the guy and said really loudly “OH! EXCUSE ME!” I smiled at him. It was totally awesome. It’s nice to know that other tourists have your back!

I’m exhausted now. It’s 9:30PM here. I could be going out and doing things, but I’m just too tired. Tomorrow morning I have to get up early again to hop a bus to Samet Island. But I stay there for two glorious nights. This will be the true relaxation part of my vacation. Then it’s back to Bangkok and I will be going out and experiencing the night life!!

Goodnight, Farewell

February 15, 2008

My bags are almost ready to go. My passport is set. My nerves are steeled.

I’m leaving for Thailand in the morning.

I had a great last day with David. We rocked it cheap high school style.

We went to Kopp’s and had delicious burgers for dinner. But we had no room for custard!
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Afterwards, we went to Fun World and got $20 worth of tokens. We played arcade games, air hockey, and even visited Big Bertha
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We won lots of tickets!!
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and bought a fiber optic lamp thing, some pixie sticks, and foam NUNCHUCKS! They got cut out of the picture, but they’re there.
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THEN, we went to see Definitely, Maybewhich was SO cute and heartwarming. A little cheesy and cliche, but I totally enjoyed it. And I love that little Abigail Breslin.

But the most exciting part was during the previews. I got excited about Sex and the City, but I peed my pants over the last preview. It was for THE NEW INDIANA JONES MOVIE!!!!! I took a picture of the screen I was so overjoyed. I wish I had gotten Harrison Ford’s gorgeous face clearly, but oh well. It’s just proof I saw it. And peed my pants.
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It was a wonderful last day to spend with David. I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT!!!! Good-bye Milwaukee!!!

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A Better Outlook

February 13, 2008

While laying in bed last night, freaking out, David reminded me of a few things. And I’m trying to make those thoughts block out all the scary ones.

Yes, I’m nervous and scared, but if I let that consume me, I won’t be able to enjoy myself. And what’s the point of 21 hours on a plane and more than a day of total travel time if I’m not going to have fun?

I have been longing for adventure my entire life. I’ve had small adventures and I’ve done exciting things in my life (like a week wandering New York City! A nearly spur-of-the-moment trip with friends to Disney World!) but I have always wanted to go somewhere exotic and exciting and different.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell.” That is one of my favorite lyrics from Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite movies. Even when I was young, when it first came out, I loved that line and that whole little song reprise Belle sings while running through the field.

Here’s my chance!! Here’s my chance for a real life adventure. Going somewhere unfamiliar. Taking a risk. Experiencing a new culture. On the other side of the Earth. That’s major.

And I’ve officially decided that it is majorly awesome.

In 48 hours I will have arrived in the Detroit airport, and be waiting to board the plane that will take me to Tokyo, and then on to Bangkok. I can barely sit still.

I Should Have Done This Earlier

February 12, 2008

There is an interesting section all about health and safety in the back of my Thailand Travel Guide that I just discovered today at lunch. It talks about various diseases and infections one could get while wandering the country. It does say that it is generally safer in big cities and by taking simple precautions, but somehow that isn’t settling in at the same rate as words like “rabies” and “hepatitis.”

So now I’m convinced that if the plane doesn’t crash and blood clots don’t stop my heart, I’ll probably come down with a severe case of malaria, typhoid, and DEATH.

Three days to go!

idk my bff target

February 11, 2008

I went to Target AGAIN today for my Thailand trip. Jeeeeebus. If I have to buy any more crap to feel prepared for this journey I’m going to go nuts. Today was for toiletries. And a purse I’d feel comfortable with to tote around my crap (ie- camera) while wandering the streets of Bangkok.

I think I might have everything, save for things like a neck pillow and headphones that I’m borrowing from various parents. I bought NyQuil to help me chillax on the plane. I bought travel sized toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, deodorant, lotion, sunblock, etc. I even bought this crap: 
because I heard some toilets in Thailand don’t really have toilet paper. Everything is under a dollar in Target’s “Travel Size” section, and I clearly went a little nuts.

Tonight I am going to start packing! I have my suitcase out and a pile of clothes in the living room, so it’s really just a matter of putting it INTO the suitcase. The hard thing is going to be deciding what to wear while actually traveling/flying and what to put in my carry-on.

Holysweetjesus. Four days.

Winter Break

February 8, 2008

I fret about the heat and humidity in Thailand, but it will be nice not to have to worry about things like this for a week:

That would be my car, in the street. Before it was done snowing. And a plow did not come through all night. I missed work yesterday because I was not going to shovel the entire street.

One Week!

February 8, 2008

It’s crunch time, baby. One week from RIGHT NOW, I will be boarding a plane in Detroit. And I will be on my way to Bangkok, Thailand.

It actually feels less real NOW than it did three days ago. WTF?

I don’t yet know what I’ll be doing every day, but I do know that most of my week will be in Bangkok. I am spending two nights on Samet Island (Ko Samet). Most of Ko Samet is a National Park! If it looks even half as good as this, I will be happy:

I lazed on the couch for a while last night and watched America’s Next Top Model rerun on MTV. They were in Thailand!! I decided if stupid models could manage it in Thailand (not that their every care isn’t taken care of by producers), then so can I!

I’m not packed yet, although I know most of the wardrobe I’m bringing. I am most unsure about my carry-on. It can’t be too big, but I should have a change of clothes and some stuff to “freshen up” on my layover. I also need things to keep me busy on the plane- laptop, books, magazines, my Gameboy, etc.

When I’ve travelled before, my carry-on consists of a book, a magazine, and my purse, or just about that. This time I actually have to pack smart, because I won’t be able to touch my luggage for about 24 hours. That’s a long time for a girly-girl like me to live out of a bag.

I know I’ll get up to use the bathroom, etc (another first- I’ve always avoided plane bathrooms!), but I wonder what sitting for 13 hours straight is going to feel like.

Freak Out

February 4, 2008

It’s starting. My freak out. The major countdown for Thailand is on. 11 days away. It’s kind of starting to seem real.

Meaning I’m freaking out about everything.

What if they say there’s something wrong with my passport or my ticket? What if I miss a plane connection? What if my plane crashes?! What if I die? What if I get sick? What if I get mugged? What if I get lost in an airport? What if I forget something important? What if I spend too much money? What if I run out of room in my suitcase? What if I cry the whole plane flight? What if I miss David too much? What if I don’t have fun? What if it’s too hot? What if my camera breaks? Oh, and again what if my PLANE CRASHES and I DIE!???

With 11 days to go, I hope I’m freaking out early and that by next week I will be nothing but excited. Because these are all very real fears in my head. Especially with looking at my itinerary last night. I fly to Detroit first. No problem. But then I fly to Tokyo. I am on the plane for OVER THIRTEEN HOURS. Then, it’s just a short jump over to Bangkok. A nice, short SEVEN AND A HALF HOUR FLIGHT!!!

Even if I can manage to sleep through most of the long flight, there’s no way I’ll be able to sleep through another 7 hours!! I looked up my plane information, and the one good thing (hopefully) is that it looks like my Tokyo-to-Bangkok flight has an a/c power outlet for each seat. If that’s true, that would make it okay, because then I could use my laptop and play Sims 2 for seven hours.

My first layover in Tokyo is about three hours. I don’t know what the luggage and transit deal is. I don’t know if my airline transfers the luggage or if I need to go through some sort of customs/immigration line in order to get to my next flight.

My layover coming back is only about 1 hour, so anything I want to do in Tokyo needs to be done on the way there. That means sushi and buying crazy Japanese stuff. It better be enough time, because I NEED some sushi. I read about this place in the airport that literally takes the fish out of a tank and prepares it right there in front of you. Awesome!

The layover coming back freaks me out. I have about 1 hour and 5 minutes between my arrival and departure times. That seems awfully tight. What if I do have to go through an immigration/customs line? What if it’s busy? The worst thing (aside from dying in a fiery plane crash) would be to miss my flight back to the states. That would SUCK.

I’m doing some more shopping on my lunch break today. I need to buy some sunglasses and sunblock and look for sandals, although I doubt I’ll find any. I don’t even know what else I need to buy and bring!! Hairspray? Soap? Advil? I don’t know!!

I know, I just need to take some deep breaths and not worry so much and just be happy for this experience. I am just unable to do that right now. But hopefully by this time next week I will be nothing but excited.