Monthly Archives: January 2014

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Sleep is finally starting to get straightened out. I woke at 2:00 AM, but managed to roll over and nap several more times until 6:00 AM. If I can’t stay up late enough, I’ll just stay in bed longer in the morning.

One thing I didn’t mention that I also got done yesterday, was laundry. The hotel had laundry service, but they charged by the item, $1.20 for a shirt, $2.00 for pants, etc. While I was out wandering, I came across a little laundry shop just a block from the hotel. The lady there charged 50 baht per kilogram for regular laundry, and 30 baht per item for launder and iron. I had 1/2 a kilo plus one pair of pants to iron. Total cost, 55 baht ($1.70). The clothes were ready for pickup at 6:00 PM the following day, washed, dried, and folded. Since then, I’ve seen signs for laundry service as low as 30 baht per kilogram.

The hotel in Bangkok had a fairly typical western style bathroom, though the addition of a phone on the wall near the toilet was something I hadn’t seen before. It was clean enough, though there were some dark spots here and there that may have been mold. I suspect it’s quite a chore to keep it down in the warm and humid environment.

Bathroom with phone

Bathroom with phone

There was also a device on the wall near the door that would turn on (or off) all the electric in the room, with the exception of the refrigerator. This is a power saving device for the hotel and prevents the air conditioner, lights, TV, etc. from running when the guest leaves the room. The key-card for the room is inserted when you enter, activating the electric. The A/C and lights come on automatically, at the previous settings.

Electric Cut-Off Device, Savetech

Electric Cut-Off Device, Savetech

Today I went looking for breakfast from one of the hundreds of food carts that set up along the streets of Bangkok. It was 75 degrees at 8:00 AM and I happened upon a cart that was making omelets, Thai style. The omelet is cooked in a wok with a couple tablespoons of cooking oil. Beat an egg in a coffee cup, add chopped onions and carrots then pour into the hot oil in the wok. Turn once, then serve over rice.

Thai Style Omelet with Rice

Thai Style Omelet with Rice. The map was offered for sale in the room, I didn’t buy it.

This wonderful breakfast was 20 baht ($0.65), which I ate along with one of the free bottles of water from my hotel room. A quick note on the water. Almost no one drinks the water from the taps here. Hotels and restaurants provide free bottled or filtered water (reverse osmosis / UV), and the ice cubes are also bought or made from locally filtered water.

Today, my last day in Bangkok, I planned to ride around on the Skytrain and see as much of the city as I could in six or seven hours. I bought a one day pass for the BTS Skytrain at a cost of, 130 baht ($4.00). I was a bit limited on time because I had to catch the big train to Chiang Mai, at 6:00 PM. Bangkok is a very large city, 50% larger than New York City by population. There’s lots of construction going on, and many construction cranes dot the skyline. There are also miles of elevated sidewalks called Skywalks. These make getting around on foot pretty easy since your elevated above the traffic.

Elevated Sidewalks - Skywalks

Elevated Sidewalks – Skywalks

The shops and carts on the streets are colorful, and most places are free from litter. Most of the shop owners seem to start every day cleaning up around their store and sweeping the sidewalk. I often see people cleaning up, hosing down a walk way, or even buffing outdoor steps with an electric floor buffer. One thing that’s a bit of chaos tossed into this modernizing  city, is the electrical infrastructure.

Motorbikes and Street Vendors Are Everywhere, So Are The Electrical Wires

Motorbikes and Street Vendors Are Everywhere, So Are The Electrical Wires

A few more images from around Bangkok…

A street in Bangkok, on the left the steps lead down to the street from the BTS Skytrain Station

A street in Bangkok, on the left the steps lead down to the street from the BTS Skytrain Station

One of the many Shrines in Bangkok

One of the many Shrines in Bangkok

A street cart vendor with some tasty offerings. There's plenty of meat available here

A street cart vendor with some tasty offerings. There’s plenty of meat available here

Traffic backed up on a street in Bangkok. The small motorbikes (scooters) zip in and out of stopped traffic making them a good choice for getting around.

Traffic backed up on a street in Bangkok. The small motorbikes (scooters) zip in and out of stopped traffic making them a good choice for getting around.

Just a few of the many, many big buildings in Bangkok

Just a few of the many, many big buildings in Bangkok

 

A small sample of the Bangkok skyline

A small sample of the Bangkok skyline

Since I already had a Day Pass for the BTS system, I decided I’d use it to get to the train station instead of taking a taxi. I’d have to connect to the subway which goes right to the train station. A quick look at the BTS map showed the connection was at Asok Station.  The fare to the Hua Lamphong train station was 27 baht ($0.85) and the whole journey from hotel to train station took about 40 minutes.

BTS Skytrain Map

BTS Skytrain Map, the thin blue line is the subway

I arrived about an hour and a half early and quickly found a Thai food restaurant on the second floor of the station called Anna. I had a beef curry dish with rice and a Singha beer. It was authentic Thai, by that I mean spicy. I really like spicy food, but this was approaching my upper limit for spiciness. The cold Singha was a welcome addition to cool down my palate as I dabbed the sweat from my brow.

Panaeng Curry with Beef, and Singha Beer
Panaeng Curry with Beef, and Singha Beer

On board the train, I settled into my first class sleeper compartment, and the stewardess came around offering orange juice, water, and beer, as well as dinner. I accepted a water and an orange juice, but skipped any dinner since I had already eaten. It was only later that night that I was told I had a bill for 50 baht, and needed to pay for these items.

1st Class sleeper compartment

1st Class sleeper compartment

The backrest swings up to make an upper bunk for double occupancy. This is done by the porter at your request.

The the train moves along at a meager pace for most of the night, stopping now and then at stations along the way. I felt the conductor was a bit heavy handed with the break at times and the motion woke me a few times during the night. I probably slept about four to five hours throughout the night during the train trip.

Looking out the back at the Thai countryside as the train rolls along

Looking out the back at the Thai countryside as the train rolls along

We finally arrived at the Chiang Mai Train Station a bit late. Apparently there was an accident of some kind that had the train stopped for a couple hours about 60 miles south of Chiang Mai.

A lady from the tour travel agency was there to pick me up along with a couple others that were also on the train. She dropped me off at the hotel and as soon as I was settled in, I’d be ready to explore yet another new city.

Chiang Mai Train Station

Chiang Mai Railway Station

First Day in Thailand

Sleep, sleep, I just want to sleep. It’s Friday morning, early Friday morning, like, 5:00 AM Friday morning. I can’t sleep. My mind is racing, the sun will be up soon anyway, I may as well get up and get some things done.

On the list of things to do today, my first day in Thailand: Eat, get data service (internet) on my smart phone, and check on availability of a train ticket to Chiang Mai, a smaller city in northern Thailand.

A quick look at the hotel’s culinary offerings sent me looking for something cheaper. The hotel’s breakfast buffet was $12. I was  heading out to the streets to see what else I could find. This was my intended plan from the start. A bit of research before my travels taught me that eating what the Thais eat will be the best value, and I bet Thais don’t eat $12 hotel buffets. As I exited the hotel, I felt the warm morning air, it was 72 degrees F at 6:30 in the morning. The forecast was for a high of 92 today. After a short walk to the right and finding only a Seven Eleven convenience store, I back tracked to the hotel and went left. Within a block I found a restaurant with an espresso machine sitting on the counter. On the menu were several breakfast offerings, including an “American Breakfast”. Not sure if the lady understood my English, I pointed to my choice on the menu. She nodded and proceeded to make me a coffee.

My breakfast arrived at the table where I was flipping through a Thai newspaper and drinking the coffee. A sunny-side-up egg, half a slice of bacon, two sausages that resembled foot-long hot dogs, and two slices of toast.

 

American Breakfast

American Breakfast

The coffee was excellent, the bacon was a bit under-cooked for my liking, the egg was very good, though I don’t usually order sunny-side-up and the sausage (hot dogs?) were tasty. I had my first meal in Thailand and it was good!

After breakfast I went for a stroll, and in the back of my mind thinking about what I just ate. Hmmm. Within a block I came upon a pharmacy. I knew that antibiotics were over-the-counter here and I decided to stock up on some ciprofloxacin, a common prescription for lower abdominal issues (traveler’s diarrhea). As it turns out, my fears were completely unfounded. I have not been sick at all since I landed in Thailand and I still have all 20 tablets of Cipro, 500mg, that I bought for 110 baht ($2.80).

With breakfast done, I headed on to the next task, a train ticket to Chiang Mai. With the pending protests threatening to shut down Bangkok, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to leave the city in a few days as I had planed. I chose to advance my schedule and head to Chiang Mai a couple days early.

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand. It’s about 430 miles north of Bangkok, and is a popular destination for expats and tourists. From the beginning of this trip, Chiang Mai was to be my primary destination due to it’s size, not too big and not too small, but it’s growing rapidly.

Looking at a map, the train station was only about two and a half inches from the hotel, so I figured I’d walk on over and see about buying a ticket to Chiang Mai. After about 45 minutes of walking in the sunny 92 degree heat and realizing I was only half way there, I needed to get into somewhere air conditioned. I also wanted a Gatorade or something similar to quench my thirst. Looking around I saw a big grocery store right in front of me, a Tesco. Once inside I discovered it was a massive grocery/department store that also hosted smaller stores and restaurants on a few different floors. Serendipity, as it turned out, one of the stores was True, the mobile phone service provider I had gotten for my phone while in Thailand. I needed to go there to add internet service. With the data package up and running, I now had Google maps available. With digital maps and GPS in the phone I could now navigate around Bangkok with relative ease.

In the grocery store it took me a couple tries to find someone that spoke English to point out the location of the Gatorade.

Gatorade at a Bangkok Tesco

Gatorade at a Bangkok Tesco

Now that I was hydrated, cooled down, and finally connected to the internet, I set off for the train station. As I exited the Tesco I saw a Tuk Tuk driver waiting for a customer, I decided that would be me since I wasn’t looking to walk another 40 minutes in the heat. I got in and told him where I wanted to go, but before we started I knew I needed to get a price set for the trip. He said 100 baht. Hmmm. A 25 mile taxi ride was 270 baht, I think 100 baht was a bit steep for the 2 miles or so to the train station. I got out and said no, I’ll walk. He stopped me and asked, how much? 50 baht I replied. 60?, he asked. I agreed, and we were off.

A Tuk Tuk in Thailand

A Tuk Tuk in Thailand

It was my first Tuk Tuk ride. They can be a bit noisy, and smokey if it has a two cycle engine, but I’ve heard that two cycles are being phased out. They maneuver into anyplace there’s room, and they’re just plain fun to ride in.

At the train station I headed to the information desk. The pretty Thai girl was eating her lunch, but set it aside and smiled. She spoke good English which was great because I speak very little Thai. I asked how to get a ticket to Chiang Mai, and she walked me over to the ticket booth. Speaking in Thai, she told the agent what I wanted, a sleeper compartment (they call them 1st class). He replied, saying that all the sleeper compartments were sold out and all that was left was 2nd class sleepers. Second class sleepers are sort of like two bunk beds side by side separated by a walkway. I figured that was very likely to be noisy and getting sleep would be a problem. It looked like I might be flying to Chiang Mai, a more expensive option at about $100. After thinking for a moment, the Thai girl smiled and said I might be able to get a 1st class ticket at a tour travel agent upstairs. The tour companies buy up tickets ahead of time and resell them at a profit, but apparently they are only allowed to do it if they sell the ticket in combination with a tour or hotel. Serendipity again, I needed a train ticket and a Hotel in Chiang Mai for two days since I’d be arriving two days ahead of schedule. The price for this package? 5,000 baht or about $156.00.

Narrow Gauge Passenger Train in Bangkok

Narrow Gauge Passenger Train in Bangkok

I had walked about half way back to the hotel when I came upon a BTS Skytrain station. It’s an above ground rail system that makes getting around Bangkok a breeze. All the maps and signs are written in both English and Thai. I had to go two stops to get to the hotel, the ticket was 22 baht ($0.69) and was probably the cleanest and most hospitable mass transit train I’ve ever been on.

Bangkok Mass Transit System - BTS Skytrain

Bangkok Mass Transit System – BTS Skytrain

Now back at the hotel at 4:00 PM, I really just wanted to go to bed. I had hoped to stay up until seven or eight, but knew there was no way that was going to happen. I headed out to the streets again, in search of dinner. This time I chose a meal from one of the ubiquitous food carts that line the streets. Roasted fish from one cart and pineapple slices with a sugar/hot chili pepper mix for dipping in, from another. 20 baht for the fish and 10 for the pineapple, $1 for dinner.

Roasted Fish

Roasted Fish

Pineapple Slices with Sugar and Chili Pepper

Pineapple Slices with Sugar and Chili Pepper

I was completely wiped out now and turned in at only 5:30 PM, hopefully I’d be able to sleep 12 hours or more.

Tomorrow I’d go have a better look around Bangkok.

A quick update.  I’ve traveled North to Chiang Mai and all is well. I’ve been busy finding my way around and getting my sleep schedule straightened out. Most places here don’t open till 10:00 AM, and I keep waking up at 4:00 AM.
My biggest problem now is Internet access, which is really slowing down the blog posts.  I did this one on my phone, downtown.
More to come,  stay tuned.

Flying to Bangkok, Thailand

My sister would be driving me to the San Diego airport in the morning. We agreed on the schedule, 20 minutes to the airport, and arrive a bit more than an hour before the flight, plus leave extra time for good measure. I wasn’t checking any bags so I could skip the lines and use a kiosk for check in.  The next morning, we left the house only about 5 minutes behind schedule. A quick stop for a coffee at Starbucks, then on to the airport. The morning rush hour traffic was just getting started so there was little worry even though we were about 15 minutes behind schedule now. What happen next however, ate up all the spare time and then some. While chatting about my trip, we got distracted and missed the exit to the airport, now we were headed for downtown San Diego. After waiting anxiously at several red traffic lights, and dealing with the one way streets, we got turned around and headed back toward the airport. By the time we arrived I only had 20 minutes to get my boarding pass and get though security.

When I tried to get my ticket at the kiosk, my flight was no longer listed! Off I went to the counter to see the friendly ticketing agent and find out what has gone awry. As it turned out I was too late, and they could no longer issue a boarding pass for that flight. Oops. The next available flight was in about 2 hours, but making the connection would be challenging with only 30 minutes between flights in Seattle. With little choice I booked the flight. The ticketing agent mentioned than I may be able to get transfered back onto my original flight once I pass through security and get to the gate. The travelers in line at the security checkpoint were helpful, and let me jump to the head of the line. I put my backpack and jacket on the conveyor to be xrayed and headed for the metal detector. BEEEP.  In my haste I had forgotten my mobile phone was in my pocket and it set off the metal detector. Now TSA decided a full check over was in order, shoes off, through the back scatter x ray machine (aka naked scanner), and backpack searched and rescanned. No problem of course, but a loss of time that I didn’t have to waste.

With my shoes back on, and my backpack zipped up, I was finally off to the gate. To my amazement my original flight hadn’t left yet. The ticketing agent at the gate was very helpful and was able to swap me back onto my original flight to Seattle.
Piece of cake. Lol.

Forty minutes later the Boeing 737 was crusing at 35,000 feet and bound for Seattle, Washington. Breakfast was offered, and since I hadn’t eaten yet, I opted for the egg sandwich on ciabatta bread. It was scrambled eggs (powdered) with cheese and some sort of meat-like patty. I think it was what they refer to in Sci-Fi movies as, a protein pellet.  It was really, really awful. Reminded me of a scene from the movie “Crocodile Dundee” where, refering to a goanna lizard roasting over a fire, he states, “Well, you can live on it, but it tastes like shit.” I ate it anyway. The TAZO black tea, that I chose for a beverage was a welcome accompaniment.

Two hours later I landed in Seattle and settled into the two hour layover before the next flight to Tokyo, Japan.

The flight from Seattle to Tokyo was just over 10 hours; a long flight by almost anyone’s standards. On board the Airbus A330-300, all food and beverages were complimentary, including beer, wine, and spirits. With the recent troubles now behind me, and looking forward to a long, relaxing flight I ordered a libation. Dewar’s blended Scotch whiskey was the house brand which was fine with me. At the same time dinner was being served. Teriyaki beef with a salad, vegetables,  rice, and a dinner roll. It was decidedly better than breakfast, of course that wouldn’t take much. It was a good flight without much turbulance, but long and tiring. The entertainment system, which had dozens of movies on demand, helped pass the time, and I watched three or four movies before we landed.

A two and a half hour layover in Tokyo awaited me as I disembarked. I’m not one for sitting still for long periods of time, so I wandered around the terminal and fiddled with my phone a bit, swapping out the SIM card so it would work in Thailand when I arrived. The boarding seemed to take longer than usual, but maybe it’s just because I was getting tired. I walked around some more, waiting for my boarding zone to be called, zone two. After what seemed like half an hour, and lots of wandering around, it was time to board. I guess all that wandering made me look suspicious, I was pulled aside and searched again. Backpack checked, shoes off, arms out, and the metal detecting wand scans me once again. Maybe I’ll try to sit still next time. Na, probably not.

On board the Boeing 747-400, I was feeling pretty weary. I had been traveling now for over 23 hours without sleep and still had this six and a half hour flight, plus a cab ride to the hotel. I did mange to nap a bit on the plane dispite sitting nearly upright, maybe two or three hours.

Again food and beverages were complimentary, though I only had water and tea on this flight, skipping any meals and adult beverages. I wanted to be sure I had my wits about me (as much as a sleep deprived person can) when I arrived in Thailand.

The plane arrived almost an hour late due to a delayed departure from Tokyo. A retativley short, 30 minute foray through customs and immigration and I was officially in Thailand.

Having read internet posts about getting a taxi at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced: su-wan-na-poom) Airport in Bangkok, I knew I needed to head downstairs to the public taxi stands. No waiting. I was assigned a cab, and handed a form with the cab driver’s information on it and my hotel destination. This is used to report the driver if he tries to overcharge you or take you somewhere other than your requested destination. The cab was an older model and had no rear seatbelts. A few small dents and scratches, but clean and reliable enough to get me to downtown Bangkok. A twenty minute ride later and I arrived at my hotel. The cost for the taxi ride was 270 baht, or about $9.00.

Now, a little problem at the hotel with check in, the room I booked on Expedia was not available. I booked a room with a single king size bed, and all they had left was a room with two smaller beds pushed together. They wouldn’t upgrade my room, and I was in no mood to argue after traveling for 34 hours. Up to the room I went. Make some phone calls to update family on the progress of my trip, and finally into bed at 4:30 am, in Bangkok.

image

 

Up next, my first day in Bangkok. Feel free to leave questions or comments.

A Week in San Diego

First of all, a special thanks to my friends and family here in San Diego. My sister put me up at her place and cooked me some fantastic meals, making my stay in San Diego pretty cheap. She treated me to a day out at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, and lent me her car to run some errands too. On Sunday, some other friends that my sister and I have known for years, invited us to dinner. We had perfectly grilled, marinated Ahi tuna, al dente asparagus spears,  and flavorful red wine. A leisurely dip in the hot tub completed a remarkable evening. This all is very much appreciated as money doesn’t grow on trees in my back yard. I did splurge a bit in Portland, and glad I did, as the time with my kids was well worth it; we don’t get to see each other often enough. Once I get to Thailand I’ll be looking to live inexpensively, eating from street food carts and staying in some cheaper accommodations. I’ve read that a furnished studio apartment can be had for less than $350 per month. We’ll see.

The weather here in Sad Diego has been close to perfect. A bit of a preview of what awaits me in Thailand, I hope. It’s been mostly mid-seventies during the day and forties at night, although this morning it was 29°F when I awoke. This was nowhere near as cold as in the Northeast U.S. where, with the windchill, it was 25° below zero (-25°F). Have to say, I’m not missing that one bit.

I like the hiking here in Southern Cal. Getting out there is easy since the weather is rarely an excuse. A short drive out to Lake Poway provided a hiking trail that is quite popular. We shared the trail with other hikers,  mountain bikers and horseback riders.

Trail around Lake Poway, Notice the Horses at the Bend on the Left

Trail around Lake Poway, Notice the Horses at the Bend on the Left

Lake Poway

Lake Poway

Here in San Diego, I’ve spent many of my days learning how to work with my tablet computer for blogging. The Android operating system is very young. I’m finding things that I took for granted on a Windows machine often don’t work on the tablet. For instance, I can plug a keyboard and mouse into the tablet but the Home and End keys don’t work, and right clicking on a mouse often does nothing. These little bugs are slowing me down for sure.

Photo editing is another tool that is clumsy on the tablet. I am exploring new programs, and will eventually find a solution, but I really miss Photoshop on my laptop. I discovered a scaled down version of Photoshop for Android,  I’ll be trying that out in the near future.

Since I won’t be back in the San Diego area for some time,  I headed out to my favorite  Mexican spot for one more visit. This time I opted for Huevos Rancheros, English translation – Rancher’s Eggs.

Huevos Rancheros - "rancher's eggs"

Huevos Rancheros – “rancher’s eggs”

Buried under the avocado and the cheese are a couple fried eggs, salsa, beans, rice, and a corn tortilla. I’ve found that, like most things, there are as many ways to make this dish as there are chefs. It’s always one of my favorites and I rarely pass it up when it’s on the breakfast menu. This was $8.00 at a local diner, it’ll be interesting to see how much it costs in Thailand.

I head out for Thailand tomorrow. It’s going to be a very, very long day with total travel time being more than 28 hours; if all goes well… lol. I’d better get to packing since I’ve only got a few hours left to prep for the trip. So far my plan for traveling light has worked out pretty well, though I did borrow a sweater in Portland to combat the cold there. I’ll try to update as I go along, but it may be difficult once I leave the U.S. since my phone won’t work till I get to Thailand and slip in a new SIM card.

 

 

I put up some pictures in the Photo Gallery that I took at the San Diego Safari Park. My sister treated me to an afternoon out at the Park on Saturday, January 4th. Enjoy.

Ringing in the New Year in San Diego

I have arrived in San Diego!

Flight – The flight out of Portland, Oregon was easy. Departing at 11:30 am, the plane was fully booked, and only 5 minutes late taking off. The trip was quite smooth despite some cloud cover on the way out which had me wondering if we’d be in for a bumpy ride.

Mount St. Helens Off in the Distance

A snow capped Mount St. Helens was visible out the window as we climbed to cruising altitude. A mountain with the top blown off of it is quite a sight to see. I remembered a trip I took there years ago and saw the astonishing view of hundreds of thousands of trees laid over like toothpicks on the hillside.

A California girl with blond hair, french tips, and pink luggage, sat near the window. I had the middle seat, which I usually avoid, but it was all that was left when I booked the flight. The isle seat was occupied by a short-haired lady, perhaps 10 years my senior. She had bad breath, but fortunately we didn’t speak the whole trip. The flight was relatively short at just under two and a half hours. This trip is a piece of cake compared to the upcoming 29 hour slog to Thailand.

San Diego – I actually arrived in San Diego a few days ago, on December 30th. The weather here is very pleasant during the day, hitting the high seventies, and cool at night. Some days, I just have to take to the hiking trails for some exercise. I’ve probably walked six miles since I arrived three days ago, and it’s a good start to my plan to shed a few pounds.

Welcome to San Diego

Welcome to San Diego

Hike – Yesterday, New Year’s Day, I went for a hike with my sister, who lives here in San Diego. She lets me stay at her place and in exchange I repair all sorts of things that have broken since my last visit. Well, all that didn’t require immediate attention anyway.

A Local Hiking Trail N.E. of San Diego.

A Local Hiking Trail N.E. of San Diego.

With the winter, here in Southern California, comes cooler temperature and a bit of rain. This really helps to green-up the normally subdued desert landscape. The scenes, above and below, will appear much less vibrant when the heat and nonexistent precipitation become the norm throughout the summer.

Looking Back at a Valley from Part Way up the Mountain

Looking Back at a Valley from Part Way up the Mountain Trail

It’s not uncommon to see rattle snakes on these trails. I’ve seen five or six over the years that I’ve hiked here. They usually sense you coming and scurry away before you see them, but sometimes they’re asleep and you get closer than you’d like. I’ve heard of many, many people seeing rattle snakes, but never heard that anyone was bitten by one.

Breakfast – I have developed quite a taste for Mexican food here in the Southwest. There are several good Mexican restaurants around the San Diego area, it might have something to do with Mexico being a stones throw away. I walked about a mile to a little drive-through Mexican restaurant that I frequent when I’m in the area. They have no indoor seating, only a few tables outside, but that works fine with the warm weather and virtually no biting insects year round. I ordered up a machaca breakfast burrito (they serve breakfast all day) with scrambled eggs, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Machaca Breakfast Burrito

Machaca Breakfast Burrito

It probably weighed over a pound and a half. The tortillas they use are about 16 inches in diameter, which makes for a pretty large burrito. I applied the hot sauce liberally and enjoyed a breakfast I’ve not been able to duplicate anywhere else. $4.76 plus $0.37 tax (7.5%) Total $5.12, I include this for future reference to prices in Thailand.

Well, I’m off to take care of some of the chores on the repair list. Dishwasher, R.O. system, lights, etc, etc, etc…….

 

Last Few Days in Portland

 

After Christmas – On one evening I took my daughters out to dinner, but let them choose the restaurant since they knew what the city has to offer better than I. The destination was to be, Le Bistro Montage. This Cajun gem is on the East side of Portland, over the river. As might be expected at any popular place,  there was a 45 minute wait for a table. We started off with Gator Bites, though the Frog Legs were tempting (see the Menu). Jambalaya seemed to be a specialty, so I ordered up Alligator Jambalaya for dinner. Having never had alligator before, I wanted to give it a try. I found it very tasty, sort of a cross between fish and chicken.

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Alligator Jambalaya with Cornbread mini-muffins

Theaters – We took in a couple movies  too. The first was at Laurelhurst Theatre  7 Pub also on Portland’s east side. This cool little theater serves up beer, wine, pizza, wraps, snacks, and more. There were small tables in front of many of the rows of theater seats for food and drinks. Since they serve alcohol everyone is carded at the ticket booth. No minors allowed after 5:30 pm when they start serving alcohol. The movie we saw was All is Lost with Robert Redford. I had wanted to see that movie for several months due to my interest in sailing. I thought the movie was average.

The other theater was McMenamins Kennedy School. A very fascinating place. This was an elementary school that was closed in the 1970s, then bought and renovated into a hotel, theater, brewery, and restaurant. Again, food and drinks (alcohol) were served at the theater. The seats were nearly all living room style sofas and chairs set side by side. The movie was Enders Game. The storyline appealed to the younger generation as it was a teens- in  –      space      fighting aliens sort of fair. I’d rate this one average too.

One of the bars in the school was called, The Boiler Room (click on “GALLERY”), pretty cool use of old plumbing for railings and decor.

Old Plumbing Used as Railing

Old Plumbing Used as Railing

Portland – Portland is a crunchy town that has a great public transit system and sparkling clean. It’s very artsy which makes for a lot of visual stimulation as you stroll around the city. There is a myriad of delicious restaurants and extensive shopping.

Brick Sidewalks of Portland

Brick Sidewalks of Portland

My time in Portland is done for now. Off to San Diego, California.

Happy New Year to all!!!!