Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The real jazz

Jochen decided it was time I get my jazz education.....and took me to Bangkok's best jazz club. I cant describe it.....its one of those things you have to experience....and enjoy for yourself

I can say though..that the band was realllllllly good!! dont take my word for it, but the fact that in an industry of hotel bar bands, where bands usually play for 3 to 6 months, and move on to the next place, this band having been playing at the Bamboo Bar at the Oriental for 10 years must mean something.

the singer these days is Cynthia.......that woman has not just the talent and amazing voice, but also the charm for her audience

Catching up

having been away for 3 weeks, and prior to that only a couple of days or so between Manila and London....coming back to Bangkok has felt really hectic.
the fact that Juliane had been in town while I was in Germany also meant that I wanted to make sure I see her before she left. so we were out to dinner on my first day back, and ended the night with drinks at Virtigo

also as it turns out, Jochen was in we met up the next evening. I finally managed to take him away from Curries n More....but didnt succeed in getting him too far away from the comfort of walking distance from his hotel :) Bacchus...good wine, nice food, great company :)

Bangkok......a referendum.....

landed back on Monday afternoon...a day after the referendum on the constitution had taken place. I will explain why I didnt make it back for the referendum......much as I wanted to cast my much needed 'no' vote against that constitution!!

more later too

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More Munich...did you know

come back to this later.......

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Gummersbach to Munich

we had another couple of days in Gummersbach before the end of the course. I have to say this group is quite the party type.....atleast 2am every night, and 5am on some occasions? the last farewell at the bar, the party went on until 5am, with some people leaving just as they needed to for their flights.
I made my 7am departure to Cologne and got the flight to Munich. by the time I took the train from the airport to Munich city, I was running almost one hour late to meet Chris! He travelled to Munich to meet me for the nice :) funnily the train station I ran into Elena! she left Cologne that same morning on the train....and there I was thinking flying should be faster!
Thomas also joined us for the first day.
Chris took me to the famous Haupbrahaus in the centre of city. we had some typical german food, beer and sausages. well I had a sip of the beer! no room for the pretzel....but Im still here for another couple of days :)
Chris was still his very thin version...he says it was since he lost weight in India some many months ago. what I dont understand could he not have put the weight back on being in Germany so many months.....when I manage to do so in just 2 weeks!!! gggggrrrrrr

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Erfurt to Gummersbach

stopped by at the State Public TV station..talked to the in-house lawyer about the political/elections campaign reporting,then a tour of the studios before lunch and heading back to Gummersbach. somewhat of an uneventful afternoon in a long bus ride.

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Dresden city and surround

Spent a few nights in Dresden, going out to small little village like Lommatzsch, visiting the cellar underground, talking to the Mayor. In the city meeting with FDP Member of Parliament, who gave us a tour of parliament house...then continuing on to the former Ministry of Information of the fomer GDR.

some evenings we had some free time to look around the city, do some shopping, check out the restaurants and the night scene. Funnily enough....on all 3nights that we spent there I was always directed back to the same area for food,drinks and such. have to say that not only was the company international...even the cuisine I chose was international too! first night at Irish pub, second at an Arabic shisha bar, and the third at a Spanish tapas bar. Thomas dropped by on his way to Berlin to keep me company and attempt to show me this city he has never been to. Saw some palaces, including the palace concert hall/grounds.....the Lady of the Church and a few other places. The city was bombed by British airforce towards the end of WWII and most of the historical buildings that stand today were rebuilt from scratch.

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one of the most notorious concentration camp from World War II
what can I say about the place...except how heart wrenching it is to just be out there. strangely but perhaps aptly was the only day since my arrival in Europe more than 2 weeks ago that it rained and was infact cold.Im walking around the camp fully clothed with jacket, walking shoes and socks, yet can only imagine how much the victims housed in this camp suffered in the cold harsh winter, having hardly enough to cover themselves.
Just writing about this is again bringing tears to my eyes......
Rest in peace.

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a city of contrast...

beautiful town that the local guide oversells on the romantic love story of Goethe and his 2 woman.... not to mention the brilliance of Goethe and Schiller.

yet not so far away from the place where the one of the world's worst humanitarian crime was committed.........


Friday, August 10, 2007

Thailand Update: Constitution

Ive been somewhat remiss with the political updates on the blog,partly yes because of the travelling, but also partly cos Im really getting very tired of the military and its pretend-democratic front.
As you know there will be a referendum to vote on accepting the Constitution being drafted by military-installed people on 19th August. In Thailand there is a large part of the voting population that live outside their constituency,and during elections they will be advised to register to pre-vote or vote outside their constituency...the same applies to voting on the referendum. Except of course for the tiny small little fact that this time the Election Commission seem to have done SUCH a great job of advertising these deadlines thatthe first I heard of it was one day AFTER this registration process had closed!! And guess how many people registered? 50,000! this compared to the already more than 2million Bangkokians who have their house registration outside of Bangkok! This number could be higher....

and now the latest? Taxi drivers have been warned they could get arrested for displaying stickers on their car with a message saying they rejectthis draft Constitution!?!?! huh?? and why would that be a crime?! read more at the Nation article on this here

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gummersbach Day 1(or is that 2?)

dont let the title mislead you...Im not about to give a day by day account of my time in Gummersbach. Interesting as the course may be or the exchange of views with people from all these varying regions around the world...apart from that there really isnt all that much to say about Gummersbach.

Day 1 is slightly different though. Berthold got here around lunch time and took me out to lunch in town. Was nice to catch up in person after funnily enough...its exactly 2 years since I last saw him...didnt occur to me its actually been a while....I suppose the age of technology allowing us to keep in touch has helped.


London to Koln

Sunday 5th August
had brunch with Pink and Khun Som in Turnham Green, got to Heathrow to be told that Lufthansa refuse to recognise my silver status with Thai Airways and will not give me the extra baggage allowance...sheesh!
what that meant was I had to take my smaller bag on the flight as a hand luggage..and of course didnt quite think about what was in which as it turns out I had a few toileteries items in my smaller to customs....instinctive answer to the 'any liquid in the bag ma'am' was a no, the guy asked again and that was when I thought oh wait!! grrrrr and I do have liquids in there...took out my vanity hair cream....thinking....well its a cream not exactly liquid.....he rumbled through it.....saw the shampoo bottle....and i thought okfine keep that....but please please pleaese let me have my hair cream....nope cant be done....this tube is bigger than 100ml...even if theres half the content in the tube....i cant letyou take it,sorry. so what could I do? grrrr those of you that know my hair will understand why this is very I say..well can I use it before u take it away...hahaha he let me of course...but the funny part was his colleague at the other end of the hall must have seen what was going on and looked over at me laughing.....although he quickly went on to say how he 'wasnt laughing at you, just at the situation' I should charge them for providing the albeit brief entertainment to their otherwise stressful day.
and of course after confiscating my potentially harmful was perfectly ok for me to go ahead and buy the exact same product from the Boots store inside immigration area if I so wished...interesting concept.....but sure of course those ones have been through Xray and such HAHA. so why am I still complaining? well the particular Boots store didnt have the particular product I needed! more grrrrrr
got to Koln without any further events....a bit of a wait for my ride......another hour and there I am in Gummersbach once again......
(not gone out to the shops yet...but certainly the local store will not have what i need either.......) ok ok Ill stop with the my hair is a mess whinging now.......


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Day 8 London and Windsor

moved my things to Pink's place in Turnham Green. was still undecided between Windsor and Tunbridge Wells, and in the end decided based simply on travel time...Windsor is nearer!
on the way going to Paddington to catch train to Windsor...decided to stop for a couple of hours and lunch at the famous Portobello Market. Ive been to a few such markets in Australia and also other cities in Europe....and eventhough they are pretty much the same, I still enjoy them. had some Paella, strawberries and cherries for lunch :)

headed out to Windsor and Eton.......nice little town...yet very posh especially in the evening....this being Saturday night of course has something to do with it....but to give you an idea....there was traffic down the main town road the later in the evening it got!! it was even more busy than when the place was filled with tourists flocking from all over to look at the castle!

so that pretty much gives an overview of my London trip....writing this overnight/morning of my last day here...which I plan to use relaxing over a nice brunch...and maybe a quick stop at Marks n Spencers?


Day 7 London

decided to go back to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guards....although it was crowded and for the first part of it I couldnt see much, I still say its worth the wait :) and towards the end I even had front rown view!
met Alec in Covent Garden for a late lunch....Keith joined us later and we continued on to West Minster Abbey and a bit of a repeat of the West Minster Parliament walk. Although this time I got to see the proper Trafalgar Square plus a few photo-op. After West Minster Keith left to meet his friends for drinks, while I decided to go out to Greenwich. Worth the trip Id say....and if I had decided to do it earlier then I suppose Id have had the time to walk into the park to look at the Greenwich Meridian dateline :)
had to be back in town for my last evening dinner with Navdeep though....we went to a pub near her place in Vauxhall.


Day 6 London

Quick trip to Harrods to get some things for Nora...Harrods bags and tea :p so made my way to the Egyptian Hall as well as Diana and Dodier memorial. Got to say its one impressive decor that store has! more glamourous than a lot of places of interest one goes to visit!
from there I decided to do a bit of culture....Tate Britain Musuem which is along the Thame river in Pimlico...only one stop from Navdeep's place in Vauxhall. The special exhibition there at the moment is State Britain by Mark Wallinger .. which is about a peace protest
I also decided to go to the British Musuem seeing that Thursday is their late night. Saw mostly the Egyptian and Asyria section, bits of the Asian section....a peep into the Islamic section, but the part on the Holy Land was already closed :(

after the British Musuem I ventured back to the Queen's Walk/Tower Bridge area to watch the outdoor performance of the modern version of Helen of Troy
heading home I decided to walk down the Thames again and went past Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, across the Millennium bridge and ended up at St Paul's again!


A lazy Day 5 London

Cant say what it was, but I suppose considering Im on holiday Im entitled to have a sleep in :) didnt quite start my day until much later in the afternoon, and when I did it was somehow a repeat of yesterday...a case od deja vu perhaps. although I did end up at King's Cross and the famous Platform 9 3/4 ...have to admit even though Id seen the movies...initially it skipped my mind.
in the evening I ended up at London Bridge....did the Queen's walk...saw these funky cool guitar displays......headed to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. funnily ran into Navdeep at London bridge just around the time I told her I wasnt going to be there :) anyhow.....after Tower of London I got disoriented and ended up in ermm hmmm wait....ok forgot the name of the place....and from there I walked and stumbled across Old Street (where I was taken the first night) that was kinda a nice coincident.....had some food there on my own this time...then took the tube to Brixton to meet Navdeep and friends at same Dog Star mexican place.


Tour Guide from Canbridge

London Day 4
I think I should call this The Quest for St.Paul's Cathedral Day. Christophe came from Cambridge to either see me, show me a bit of London or some such story :) We met at Green Park station, but somehow instead of walking through Green Park we ended up getting out through St. James Park, went by Big Ben again....and the genius me decided if I didnt want a repeat of yesterday's route I should atleast walk on a different side of the embankment. Funnily enough....we didnt come across any eating places apart from those ships docked on the river! so we kept walking and walking and walking......and of course none of us thought of taking the tube? ok well I mentioned it a couple of times...but Christophe insisted its got to be a 'tuk-tuk' or we walk!! grrrrr so on we walked. finally almost made it to St.Paul's at which point we were suppose to finally be able to find some place to get lunch....but again Christophe instructed I should get ice creams before my lunch hmmm and this after saying he was gonna make me eat healthy (this comment came after hearing of my chocolate brownie with vanilla and toffee flavoured icecream...I gotta say it was REALLY yummy!!)
anyway so we finally see St. Paul's, take a few photos and start to frantically look for food by this point, mainly cos 1. I didnt wanna have to carry a fainting Christophe, 2. Christophe was gonna faint from lack of food!
We go into the Ye Old Londoner Pub, Christophe gets a fish n chip, and I order some other typical ENglish sounding dish....but its basically a ham n cheese sandwich :P served with pickled and a fresh apple! I thought the last was pretty funny
anyhow....after we'd had our nice lunch and a few drinks by Christophe.......from there for reason I fail to understand we began walking again! to where I have no clue! I saw buses drive by....and so it continued.....more buses drove past me and we kept walking!
after almost eternity we get to a tube station, where I thought we'd head out to Kensington....enroute I decided to pop out and have a look at the Bank of England...nothing interesting there really...although the Royal Exchange Building looks quite impressive. we get to Nottinghill Gate...and walk down towards Kensignton..find ourselves in Kensington this point my friend begins to get dehydrated from lack of the yellow we head across the road for a few drinks at the pub there. I have to add here that it was in Kensington that Christophe may have found his long lost home?


London Day 3

The Tourist comes the tourist....
started out at Buckingham Palace, then walked towards some Guards House....went by Downing Street...but neither Blair nor Brown were in headed towards Westminster Parliament House and big Ben instead. From there went down the Thames walk path.....British Gallery, London Eye and continued on until we got to Tate Modern Musuem. Keith joined us here.....spent a couple of hours looking at 'modern art' ....some pieces you really have to question..and yes Im sure many will argue about oh what is art....but seriously! a huge canvas of blue colour with stabs of yellow in one corner and red at the other corner? hmmmm

from there took the tube to see the Statue of Eros...then the cinema area of Trafalgar Sq, walked into China Town....quick stop to check out the price of Pocky....then continued on to Soho...another short stop there, before moving on to Carnaby Street..met Scott for drinks there, and Audrey joined us at the bar later
Navdeep cooked a nice pasta for dinner tonight....mmmm yum! I loveeeee Italian food! .......and a few other Italian things : )


Arsenal Emirates Stadium

so this was my Day 2 in London
Started out by heading to Waterloo station to meet Keith....from there we went to the War Memorial followed by a fish and chips pub lunch.
The real excitement of course comes right after lunch, as this was where I changed into my Arsenal shirt (already was carrying my Arsenal backpack that day) and then headed on the Piccadilly line tube towards Arsenal. Of course I have to mention how most of the tube was filled with red-coloured tshirts :)
so got there.....did a quarter circle of the stadium, went inside the Arsenal shop briefly....and soon it was time for kick we headed back towards the main street and found a local Arsenal Pub..watched the game there....Arsenal won 2:1 yyayyyyy!!!
and yes Id have loved to be able to watch the game at the stadium, but seems it just isnt my luck......
anyhow I went back after the game to get another look and take some photos of the place, including got some shots of the fans who were waiting for the players to drive past in their cars :P

from there headed out to Brixton to meet Navdeep and a few of her friends for a Mexican dinner and some drinks. Russell was also there :) so was good to see another familiar face

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