Our September was dominated by school, but we still sprinkled in fun and had a few surprises. We stumbled upon a fishy event called the “INTERNATIONAL PLAKAD COMPETiTION” (Siamese fighting fish beauty pageant), shopped at the Platinum Fashion Mall (Apparently, I wear size XXXXXL here), had dinner at the Mahanakhon, Jyn knitted, I settled on a less bizarre haircut, visited immigration, we danced, and found a delightful art museum.
The International Plakad
Thank goodness Thailand is still managing to keep the virus case count near zero. Because of that, we were able to go to my favorite mall overall (IconSiam) and happened upon the “INTERNATIONAL PLAKAD COMPETiTION” (“i” is intentionally lowercase). As the abstract of this post mentioned, it is basically a Siamese Fighting Fish beauty pageant. Approximately 1000 individually bowled fish distributed across 2 floors, a stage with fancy dressed hosts, tiered display cases, a plethora of prizes/medals, and auctions for the fish. It wasn’t what we expected to find in a high-end mall, but they were beautiful! The most coveted and highest prize winning fish were bred to have the colors of the Thai flag. The odds of getting that color combination are around 1/100,000. Jyn and I had to cull hundreds of fish pictures afterwards. This event jolted my consciousness into realizing the obvious that “Siamese Fighting Fish” are traditionally from Thailand, formerly known as “Siam”. And now you know. Get ready to be the most popular person at trivia night.
Oh yeah, with regards to that lowercase “i”, we have noticed a trend in Thailand. There is a lack of native English speaker proofreading. Someone printed dozens of the large posters, banners, and labels with the word “COMPETTION”. To fix it, the staff must have printed the lowercase “i” that was missing and stuck it on all of the posters/banners. Problem solved.
After having dinner at the Mahanakhon once, we knew that we would go back. I still salivate when I think about the food, and the restaurant provides one of the best views of the city. We went for round two and it better than anticipated, again. The burger was still amazing (one of the best burgers that i’ve ever had). Then, we went to the roof to look out over the city. Walking onto the glass floor outcrop nearly gave Jyn a heart attack. It’s a great view from 314m above ground. I discovered that, much like a cat, Jyn normally keeps her claws safely retracted. After some soft tissue damage on my arm, she did manage to walk out to the center long enough for a picture 🙂
Still in School?!
School is still going well for both of us. We are both in class for 3 hours per day Monday thru Friday and are both finished with levels 1 and 2 (reading/writing for Jyn and speaking for me). Jyn has ~4 more weeks and I have somewhere between 4 and 16 weeks to go, depending on if/when I proceed with learning to read and write. We both want a break. School and studying take a huge chunk of the day (~35 minutes each way to class, 3 hours in class, and 1-4 hours of additional studying daily). I am required to do 3 consecutive months for my visa. After we finish level 3 at the end of October, we expect to take a month off.
On the weekends, we make time for fun. One weekend, we decided to revisit a craft store and a mask vendor that are relatively far away. After spending and hour in the craft store and picking up additional colors of masks (about $1 each), we walked around the area and found a free art museum. I have difficulty appreciating some art forms, but this exhibit was very enjoyable. The museum displayed Thai themed artwork from a variety of ages (~10 years old to “open”). One piece even had hidden Marvel figures that you would miss if you didn’t look closely. Also, to nobody’s surprise in the history of ever, Jyn knitted throughout the day/month.
Let’s go Shopping
After 9 months of wearing the same 5 shirts, they are starting degrade. By now, you have heard me rave about the tremendous value that Thailand can provide. Relative to the United States, anything that is produced in Thailand is far less expensive (about 25% the US cost) and anything imported is much more expensive (about 150%-300% the US cost). This applies to clothing as well. If you are willing to buy unknown or replica brand name items, you can have that shopping spree of your dreams without draining your bank. The Platinum Fashion Mall is the place to score those deals. The shirts range from ~$3-$20 each. We bought a few shirts.
Visas are Complicated
As for my visa saga, you will have to wait until the next post because immigration is still doing something with all of my documents. However, I have not been deported yet so that’s a plus. Great success. Plus, the visa amnesty was extended until the end of October. With any luck, I should have a legitimate long term visa soon. I have no idea about how visa things work here exactly, but they do seem to work. Just be sure to keep every single scrap of paper! Thailand operates on original paperwork.
Here is my recent haircut (details have already grown out). This is my 2nd haircut from the Ratchada train market. And yes, I also had 2 giant blended frozen coconut drinks while I was there.
Sheep! (Don’t count them while operating heavy machinery)
Well, that’s a September to remember. I’m sure the next 30 days will be full of school, puns, and ridiculousness (I’m looking at you, USA). Let’s conclude this month’s update with some adorable sheep because… sheep.