Friday, September 07, 2012


I have a solid travel plan: take the 8:20 express train at the Hua Lamphong train station and in Ayutthaya, negotiate a tuktuk rental for not more than 500 Bahts.

The camera batteries have been charged, tote bag filled with the basics (bottled water, towel, passport photocopy, map), balyudong attire washed and hanged, and 3k Baht in small bills in my wallet.

The next day, I woke up to what I thought was early morning darkness, and lingered in bed.

Until almost 8 am when I realized that it's the pouring rain outside that made things blacker than usual.

But still, I pulled out from the comfort of my queen-sized bed, had a quick shower, grabbed a quick yucky breakfast, and made my way to the train station.

I missed the express so I paid the fare for the regular.

And waited.

As the rain poured harder.

As would be Ayutthaya tourists like me started shaking their heads.

So I started shooting train station frames...

...around Hua Lamphong, to Sala Daeng, to the National Stadium, and finally Mahboonkrong.

There I killed the day window shopping, and sometimes buying.

Then back to Sala Daeng where I explored the crowded streets of Silom.

I fell to bed as soon as I reached Room 2011 of the Aetas Lumpini Hotel..., tote bag, shoes, and all...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Alas, the A&W along Rama VI closed shop midway into the UNFCCC informal session. 

That means I have to scrounge for dinner along the motley collection of Thai fastfood stalls near the hotel, or survive on 7-11 nuked food packs, or close my eyes and endure the stiff price at Vincent's.

(This was before discovering that Silom and its heavenly array of affordable street food is just a 15 Baht subway ride away).

It doesn't help that my hotel breakfast fare is nearing the puking level and the cafeteria menu at the UNESCAP is evolving into a "must-not-eat-today" gastronomic meltdown.

So norlygrace's invitation for us to have dinner in Silom, after the UN and Thai police cut short the Oxfam-Greenpeace media stunt, was indeed a welcome respite from an increasing crescendo of culinary torture.

The Thai sausage reminded me of Vigan and Lucban (first photo below), the spicy pork salad a million times better than UNESCAP's (second photo below), the papaya salad with salted eggs just fine, and the perfectly grilled dalag (third photo below) tugged at the memory of a dinner somewhere in Bangkok in honor of my friend/mentor/kumpare Oyet P. who could not make it to the christening of my youngest son.

The next day, we were greeted with the anticipated news that there will no longer be any contact groups, almost no coordination, and unbelievably almost no work. 

"Sama ka na lang sa amin," said Usec Fred who was invited to visit the Philippine Embassy along Sukhumvit by the Agriculture Attache.

And since it was high noon, we were brought to an almost-fine-dining lunch first.

The tomato salad with chunks of mozzarella was a welcome change (first photo below); I thought my lamb shank tasted too strong of the lamb it was and regrettably envied Ate Alice's grilled tuna steak (second photo below) before the freshly baked pizza soothed my disappointment; and the iciness of the vanilla ice cream crumble dessert stabbed at my ailing upper left molar.

It was good eating...     

Monday, September 03, 2012

re-WAT-ching THAlLAND

No, we don't do mitigation.

Except on paragraph 1(b)(iv) of the Bali Action Plan.

But agriculture gets drowned there in the fierce war of words on the general principles and bunkers.

So our lead negotiator decided to give us the Sunday off.

Which I willingly spent on retracing the steps of WAT-ching THAILAND from some 10 years back.

That finally got me to the Temple of the Golden Buddha on a traffic-free Sunday morning.

I then tuktuk-ed to the Temple of the Dawn to feel its porcelained details.

There I shoot some frames to finally replace that stupid photo of me drinking Singha in the banks of Chao Phraya.

Regardless of the overcast sky that ruined an almost perfect day for photography.

From Wat Arun I ferried across to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Again to shoot my own photos of the place where Thai massage allegedly originated.

Then walked the hot thirsty afternoon to the nearby Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Where I again took replacement photos for those taken 10 years ago.

Including that of the Grand Palace.

And that of the City Pillar Shrine.

The Marble Temple will have to wait as I decided to lunch in MBK.

Where I planned to take the Skytrain to the Chaktuchak weekend flea market.

Alas, the rain did pour hard.

So I took a cab.

And finished the day staring through the glass window of my 20th floor hotel room.

Until the Muay Thai bouts started in Lumpini Stadium just across Rama IV Road.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I'm still flabbergasted by the deep menu and small buttons of my new camera.

I should have stayed with Nikon.

And that it was until Usec. Fred Serrano, our lead in the UN climate change negotiations and he who inspired me in going Olympus, taught me the basics.

Like programming the settings for aperture priority...

...showing me the wonderful mysteries of my 12-50 mm kit lens...

...introducing me to the magic of the tele-converter...

...the beauty of the art button...

....and doing a shoot out during the Kingdom of Thailand's welcome reception.

I am on a new learning curve and here are some photos as mementos of my crash course in Olympus 101.