Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bangkok China Town

Bangkok's Chinatown District

Bangkok's vibrant Chinatown district runs along Yaowarat Road from Odeon Circle, where a huge ceremonial Chinese gate unmistakably marks the entrance, up to the Ong Ang Canal, which marks the outer boundaries of the royal district. Yaowarat Road itself is lined with many gold shops, and Chinatown is indeed one of the better places to shop for gold. However, just off the road in either direction is a whole other world where, it is said, you can find just about anything.
Wat Chakrawat
Chinatown is an easy place to explore on foot, and in fact there really isn't any other way. Our own suggested walking tour takes in many of the sights of Chinatown, as well as the Indian market at Phahurat and the flower market further on.

Chinatown History

The Chinese community in Bangkok pre-dates the founding of the Thai capital in the city. Indeed, the land where the grand palace is today was originally a community of Chinese traders. When King Rama I decided to establish the capital on the site of the village of Bangkok, he asked the traders to move. They settled to the east of the new city, along the river. It may be hard to believe today, but the narrow Sampaeng Lane, which isn't even big enough for a car, was once Chinatown's main street.
In 1902, the foreign community, who settled on the river further east of Chinatown, petitioned the king for a larger road. Yaowarat Road was built as a result, and the celebration of the road's 111th birthday was the highlight of Chinatown's 2003 Chinese New Year celebration.

Getting There

Use the BoatThe easiest way to reach Chinatown is by boat. Alight at the Ratchawong Pier and walk up Ratchawong Road to Sampaeng Lane or Yaowarat Road. You can also alight at the Harbor Department Pier, which is closer to Odeon Circle; or you can also use Memorial Bridge Pier, right at the flower market.

SubwayAlternatively, you can take the subway to Hua Lampong Station. From there it's a short walk to Wat Traimit.
We went to China Town on Thursday 19 February which was the day of Chinese New Year.  The crowds were tremendous.  Breathing room only. 

L-t-R:  Elder Moleff, Elder and Sister Smith, Elder and Sister Seppi, and Sister and Elder Ure.  Standing in front of the Service Center where our offices are.  We are on our way to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Years.

For our daughter Becca.

Elder Moleff is getting way to close to that DRAGON!

Teaching English

The senior couples were asked to teach English at the .  The school was being visited by BYU Hawaii, LDS Business College, and one other institution to look at and to help improve their curriculum.   The teachers at the college wanted to know English better to be able to better communicate with those that visited their college.  The 5-Senior couples took turns in teaching English during the months of December 2014 and January 2015.  Each couple taught 8-lessons, we taught Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with the exception of a few holidays. Our hosts picked us up at the Service enter in the morning, gave us a good lunch and took us back to the Service Center.  We were able to see an improvement in English understanding and communication in the people  who attended.  Elder Moleff also reviewed several of their business pamphlets that were translated from Thai to English to improve the English readability.  It was a experience for all the persons involved.

Teachers taking English class.  These pictures were taken at our last class.  The four couples all attended the first and last class and then went only as couples to the rest.  At 2 classes a couple of the Senior Elders taught because the sisters had previous commitments.

Sister Seppi teaching

Elder Smith and Elder Moleff teaching

Sister Smith teaching

Teacher students

Senior couples who taught English holding their plaque of appreciation.
Photo taken in the Lobby of the Service Center.
L-t-R:  Elder and Sister Ure (Humanitarian), Elder and Sister Moleff (Family History) , Sister and Elder Smith (Public Relations), and Sister and Elder Seppi (PEF-Self Reliance)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jim Thompson House - Second Visit

Thompson was unlike any other figure in Southeast Asia. He was an American, an ex-architect, a retired army officer, a one-time spy, a silk merchant and a renowned collector of antiques. Most of his treasures, if not all, were amassed after he came to Thailand.
In 1958, he began what was to be the pinnacle of his architectural achievement – the construction of a new home to showcase his objets d'art.

Jim Thompson House: Service building and gift shop.
Using parts of old up-country houses – some as old as a hundred years – he succeeded in constructing a masterpiece that involved the reassembling of six Thai dwellings on his estate. Most of the units were dismantled and brought over by river from Ayutthaya, but the largest – a weaver's house (now the living room) – came from Bangkrua. On arrival, the woodwork was offloaded and pieced together.

Jim Thompson House: Pond reflection of retail store.
In his quest for authenticity, he saw to it that some of the structures were elevated a full floor above the ground. During the construction stage, he added his own touches to the buildings by positioning, for instance, a central staircase indoors rather than having it outside. Along the way, he also reversed the wall panels of his quarters so that it now faced inside instead of it having an external orientation.[6]
After he was through with its creation, he filled his home with the items he had collected in the past. Decorating his rooms were Chinese blue-and-white Ming pieces, Belgian glass, Cambodian carvings, Victorian chandeliers, Benjarong earthenware, Thai stone images, Burmese statues, and a dining table which was once used by King Rama V of Thailand.
It took Thompson almost a year to complete his mansion. Now a museum, the Jim Thompson House can be reached by public or private transport. At 6 Soi Kasemsan (2) Song on Rama I Road, it is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The last guided tour of the complex is at 5pm.

Photographs are not allowed inside the buildings.  The following are photos taken outside.

Getting silk thread from the cocoons

June and Petchfa

silk cocoons

The gardens are beautiful.  you can't tell you are in the middle of Bangkok.

Our Thai friends helped us celebrate Sister Moleff's 69th birthday.  We later ate lunch at the Jim Thompson Restaurant - Sister Moleff's favorite place in Bangkok to eat.

Teak Mansion - 2nd Visit

  • Located on Ratchawithi Road behind the National Assembly, Vimanmek Royal Mansion is the world's largest building made entirely of golden teak. Removed from Ko Sichang in Chonburi province, it was rebuilt in the Dusit Palace in 1900 by the command of King Rama V. It was recently renovated by HM Queen Sirikit, and made into a museum paying homage to the late King.
    As well as antique furniture, there's glassware, porcelain, old photographs and memorabilia from the late King's reign (1868 - 1910). Many rooms currently maintain the atmosphere of the past.

    A guided tour is provided to visitors. Most of the building in the same compound are now used as museums. The outstanding one is Abhisek Dusit Hall, which exhibits HM Queen Sirikit's collection of handicraft masterpieces created by rural people. The other displays of various items and art objects including HM King Bhumibol's photography, paraphernalia of rank and portraits, ancient cloth, clocks, and royal carriages. Parts of Vimanmek are still used for various state functions and receptions for visiting royalty when the buildings are closed to the public. Traditional Thai dancing commences daily at 10:30 and 14:00.

    Vimanmek Mansion

    • Opening Hours: 08:30 until 16:30 (Tuesday - Saturday, last ticket at 15:30)
    • Location: Rajavithee Road. Close to Dusit Zoo and the Dusit Palace complex.
    • Price Range: 100 baht, which entitles you to enter every building and gallery. Note that you will need to show your ticket to the attendant at the entrance to every building. Please note: No shorts or sleeveless shirts and skirts must be at least knee-length or you won't be allowed in - and this is enforced.  
    • No cameras and cell phones are allowed in the mansion. 
    Elder Moleff at Entrance Sign

    Except for the guy with the tie, still a good looking couple

    Elder and Sister Moleff, Petchfa, June and her fiancee.
    The inside of the Mansion is well worth seeing, taking pictures are not allowed inside

    Same happy couple

Bangkok Night Life

This is what happens on the 27 floor of the apartment that we live in at about 7 pm.  All photos taken clandestinely without a flash.

Something swimming in the pool.
  What can it be? 

Looking to the North

Yep ! Its still in the pool.  That bright peak in the distant is Terminal 21.  
Where we go to the movies and mall-ing

I hope it doesn't bite.  I'm going to have to take it home.


Zone Conference - Dec 2014

President Senior held Zone conference for the missionaries in Bangkok Stake, Bangkok North Stake, and the Bangkok West District.  The following are photos of the conference excluding the activities in the Asoke Chapel.

Christmas caroling at the Chit Lom  BTS above ground subway station.  Like the El in NYC.

Caroling outside of Amari Hotel.

Getting ready to take a group photo.

Looking toward the dinning area

Food serving area.  The food variety, preparation and taste was outstanding.  Reminded Sister Moleff and I of our visit to Antalya, Turkey .

Food serving and preparation

Our table with Elders Davis and Howard from our Bangkhae District

President and Sister Senior.
The rest of the missionaries - about 90 total

At Asoke Chapel after the Zone Conference.  The senior couple sisters 
made ginger bread cake for dessert.