Tuesday, December 6, 2011

There is NO Escaping

From allergies that is! The monsoon season ended a few weeks ago and, having soaked up all of the rain and the sun over the last 4 months, the trees, flowers, and bushes are now growing like crazy and are in full bloom. When we first moved here (5 months ago later this month!), the landscaping in our yard had just been planted and was so low that my neighbor and I could wave to each other while we were washing dishes. I just noticed this morning that the banana plants and palms are so high now that I can barely see her window.  It is beginning to look like a jungle!
Everything does look lovely but Christopher and I are so miserable as our allergies have kicked in. I started to feel it about two weeks ago and Christopher began to sniffle sometime late last week. Nothing seems to help us feel better although Claritin does reduce my "cotton ball head" feeling a little bit. Christopher looked so bad this morning - puffy & red eyes, nasal congestion with a slight fever - that I kept him home. I know he could go to school and get through the day but he looks so horrible that I bet his teachers would take one look at him and send him home to rest.  

We had a three day weekend as yesterday was a national holiday to celebrate the King's Birthday. Christopher had baseball practices on Saturday and Sunday.  He will be playing in the community league as well as on a travel team. Caitlynne's softball practices were cancelled so she was able to socialize with her friends (her favorite activity!) around Nichada. We went to see "Puss N Boots" yesterday in the theater at our local mall. The movie was a pre-quel to the Shrek movies (which we loved!) to introduce Puss and tell about his adventures prior to meeting Shrek. Even though it was animated, the actors behind the voices were so appropriate to their character! We all really liked it and I am glad the kids suggested going.

As for the King's Birthday... a MAJOR celebratory event here in Thailand! King Bhumibol Adulyadej is world's longest serving monarch. He turned 84 years old yesterday amid great celebration in Bangkok and throughout the country.  

The photo below is courtesy of Pongpatwongyala from The Bangkok Post. 
The photo below is courtesy of The Phuket Gazette.
Under the constitutional monarchy in Thailand, the King has no direct power and all  of the decision-making is done by the Prime Minister. However, the Thai Constitution stipulates that the king "shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated" and that "no person shall expose the king to any sort of accusation or action." Thailand's laws bar criticism of the monarchy and hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences are the norm for such transgressions.  In fact, just last week, a man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending four text messages that were deemed offensive to the Queen and the monarchy. The King is indeed a revered and respected man here. Before EVERY public event (including those at our school), a video montage of special events in the King's life is shown while an anthem to the King is played. Everyone stands very quietly and respectfully while the video and anthem are played. Yesterday, I was surprised to discover that this ritual is even done in the movie theaters before the film begins! It seems very similar to the playing of the National Anthem in the U.S. but is done more frequently and, honestly, everyone here is much more respectful and attentive. Yesterday and continuing all week, there will be light displays, fireworks and performances all over Bangkok and Thailand. Kevin told me that the King's birthday is even more special this year as it is his 84th and the Thais believe numbers that are divisible by 7 bring good luck.  

Have a great Tuesday!

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