Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cabbage Garden Palace Museum Visit

Sister Meeker and I along with two other Senior Missionary Couples took the opportunity on a recent Preparation Day to visit the Cabbage Palace Museum (วังสวนผักกาดพิพิธภัณฑ์) here in Bangkok. 
The Suan Pakkad Palace is the first museum in Thailand where the owner, their Royal Highnesses Prince (Cousin to the Current King) and Princess Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga, decided to convert their private residence into a Museum.  The Museum home built in the traditional Thai style opened in 1952 , is located only two airport link stops away from our Condo.  It contains their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga's collection of antiquities, which has been passed down through successive generations. The Suan Pakkad Palace is a combination of fine arts and ancient artifacts from the era of H.R.H. Prince Paribatra Sukhumbandhu, son of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, Rama V and Her Majesty Queen Sukhumala Marasri.
      There are groups of 4 traditional Thai houses with the covered hallway between them. Houses 5 to 8 are located along the west side of the property. The Lacquer Pavilion stands in the main garden to the south of the compound. The Ban-Chiang Museum [Thai Heritage] and Marsi Gallery are in the Chumbhot-Pantip Centre of Arts
It was a fun experience to see the traditional Thai houses and share them with my Wife and the the other two couple missionaries who do not know much about Thailand.  Many of the things there were very beautiful and others were very old.  They did not allow photography inside any of the structures, so the lack any inside pictures must be to entice you to come see for yourself.
Note they asked us to take our shoes off for most of the tour

A very large hornet's nest in the tree about eye level a few feet from the walkway

Sister Meeker wanted to make sure Chelli saw this collection of arrow heads or stone tools
Elder and Sister Seppi with the portable complimentary Air conditioning from the Museum (hand fans)

Sister and Elder Meeker in front of one of the former royal barges

Still looking pretty good

The Beautiful Sister Meeker

Sister and Elder Meeker, Sister and Elder Seppi, and Sister and Elder Smith
For this final picture - note the contrast - the old original Thai homes with the modern 85-story, 304 m (997 ft) skyscraper in the background. It is the tallest building in Bangkok, and comprises the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel in Southeast Asia and the seventh-tallest all-hotel structure in the world.  There is a restaurant near the top where the completing Missionaries like to go to for their next to last dinner in Thailand.  It is all you can eat buffet.

Papaya Salad - Lunch on the street - One of my favorite meals

This is our Cook in her outdoor kitchen
Note the usage of the tree to store things
Sometimes we bring lunch from the condo or other times I go to the street to buy lunch and bring it back to the office to eat in our Air conditioned Office.  Last week the Air Conditioner in our office were being cleaned at lunch time.  So we decided to eat on the street at lunch time.

This is Papaya Salad with Sticky Rice
The street vendor where we purchased this and ate is about 50 yards down he street from the church offices.  We call her the Isaan lady because she cooks food from the Isaan.  Isaan is the word for the Northeastern part of Thailand.  Many parts of Thailand have here own types or specialties with respect to food. 

Papaya salad is made by chopping up green papaya and adding tomatoes, dried shrimp and spices to give a unique flavor. The cook mashes it all together in a large mortar and pestle (see picture above).   It can be very spicy.  For Sister Meeker's benefit we ask for mild.  Still plenty hot for Sister Meeker and it is just fine for me - still got some kick in it but not hot enough to make your eyes water or your nose run.  Note the Fanta Green and Fanta Orange Pops.  I walked another 100 Feet beyond the sidewalk restaurant to buy the pop at 7/11. The Green pop is best described as Bubble gum flavor - but actually the can describes it as fruit flavor. 

Cost of the Meal ... 14 Baht for each pop and 60 Baht for the Rice and Salad.  That works out to be less than 3 dollars. It was a awesome lunch and the street side venue was not too hot on this particular day. 

Senior Missionary Couple Departs for Home

Elder and Sister Sowards a senior missionary couple from Arizona departed Thailand after completing their 18 month Mission on October 1st.  Sister Meeker and I really enjoyed being with them. They were assigned to a small town Ayuthaya, a little over a hour north of Bangkok, so we did not get to spend a lot of time with them.  Elder Sowards was truly one of the pioneer missionaries that served in Thailand.  He is listed as the 35th Missionary to serve here.  He and his companions opened up the City of Chiang Mai for the preaching of the Gospel.  Chiang Mai is a large city in northern Thailand and there are currently two branches of the Church that meet there. The Sowards served as MLS (Member Leader Support) Missionaries. They were maintaining a blog about there service in Thailand. Link attached.  Sister Sowards is a published author and as such their Blog posts are really well written and fun to read and see.
The post on their Blog from Sunday, September 28, 2014 talks about our visit. 

Sister and Elder Sowards with Sister Meeker
Before we start on Desert
As part of my responsibilities as the Financial Secretary for the Mission I am responsible to rent and provide furnishings for all of the Missionary residences including the housing for Senior Missionaries.  We had rented a home in Ayuthaya for them.  With the Sowards departure we needed to close the house.  There were several items of church owned furnishings that we need to collect.  So Sister Meeker and I drove the Cargo Van to Ayuthaya to pick up those items.  On a prior visit to Ayuthaya, Elder and Sister Sowards introduced us to their favorite restaurant.  It just so happens to be at the same exact hotel that Sister Meeker and I stayed at almost 4 years ago when we toured Thailand.  I was truly impressed with the American Burger and the deserts (as mentioned in the Sowards Blog). So instead of going up early Saturday morning and returning with the furnishings, we decided to go up on Friday evening in order to be able to have dinner one more time with the Sowards at the Krungsri River Hotel Restaurant.
Sister Meeker with her delectable Chocolate Mousse

My Chocolate Mousse - Almost to pretty to eat ..... NOT!
We stayed overnight in the Hotel and this brought back memories of our visit back in Early 2011.  Looking back at the Pictures from our prior Visit ---- I think we stayed in the same exact room.
Sister Meeker Getting ready for the Day in Ayuthaya

Selfie of two Senior Missionaries

River Barge Traffic on the River in Ayuthaya

View from Hotel looking South East towards the Church and the Sowards former home
Tall Chedi (or Stupa) in the distance to the Left is Wat Yai (Big Temple)
Sometimes Thai names are very descriptive and simple - other times not so

Sister Meeker was enthralled by this chandelier above the Hotel stairway

She also liked the drapes on the Hotel Curved Stairway

Model in Hotel lobby of river Barge that was common when I was here 39 years ago
 We brought our Mexican Train Dominos game and had a go of it with the Sowards in our room after dinner. Now you know what we as Senior Missionaries can actually play games.

On Saturday morning we loaded up the Van with two desks, Wash machine, clothes drying racks (hardly anyone in thailand owns a dryer), Dining room table and chairs, etc.  On Saturday afternoon we were privileged to attend the Branch activity to honor the Sowards.  There was Thai food of course, a Video tribute with music and some play acting and performances.  It was fun to see.  the Thai Members in Ayuthaya truly love the Sowards.  He served as the Branch President for the past year or so and Sister Sowards taught Piano lessons to many students and helped with youth activities every Saturday afternoon.  The youth had a big part of the performance ... they did a "Singing in the Rain" performance complete with colorful plastic rain coats and umbrellas.  They did a mini Virginia Reel dancing routine that Elder and Sisters Sowards had taught to them back on Pioneer Day in July.