Monday, March 31, 2008

The Laundry Challenge

I have a confession to make...I don't know how to do the laundry. I have excellent cooking skills, mediocre cleaning skills (thanks to the OC in me), but I suck when it comes to doing the laundry. When we were younger and we didn't have a maid, my mom put me in charge of the kitchen and the cleaning while my sister Angel who has zero cooking skills (this doctor-to-be can't fry an egg to save her life!), was in charge of doing the laundry. She's a laundry whiz!

But that doesn't make me a fake domestic goddess! It's not my fault they do not have shows on the Lifestyle Network about doing the laundry. Sure they have all sorts of cooking shows or programs that teach you how to decorate all sorts of stuff, but nothing on laundry.
I tried to postpone doing the laundry for as long as I could, even making excuses to my husband like I can't do the laundry yet because we don't have sampayan, no hangers, etc. We needed to go to the mall first to buy the kind that you assemble. But our clothes are starting to pile up and the hamper's getting full. So Richard made a make-shift sampayan for me. Now there's no excuse for not doing the laundry.

So the day finally arrived when I came face to face with the washing machine. It would have been a lot easier if our washer was the tub type. But no, as luck would have it, they gave us the front-loading type. It didn't have any words on it like spin, dry or cycle. Instead, it had all these weird symbols. I looked it up on the internet, but I didn't find any match. I also tried to download a user's manual online, but the model number wouldn't register in whirpool! We even tried asking the housekeeping people to teach us how to use it but they don't speak english. Looks like I will just have to try the controls and hope that the machine doesn't explode!

This is the way we wash our clothes...

First, we load the clothes. Since this is a test run, we will use the pambahay so that in case I use the wrong controls, ok lang if the machine tears them into shreds...

Mommy, are you sure with what you're doing?

Next, you turn the controls and cross your fingers...
Yikes! I hope we got that right!
I passed the laundry challenge!! Yey! No tears, no holes, no shrinkage. Whew!
Pinoy talaga ang nakatira dito kasi may sampayan. Haha!

Our First Homecooked Meal

For our first homecooked meal, I decided to make the most Pinoy dish of all -- ADOBO! I thought about this when we were at the supermarket so I bought pork belly (liempo), garlic, pepper, vinegar and soy sauce. The last two ingredients were a bit of a challenge because they were all local brands. They don't have Datu Puti, Silver Swan or Lauriat here! No familiar labels whatsoever. So I had to make do with the ones with english translation (written in teeny tiny letters) and the ones that I thought I saw in supermarkets back in Manila.
Feeling Iron Chef ako with the ingredients that I will be using. For example, I saw two kinds of vinegar on the shelves - artificial vinegar and distilled vinegar. Anything with the word "artificial" attached to it scares me especially with food so I went for the distilled vinegar. As for the soy sauce, I saw different kinds - there's formula 1, formula 4, aromatic. I thought formula 1 was only for race cars! Pati pala toyo dito meron nun. They also have Kikkoman but I only use it as dipping sauce and not for cooking adobo so my only option was to choose the one that looked familiar.

The ingredients - vinegar, soy sauce and garlic.
A closer look at the vinegar and soy sauce.
The finished product.

Pinoy talaga! Adobo + steamed rice = panalo!
The table is set! Let's call the guinea pigs -- este, judges pala.
Here are the judges. Kain na!

I'm sure my mom will react when she sees the picture with a bottle of coke on the table but before mom can react, let me explain...buffer lang yung coke just in case hindi sila masarapan sa luto ko. Hehe! Obviously, I'm guilty because I'm defensive. Haha!

So what's the verdict? Richard and Yan loved it! My iron chef challenge was a success!

Our First Grocery Shopping Day (+ rant about our delayed package)

Our package hasn't arrived yet (no thanks to Nippon Express!) so there's nothing to unpack, nothing to cook and nothing to eat! We survived our first day mainly on room service and food delivery (which is a lot harder than we thought because the person who answers the phone does not speak english). Thank God we brought enough clothes + one set of Richard's uniform (thanks to the domestic goddess in me!).

But that doesn't mean Nippon Express is off the hook. This kind of delay is unacceptable! We were supposed to schedule our sea freight on the first week of March but they said it's too early because it only takes two weeks to ship the items to Thailand. So it was moved to the third week. We were expecting to see our package in our room when we arrive but when we got here, not a single box was in sight.
Same thing with our air freight. They picked up our stuff four days before we left Manila and it's still not here. Richard called Nippon Express directly and asked his boys over at TMP to call their Manila Office and we were told that the earliest that we can get our package is on Thursday. We can't order room service forever because it's too expensive and getting delivery is such a hassle! We were left with no choice but to head to the nearest supermarket to buy supplies. Richard and I need retail therapy to relieve the stress that our shipper gave us.

So off we went to Tesco Lotus. It's only a couple of minutes away and the good thing is, Oakwood provides a shuttle that can bring their guests to Tesco Lotus, Central Mall and the BTS Sky Train Station.
Tesco Lotus is like SM Supermarket - from the items that they sell (the usual grocery items + clothes + appliances) and the number of people that go here. Back home, a lot of people were telling me that "masarap mag shopping dito sa Bangkok kasi mas mura kesa Manila". And they're right! I found Colgate toothbrush for only 8 baht. When converted, that's like 10 pesos! They also have nice storage items for as low as 30 baht. I also saw shrimp at 148 baht per kilo!

But there's a catch - most of the items that they sell there are written in Thai so we just relied on logos that looked familiar to be able to identify them.

We tried to stick to the basics or stuff that we needed immediately, but the longer that we stayed there, the more items we placed in our push cart! Our only relief was we did not spend much even if it was a cartful.

Inside the lobby waiting for the shuttle. We're taking the 2:30pm trip.
The shuttle should be here anytime now. I wonder what it looks like...

It looks normal from the outside, but inside -- whoa! Pimp my ride!
Check out the screen and speakers on the ceiling!

On the cab on way back to Oakwood.

Alyannah's pasalubong for Becky!
Look! I bought Barbie toothpaste and Hello Kitty toothbrush!
We scream for ice cream!

Day One in Bangkok

We're here!

After a three hour flight, we've finally landed in Bangkok. It was hard to leave Manila but seeing the excitement in Alyannah's face kept me going. This is my first flight with her and I know that we will be having a lot of new adventures together (more about that in the future posts).

For now, Alyannah will give you a tour of what we'll be calling home in the next 2-3 years.
This is my room!

I will be sleeping on this bed while my best friend Becky the Bear will share the other one with Angel Bear.

I can't wait to use my bathtub!

This is mom and dad's room.

Mom and Dad's shower.

Mom, can I use your bathtub too?

Our kitchen and laundry area. I hope mom knows how to operate this machine!

Becky said she likes the dining area. I like it too, Becky!

I like it here, Dad!

The Valdezes in Bangkok.

Now that you've seen our place, I hope that you will book a flight to Bangkok ASAP. We really miss everyone back home and we can't wait to have visitors!

For the meantime, keep on coming back to this blog for more updates on our new life in Thailand.