of soaring & dreaming

August 6, 2008

The Right Footwear

Filed under: Events,Life stuff,travel — carnationzky @ 9:23 am
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Good old comfy Kito sandals travelled with me to Toronto

Good old comfy Kito sandals (left) travelled with me to Toronto

Wish I brought the right ones when I was in Singapore last July. I was not able to wear then my favorite and comfy Scholl sandals which would have been perfect there. Since my friend told me that it was raining there everyday, I did not want to soil this nice pair. So I chose another pair of step-in which later on I found out was not suitable for Singapore. Especially because they were not meant for walking. And walk a lot we did! As a result, my leg and feet muscles suffered from all the strain of walking and running and climbing. I kept wishing I brought even my older rubber Kito sandals instead of this nice gold, shiny, very flat step-in, which are good only for fashion and short-term wear. My feet had to exert more effort to hold on to the shoe surface because it was so slippery there was no traction on the surface. Until we came back to Thailand, I still felt the pain. So the next day (good I was still on leave), I went to Future Park to have a foot massage. And wow! It was so relaxing and I felt much better.

This shoe experience reminds me of the question my husband used to ask me (a long time ago): “Why do you need so many pairs of shoes?” My answer to him was: I need to have shoes for every occasion. I do not have that many actually compared to some, especially you know who! But I have enough pairs which I can choose from to go with the occasion or with what I am wearing, with my mood or with the weather. When traveling, I always bring at most two more pairs of footwear in addition to what I am already wearing. Just in case. But during this Singapore trip we were using a budget airline so our luggage space was limited.

Anyway, lesson learned: never sacrifice comfort with convenience. Does this make sense?

August 2, 2008

have time? will travel …

It was in June when my sister in Manila informed me that she and my niece, Kate, will be going to Singapore towards the end of July. My niece, who is a student at the Shirley Halili-Cruz Dance School in Quezon City, is joining the school group for some ballet competition (the 10th Asia-Pacific Dance Competition). I was so excited to hear about it and immediately I started to check my calendar. It would be nice to meet up in Singapore, it being nearer and easier to go to (from Bangkok, that is) than to the Philippines.

Fortunately, I had so many days of leave credits which I need to use up before my contract ends in August. As the case here at AIT, as a fixed term contract worker, we could not carry over our leave credits to the next contract period, even if it is within the same project. And it could not be converted to cash either. So if you do not use them, you lose. After all the hard work … hmmm… It was also a surprise that I accumulated that many leave credits because there was no official announcement from our HRO that the monthly leave credit was increased from 1 to 1.5 days. I dunno even when it started. Am just so happy to learn that but I wished I knew earlier so I did not have to take leave without pay a few months earlier (in April) when I went home to Philippines for my holiday. So now I am left with about 10 days leave with barely 2 months to go in my contract. And with a 2 week training program to participate in the following month (August), I have few remaining days to work and so how can I use them up?

So there, the opportunity came up to travel. And I can choose to go as long as I want but it’s not only my own sked to consider. My DH has to come, too, and we have to check his sked whether he could take leave. Fortunately again, that period in July is graduation time at the university where he is teaching. In Thailand, graduation ceremonies take days to complete, so there is basically no work to be done during that period. Which means he is free to take leave as well and travel. So schedule wise, we are ok.

Now the time to check for flights and accommodations. We know that flights to Singapore from Bangkok have a wide range of prices and choices of airlines. Sometimes they really have cheap promos but during this period, there was none. So we had to check the budget airlines and we were able to book one with Air Asia. That’s ok. Next comes the accommodation. So expensive in hotels, that’s out of the question. In the meantime we contacted our dear friend, Lailin and she offered to find one for us among her friends. So that was solved.

So everything was set, we just had to wait. In the meantime, excitement is building up. We do not normally travel just for a holiday. Except for the visit to home in the Philippines, the travels we often do are work-related (professional) and with the ministry. And in times of economic difficulties, work related travel is a good enough chance to travel as a tourist as well. So no need to plan for expensive holidays.

I will be writing blogs on varied topics related to our Singapore trip in the following days. So stay tuned!

July 22, 2008

Panic attack? Or was it?

I was walking the other day in Bangkok (Silom-Surawong area) under the mighty heat of the sun, when suddenly I felt something like a “panic attack”. I was not afraid or anything like that, it was just some kind of feeling which I could not control. You see, I have been walking for quite a distance looking for an address and, because I have not been in the area for a loooong time, I sort of underestimated the distance from the Chong Nonsi BTS station to the Mahesak-Surawong road.

There are times when reality strikes me that I have been living somewhere out there in the middle of nowhere, farther than the ‘burbs, even. So during those once in a blue moon occasions when I do get to step into the city, literally on my own two feet hmmmm…I try not to be obvious about it but I get affected by all the heat, noise, pollution, busyness of people etc. That’s because I am so used to living in the same area as where I work. And also because every time I go to Bangkok I drag my dear hubby with me so I have a free ride. But this time I was on my own, using public transpo and my own two feet. But I digress.

So about the “panic attack”. It was already past lunch time and I did not have lunch yet. But I have my lunch with me. I just did not have the chance to eat it yet. So probably because of the heat and tiredness from all that walking, and the noise around me, I just felt panicky. I just remembered thinking it was so hot and what if my blood pressure increased. And suddenly I just felt hot and tingling. I prayed silently to God for protection and to heal me from what I was feeling. I turned and walked back and went inside the first building I saw nearby, just to keep calm and cool down. While walking I was thinking that what if I collapsed there on the road or lost my bearings, and the police and media would come and it would be in the news and … whoa!

So when I went into the building, I asked the guard if he knew the address I was looking for, just to show I have a reason to go in. Actually I just wanted to rest inside. So I asked permission if I could stop a while to rest and eat my food (red bean pandan bread). Good I have this and a bottle of water with me. I think that I was just exhausted and was not used to walking in not so clean air. Anyway, I called the person I intended to meet for a clearer direction. I should have called earlier before walking that far.

I don't mind the heat if I were on a beach like this (Taringting, Antique province)

I don't mind the heat if I were on a beach like this (Taringting, Antique province)

After recovering from that strange feeling earlier, I went out to catch a taxi and finally I got to the place. It was not that far actually from where I stopped earlier. But because I had to take a taxi and the place is on a one way street, we had to make one whole round to get there.

I was thankful that the people I met were kind and goodhearted, and nobody took advantage of me. Thank God that He is always with me wherever I go, protecting and keeping me safe.

June 30, 2008

Traffic and rain

Filed under: Life stuff — carnationzky @ 3:40 pm
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We were caught in heavy rain and traffic tonight on our way to the mall. We should not have gone out considering that clouds were gathering when we left. After eating our dinner by the Swan Lake, where we had somtam, fried pla tap tim, namtok mhu, and sticky rice, we drove to Future Park. It was nearly 7 pm. We wanted to frame some photos for the wall. We have just made the U-turn from AIT and passed Bangkhan when the drops started to fall. By the time we reached Pinehurst area on Pahonyothin Rd. the rain fell harder, and traffic seemed to stop. We turned on to FM100 to listen to the road news. This is a public service radio station wherein people can call in to ask for help. They also have volunteers to report on the traffic conditions in specific areas around Bangkok and suburbs. So we heard that on the Pahonyothin Highway a few km ahead of us, there was some accident. So that was why the traffic, though moving, was at a snail’s pace. And together with the heavy downpour, it made matters worst. We were in the outside road then we decided to go in. But things were the same. It was taking us a very long time that we decided not to go to FP anymore. We  passed the U-turn already to go back to AIT. So we went farther to go up the tollway and get off the next exit to get to the next U-turn. But it turned out that that area was also crowded so we went up again to the tollway. We ended up paying the 55 Baht for tollfee on that route. The rain was still heavy but at least the way was clear. There was no traffic here. But the opposite side was so crowded that traffic seemed to be at a standstill. And we had to go that way once we eventually made our U-turn. So we went on until we took the exit at  Central Ladprao, and made a U-turn to get on the tollway back to Don Muang. Another fee to pay at 35 Baht. So we were up again on the tollway to go back to AIT. After a few minutes, we got stuck again in the traffic. We had to be patient. At least the vehicles were moving. It was just made slower by the fact that there were so many cars exiting towards Lamlukka and Rangsit, and below those making the U-turn as well. That was why we had to go farther earlier because of the gridlock in that area. We did not have to go down here so we went ahead. We had to pay another fee, this time for 20 Baht. And it was good that after this bottleneck, the road was clear again. So we were on our way back without traffic now. But the rain was still heavy. When we came down from the tollway we looked at the opposite lane where we passed earlier. Traffic there was now at a standstill. Imagine if we did not make the decision and still insisted to keep going there, we would not yet be home at this time. We spent quite a lot just to use the tollway, and also used fuel for nothing. We should never have gone out in the first place. There’s no use feeling regret about it although it was quite a waste of time, energy, fuel and money. We just had to spend and move less this week to compensate for that. For me I kept praying for His protection every time a vehicle cut in front or overtook us.  We thank God for protecting us while on the road.

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