A Chameleon in a Box of Crayons

Greetings everyone from Bangkok, Thailand! 🌻

ed fWe are now approaching our second month of quarantine here, so I thought I’d give you all a little update.

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Groundhog’s Day meme courtesy of Google

After two months of lockdown, your girl is losing her mind. 😂😂

Let’s cut to me singing Mexican folk songs…alone…and sober…in my condo. 🇲🇽😂

Side note: You may be wondering, Megan, for Pete’s sake, why are you not indulging in a little vino or cerveza during this isolating time? 🍷 I mean, heck, that’s how people in Italy are staying sane. 🧡

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social distance drinking in Italy courtesy of Google images

That’s because Thailand banned alcohol sales during quarantine! 😮 They literally gave everyone four hours notice before banning the sale of alcohol nationwide. This was the scene at a local grocery store before the ban. Total chaos! Afterwards, the only thing you could legally buy was this beer scented shower gel. The new and hygienic happy hour. 😂🍺

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Luckily, my boyfriend hit the store beforehand and stocked up to next Christmas, so at least I had somewhere to go when I needed to unwind. 😂🍺

gjw92They also banned swimming pools and beaches, so I had to improvise on my R & R. Take away my booze and my beach, but you can’t kill my buzz. I’m even thinkin’ about creating a 50 cent remix for quarantine, “You can find me in the tub…” 😂🎵

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Anyway, these past two months of quarantine, I have still been able to try many new restaurants, so this post will be filled with lots of foodie tips, plus it’ll give you insight into how the pandemic has affected me, as an expat living in Thailand. Hope you enjoy! 🇹🇭

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humorous picture of Thai lady boy nurses going to fight the virus 😂😂

Well, let’s first go back to February, when I last blogged about my mom’s visit. This is right before the…

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💩 hit the fan. 😂😂

At this point, I was still optimistic about my trip (already booked and paid for) to South Korea and the Philippines in April to see the cherry blossoms and scuba dive. Little did I know, this fake tree at the local mall was the closest thing I’d get to that plan. 😭😭😭

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Now I am aware that my lost vacation is nothing compared to all the losses other people have been suffering these past months. That being said, I still think everyone deserves the right to grieve experiences or events that have been cancelled due to this pandemic. Also, this comment can hopefully serve as a little kick in the butt to AirAsia, since I’m still waiting on my flight money. 🤔💸 This is literally how I picture customer service every time I ask them about the status of my refund. 😂😂

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AirAsia customer service (photo courtesy of Google images)

Anyway, after my mom left, I helped host my boyfriend’s friends visiting from Germany. On their first night in Bangkok, we headed over to Sathorn area for some rooftop bar hopping. 👗😊

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We checked out Zoom Sky Bar and Vertigo Rooftop at Banyan Tree. Definitely a luxurious treat and nice welcome to the city! 🍸

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Side note: We capped out the night at Vesper Cocktail Bar, which has an INCREDIBLE cocktail menu. They actually made the list of the top 50 bars in Asia. Here is their bar and one of their signature cocktails, the Democrat: corn chips, agave, chocolate bitters, Vermouth, and Don Julio Blanco. What a combo! 😮

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photo courtesy of Google

The next day we took them to the Green Lung in Bangkok, which is excellent for riding bikes in nature and enjoying local market fare, like fresh coconuts. 🚴🥥

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We also visited this riverside bar called Samsara Cafe and Meal. They have a beautiful wooden cafe on the river where they serve yummy appetizers and a selection of local beers. 🍻

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fried pork egg roll with cabbage slaw

In the evening, we went to Chinatown and dined at this spectacular restaurant called Red Rose. The ambiance was incredibly elegant, with black and white tiles along the bar, vintage photos and wall paper decorating the room, live piano music playing, and the waitstaff dressed in glamorous, retro attire. We ordered the Peking Duck, which was first served in pancakes. The crispy skin was cut table-side, and paired with scallions, cucumber and a plum sauce. The rest of the duck was then stir fried with peppers in a Szechuan sauce and served with rice.
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There was also a vegetarian in the group. She tried their homemade fried tofu in egg sauce with bok choy, which was also delicious! 😋

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photo courtesy of the restaurant website

To work off our meal, we found this hidden mini-golf bar in Chinatown called The Shot. Not so surprisingly, you get a shot of alcohol included to help with your aim. So fun! ⛳

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minigolf

On their last night, we enjoyed delightful views of Wat Arun from The Deck restaurant. I ordered a rich smoked salmon pasta in a creamy sauce, and we all shared a papaya salad. Yum, yum, yum!

pastaAfter they left, my boyfriend had his friend visit from Switzerland, and the two of them went to the beach, which made me a little envious. As he was sending me photos relaxing in the sand, I was sending him edited photos of me in my classroom pretending to be at the beach. 🤣

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him at the beach VS. me at work…pretending to be at the beach

As such, after he came back to Bangkok, and we enjoyed some excellent rooftop beers at Escape bar, we decided to plan our own little beach escape as well. 🌴

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Escape, a tropical rooftop bar near Phrom Phong BTS

We decided to head to south of Jomtien Beach near Pattaya. We stayed at the Pinnacle Grand Jomtien Resort, where we spent the day laying by the beach, eating tasty Thai food, and swimming in the sea.

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The resort was also attached to the Alexa Beach Club, where they had lively club music, a chic pool and a relaxing bar for happy hour.

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In the evening, we dined at the Glass House Restaurant. This place has such a romantic seaside atmosphere. The main building is a lush green house encased in beautiful white glass. Their eclectic seating is then scattered all along the beachfront and decorated with twinkling lights. 😍 You can hear the waves and smell the sea as you dine with your feet in the sand. We ordered seafood curry and papaya salad, and I ordered a cheeky rum and coke, which I had to mix on my own. Bottoms up!

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Now we were so lucky we took this beach holiday when we did, because as soon as we returned back to Bangkok, things started to get a little crazy.

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funny virus meme courtesy of Google 🤣

Within one week the government had decided to close down all schools, close all restaurants, bars, malls, parks, and pretty much order everyone to stay at home. We were only permitted to go to grocery stores for necessary goods.

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quarantine shopping meme courtesy of Google 🤣

To be honest, things were changing so fast, I felt like a chameleon in a box of crayons, constantly changing my colors to match with my new surroundings. That being said, every 24 hours, a new regulation or restriction would be put in place and I would panic and have to make adjustments again. It was so hard to keep up, if I honestly were a chameleon, I would have looked psychedelic…and I was feeling pretty trippy too. 🤪

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chameleon changing colors

Luckily, I did have a few days with my kiddos and some superb school lunches before we had to switch to fully remote learning.

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steam egg bun; green curry tofu with Thai eggplant and morning glory
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beef stew with potatoes and cuddle-fish; pork larb with veggie tofu; beef and broccoli stir fry; fried chicken with steamed veggies and extra chili 🌶️

At the time we were learning about dinosaurs and simple machines. The kids had drawn their own dinos and went on an archaeological dig trying to excavate chocolate chips out of cookies. They also played Mouse Trap and made their own traps for leprechauns. 🌈

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Now you may be wondering, how exactly does it feel to teach a whole class of energetic kids on the computer? I feel like this screenshot captures my emotions perfectly. 😂😂

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In the beginning, I had pets and siblings joining in, kids making crafts and eating marshmallows at 9 AM…it was slightly chaotic, but over time we’ve adjusted to online learning really well. 👩‍🏫

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I always start my lesson with a hidden picture to keep the kids entertained while people are joining the Zoom session. 😊

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We also have weekly number talks, story time, fitness sessions, and even play games, like Pictionary. 🖥️

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fitness
PE with Joe Wicks

The kids have done artsy projects inspired by artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock. 🎨

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picassosplatter2splatterThey’ve made their own musical instruments, designed their own sun wear, created catapults, crafted coin spinners, played with shadows, and completed friction toy car experiments. 🏎️

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Probably the most adorable thing I had them do was create a virus-fighting superhero. Here was one of the submissions. So adorable! 🦸

Anyway, I have definitely had a lot of time to myself these past two months of social distancing. I teach alone in my condo during the day, and I spend the afternoon taking long walks away from everyone, enjoying my own company. As a bonus, I’ve been able to capture some beautiful parts of the city, filled with unique architecture and vibrant street art. Wow! Bangkok never ceases to amaze me! 🤩📸

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From roaches to rotund rascals, I never know what I’m going to see on my walks. 😂Somebody needs a belly rub!🐶

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At night, I’ve also noticed the city is trying to illuminate some of the buildings to show solidarity during this time of social distancing. 💕

parkThe building on the left is illuminated like a heart and the building on the right is…hmm… errr…supposed to be praying hands. 😳😳🙏🏻 🙏🏻Oh boy, this just got awkward. I wonder if I should tell them what it really looks like. Hah! 🍆🍆😂😂

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Coincidentally, right before the lock down, I had gone to this event at Yelo House called The Nook, a place to go when you are NO-OK. It was all about creating strategies to be happy when you are alone with yourself. They had art sessions, where I painted this clay pot, music making, and beautiful discussions about how being alone does not mean you are lonely. This couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for quarantine! 💕

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It’s really taught me how to embrace these alone times with reading, podcasts, and oodles of self care. 😊

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when you walk outside and see a snail, you know your face mask is fresh

In this Japanese store here called Don Don Donki, I found some really wild ideas for self-care too. I am LOVING how they’ve described these as fitness slippers. It really justifies my quarantine lifestyle as a sport. 😂 Not sure about the duck lips…it was just so bizarre that I had to take a pic. They also had cute dog snouts too.

dondonAnyway, things have definitely changed drastically in regards to disease prevention here. ddszFor starters, I get my temperature checked around 5 or more times per day. Most stores will check your temp and give you sanitizer, then put a sticker on you to show that you’re OK. Heck, even the animals are getting checked…although they should know a cat and dogs temp normally runs between 100-103 Fahrenheit, so they shouldn’t be alarmed. 😂

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Some malls even have thermal scanning tunnels and thermo robots, which patrol the malls and remind patrons to wear their masks. To get into a mall, you have to scan a QR code on your phone, which they use for contact tracing. 😷

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There are also social distancing markers everywhere, including on public transit and even in the elevator. Masks were already very common here, but now they’ve bumped up hand washing ads as well. They’ve even pasted song lyrics in the restroom to sing while you wash, in order to make sure you’ve spent enough time scrubbing. I’ve also witnessed many incredible public service acts during these harsh economic times, like these free snack cabinets to help feed the homeless. 🧡🍜

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So how am I helping out? Personally, I’m trying to support local cafes and restaurants that are struggling right now. ☕

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Palette Artspace in Thong Lor

It’s easy…and tasty too. 😋

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Bei Otto pretzels and Weisswurst, a.k.a the German banana 😂 It’s actually a traditional Bavarian sausage served with sweet mustard.
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Zuma: japanese lotus salad, salmon skewers, tuna sushi, fried pork, and mixed sashimi salad; Beirut: Lebanese chicken kebab with yellow rice, eggplant moutabal and pita; Sunrise Tacos: Mexican tortilla soup; Mia: fusion pork and pickle potato salad, salmon with caviar in a pea sauce, and truffled mushroom risotto
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Wine Connection: seared tuna salad, steak, fries, and mezze platter (smoked eggplant with feta, marinated mushrooms and bell pepper sauce); Hom Duan: khao soi northern Thai curry, pork curry and spiced sausage; Gourmet Market: chicken biryani with massaman curry, sweet fried chicken with egg and rice, savory egg custard with crab
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cheap eats for 50 Baht (1.50 USD) fried fish, pork larb, and rice; ginger pork with greens and rice; bitter melon chicken, cabbage, fried egg and rice; riceberry with fried fish

And knowing me, I had to throw in a few creature comforts and 7-Eleven meals as well. 🙃

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salted egg sun chips; pineapple pork with egg and rice; Samurai pork burger at McD’s; mini shrimp burger
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chicken hot dog with spicy New Orleans sauce
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Japanese chicken omelet with rice

Enjoying a Subway sandwich while watching Tiger King, because I like to keep it classy. 😂 Also, what drunk genius decided to create a hashbrown sub?!? Fried potatoes on bread…bravo! 👏subAnd although we have been doing a bit of cooking, truthfully, the Tops and Villa Market grocery stores here are more expensive than dining out, so I’d suggest that instead. 💸

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homemade Mediterranean brekkie
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grilled steak and chicken with spinach and purple potatoes; chili with minced chicken and BBQ tortilla chips

And now, thank goodness, things are heading in the right direction, and many restaurants and food courts are opening back up for dine-in service. 😁

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Avra Georgian Greek Restaurant: cheburek with minced beef, lamb kebab and chicken gyro
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katsu curry pork cutlet at Iwane Goes Nature
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piri piri chicken salad with kombucha and iced Americano at Bitterman
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May Veggie: veggie burger, sweet and sour tofu with rice; Luka Moto: BBQ pork sandwich with coleslaw and jicama fries; Yakiniku Kirabi: Korean meat platter ready for grilling; Toby’s: carrot cake; Coffee Club: feta and veggie omelet
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drunken chicken noodle at The Commons Sathorn
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Food court eats: pork morning glory curry, deep fried spicy fish with rice; soft tofu with sweet minced pork sauce, greens and rice
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iced Americano and vintage shop at Blue Dye Cafe

They’ve also opened up salons. 💇You still have to wear a mask with social distanced seating, but a hair cut still felt glorious, and all I needed now was this cute like pink car to buzz around in while I let my hair flow in the breeze. 💕pin
Anyway, you may also wonder what dining looks like post-pandemic? Exactly this…glass partitioned tables, socially distanced, and with limited seating. At least there’s a hole at the bottom where we can pass our forks, since we like to share food. 😂🍴

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cinnamon greek yogurt with fresh berries and granola at Toby’s

Bars haven’t opened up yet, but these baby steps in the right direction keep me hanging on. 💪

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pre-pandemic memories: beers, fried calamari and Caesar salad at Mikkeller Bangkok
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pre-pandemic memories: salmon larb, Jamaican jerk chicken and witbiers at Beer Belly’s
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pre-pandemic memories: Brazilian Carnaval celebration
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pre-pandemic memories: Carnaval at Mojjo Rooftop Lounge & Bar

What’s the most miraculous to me to witness after these many weeks of quarantine is how adaptable I’ve become to this new normal. I may have started as a colorful, confused chameleon, but now I find myself blending in real nicely, feeling joy in the simple moments of everyday life. 🧡

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What’s kept me sane is focusing on only the happiness I can find in each day and staying virtually connected to my loved ones around the world. 🧡🌎

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being silly on Facebook messenger with family and friends

Anyway, with the possibility of travel in the future, and with my summer vacation starting next month, I do have some travel ideas on the horizon. Stay tuned for those updates! Until then, please click the link “76 Countries & Counting” and enjoy this wonderful interview, as I was featured on a brand new podcast about women in travel. Take care and stay well everyone! ✈️

3. 76 Countries & Counting

 

6 thoughts on “A Chameleon in a Box of Crayons

  1. This was so interesting to read, good for you for making it through relatively sanely. 🤣 It’s been fascinating to see how the whole world is getting by I think we’ve all definitely needed a sense of humour to last!

    Liked by 1 person

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