Fraser's is a very Australian restaurant not far from our place. There are always many Aussies hanging out here, watching Australian rugby and drinking Fosters. We like to come for the good western-style food. This week they were celebrating their third anniversary with a special party, complete with free wine tasting and Aussie meat pies. It was a good crowd, and quite lively, as Australians tend to be.
The following Friday, Mika and I met for lunch at a new restaurant in South Pattaya called The Greyhound. Apparently this is a very popular restaurant in Bangkok. It is just in front of a new, shimmering gold theater called D'Luck. According to the literature, a multimedia show called Kaan is on offer here - a hybrid of live action and cinema, stage performance and technology. The story is adapted from classic Thai literature. At 1200 Baht (about $40) and up for a ticket, I can't imagine they will get much traffic from the locals. I expect busloads of Chinese tourists might fill the seats. In any case, the food at the Greyhound was nice, and the decor was eye-catching. It was a nice place to get caught up with my friend.
|pretty jellyfish sculpture|
Had a pretty spectacular show outside our window that evening. We have a great view of the cloud activity over the gulf.
Sunday is our driver's day off, but an afternoon concert in town inspired me to find another mode of transportation. I walked about forty-five minutes, down the twisty road from the hill where our condo is located. Hot and sweaty at that point, I was able to jump on a song-teaw, or baht bus. For just ten baht (about thirty cents) I was delivered right outside the Royal Garden Mall where the concert would take place.
The United States Navy Seventh Fleet's Orient Express was performing, along with the Royal Thai Navy's band, as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), an annual joint exercise between the two countries. I ran into a couple of US sailors when I entered, and exclaimed, "My people!" I'm sure they were a bit alarmed by this sweaty, red-faced, crazy lady.
The Thai navy was already performing when I arrived - playing pop songs with a heavy brass section. The band was all-male, but had a succession of female (and some male) vocalists that stepped to the front of the stage for each new song. I recognized a few western tunes, like Beyond the Sea, Michael Buble's Feeling Good, and What a Beautiful World, complete with their own unique and charming pronunciations. They even brought the cuteness factor with a little girl in a sailor dress singing a Thai song.
Next, the US sailors took the stage. Theirs was a smaller band, with guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and four or five horns. I was impressed with the quality of their music, and happily recognized nearly every tune. It's kind of difficult to look the part of a rock star when sporting a crew cut and a naval uniform, but they put on a good show. I especially enjoyed their rendition of John Legend's All of Me. I was thinking that although the Thai navy performed several songs in English, I doubted the Americans would reciprocate. Imagine my surprise and delight when they belted out a song or two in Thai. Well done, sirs.
Finally, the two groups joined forces and performed a final set. It was encouraging to see the spirit of cooperation between the two countries' military units, especially in these days of so much isolationist rhetoric. That alone was well worth the trek.