Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Tang-Chotipuriphan Reunion

Well, the last couple days have sorta been a whirlwind. Our last full day in Tokyo, we tried to take it easy because we had to get up 6am the next day to catch a flight to Bangkok. We just checked out this garden that used to belong to the Shogun and is surrounded by a moat. I bet it's beautiful in the spring. But now, most of the trees are bald and there are only a few peonies in their Peony Pavilion. After that, Jen and I checked out the Sony Building where they have showrooms for PS2, music players, High-Definition TV, digicams, etc. We both drooled over a tiny network walkman. The prices ranged from $158-$258, depending how many MB you wanted. I think for $258, you could have 512 MB (23 CDS worth). It's a really small gadget. Think it's a better deal than an iPod? Our feet got really tired, so we parked ourselves in front of a HD TV showing a sumo match. This elderly Japanese woman sat down and started talking to us. Leave it to Jennifer. Although Jen knows only like four phrases in Japanese like "Do you speak English?" and "Excuse me," she somehwo sustained a 20-minute conversation with this 83-year-old lady--who by the way was very sweet. Jen's social skills know no linguistic boundaries.

Anywho, I'm in Bangkok now. I'm staying at the Sol Twin Towers. When we arrived yesterday, I spotted my cousin Somchai and we officially met for the first time. His brother, sister, mom (who's full Thai) and dad (my dad's older brother) all live in Bangkok. At the time my uncle settled in Thailand, there was anti-Chinese sentiment. So, he changed his last name to Chotipuriphan. You could see how he'd get that out of the name Tang, lol. As soon as he said Grandma was waiting for me outside the hotel, I ran over to where she was. For those who don't know, I grew up with my Grandma or Mah-Mah. Two years ago, she moved here to live with my uncle. As soon as she saw me, she leapt up from the bench. And that's pretty good for a 90-year-old. Though she's a little skinnier, Grandma is more or less the same; most synapses firing. This is especially good news because it could be a great genetic omen of how I'll be in another 60 years. She got kind of misty-eyed when we hugged. I have to say that has been one of the bigger highlights of my travels so far.

Before we could blink, Jen and I were whisked into Somchai's car with him, his dad and Grandma. On our way to dinner, Somchai's cell started to ring. Then he suddenly pulled the car over and my uncle popped out of the car. Jen and I thought something was really wrong. Somchai said his cell had fallen somewhere behind the seat and they needed to look for it. Later on when we got to the restaurant, uncle got out of the car, stumbled and did a sort of wobbling squat and managed to get himself back up just before contact would have been made with the ground. It was after these two incidents that I finally saw the family resemblance between myself and them.

We went to this firepot restaurant in a mall called Paradise at the Mall. Afterwards, uncle insisted on taking me to the bowling alley on the same floor. This bowling alley is one of three that my father has financial investments in. An old friend of his talked him into being a backer. I find this quite amusing since as far as I know, my father has never bowled a game. The man does know his way around a ping-pong paddle; but that's all I know. Anyway, I don't know if I get to call myself a bowling alley heiress.

So, my biggest fear is getting some kind of gastro-food-poisoning affliction. Please wish me luck. I still have Cambodia to conquer in two days.

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