Landscaping and Lottery

Just got back from another Girl Friday trip to Bangkok, to celebrate my step-mom’s 60th birthday and my parents’ housewarming party, all rolled into one. The two weeks flew by: helping organize the party, getting things set up for the new home, and also packing up and moving things from my parents’ previous residence. (They had barely moved anything out!) I left Bangkok with the unsettled, unsatisfied sense of things half-assedly accomplished. There was still so much that left to do that I didn’t get around to finishing.

My parents’ new place is indicative that urban sprawl is not limited to the US, it’s a development of single-family homes that’s on land that used to be occupied by fruit orchards. There’s still lots of ants (fortunately the black kind, the red ones bite.) And jing-joks (house lizards). They eat a lot of mosquitoes. You used to see jing joks commonly in Bangkok, but as the city centre got more urbanized they became more scarce there. Here, humans are only recent intruders on their territory.

The most amazing thing on this trip was the garden. The housewarming-cum birthday party was scheduled on Saturday morning. The Sunday before, the yard was still weeds and three wild kathin bushes. The landscape architect came to meet with my parents to discuss the layout and types of plants, etc. Since there wasn’t much time, they decided to install all the landscaping, and then after the party, they would dig it up to install the sprinkler system. The yard area is about three times the size of Marcella’s backyard.

I was really skeptical that it would happen, but lo and behold, by Wednesday there were a gadzillion potted plants parked onto the driveway. By Friday night, when my dad got home from Khao Yai, it was pretty much done.
Total cost, including labor and plants: $5,000.
Only it was supposed to include the cost of retro-fitting the sprinkler system. Last I heard, the landscape architect was claiming that wasn’t included.

My dad took off to Khao Yai National Parkfor two days with some of his friends who had come in from Hong Kong on a long-planned trip. I was supposed to go with them, but things were so hectic around the house with the party organizing and landscaping, I bailed. Besides, it would be unfair to Joe, since he hadn’t come along. Khao Yai has a lot of wild animals (it’s a preserve), and night tours to see the animals are popular. On the first night Dad saw 7 elephants. On the second night, they saw 6.

We’re usually not into buying lottery tickets, but considering that most people count themselves lucky if they see even one elephant, we decided that Dad’s elephant sightings were a sign. In Thailand, lottery tickets can win small prizes if the last two or three digits match the selected numbers. So we bought some tickets that ended in 76, for a lark. Alas, they announced the winning two digit number to be 80!

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