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Open Features: 2 - Time For Thailand

Bright Eyes Beauty gel and Pink Nipple soap. Maria Volant goes shopping in Bangkok.

Up With The Lovely Ladies

Hi, and hope everybody is well. Had a very good day, hot and sunny. Eva and I went to one of the many beauty shops after breakfast. Left my husband Yves behind, holding court in the guest house patio.

An amazing number of people here are French, and Yves must talk to them all.

Eva bought Bright Eyes Beauty gel (Make him admire you very much). I was mesmerised by the Big + Up Bust Lift Very Big cream and the Pinky Nipple soap, but I landed up with the Lovely Lady Lipstick (shade - much love pink).

We then fought our way again across the four lane road against fast moving traffic, tagging on to a Thai crowd cos they seem to judge when it's a good time to run across.

Valentine's Day - and don't they love it here! The shops are heaving with everything pink and heart shaped. The girls walk around all day with the flower bouquets that they've been given, holding them in front like battering rams.

We all three caught a canal boat to Chinatown (fare - about 14p each!) and then hired a taxi boat for a klong tour, which means we go down the river then veer off into little canals. The boats whiz along very fast, and somewhat bumpily, and the river is always busy. But they all have their good luck spirit flowers and garlands streaming ahead at the front, so we know that we are safe.

As we hurtled along,we were fascinated by how the most sumptuous, well-to-do houses sit alongside the humblest of stilt borne little houses, all sporting rows and rows of washing.

However tumbledown the houses, they all boast wonderful, ornate spirit and ancestral mini houses outside. All busineses and houses have these, with ornaments, garlands, fresh flowers and incence as offerings to the spirits.

We stopped off at a little snake and animal zoo, and headed back to Chinatown, where we had lunch in a very ornate restaurant - the dearest we've had so far, but still only about 17 quid in total!

We fought our way through the noise and endless traders. We are amazed how all the shops and millions of roadside vendors make a living. The city is heaving with food and goods to sell.

We then visited a big,lovely park. Eva wanted to show us what th Thais get up to there. At 6 pm on the dot, the sound system burst into life,and a bouncy lady,complete with red Valentine and hearts tee shirt sprang up, and dozens of Thais, young and old, started their outdoor aerobics class. And my word did they go for it,whirling round and kicking away! They were still at it when we left in the dark, to stagger home back to Mr Tavee.

He's a bit of a character, our landlord, an ex-Thai boxer. He owns two guest houses adjoining each other, and a combined internet cafe and massage parlour. As I tap away now, I am entertained by the bumps and groans that I can hear on the other side of the little screen wall behind me, as the masseuses do their stuff.

Mr Tavee has a little shitzuh type dog. Every day he has different coloured hairbands and ribbons and bows adorning his fringe,done up as two little bunches...!

We're going back to collect Yves from the cafe where we deposited him with some other French people to play with. Then we will venture out a bit later.

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