However, due to escalating political unrest in central Bangkok, we had to cancel those plans that morning. Even though the protests weren't close to our area, they still had a huge effect on traffic (some schools and businesses in downtown Bangkok were canceled part of last week due to this, and our school had to cancel an after-school dance on Friday due to traffic from the protests). They are also unpredictable and can change very quickly. On top of all that, we had heard that protestors had been shot and killed, which is a big deal as guns are illegal in Thailand and there is normally very little, if any, gun violence here. Without our own transportation to get in and out of an area quickly, we decided not to take a chance.
The day started with the birthday boy waking up before six, but he magnanimously allowed us to "sleep in" until 6:30, at which point he could no longer wait to open his presents. It was difficult trying to figure out what to get him this year; we have no idea what's out there right now as we're not constantly being bombarded by ads and commercials (not that this is a bad thing, of course). Also, the latest trends in American toys have yet to make it here, so the selection of toys here is smaller, and western-brand toys cost a bundle here.
My son didn't seem to mind, though. He received from us a nice, big stack of drawing paper because he's really been into making and drawing comic books since getting here (he has a "collection" of at least 100 by now!), a new set of coloring pencils for coloring said comic books, and a solar-powered robot/dinosaur, which was really cool! He put all those presents to good use within a couple of hours of opening them. He also received a few presents from his school friends, including another solar-powered car/helicopter kit, and an assortment of toys from the little German/Thai girl next door.
Following the opening of presents was a delicious breakfast of truck and airplane pancakes and bacon.
After spending his morning drawing/writing comic books and building and playing with the new solar-powered robot/dinosaur, my son got to pick the restaurant where we would have his birthday lunch. He decided we would go to the Italian restaurant in our neighborhood, one of our favorites. He had his usual, margherita pizza, along with strawberry juice, and ice cream for dessert (our favorite waitress gave him two scoops with two different flavors as a special birthday treat). My husband had an amazing pasta with pesto and I had the best linguine with porcini mushrooms ever.
A relaxing, afternoon swim at the school pool followed lunch (being able to swim outdoors at the end of November/early December is a first for us, and very nice, I must say). Because my son swims after school twice a week and currently has swimming for P.E. at least twice a week, he practically lives at the pool these days, but he still can't seem to get enough of it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled up with a movie and popcorn, then playing with our next-door neighbor, and ended the day with singing and a birthday cake, with wishes for many more happy years.
I had also made birthday treats for my son to share with his class, and he helped me put them together. Not bad for a day with totally rearranged, last-minute plans!