Sunday, December 12, 2010

Preparing for next vacation

Well here we go... planning for another vacation. We are taking our girls and joining Ted and Laela in Costa Rica. Looking forward to the sun, the ocean, the waves, boogie boarding, exploring, finding monkeys, showing the girls all our favourtite things about this country.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pages from Thailand book

Next to every temple there is someone selling Lotus flowers which have a deep and rich historical connection to the Thai Buddhists faith. In this layout I had some fun with digital stamps and brushes.

Pages from Thailand 2010 digital book

Another wonderful template from Scrapbooks etc. I love all the colours of Thailand

Just wanting everyone to know about a great blog that I have found through Jill.

I love their stamps and the ideas that are generated from this blog. Check it out!

More flowers from Thailand

Page 2 of flower pages. I used a template from Scrapbooks etc. to design this layout. It's great fun and quite simple to use these templates. The Scrapbooks etc. website has instructions on how to use the many templates available. I have used these templates in both digital as well as traditional scrapbooking layouts.

Scrapbook pages from Thailand

Hi All,

It's been a while since I posted. Have been working on some digital scrapbook pages from Thailand.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Similan Islands

Our boat.
These rocks were beatiful to snorkel around

the rock that Ted, Laela and Bern climbed to for a photo shot. I stayed below and looked under the sea.
Bern on top of the "rock". A hot climb up.

After lunch political discussion in the crystal clear

Photo op on the white sand.

A multitude of sail boats and other boats enjoying the vast underwater gardens.

Yesterday was a day of snorkelling at 5 different sites around the Similan Islands. These islands are about 65 km west of southern Thailand. We took a speed boat to the islands and saw more fish and choral than I have seen anywhere else. Ted and Laela state it's not quite as good as The Great Barrier Reef near Australia, but a definite 2nd place. For Bern and I it was definitely some of our best snorkelling. The clarity of the water allowed you to see for meters under water. We saw a sea turtle wending it's way accross the underwater garden. Then we saw so many fish that it felt like we were in an underwater aquariam. Unfortunately we didn't bring an underwater camera, so all my posts will be above water. Ingrid, I know it was your birthday and I know you would have loved to be here enjoying the snorkelling. Happy belated birthday!

Southern Thailand, the island of Phuket

The view of the sea at sunset
Our hotel. We are on the 2nd floor, facing the sea.

Reading in the sun around the meandering free form pool.

Our Thailand Pool boy.

Hello all,
Phuket is a beautiful, hot island. The temperature is around mid 30's and sunny. It is beautiful and crowded here (which seems the norm for most of the Thailand). We are accross the street from a beautiful beach that stretches for about 3 miles. The water in the Andaman sea is warm and perfectly clear. We have some wonderful snorkelling right off the south end of our beach. We have seen so many kinds of fish that I don't know the names of. I need Carter to do some research for me. We are spending our days downb south in a more quiet manner. Playing in the ocean, going for walks, eating wonderful Thai food, reading our books and visiting.

Thai Cooking Class

What a neat experience. We cooked 5 dishes. I learned so much. The only disappointment is that they only had us signed up for a 1/2 day course. I hope to share my cooking experience for anyone who might be interested when we get home. I just have to figure out where to get the ingredients from.
Don't they look like great chefs? I wish I had a knife like this to chop vegetables. Also I love working with a gas stove.
Choosing the ingredients for our Thai feast.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Long Neck Tribe in Northern Thailand

Bamboo is the tool of choice for all buidlings. A young son is helping dad stabilize the round bamboo.
The village gauntlet of merchandise

The longest neck there today. 28 rings. Apparantly their necks don't get longer, their shoulders get lowered.

A tribal woman at her doorstep

A tribal hut

The hillside with budha image in the hill. Apparantly these buidlings are 5-6 hundred years old.

Ted and Laela in the cave where there are wonderful carvings ans images of budha throughout.

A pagoda that houses the ashes of some famous monks. The architecture has the flavour of the Burmese or Miramar people. Very intricate stone work instead of the additions of fancy addornments of Thai and Chinese style pagoda structures

Farmers working in the rice paddies which are now growing ginger and garlic. Rice was harvested in November and December and now the paddies are filled with other plants including the above and soybeans.

We verntured out on a long, long bus ride from Chiang Mai to the Northern borders of Thailand. On the way we wound our way around mountains at break neck speeds and enjoyed the lush vegetation of Thailand. The one thing that made me sad is that any scenery pictures I took ended up looking hazy. Not sure if this is the effect of humidity or polution. We were far away from cities but it still looked Hazy. On this tour we drove a lot! More than we would have liked and saw two things. First an old monastary in the mountains, which included a walk through a cave. I found it OK, but don't love small enclosed places. It was truly beautiful and had the influences of Burma or Miramar in the architecture and the look of buddha. Since we were fairly close to that border, this made sense. We then had a lovely lunch at a cooking school on the river. Did I mention the food here is over the top??? Anoter 1/2 hour drive got us to the area where we would see the Long Neck tribe and several other tribes which the names of I have already forgotten. For me this was the horrible part of the trip. We went to this little village comprising of about 5 different mountain tribes. All from different countries who have come to Thailand as refugees. The government here keeps them in these little villages and allows them to work the land and get the produce off the land for a small tax and the willingness to be "on show". The guide wanted us to take lots of photos and I did take some but I felt in my heart that it was like being at a zoo, looking at the different people and snapping their photos in a false setting. They were also all trying to sell us something and I felt obligated to oblige (which also makes me uncomfortable). Seeing the long neck tribal women was interesting and found that these long necks are seen as a thing of beauty. The woman with the longest neck has the most prestige and power. They begin wrapping the necks of girls at about age 5 and add more rings about every 3 years. The rings are removed when a woman goes into labour and reapplied after the baby joins the world. We lifted one of the rings (made of copper). It was very heavy! I am glad our beauty isn't dependent on the length of our necks. I would truly loose that battle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chiang Mai elephants etc.

The end of the day was spent watching traditional northern Thai dancers and enjoying a northern Thai Dinner.
These tigers are about 18 months old. Their trainers play with them like Bri plays with Flora... it was fun to watch how excited they were to run after a little tuft of grass on a stick.

What a beautiful cat. Glad he was on the other side of the fence.

This elephant painted this with his trunk! Puts me to shame with his creativity!

The trainers playing soccer with the elephants. The elephants truly seemed to enjoy the sport and didn't want to leave the ring when the game was over.

Young elephants enjoying the water. There were people down stream catching their poo with nets to ensure the stream wouldn't get too dirty.

Butterfly and Orchid Farm

Hi all,
We are having a wonderful time. The temperature is about 30 degrees C., it's clear and beautiful. We have spent the last few days touring like crazy. I'll share the pictures. My favourite parts were the elephants. I loved the ride and watching them enjoy their lives. It seemed to me that they were very well loved and treated with huge respect.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hi from Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)

The Monks who are ever present in both Bangkok and Chaing Mia
The Pepto Bismal coloured taxis

All the cool rooflines in the temple with the Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha
The flowers they sell to give as gifts to Budha to show respect

One of the lovely Temples in Bangkok
Hello from Lovely Thailand. Wow have we ever had a lot. We haven't posted from our last day in Bangkok, which was visiting Temples. We had the city tour, which endede up being a temple tour. Buddhism is central to the people in Thailand and so their cities are centered around their temples. I have learned more than I have ever known before about Buddhism and have come to understand some of their customs a little better. What a concept to be in a city that is 100's of year old. We flew to Chaing Mai two days ago and have had 2 days of tours which I will try to update you on in the next day or two. Tomorrow is cooking school and visiting a market.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The rest of the day...

From the Cruise, the palace and temples at night
All the mosaic tiles, a Thai form of decorating architecture

One of the Budhist temples we saw today

Day 1 in Bankok

Sttatues of Demons protecting the Budha's temple Amazing architecture from 3 different asian regions China, Thailand and Cambodia
Bernie and our tour guide Natalie from Bangkok

We have had an intense day of discovery. We went on a "Temple Tour" and saw the grand Palace in process. The afternoon was filled with being measured for a tailor made jacket and pants for me (Bern didn't want anything). The evening went on a dinner cruise down the

Chao Praya River that runs from Chaing Mai in the North right down to the Ocean. Our day tour was a private one with us and a guide. Our guide had very good English and an in depth knowledge of Thailand's hystory and politics. I learned more about Thai kings than I ever thought was possible. Thailand's hystory goes back to the 1300's so it is a long history lesson. Did you know that Thailand used to be Siam? Probably some of you did. The musical "The King and I" was based on one of Siam's Kings called Rama 4. His son, Rama 5, made huge changes happen for Thailand's people including absovling slavery, creating infrastructure like roads and water systems etc. Aside from his improvements for his people he was also busy having children. Apparantly about 99 children. I asked if this was with just one wife, but the tourguide laughed tongue in cheek and stated that there is not official record of more than his wife, the queen. HMMM well that's enough other than we also learned a lot about Budha and Budhism, but I'll save those tdibits for another time.

Friday, January 22, 2010