Good bye Asia


Our last stroll along the tarmac in the heat…good bye Asia, good bye summer, good riddance squat toilets. Hello winter…
Flying Air Asia

Leaving Thailand with a Bang(kok)


We’ve spent our last week in Thailand in the capital city of Bangkok. It is yet another busy, loud, kinda dirty Asian city. Oh I sound so jaded, don’t I? Well cities are not really my thing so I guess I am biased. There are, however, a few beautiful sights to see while in Bangkok, and the dining is great!
We went on a sundown dinner cruise on a traditional Thai boat one night.
Boat music
The food was forgettable but the sights were beautiful.
The Chao Phraya river is definitely the busiest river waterway I’ve laid eyes on. Long express boats zipping up and down, leaving you mere seconds to get on or off; larger long-distance ferry boats; cute little touristy boats to cross the river from one chi-chi hotel to the next; long, long barges barely floating under their loads; and traditional long-tail boats with their deafening motors and funny outrigger-like propellor shafts.
Sundown view of Wat Arun, the ‘Temple of Dawn’. Guess we got it wrong by about 12 hours…
Wat Arun
When you live in a busy city with gridlocked traffic, a motorcycle is really the only way to get around. You have to adapt if you want to bring along your favouite furry friend:
Today we spent the afternoon at the Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace. Impressive. The Thais sure know how to dress up a building!
Wat Phra Kaew
Puffball trees
This guy was all over the place on the many murals, he is one scary dude:
Scary diety
After we left the palace grounds we walked along the street for a while. We found that even monks need DVDs!
Monks buy DVD's too
And, as a final image from Thailand, our little Madeline Lily and her sister among the much-revered water lilies…
Lily beauties

What wat?


We went to visit a nearby wat, or Buddhist temple. It also had an impressively huge buddha statue.
Big buddha
Afterwards we went to some gardens and this is the tribute to the king’s palace.
Palace tribute

Happy New Year


We celebrated the New Year in Thailand at an old historic mansion, in downtown Chiang Mai. There was an outdoor dinner which was all the fantastic Northern Thai food you could eat for about $7.
The dinner was followed by a series of cultural dances, which our kids copied on the sidelines, to the delight of many other viewers. Bence especially can certainly shake it with the best of them!
Thai dancing
Thai dancer
After the dinner and show, we went back to their house and did the traditional Thai thing; light lanterns and let them float up to the sky. The kids love this.
Lantern lighting
Kids are fascinated
Some people even attach fireworks to them so they are trailing fireworks as the float up. There are hundreds going up all night long, quite a sight. If there are hundreds of lanterns, there are thousands of fireworks, and it is quite an amazing sound both near and echoing off in the distance.
Many lanterns
We wish all of our friends and family a wonderful 2011; may it be filled with love and laughter!!

Close Encounters of the Furry Kind


One of the crazy things they have for tourists here is the opportunity to see and be right beside a tiger. At first I was not too thrilled, all I could picture was the freak accident that involved one of us. However, these animals have lived their whole lives in captivity and are remarkably tame. It doesn’t hurt either that they are mostly nocturnal and we are visiting them in the heat of the day. The little cubs are the absolute cutest!
Maddie's furry pillow
Emily's furry pillow
The girls even got to feed the baby tigers, they are about 3 months old.
Feeding the baby tiger
Maddie feeding the baby tiger
After that Simon and I got to sit with the adult tigers, there were 3 of them. Each male weighed from 150-200 kg. When you are sitting next to one, they are huge! It was a pretty cool experience!
That is a BIG tiger
Mmmm, tiger tail!
Simon cuddles a giant tiger

Adventures in Chiang Mai


We are spending the holiday week in Chiang Mai with our Revelstoke friends who are living here for a year and a half. Our kids are similar ages so the house is full of action.
We visited the zoo one day.
We also went on a nice hike to a national park to see a set of 10 waterfalls.
It is always more fun for kids to hike together, it keeps the motivation going. Here we are at the top having a break:
Hiking break

A Green Christmas


Christmas this year was spent in the tropics of Thailand visiting with our friends from Revelstoke; Gary, Gabriella, Bence and Lutza. It was a little strange getting into the Christmas spirit amidst palm trees wearing shorts and t-shirts. There are several Christmas decorations on the nearby houses though. On Christmas eve we went carolling with 3 Americans and their Thai families. Carols were sung in both Thai and English. It was fun.
Santa did manage to find our kids and it was a happy Christmas morning for the kids.
Christmas morning
Happy Holidays to all!

Living it up in Phuket


We spent the last week at a Marriott resort at Surin Beach, Phuket. We decided to treat ourselves and more-importantly, our kids, after 5 months in China with limited playmates for them. This resort had a kids club and two waterslides, which the girls absolutely loved.
The beach was also very beautiful.
Surin beach
Directly after breakfast each day they ditched us in favour of playing with the other children at the kids club.
Kids world
Another reason this was a special week was that Simon’s mom joined us from Australia. Emily and Maddie certainly enjoyed the company of their Nanny Kirsty, who lets them wear bright red or pink lipstick when we dress up for dinner.
Fancy dining
One night we did a very Thai thing, lightng these lanterns and letting them go on the beach, watching them sail away on the ocean breeze.
We had some great highlights together. Firstly we took a boat trip to Koh Phi Phi and a few other surrounding islands.
Monkey Beach
Maya Beach, on Koh Phi Phi Leh; although slightly altered for the film, “The Beach”, is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen.
Simon on Maya beach
Maya beach
Starfish girl
Climber dude
The film added a waterfall and a sense of a different entry, but the beach is essentially the same. Emily lost her first tooth on this day as well.
Lost tooth
Another day we took a trip to visit the elephant safari. We all took a ride on top of an elephant and the girls had a blast feeding them.
Riding the elephant
Emily feeds the elephant
Feeding elephants
The elephant that the girls and I rode on was a youngster, only 16, and he liked grabbing branches along the way for a snack then running to catch up to the group. Being on a running elephant is an experience like no other!
Elephant riders
We met a lovely family from the US, who were also living in China. We were able to share our funny Chinese experiences together. We took a trip to a neighbouring beach one day.
Little fish
Beach sunset
4 Girls

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Island Retreat


After Kuala Lumpur we flew into Krabi for the beginning of our Thai vacation. Since we had a spare week before Phuket we decided to go to the remote island of Koh Jum. We took a 40 minute longboat ferry to the island which was a new adventure for the girls.
We stayed at the Oon-Lee Resort, a beautiful place owned by a Thai/French couple Oon and Valerie. It was recommended by our friends Richard and Kim and we pass on the high praises to anyone else. They have built 9 bungalows set in the jungle with beautiful gardens throughout.

Em swings
With a Thai chef and French influences the food there was also amazing; a step above.

Our bartender, Enda from Ireland, was always good for a chat and a cold beverage.

We had many days on the beach with turquoise waters and white sand. We hiked to ‘Magic Beach’ and had the whole place to ourselves one afternoon. Maddie loves being buried in the sand, as you can see.

Simon went deep sea fishing with Oon one day, no big fish but lots of smaller ones were caught. The kitchen staff made a wonderful fish ceviche appetizer for all with some of the catch that night.
We both had our first Thai massage which was very luxurious, and only $12 for 80 minutes. I needed it because our bungalow was up the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs.

I really enjoyed our week ‘unplugged’ from society, relaxing in a hammock or playing in the sand on the beach. It hardly gets any better than that…

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