Page 7 of GregCath Travel Blog Posts


Asia » Laos » North » Phongsali October 22nd 2011

Our guide La, picked us up from the Ancient hotel in a minibus with driver Pra (?). We drove for perhaps an hour over narrow paved roads heading northward and eventually alongside the Nam Ou River which we would travel down a week or so later. Initially parallel to the Mekong River, then the Nam Ou and then at Huai Kan, we headed north west towards Udom Xai. The roads were now dirt, getting quite rough and steadily steeper. In some places we were surprised that the little Hyundai minibus which was not 4x4 was able to do the job. At least the air-conditioning worked. On the road to Boun Tai the villages got progressively poorer, the jungle thicker and the number of pigs and chickens, greater. This was a long trip, probably 10 hours. By ... read more
The long winding road to Boun Tai
Strange menu options
Photo 21

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang October 15th 2011

The "biggest party" related to the Lai Hua Fai festival of the boats of light. In Luangprabang this means a street parade of lovingly prepared floats which are subsequently launched into the Mekong, along with all manner of other lit, floating items and allowed to float down the river in hope of better luck next year, and to give thanks to the river. From the riverside restaurant we were within a block of the main street and we were right in the thick of the parade. There were many different themes to the floats including the punishments for adultery. Each was accompanied by dancers and chanters from a village or community group. There was even a fire breather who seemed to be practicing his craft with a mouthful of kerosene! Tourists were following along. Skyrockets and ... read more
Lit path to the river
One of the numerous Wats
The number 1 boat of light

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane October 12th 2011

Friends Roscoe and Fiona arrived. Quick catch up over Loa coffees and headed out into the kerfuffle of the festival. Not really anything of value to purchase, but excellent people watching. BeerLao down on the waterfront in a little makeshift café with Moroccan style cushions. Saw the first of the dragon boat teams training on the Mekong. People pissing directly onto the sand banks at the side of the Mekong which would be used the next day for boat watching. Excellent! Doof Doof music was overwhelming but luckily the Lao curfew sees this stopped at 2330. Next day took a "Tuk-tuk jumbo" to the central stupa. Also to the "morning" market, but in the afternoon. Saw hundreds of gold merchants competing side-by-side. Cath commissioned a tailored top and blouse from fabrics she had bought in Shanghai ... read more
On the grounds of That Luang, Vietiane
That Luang, Vietiane
Intricate banana leaf offering

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang October 10th 2011

Arrived Bangkok from my (Greg's) European tour, and met up with Catherine. The airport was full of thousands of what appeared to be religious pilgrims. Sitting on the floors and sharing light meals. Sounded like a gaggle of geese. Onto the Lao Airlines Dash 8-equivalent (ATV). Much different from the A380 I arrived in. The flight went quickly into complete darkness. In flight reading highlighted the quaintness and old worldliness of the country we were about to visit. Landed in Vientiane, past the authorities and to our Balinese hut-like accommodations. Doof doof music permeated the place. Turns out to be night one of the festival to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent. Dragon boat racing on the Mekong is part of it all (Buon Suang Hua). People come from all around the country to be there. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Roma April 11th 2010

Hello there Over Easter 2010 we finally accepted David and Isabel's invitation to join them at the property Combabula, north of Yuleba, Queensland. Of course this property has great significance to our family, which is a whole different story, but this year it was spectacular on account of the water! Good rains over the last six months have the property looking spectacular: tall green grass; filled water holes; water birds; and wildflowers. Here are some photos from the trip. Thanks again Iris and Vince for letting us visit their property on the top of the Great Dividing Range in South Western Queensland.... read more
Gums at #16
#16 dam wetland
Sunset thru Cypress pines

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Adelaide » Port Adelaide March 7th 2010

So I got a chance to sail on Red Jam. Here are the photos. More details later.... read more
looking into the bow section
sternward over the kitchen
chart table slid back over cold box

Asia » India » Rajasthan December 14th 2009

We visited two Indian national parks in Rajasthan as part of the Intrepid trips, and Catherine had the excitement of seeing a tiger! The photo doesn't have much detail but it certainly captures Catherine's excitement! The first visit was to Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur Rajasthan. We entered the sanctuary in rickshaws and luckily for the rickshaw-guy, the terrain was flat, and the weather surprisingly cool. Almost immediately after leaving the main road, the cacophony that is Indian highways fades, and one starts to appreciate this little oasis. Our rickshaw-guy had sharp eyes and good ornithological knowledge, so we were right into the experience within the first 100 metres. The first and frequent sighting was a Common Hoopoee which put on a fine display as he left us. We also saw several Rufus Treepie which were ... read more
Rickshaws through the Sanctuary
Rufous Treepie
Common Hoopoee

Asia » India » Rajasthan » Pushkar November 25th 2009

In Rajasthan we visited towns and small villages, some in remote areas. We especially enjoyed the villages, where we stayed in either old palaces or forts. In one fort Catherine's room was in a turret overlooking the broad, flat plains. These places had enormous bedrooms with marble floors, and elegant sitting rooms. Another night was in established tents beside a lake - Intrepid kept the surprises coming, and kept us healthy. In the rural areas the people were so friendly, the children bright and happy. Sunset and sunrise very special. On the first phase of the Rajasthan excursion, our group of 12 moved from Agra in two 4X4s. The backpacks were mounted on the roof racks, which was a bit of the problem because drizzle had set in. The roads got narrower and the potholes deeper, ... read more
Bustling steets, Jaipur Old City
Palace of the Winds, Jaipur
Jaipur City Palace

Asia » India November 25th 2009

As we travelled through the Med, Egypt and India we couldn't resist snapping more shots of the working machines. However, the "Balkan Beasts of Burden" just seemed too limited. So here are a few more photos we collected, recognising hard working humans and animals as well.... read more
Boating chores in Mykonos
Tight streets of Rhodes
Family moving van, Cairo

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Agra November 25th 2009

The next four or five Blog entries will be from several weeks ago and will be the rounding off of our journey. They will all be sent from our home here in Australia but will refer to places we have seen and enjoyed in India. So, from the 11th of November (Greg and Catherine) and 22nd of November (Catherine only). The first step of our Intrepid tour was the trip by train, on the 6 am to Agra. Indian railway stations are a bit of a treat for the senses with a crush of people, many many platforms and open-air urinals, but the train was clean and on-time, which counts for a lot in our book (blog!). The complexities of getting tickets and finding seats were helped by Narji our group leader, so it was with ... read more
Taj grandeur
Catherine with Taj light
Taj precious stones




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