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Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai February 24th 2020

It's a Monday morning in Chiangmai ...... and my last Monday here for this trip. The sands of time are visibly running out now and each day is precious. How shall I fill it? Well, Monday morning was filled with finishing off my last blog and downloading photos. I sat under the old house and had good company from the dogs. Nui was watering her garden and Kong was tidying up the empty rooms. The only guests this week are me, Ronda ( who leaves on Wednesday) and Richard who is a long term resident. The water on one side of the house (where Ronda and I are staying) has been turned off as a crack developed in a pipe last night, and a water feature was created behind the building! So the sisters are waiting ... read more
Frankie. Baan SongJum
BamBam relaxing on his Chinese daybed
Dear Frankie

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai February 22nd 2020

Start Saturday with a challenge.The plan is to walk up the mountain trail of Doi Suthep to the temple , Wat Phra That Soi Suthep, high above the city of Chiangmai. When I first came to visit Dorothy with Kath and Bob five years ago, Dorothy was in training for her own personal challenge: to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro to celebrate her 70th birthday. She would trek up and down the mountain about 3 or 4 times a week, at dawn when it was still cool. Kath, Bob and I joined her on one of these hikes up the trail, and I found it really difficult, although I was wearing silly little canvas slip-on shoes with no grip, which kept falling off my feet. Dorothy stepped lightly on ahead ... seemingly no effort. And ... read more
Dorothy and Paul in the forest temple.
Dorothy in the forest temple
Forest temple statue .

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok February 9th 2020

After a night on the train it was wonderful to just enjoy a hot shower and brush my teeth properly. And in a little while I had a message from Jiab, a young Thai friend who used to be one of my students at Home End. I arranged to meet her, her children and her parents at a nearby restaurant , only 5 minutes walk from where I was staying. I felt thoroughly spoilt as they piled delicious food on my plate, and Jiab's two little children were absolutely delightful. Alba and Alfie. The family stayed with me for a night on a visit to the UK about 18 months ago, and I'd been captivated by Alba then. Alfie arrived only eight months ago I think, and although he wasn't joining in with the lunch food, ... read more
Jiab’s mum with Alfie
Lunch with Pat, Jay and their mum and dad
Alba and Jiab

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai February 7th 2020

I'd only got a 30 day 'Visa on Arrival' when I entered Chiang Mai. Partly because I wasn't sure if I'd go off somewhere else for a few days or so anyway. But having settled into life in Chiangmai I didn't feel I wanted to arrange anything else. The alternative is to go to the Immigration office near the airport and apply for a 30 day extension. I expected it to take a good two hours, and all the advice on the internet was that it would be less crowded after 1pm. So I started my day by walking to the acupuncture clinic for my dose of needles in the back. Hardly feel them going in - it's just a pin prick. And then there's the gentle throbbing, almost like a pulse, when the electrical current ... read more
Queuing in the hot sun outside Immigration
Ping River at night
Pad Thai dinner at the Twgina restaurant

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai January 27th 2020

The start of a new week , and I'm determined not to continue with this faffing about in the morning and late breakfast malarkey. So I made an appointment at the acupuncture clinic for 9am. The river looked still and reflective as I crossed over the bridge and wove my way through the narrow streets inside the old city, arriving in good time. Yet again , a different doctor and this one looked about ten years old! Never mind - he must be recently trained and qualified. I donned my blue cotton hospital gown and climbed up on the bed. As before , needles were inserted (painlessly) and a mild electric current that felt like a beating pulse, travelled between the needles around my shoulder blade. The time whizzed by and I was soon back out ... read more
I can’t resist another temple view
Shrine outside the Acupuncture Clinic.
Can’t resist the flowers too

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai January 27th 2020

Chiang Mai airport seemed much more techy this year ...... and I was very soon through Immigration and waiting for my bag beside the carousel. It was late afternoon and the sun was still shining ...... the hazy mountains a great backdrop for the airport.( although I understand that hazy probably means that it's a bad day for air quality!) It seemed quiet and it took no time at all to get a taxi. But of course , then I realised it was Sunday and traffic was sparse. No weekday homeward bound workers. The taxi driver dropped me off by the front steps of the condominium across the road and I trundled my bag down the familiar dusty alleyway towards Baan SongJum (translates as House of Memories) , where the purple bougainvillea spills over the top ... read more
Nui demonstrates her yoga skills under the old house.
Baan SongJum vegetation
Eco Lodge swimming pool reading

Asia » Singapore January 19th 2020

I wasn't in such a rush to get away this year. Both Kenji and Stevie were home for Christmas, and Stevie and his girlfriend stayed on for New Year. So there was time to pack up the gallery carefully, and all the artists and craftspeople came to take their work away. We can give the space a good clean before reopening with an exciting new exhibition , "JUNGLE" , collated by stained glass artist Tamsin Abbott, on 28th March. So that gave me plenty of time to sort things out and take Lottie-dog to her holiday home with Tutu and Dave in Somerset so she doesn't have to watch the annual suitcase packing. One sad event ..... a reluctant goodbye to Gormley-pig , who had been unwell for about six weeks and wasn't responding to medication. ... read more
Singapore hairdresser treat
Flowers outside Kathy’s flat
Plants at Kathy’s flat

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean March 5th 2019

So my journey home is nicely delayed by a three day stopover in Istanbul. The good news is that it’ll shorten my sitting in a plane seat time and slowly return my body clock to UK time. And the very good news is that friend Julie Dent from the Clover Mill Ayurvedic Yoga Retreat in Cradley is going to join me there for a few days of winter break. In fact she’d booked us into a little guest house near the Blue Mosque and had already been exploring Istanbul for a full day. Straight into the tiny reception office from the sleepy early morning street outside and phoned to see if Julie was awake. Of course she was! So after I’d dumped the luggage and jumped into a welcome hot shower, we climbed the steep marble ... read more
Sultanahmet
Fatih, Istanbul
Fatih, Istanbul

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai February 20th 2019

So now it’s everyday life at BaanSongJum , which means House of Memories in Thai, with sisters Nui and Kong. They’ve both retired from previous jobs and lives and now run this guesthouse in the old family home, where their grandparents lived. It’s a little time warp and haven from the busy world of the city outside. Around the wooden house on stilts there’s a jungle of plants, carefully tended by Nui, attracting birds , lizards and squirrels and there are three gentle welcoming dogs, Lanna, Frankie and BamBam. A constantly changing multi-cultural and inter generational set of guests who stay in the eight little rooms around the main house are made to feel at home. There are so many interesting stories to hear and thoughts to exchange every day, or you can just retire to ... read more
Baan Songjum
BaanSongJum
Baan Songjum

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Mai February 11th 2019

It was a good flight from Sydney to Bangkok, and I arrived late afternoon, with plenty of time to sort out my onward flight to Chiangmai at the Bangkok Airlines office at the airport before setting off in a taxi to find my air bnb “apartment with rooftop pool” near Pra Kanong one of the sky train stations. It’s sometimes difficult to follow the instructions for how to get into an air bnb apartment ( as Eunice and I had experienced on a trip to Japan) Many of the air bnb listings are in apartment blocks that prohibit the sub letting or letting like this. You can imagine why -noise, security.... lots of issues for the other residents . So the ‘secret ‘ check-in can be a nightmare when you’re tired and have to negotiate some ... read more
Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok




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