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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

For the Easter long weekend. Gorgeous Man, Gorgeous Girl and I travelled to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea for a short break from the heat and humidity of Port Moresby.

It was very cold and I enjoyed it tremendously. We didn’t do a great deal as it rained quite frequently while we were there, but it was nice to relax, catch up on some reading, play card games and spend time together.

Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl got up early one morning to do a bird-watching trip. I also spotted a rare bird while walking the grounds…

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Just sitting quietly on a stump minding his own business.

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In all seriousness though, we did see some fabulous native birds. There was the tiger parrot.

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The lodge puts out fruit which attracts the birds and you can then watch from the balcony of the main building.

This is one of the birds of paradise.

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Love the long tail on him.

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We took a walk around the grounds and Gorgeous Girl borrowed my camera to take pictures of ever flower she saw. That was her stated aim… There were lots of really interesting flowers around and she got some really nice photos.

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But don’t fret, I’m not going to show you all of them.

 

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Phuket

We were a bit worried about getting Gorgeous Girl onto the plane to fly to Phuket, but fortunately she recovered in time to fly, though she was very worn out and weak. We got to the Chiang Mai airport and checked in and discovered that our flight was delayed. Gorgeous Girl was an absolute trooper. She found a quiet spot on the floor behind a row of chairs, propped herself up on her backpack and read a book for a while and then fell asleep.

The delay out of Chiang Mai meant that we missed our connection in Bangkok for Phuket. Getting another flight turned into a comedy of errors that saw 3 parties from our plane being urged to run faster through the airport by the Thai Airways staff who rather than just transfer us from one flight to the next made us check in again, clear security and customs and run to  the same gate which we had just come out of. And…there was no reason to ask us to ran so fast that I ended up needing to use the asthma inhaler because that flight was delayed too. I felt sorry for Gorgeous Man who was lugging his backpack, Gorgeous Girl’s backpack and Gorgeous Girl.

Anyway, we arrived in Phuket slightly later than expected and made our way to our accommodation. Once again we booked an entire house through airbnb (much, much more affordable than a hotel). Just a little two bedroom place with an open air kitchen and a bathroom.

We did lots of things like this.

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We went snorkelling a few times and visited the Aquarium. The water was really warm and there was lots of beautiful things to see. We also took a long-tailed boat out to Bon Island. It’s not very far off-shore.

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This picture is taken from the island looking back to the mainland. We spent a lovely day snorkelling and relaxing. Gorgeous Girl made friends with some girls from France and they collected hundreds of hermit crabs (all were safely released and no hermit crabs were harmed in the making of this blog post). Unfortunately I got horribly sunburnt on the bottom of my legs even though I was sitting in the shade and that made life rather uncomfortable for a few days.

Christmas Day was very relaxed, we exchanged Christmas stockings in the morning and some small gifts. Really the trip was the big gift for everyone. Gorgeous Girl was happy with some new books and a new bag and some T-shirts from Thailand. Then we had a lovely Christmas lunch at a local western-style restaurant. On Boxing Day we flew back to Bangkok and spent the night in a hotel near the airport and then returned to Australia the next day.

It was a lovely trip and Thailand is definitely a place I want to go back to and explore some more.

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More Thailand

We really enjoyed the street food in Chiang Mai.

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I’m so glad Kidlet is an adventurous eater.

We had a lot of activities planned for Chiang Mai. Unfortunately Gorgeous Girl picked up a tummy bug. We had imodium with us and we found a pharmacy where we got some anti-vomiting pills. We are lucky that Gorgeous Girl is good at taking tablets. So instead of exploring Chiang Mai and the surrounding area we spent a few quiet days in the house watching kids’ movies. The jury is out on what made her sick.  Personally I think it was the swimming in the elephant mud/toilet…

Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Man did get a fish pedicure.

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She did rally enough that we were able to visit the night markets. They were very crowded. Lots of great food and snacks available. This guy made Pad Thai inside an egg omelet.

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It was amazing and 40 Thai Baht comes to about $1.50 in Australian dollars or just over US$1. Very affordable.

My treasure from the night markets was this gorgeous bag.

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Which is currently housing my crochet.

On our last full day in Chiang Mai, Gorgeous Girl was well enough that the two of us had a girls’ day out and got massages, while Gorgeous Man went bird-watching.

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This is a social programme which provides training and employment to women who have had some difficulties in their lives. Following the massage we found a place to have a manicure and pedicure, so we felt very pampered.

 

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One thing I really wanted to do in Thailand was take an online cooking class. I had found Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School via a blog review before we arrived in Thailand and after looking at some brochures, and reading more reviews I decided that this was the one I would book into. The school takes place on Sammy’s farm which is a short drive out of Chiang Mai. Sammy picks up the students from their hotels and stops at a traditional market on the way to his farm.

We arrived to find the large under-cover cooking area set up ready for us to start cooking.

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We had a brief lesson about local ingredients.

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Everyone got their own station. There were two students from Belgium and one from South Africa in addition to Gorgeous Girl and I from Australia/South Africa/Papua New Guinea (answering the question “Where are you from?” is kind of hard for us).

Gorgeous Girl had her own station. First we made a curry paste from scratch. I opted for a red curry while Gorgeous Girl made a yellow curry paste.

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The two dishes.

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I made my red curry a little too spicy for my taste, but Gorgeous Girl’s yellow curry was fabulous. She did it all by herself too.

Next we made dishes using the wok. Gorgeous Girl opted for her favourite dish, cashew chicken.

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While I made the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten (good recipe, not my exceptional skills).

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All up we made 5 dishes each including one dessert. We got a recipe book to take home. I’ve tried one of the recipes so far – it wasn’t a huge success because I didn’t have all of the ingredients. But I will be working on incorporating more of our day out into the regular home menu.

 

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Chiang Mai

From Bangkok we travelled to Chiang Mai. Once again we rented a house through Airbnb. This one was easier to find than the one in Bangkok. One thing we really wanted to do in Chiang Mai was to see elephants, but we didn’t want a place which gave elephant rides or forced the elephants to do tricks for tourists. Riding is bad for the elephants’ backs and we wanted a more natural experience. After reading numerous brochures at the local coffee shop (best coffee I had in Thailand – actually probably one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had anywhere), we settled on Dumbo Elephant Spa. We were picked up from a hotel near where we stayed and driven out of Chiang Mai into the mountains. Once there we were given traditional Karen clothing to put on.

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There is a family group.

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The baby one was really cute.

Then the guides brought out fruit to feed the elephants. I have to admit that I found the elephants rather huge and intimidating. Gorgeous Girl had no such inhibitions.

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Elephant hug.

They have a mud pool that the elephants like to swim in. On the day that we visited the elephants didn’t want to mud bathe. Gorgeous Girl and the two other children who were on the tour made full use of it though.

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The elephants also used this as a toilet…

After a while the elephants wandered down to the river so we all followed them. The elephants went swimming and were scrubbed down by the guests. In return they sprayed the swimmers with water. I stayed dry taking lots of photos.

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This was a real highlight and well worth a visit.

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More Bangkok

I think I mentioned that Gorgeous Girl had the chance to catch up with a friend who used to live in PNG. She was invited to his birthday party and got to experience the magic of laser tag.

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She had a great time.

One one of our trips down the river we got off at the stop to see the Wat Traimit – the Golden Buddha. My advice is to walk out of the car park by the mall to hire a taxi or a tuktuk (you will save yourself several hundred baht) to take you to the temple. The Wat houses the largest golden buddha in the world. For most of its history this magnificent statue had been hidden by a layer of plaster.

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Around 40 years ago it was dropped while being moved and the plaster cracked revealing the gold underneath.

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The story goes that it was originally covered up to protect it from invading armies during the Sukhothai period (1238-1438).

We also visited some night markets and partook of some delicious food. I’m a terrible blogger and forgot to take a picture before I started eating.

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I did get a shot of Gorgeous Girl’s though. Thai food isn’t usually eaten with chopsticks, and this was kind of like Thai/Chinese fusion street food.

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There were also delicious little snacks eaten on the go, but no pictures of them.

After a several days in Bangkok it was time to fly to Chiang Mai.

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Bangkok

We took a tourist boat up the river in Bangkok. It was a lovely trip to take.

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Gorgeous Girl was a bit over the photos at this point.

We were visiting Thailand only two months after the king had passed away. The country is observing a year of mourning. There were large signs around the city offering condolences.

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As a sign of respect the people of Thailand are wearing black or dark colours for the year of mourning. We tried to respect that by avoiding bright colours ourselves.

The boat we took was a hop-on/hop-off. Since we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to on one trip we did this twice. While wandering the streets we found the most amazing food in a little hole in the wall restaurant that I’m not sure I’d be able to find again.

I was very taken with the glimpses of life along the river. Houses over the water.

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A petrol station.

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There was lots of construction (as you can see from the crane in the background above) and new sits alongside old.

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A building erected by some of the earliest Europeans in Thailand.

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And the royal palace.

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I have a few more holiday posts (mainly so family can see what we did and where we went) and then regular crafting content will return.

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