Thailand – sort of…


Behind the scenes, so to speak, I have been diligently working on the photographs of my recent trip to Thailand. This is no small feat since I took over 1800 photos in two weeks. What I have tried to do, simply for my sanity, is, for each blog post, to display a photo from the trip that is from the city we were visiting or the activity we were doing. Well, we were only in Bangkok for 3 days and I have really exhausted what I want to say about Bangkok but I have not gotten through processing all of the Bangkok photos. My head can’t move on to writing about a new city until I have finished with all of the photos of the current city.

While I could have very easily dumped all of my photos into Flickr for the world to see and not taken the time to do any editing, I am really trying to develop an on-line presence. As a result, I am being very critical and only posting photos that I find beautiful. And, in the same way that I am not posting link-backs to things I mention in my blog, I am trusting that the folks I traveled with have many of their own photos and are not relying on me to be the group historian.

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Thailand – Blogging woes and travel guides

121AWhile not extensive, I have traveled some. There have been 3 cruises with family and then 2 group tours, and one solo trip. The group tours were to Africa in 2009 and then last month to Thailand. The solo visit was to India in 2011. Each type of travel has its advantages and disadvantages. With cruises, you cover a larger span of geography but in the particular cruises I did, you did not have more than a day in any one place. Again, there are good and bad things about this but on the whole, I enjoy cruising because it’s kind of like a buffet – if you want more of a particular location, you know just enough to go back. The solo trip was by far the most challenging and that’s possibly due to the location. Unless it is Europe, I would have to think long and hard about going anywhere by myself. My favorite mode of travel, as a single person, is traveling with a group of folks that have a common interest. Again, there are positives and negatives but if the group gels, there are far more positives. Of course, I harbor the secret fantasy that when Prince Charming arrives, that will be my favorite mode of travel – globe trotting from one exotic locale to another, camera equipment and handsome beau in tow.
The reason I bring up the various modes of traversing the globe, is that with this traveling, I have done blogging. When I went to Africa, I dutifully took a journal and wrote each and every night about all of our experiences. When I got back, I thought it would be easy to just transcribe my ramblings and once completed, poof, a blog. However, I got to about day 4 of my journal and quit. The mere act of transcribing just drove me whacko. It was no fun at all and I kept looking back at things to make sure I documented every detail with links back to particular sites because I thought I was being helpful. I wanted every fact at the readers’ fingertips.

Continue reading “Thailand – Blogging woes and travel guides”

Thailand – Day 2

202AWhich photo to pick for Day 2? I like to pick my photos first and let them set the stage for the blog post but Day 2 actually started again at oh-dark thirty with texting to my son in order to get my phone set up properly to make calls in Thailand. So this is really a Day 1 issue and I took so many photos on Day 1 that I will bend my self- imposed rules a bit and use a Day 1 photo. What you see to the left is the Reclining Buddha. (Just as a side note, please read the embedded article above about the Reclining Buddha. Just the soles of his feet contain 108 symbols sacred in Buddhism which takes us back to the symbolism of the number 108 which, if you have never read it is fascinating.)

After enjoying breakfast, the group trundled onto our bus and we were off for the day. My group leader let me use her phone and I was able to call my cell carrier and get my phone to work in the event of an emergency which was a great relief. We traveled by means of a rather large bus and had the same driver and tour guide the entire time in Bangkok. The buses were well stocked with water bottles and wet wipes. While I had packed a water bottle with a carbon filter, I never needed to use it. Between the water bottles provided by the hotels and the water on the bus, water was not really an issue the entire time we traveled. And I can happily report that recycling is alive and well in Thailand. In fact, on the whole, although some members of the group might disagree with me, I thought, relative to India, there was very little trash cluttering the landscape.  Continue reading “Thailand – Day 2”

Thailand and the official Day 1

052This tangled mass of black spaghetti is how electricity gets from point A to Point B in Bangkok. And while this is not an artistically beautiful photo, it is certainly realistic and representative of what we saw over and over again. On the whole, I found the city of Bangkok to be one of contrasts much like the photo. With over 8 million people and multiple skyscrapers, it is a very modern city but there are certainly issues with the speed with which the city has grown. Clearly, the infrastructure has not been keeping pace. The cars that clog the roads are all fairly new and it was easy to spot Toyota Camry’s and Nissan mid sized cars even though they were called something different. There were also SUV’s as well but most surprising were the mopeds! They were everywhere and clearly the preferred method of transportation. When traffic was stopped, they would zoom past to get to the front of the line. It was crazy! They were like a living organism – moving when everything else was sitting frozen. At the other end of the spectrum, there were hovels, built in clusters mere blocks away from the gleaming towers and also at various places along the river. And while there was extreme poverty, I do not recall seeing even one pan handler. Yes, I did see street vendors with very limited wares, but that was an attempt to earn a living. Bangkok is known as the Venice of the east and there is also a vast network of river traffic and connecting canals. There are long boats, water taxis, ferries and barges on the river. Often it is faster to travel by water to a destination rather than by road. In addition, there was at least one light rail system that we rode. It ran late and we were stalled for some time, but it was still faster than traveling by car. Continue reading “Thailand and the official Day 1”

Thailand Travel and Jet Lag

164It’s 4:14am Sunday morning and I’m still up. I’ve begun plowing through the 1800 photos I took in Thailand and have eliminated over 600 spam messages from my comment queue that have occurred since my last post in September. With this first post, I hope to get back on the saddle maintain some sort of consistent writing schedule – yet again (thank you Erin). I am tired but not tired and the list of things I have yet to do before returning to work is daunting. On the other hand, I was super productive earlier Saturday and took Titan to the dog park, went to the grocery and did loads of laundry. But re-entry back into my normal live is proving to be somewhat more difficult than I anticipated. We got home Friday evening and I was able to sleep 5 hours Friday night. On top of that, I took a 4 hour nap Saturday afternoon.  But I sit here awake and wondering what to do next.

Flash forward to Sunday afternoon at 3:06pm. I’ve been awake and entire hour after falling asleep at 6am. The only reason I have gotten out of bed is to take the poor dog out. I have not even been hungry and it is taking an extraordinary amount of will power to keep from climbing back under the covers. Living alone, in this instance is sort of a mixed blessing. Other than the dog, I have no real motivation to get up. He’s currently sitting by the sliders and I am sure dreaming of going to the dog park.

I suppose I should start with the initial check-in at the gate.

My baggage and packing plan was clear – I wanted to arrive with two bags and check in nothing. The airlines had other ideas for me however. My small suitcase was over the weight limit for carry-on baggage and then the counter person was concerned that I had too many liquids in my quart bag. This meant I was scrambling at the last minute to rearrange things and in my haste, I had forgotten that I had slipped my credit cards, cell phone and cash into the front zippered pocket of the small suitcase – which was not locked. Unfortunately, I did not realize this until my bag was placed upon the conveyor and sent toward the plane. This lead to my bag being recalled from where ever it gets whisked off to once it is out of your possession. 

Amazingly, the airline, EVA Air, was extremely efficient, my bag was retrieved and the crisis was averted. Our flying time was 13 hours to Taipei and then another 3 hours to Bangkok. I was traveling with a group of 7 other women from Seattle which included a group of three sisters. The sisters took turns being my roommate – I had a new sister in each city we visited. At first I was a little bothered – I felt like I was being traded like so much dirty laundry but then after some thought, I realized that I was the unknown and what they did was actually very smart. No sister would have the burden of being with a stranger for the entire trip  – in case I was the weirdo. And ultimately, I got a chance to know 3 very lovely women a bit more than I probably would have. We picked up another two members of the group in Bangkok and then met our final pair once we arrived. In case you’ve lost track, we were a group of 12 – 11 women and one man. In addition, we had the group leader and organizer as well as a separate tour leader in each city.

Once we cleared customs and retrieved our bags, we were taken to the hotel and treated with cold clothes for removing some of the travel grime and a cold beverage. An hour later, we were on our way to dinner at a lovely restaurant on the river. While I don’t remember the food specifically, I do remember my eyes feeling like they were lined with sandpaper.

For now, I’ll stop. The moans and whines coming from the dog are just too much to ignore. Next up. Bangkok and day one.