Thailand – final days, final thoughts

1790Well, I’ve been home for two months and I suppose it’s time to write my final thoughts on this trip. Like with any other major life event, as you get further and further away from the actual event and you get re-immersed into your daily routine, the enthusiasm and some of the details fade a bit, but, for me, certainly not the overall feeling of having had a terrific time.  

Our tour leader Pranee is actually from Phuket and while we were there, we were fortunate enough to meet her  mother. I suppose that is part of the reason it has taken me a little bit longer to write this. After sending Pranee a photo I took of her with the elephants, she let me know that her mother had passed away shortly after we returned home – which makes this post all the more melancholy. And to be clear, it’s not as if I knew Pranee’s mother before the trip or became fabulous friends with her during the trip. It’s just a reminder that eventually, we all lose loved ones. Continue reading “Thailand – final days, final thoughts”

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365 Reflections – Reflection 58

131ALast Saturday was my day for a photographic field trip. The location at the top of my list was a site I failed to access the first time I visited. Without repeating the behaviors of some of those “stupid criminal” stories you’ve surely heard, let’s just say the site is only accessed through private land which is surrounded by a fence, or two, or more… My first attempt resulted in dozens of blackberry brambles and a lecture from a very astute neighbor complete with threats of notifying the police. With my second attempt, I did a little bit more thorough homework and developed a better plan with the help of some aerial photography. Never underestimate the power of the internet and the determination if a stubborn, middle aged artist.  

The site is not one an average person would likely be aware of. It is abandoned and in serious decay – which is part of the reason it had so much appeal to me. I was sure I could get some terrific photos. In the process of taking photos, here’s what I discovered about myself:

Continue reading “365 Reflections – Reflection 58”

Thailand – sort of…

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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.

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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”