Archive for ‘August, 2016’

New home – Bangkok!

After a long plane journey we finally arrive in Bangkok.  Huge airport, hundreds of people, shops, technology, quite different from Kilimanjaro Airport!  We are dazed and confused and it is very hot indeed!  It is around 8pm at night but the heat does not seem to have abated. As soon as we step outside the airport we are covered in a sheen of sweat, a theme that is to continue…


We arrive at our new home tired but finally “home”.  It is a nice flat, comfortable and well furnished.  It is spacious with a small outside space and a pool right outside the back patio. It is odd, to find ourselves in this place.  It is like a holiday resort, like being in “The Truman Show”.  The perfect place, happy people, sunshine and health, friendliness and smiles.  It is nice and easy but lacking in character somewhat.  On the plus side, we are not in noisy Bangkok but somewhere with trees and birds and a lake.  It feels like Americanah! Anyway, here it is:


Walking home


“Our” lake


The welcome has been amazing.  Friendly and thoughtful; we were taken out to various places in Bangkok and shown the sights including dinner at the German Brewery which was nothing like a German brewery apart from the beer.  We were treated to the most bizarre show in this restaurant when suddenly curtains drew back to reveal an enormous stage.  I guess I can describe it as a smaller Olympic like opening show.  But, hey, this is Bangkok after all.



So we now been here for one whole month, yes, it has gone fast and it has gone uneventfully so far.  Here are some pics of what we have seen so far.


Giant cake on show in the supermarket


Exotic, in’it?


Bangkok is a jungle


Sampling local cuisine


Let’s hope they are right…


River bus, the best way to travel



It’s been there a while…


Orchids everywhere and so, so cheap!


Downtown in Silom


It is not what is seems

We take the sky train into Bangkok, to Lumpini Park, a 58-hectare park which belonged to King Rama VI.  Air con is everywhere and you go from sweating profusely to shivering and goose bumps.  We finally get to the park and sit by the lake.  I look to my right and lo and behold, a monitor lizard is walking towards us.  Not what i expected from a walk in the park.


Post hunting of cat fish!


Enter a caption


Here it comes!

So, I guess you are wondering where all the temples are.  Yes, there are plenty about, a bit bling and over the top.  Here is the King’s Palace, impressive but worse than Oxford Street at Christmas time.  Kids were not impressed and wondered why we had dragged them there in the heat and the crowds.  We had no reasonable answer…


On another weekend we explored Ko Kret dating back to 1722, a small island on the Chao Phraya river, not far from where we live.  The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their version of Buddhism and, particularly at Ko Kret, their pottery which is elaborate and intricate.  Ko Kret is really rather nice, we walked around the island and saw beautiful sights, countryside, temples, villages…  Lots of street food which we had to sample but not without some incidents.  Geoff bought some delicious looking barbq prawns which turned out to be rather chewy and bony.  On closer inspection, they looked more like small flattened frogs, he was spitting for quite some time after that.



What is this strange fruit?




Some randomness:


Street frames



Marianne is loving the horse riding here


Us out of focus on a boat into Bangkok for the evening


Living it up at the Peninsula Hotel


Our new cat, Sinuan

Our next adventure was into Bangkok into Silom.  Lots of walking and sweating in the heat.  Bangkok is not pretty, I have decided!  It is quirky but too busy, too polluted, too many cars, too much concrete, too much madness.  I am missing Moshi…  Although strolling around Bangkok is entertaining and there is plenty to look at.


Why are we not allowed to take a photo?!


Old Bangkok by the river


Modern vs new



Beautiful Indian Temple in Silom



Temple offerings on offer



Reminds me of Minecraft!



I leave you with some advice.  Do not ride elephants if you come to Thailand (or India or Sri Lanka…).  It is cruel to keep these giants in captivity and they need to be sent back to the wild where they belong.  Join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.  It is happening on the 24th September in over 125 cities worldwide. See here:  We will be on the one in Bangkok. Every day around 100 elephants in Africa are brutally killed for their tusks. It is estimated that 25,000 – 50,000 elephants are poached each year. From numbering in their millions around 100 years ago, today there may be only around 400,000 elephants left in Africa; lower estimates put this number at around 250,000.  Let’s save these majestic giants!

From Lisbon to Brighton to Bangkok!


Balcony views


So much graffiti, love it!


Botanic gardens in Lisbon, a small oasis of calm

I know, I know…  I have said it before.  Time flies!  Here we are in Bangkok but before I launch into the delights of being in this humongous city, I will have to go via Lisbon and Brighton where we had a fabulous time reuniting with family and friends.


The talented nephew!  What a voice!

Lisbon is such a beautiful city.  We had not been there for quite some time and I fell in love with it all over again.  I’m not sure what it was.  Going to Portugal, in particular, Lisbon has always brought too many sad memories and a feeling that I wanted to get out of there. This time it was different; it was a beautiful and happy stay and I wish I could have stayed longer.  We got off to a good start with a great Air B&B flat and plenty of family visits.  One of the highlights was to see my nephew sing and perform with his group Seconda Pratica at Sintra Palace.  An absolutely stunning and special evening.


No trip to Lisbon is complete without a visit to Belem where the original Pasteis de Nata are still made!

Lisbon has certainly changed, it is more dynamic, more creative and there is a lot more to do. Beautiful food in great restaurants, strolls around the old town but the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology ( was one of the highlights of our visit.  A stunning old power station on the river bank which retains many of its original features and equipment and also showcases modern art installations.  Great fun and it is free!



I’m watching you!



One of the ways to cross the river in Lisbon

The light exhibition was visually great fun and the map of the world showing which countries have electricity is shocking.  Check out Africa!  We were indeed often in the dark in Tanzania.


One place I have always wanted to visit was Tomar, north of Lisbon.  Tomar was built inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo which was constructed under the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in the late 12th century.  It was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction and it is well worth a visit.  In the 15th century, Tomar was a center of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ.  The Convento is nothing short of spectacular and really takes you back in history.  I just love walking around old places where you can “feel” the history!  I will not bore you with details but if interested have a look here



Dining hall


A window from a window!


As we were in Tomar we could not leave without visiting the famous Castelo de Almourol. Almourol is a medieval castle, located on a small islet in the middle of the Tejo River. This castle was part of the defensive line controlled by the Knights Templar and the area is also very beautiful to visit.  The only way in and out is by boat or swimming if you prefer. It is a peaceful place with wonderful views and gorgeous villages.



On the islet


This is one thing I love about Portugal, the history and the beautiful old buildings, ancient villages, fortified towns…  Obidos here we come.  An historical, walled town very close to Lisbon.  Cobbled streets, colourful houses and ginginha (cherry brandy) served in little dark chocolate glasses which you eat when our drink is finished. Delicious.



Got him where we want!


He was not trapped for long….



Up on the walls

Being in Portugal was relaxing and a good introduction back to life in the west.  It was incredible to be in a city after 2 years in Moshi, to see shops, variety, culture, cars, so much activity and people walking so fast!  It was enjoyable and fun and I can not wait to go back. The thought of going on to the UK is not so enticing but Brighton here we come, let’s hope the weather is not too cold!

Although all this moving about sounds terribly exciting, it is also very unsettling and confusing.  Have we done the right thing?  Will we like the new place?  Will we miss the old place?  Will the kids be happy?  Blah, blah, blah….  We go round and round in circles and the anxiety before the move goes up and up.  Being in Lisbon was great but going to the UK means that there is paperwork to sort out, more boxes to pack and the anticipation of waiting for the departure date.  Still, friends await and we are excited to get there!


Joshua is enjoying having plenty of food!


What strange people!  So good to see friends and have a laugh, good food and hugs. Wish I had taken more pics now…


Thank you to all friends who put us up, lent us their houses and made us yummy food.  We miss you all already, please come and visit us in this beautiful country.

I was extremely lucky to have been in Brighton for my 50th birthday and it did not even rain for our annual birthday picnic.  Great company, good food and lovely presents.  I feel very lucky and loved, thank you dear friends.



From Primary to teenagers!


Walk on the downs, glorious weather



Marianne trots away happily…


In her element!


And so it goes, three weeks gone.  Happy times, sad to leave again but before we go I leave you with some Capoeira shots!  See you next summer.


The time has come to leave once again.  Bangkok here we come.  No idea what to expect but ready to get there.  watch this space!

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