It has been an eventful year; a move to Phuket, sale of the Brighton home, new flat in Edinburgh, more diving, Joshua off to Uni, set up of business…
Life in Phuket is good, goodbye noisy, polluted Bangkok; hello to more nature and many more cats. I set up Healthy Minds Phuket (www.healthymindsphuket.com) and am up and running! Fingers crossed for a prosperous 2019!!!
We have done more exploring with Penang at Christmas as I had to do a visa run. I was pleasantly surprised with Georgetown, it did not disappoint, a veritable mix of cultures, architecture and food. A good four days were had wandering and then wandering some more, exploring alleys, food stalls and temples, oh, and the fantastic graffiti! Living in Europe, we are faced with stories of hatred and racism but when I travel, I come across people of all religions and beliefs living side by side in harmony. Penang is such a place, where such a variety of temples, churches and mosques stand side by side, with the people living together without hatred. Ok, perhaps it is not as rosy as all that but it works!
Bali was another welcome surprise! It happened out of the blue as a friend offered us her house to stay in. We fell in love with Bali, with the people, the scenery, the food and the diving. It is one of those places that has a great feel to it and where you feel instantly at home and at ease.
Sightseeing in Phuket with the Big Buddha! Amazing viewpoint and a massive buddha to top it all.
There have also been many cat rescues, mainly kittens. As these things go, it all happened by accident and then it escalated to 15 kittens in the house. We are now down to 5 adult cats! The rescue operation has now been scaled down to enable marital harmony to prevail.
Diving in the Phi Phi islands was definitely pretty epic! Sadly, there were no water cameras around to depict the amazing marine life. At one point we were surrounded by hundreds of jelly fish and another by thousands of beautiful yellow fish (my fish knowledge is pretty shit….). Maya Bay remains closes, great news but you can look at it from a distance.
Most importantly, I found a fun zumba class with the lovely Daniel. Back in the thick of it, eat your heart out Ynna although I still miss you, of course!
The highlight of the year was a visit from the lovelies Pam, Rob and Laurie. all the way from Brighton. It was fabulous to have you all here even if just for 10 days. It was a packed visit as we tried to show them all our favourite places and more. Some pics from Khao Sok, the lake and some island hopping.
So, I know it has been years since the last blog, somehow my inspiration left me after I moved away from Tanzania. Thailand is an interesting place to live and there are many lessons to be learnt here. Mainly, nobody gives right of way on the road, Thais smile when they are angry, air cons are always set to freezing point, fireworks are ignited as you hold them, Thais cannot say the letter R, it is rude to touch someone’s head or to point and you must duck when you walk past people. Oh, and motorbikes can fit many people!
I know I have been here a while as I use 7-11 to buy water, milk or a late night ham and cheese toastie but also to top up my phone, buy a plane ticket and pay my utility bills. I no longer use a knife and fork but a fork and a spoon when I eat. I often complain of being too hot and hide in the shade as much as possible. Wearing shoes feels weird!
I have also learnt to respect new laws:
At 8am and 6pm, Thais come to a standstill to pay tribute to the most revered thing in Thailand: the monarchy. It is during this time that the national anthem plays, and everyone is expected to stop and pay tribute to the country. This is just one way in which the Thais respect their monarchy. Any criticism or jokes about the royal family can result in serious jail time because of strict lèse-majesté laws.
The Playing Cards Act! This particular law lays out a number of things in regards to playing cards, but one provision that stands out is the actual number of playing cards a person is allowed to have: no more than 120 cards.
Until the next blog, hopefully it will not be long….