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Adventures

Posts tagged ‘Bangkok’

Summer holidays in Thailand!

Warning: this blog contains lots and lots of photos!  I got a new camera for Xmas and have been going a bit mad!!!  By the way, if you click on the pictures you will be able to see a slide show.

Three weeks spent in Thailand before heading out to Europe.  Katherine came to visit (Geoff’s niece) and we had a great time together.  It was fun to take her out in Bangkok and show her some of our favourite places.  She was an easy traveller and happy to do anything!

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On the big wheel!

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Our favourite local bar.

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Party time in Chatuchak Market, delicious Margaritas and good music.

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And yummy dried squid!

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Ice creams

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And plastinated bodies!

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Yes, they are real!

We waited and waited for Renee and family but sadly they missed their plane. In true Tanzanian fashion, their flight time was changed and they were not informed.  so they arrived at the airport to find that their plane had already departed, without them! One day later than expected they were finally in Bangkok and Geoff stayed behind to meet them.  Katherine, myself and the kids went off to Chiang Rai, cause why wouldn’t we… Here we are chilling and waiting.

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Simple lodgings with a view

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Many caterpillars around here!

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Obscure directions

We did not see them until the morning when we got them up to go for a 2 day hike!  After such a long journey, they were unusually sprightly and ready for the adventure.  The idea was to walk all day, stop and have lunch and then stay the night in a village somewhere up in the hills.  Something else happened but it was fine!  The hike turned out to be quite crazy with a local guide who was hyperactive and was not quite sure where the trails had gone.  Still, nothing a machete can not cut through and on we went. It was a hot, rainy and sweaty day but kind of fun too.

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Off we go into the jungle

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Renee assessing the water

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Natural armchair!

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More weird caterpillars

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Filling the bamboo sticks with rice to cook in the fire

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Big beattle!

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Cooking the rice after a huge downpour

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Lost in the bamboo forest!

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Very hot springs, I know, I put my foot in it!  Bloody hot!!!

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And another one!

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Boat to the village for the night

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So we get to the village and it is really not nice at all.  Back to our basic huts which look like luxury by now and the trek is cut short.  Next day we have a walk through the local village which turns out to be rather pleasant and visit a cave temple.  We find a cat cafe in the town where you can sit with lots of cats and pet them as you sip your coffee! Weird…

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Temple in a cave!

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Chiang Rai temple

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Local village

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Freshly killed pig!

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Walking with a purpose!

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I would highly recommend where we stayed, the Bamboo Nest of Chiang Rai.  Absolutely lovely with amazing home cooked food.  Go check it out, it is basic, there is no mains electricity but it is very special and only about 23 kms from Chiang Rai. http://bamboonest-chiangrai.com/

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Geoff having a good stretch!

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The morning clouds….

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Happy days with lovely Christine

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That dog is everywhere….

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On the way to Chiang Mai

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Wat Thaton temple in Thaton on the way to Chiang Mai

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View from the temple and the river we travelled on

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And another one!

Onwards to Chiang Mai for elephants and a spot of town life.

I have wanted to visit the Elephant Nature Park for quite some time now.  I love the work Lek does and think she is very inspirational.  However, the park felt too crowded and organised for our liking.  It is a great place and the elephants are well looked after, just too many people.  Nevertheless, I had fun getting up and close to these beautiful creatures.  They are so big so I tried to capture their eyes, amazing how they are all so different!!

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Not an elephant!

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A spot of dust after a bath…

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Happiness is….

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Blind elephant

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Chiang Mai turned out to be quite pleasant after the initial shock of being in a busy city full of tourists.  My favourite thing was the huge array of old temples, so simple and so beautiful, quite a contrast to the newer temples in Bangkok which are so full of bling and excess.  Here is a selection taken on a leisurely walk about.

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I was tempted…

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The writing is on the wall!

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A spot of torrential rain!

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Bicycle cafe but now as we know it

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Well, that was a busty week!!!  Off to Kho Yao Noi we go to chill by the beach.  Lovely island, extremely quiet.  Have the beach and chalets to ourselves with a few kayaks for our own use.  What more could you ask for…  Good place to stay albeit quite isolated and quiet which suited us all.  http://www.lomlae.com/index.htm go check it out, delightful place!

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Kayaking to an island, harder than it seemed!

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Monitor lizards, aren’t they great?

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Yes, I was that close!

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Christine is waving all the way from up there!

Being on the island was just beautiful.  Lots of exploring to do and hardly any people about,  Perfect!

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“Our beach”!  Not a bad view to wake up to each day.

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Fishing…

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Sunrise, me thinks…

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Petrol station

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Macro did not quite work…

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Renee on a scooter!

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Limestone everywhere!  Rather beautiful but marred by rain and cloudy skies, still a great day out.

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Our boat for the day

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So much limestone….

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Rock paintings

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James Bond rock

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Floating village in the middle of the sea

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A floating football pitch

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Before the storm!

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The floating village!

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Another cave!

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A window at the end

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A window with a view

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We found a strange world after walking through a cave…

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Enter a captionNever seen one of these before, very excited!

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Yeah, yeah, more beaches and hills….

So, seeing Renee, Christine and family was great!  We could talk about Moshi, old friends and how we are going to ensure we meet again.  What truly lovely people they were to spend a couple of weeks with.

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Renee and Geoff in deep conversation

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A few drinks at sunset

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Love the boats!

So, two weeks gone in the blink of an eye.  More adventures to follow…

Bangkok chronicles and everyday life

It has been a while….  This studying to be a teacher business has been rather time consuming!  First placement is done so now I can focus on blog writing before the second placement beast is unleashed.  I think I like teaching, I’ll let you know more once I am over the shock of teaching and being scrutinized on a daily basis.

In October, we went to see some whales, as you do.  Not just any whales but Bryde’s whales, I never knew they had whales in Thailand but there you go.  We went on an organised trip with other teachers, it was a great day and ABC news station from Australia was on-board.  See their short film: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-11/thailands-whales-at-risk-after-mystery-deaths/7923696.

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Leaving the harbour

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It’s a feeding frenzy!

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We had a few days off and went exploring despite heavy protesting from the kids.  First to Krabi and Railay beach with its beautiful limestone crags.  It is a stunning location on a peninsula only accessible by long tail boat due to the high limestone crags.  Sadly, it has been overbuilt on and lost some of its magic but it is worth a visit.  It also poured with rain during our stay.  Still, it was warm…

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Arrival

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Not sure the rope’s going to do it…

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Sound advice!

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British resilience in awful weather!

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Grey skies

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These rocks are rather impressive.  The cave on the bottom left was full of penises!  Shrine apparently…

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These boats are amazing

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After a couple of very wet days in Railay, we continued to Kho Lanta in the hope of finding fairer weather.  It is a long journey with the kids asking why we are here and not at home. It is hard work at times!  We want to show them the world and its beauty but all they want is to be home and do nothing.  Still, we persevere and I wonder if they will grow up to hate travelling, especially budget travelling.  Kho Lanta is dead and wet but we enjoy it.  It is like having an island to yourself, there is hardly anybody anywhere which is kind of spooky, like an apocalypse kind of thing but peaceful.

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Sunset swimming

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Father and daughter pondering life…

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Kho Lanta National Park

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Hey, the sun is out and so are we!

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Beautiful beach!  We later saw the signs warning against swimming due to abundant and dangerous jellyfish.  Oh, well….

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Geoff is impressed by the giant leaves!

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Lunch with a view

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Marianne western style riding with a dreadlocked, Thai cowboy!  

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It was great to get out of Bangkok and the huge building and crazy traffic.  It is peaceful out there and very pleasant indeed.  Life in Bangkok is missing a connection to nature and is horribly commercialized.  I have never seen anything like it before, the excess, the amount of stuff you can buy, everywhere, all the time!  It is frightening and feels so shallow and pointless – we don’t need it!!!!  I think Tanzania made me see beauty as well as horrendous deprivation.  It was life at its rawest, at its simplest and it was hard but it felt true (yes, corny, I know).  It is hard to explain, I feel I am in the Truman Show, I am being brainwashed with commerce, adverts and the masking of nature.  Onwards though!  Life is also good here and it is an amazing experience.  Some snapshots of life around us.

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Rather large…

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Outside local temple

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I am starting to realise that temples can be rather unusual…

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Statues in the peaceful temple’s garden!  What does it mean?!

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Not so weird after the other stuff…

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My quest to find bugs continues

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Cows wallowing in the mud by the road, as they do…

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On the boat into Bangkok, best way to get into town!

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Signs for birds nests and shark fin soup!  It’s everywhere.

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Surely there is some good fortune in one of those cookies…

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Walkabout in Chinatown

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Thai sweets in the classroom

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Yum

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Our local

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Bangkok vistas

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Nuan and Ed Sheeran enjoying a snuggle

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We are sat in a restaurant and what comes by…  People selling food and people actually buy it too as they are eating their orders.  

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My new friend

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Remember not to ride elephants too!!

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Crazy wiring

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Marianne trying to blend in

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More chaos

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So, the moral of the story is…  Do not leave blogging for so long as you will forget all the quirky things that have happened.  On another note,  I am pleased to report that Geoff’s unfortunate encounters with food continue.  Chicken feet this time!  What next?!

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…

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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:

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Walking home

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“Our” lake

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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.

 

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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.

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Giant cake on show in the supermarket

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Exotic, in’it?

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Bangkok is a jungle

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Sampling local cuisine

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Let’s hope they are right…

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River bus, the best way to travel

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It’s been there a while…

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Orchids everywhere and so, so cheap!

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Downtown in Silom

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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.

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Post hunting of cat fish!

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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…

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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.

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What is this strange fruit?

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Some randomness:

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Street frames

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Marianne is loving the horse riding here

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

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Living it up at the Peninsula Hotel

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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.

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Why are we not allowed to take a photo?!

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Old Bangkok by the river

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Modern vs new

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Beautiful Indian Temple in Silom

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Temple offerings on offer

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Reminds me of Minecraft!

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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: http://march4elephantsandrhinos.org/2016-cities/.  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!

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