PATTAYA TO PENANG

Another travel day, due to my being an early to the airport girl I had arranged for the taxi through my accommodation to pick me up at 9 am on Sunday, even though my flight check in wasn’t until 11.30 am. I had been told traffic would be hectic being a Sunday. It had cost 200 bht more by going through the accommodation but when I spoke to the drivers on the street they were less but couldn’t quite understand me so I opted for the safest path. On Saturday I was having a lay in about to have a shower when the inhouse phone rang, I answered it , my taxi was there!!What I exclaimed thinking I was sleeping beauty and had slept through a day which meant I had totally forgotten my sons birthday, I said hopefully ‘but its Sunday I wanted it for’ , they checked and yes the driver had the day wrong as they had indeed requested Sunday pick up. I exhaled and went about my day ,packing. I went in and checked at reception that it was all good for tomorrow and the driver knew I was going to Utapao airport, Yes yes they said all good madam.

I set off walking to the awesome mall just because I could, walking back so I would sleep well . Emailed my son, we don’t do talking on the phone , this is my youngest son not the one that visited me in Kampot, he is always too busy to chat and I ask too many questions . So Sunday dawned and I went to check out at 8.45 and wait for the car but he was already there and eager to get going . Off we went after lovely goodbyes to the sweetest ladies that worked there. Its amazing how a friendship can build in a short time.

We hit the road and as we exited sin city I saw the signage for Bangkok, now I knew from my road trip with Rob that the airport was in the direction of the Cambodian border not Bangkok. I said to my driver are you taking me to Utapao, yes yes , airport he replied , it was only then did I realise he spoke not a scrap of English, as he was nodding and smiling at the hotel I assumed he could speak a little bit of English. We were on a very fast new freeway by this stage and I saw the turn off for Rayong which I knew was the right direction, so I said Rayong , we turn off , yes yes airport so I sat back and relaxed a bit until we zoomed past the turn off. “Not Bangkok, no not me Utapao airport” Yes yes he said. He was speeding very fast and still highway signs were overhead saying Bangkok. I said’ No NO Bangkok, Pattaya Utapao’ which was starting to sound like and be as elusive as Utopia to my ears. I demanded he pull over and call the hotel but we were on a freeway , after another 10 minutes, by now we had been travelling for 45 minutes, there was a parking bay . My phone data wasn’t working so I couldn’t use google for anything plus my ticket was an eticket and on my phone and I couldn’t bring it up normally I would have written it down but I trusted in the hotel . Finally he rings his boss , the boss speaks to me , checks the travel order from the hotel and sure enough it says Utapao!!!! So now we had to drive until we could get to the otherside, we couldn’t chuck a uee as the barricades between lanes were concrete. An hour into my journey , one little bit of cursing and raised voices we were heading in the right direction with the help of his gps. I saw a plane in the sky and said follow that plane. We laughed, we both understood the hilarity of the situation, laughter is the only way out .

This airport is a military and civilian airport. It is close to the Royal Thai Naval base and is owned by the navy. We stopped at the first terminal , he got my bags out then people across the road started yelling waving their arms about , we were at the military entrance !! So we drove a bit further and he unloaded my bags. This is not a busy airport but they had coffee and I was still an hour before check in. Sometimes it is worth being anal about time. Finally I checked in, proceeded through to immigration but there was no one there, an officer waved to me and gestured he would be there soon. So I waited then he came, he had to turn on his PC but I was through quickly and easily. On my flight I was wedged between 2 Sumo wrestlers, man these 2 Chinese guys were huge , I slept once I knew the plane was heading to Kuala Lumpur at least the pilot said we were. My bodyguards didn’t move the whole trip , I don’t think they could. The distance between the international airport and domestic airport in KL must be at least 2 kms, my case was checked all the way through to Penang thank goodness. This is the moment when you love travelators you can rest whilst you still make some miles.Going through Immigration was a breeze. I had shuddered when I saw the line after I exited my Thailand flight , I only had 1.3 hours until my connecting flight. Because I was changing to a domestic ,the immigration counter was in a separate area, it was empty again as it was only for international to domestic transfers and I zoomed through. While reading and waiting for my flight a youngish girl sat beside me asked a few questions , she was doing her masters in Malaysian and Chinese Literature and was heading home to Penang for the mid semester break, crazy things happen and we were sitting next to each other on the hour flight. Life is funny sometimes.

I arrived in Penang , my case arrived, I caught a taxi to my one nights accommodation. On Monday I moved to Red Inn Heritage Guesthouse on Love Lane . I had arranged a monthly rate before I left.( $13.50 US per night). Years ago I stayed here with the man of my dreams before we got our apartment. Why have I returned to the scene of happy days you may ask?? It doesn’t make me sad anymore , I am not wallowing in memories or picturing the past, I have outgrown the emotional turmoil that I went through with him plus I have got a cute room with no view, but my own bathroom, its downstairs plus there is a fridge, a microwave ,crockery and cutlery, a toaster and a great long table to eat at plus outside there are tables were I am now watching people wander up and down Love Lane. The story goes it was where the rich Chinese merchants housed their concubines, mistresses now it is a world heritage street filled with shop houses, long houses , a couple small Taoist temples and lots of bars/ restaurants where at night tourists crowd outside on outdoor tables sipping chilled white wine and eating dinner. there is always some one playing acoustic music and often foreign travellers doing street performances to get a bit of money.

On Monday it was Hari Ra public holiday as well as school midterm so there are many Malay families here on holiday . Yesterday I caught the bus to the supermarket and of course a man moving house sat next to me he had 3 large garbage bags full of his belongings, I was cramped against the window on the crowded bus ,a garbage bag stuffed against me but he was a nice guy starting a new job in Batu Ferringhi and happily moved his bags when I got off.

Hungry Ghost month begins officially tomorrow. It is the month when the restless spirits come down from the heavens and roam the earth, mortals present offerings to their ancestors and other deceased spirits. You often see roadside offerings , multiple incense being burnt and fires being set alight in the middle of the road burning joss paper , these are for the spirits that can no longer find their home , last night as I went for a walk here in Love Lane in the middle of this narrow one way street the Taoist followers of the local temple were doing just that, by the time I came back from the walk all evidence of this ritual had disappeared.

I believe that here in Penang except for beer things are a little cheaper than Thailand. With the ever rising Baht imports are more expensive. An example of this I saw aust lamb in Pattaya for around $40 per kg where as yesterday in Penang I saw NZ lamb for $30. per kg.

I will tell you more of hungry ghost goings on next week and the dos and don’ts of this month which I didn’t know when I lived here during it 6 years ago , I wish I had.

Until next week.img_20190812_181055-1img_20190812_181029-120190810_165310-collageimg_20190810_141002

PATTAYA CITY OF………

I found a map that wasn’t in Russian, finding a map not in Russian was harder than you think, the Russians were a big influence on this town in the 90’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, their presence now is not so noticeable but have seen a few Russian bars on my walks . Finding a map was so good I know that we all have google maps and you can get them off line if you can work that one out ! My friend Rob also had drawn me a map showing that the main streets of Pattaya are on a grid like my home town Melbourne . Great for a non directional human like me. This printed map helped me walk to Destination 21 the big exciting mall that I had had lunch at with my friend. There is one in Bangkok . The theme of this mall is that every floor is a destination , signs above the escalator are exactly like you are at an airport, you have Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris, Italy to name a few. We are assaulted on entry by the Eiffel Tower, leaning tower of Pisa both 5 floors high. Looking up you see the golden gate bridge spanning across the atrium, it has little cars on it . Now the main thing here are the bathrooms, they blew me away , so fabulously decorated, with a decidedly Japanese theme in at least 2 of them another was like the Paris Metro . The toilets were state of the art , once again those toilets that I encountered in the mall in Ho Chi Minh, with all sorts of buttons that do all sorts of things!!I was impressed at the décor so much colour , in the metro the cubicles all looked like a train doors, the Japanese were all like the doors you see in Japan. If you ever get to Bangkok or Pattaya go to this mall and the bathrooms. I would also like to add every bathroom I have been to in Thailand is impeccably clean. H&M are here, my favourite store, I needed at top as my favourite one I have been wearing is starting to fray and it ripped a bit, I sewed it up but it came apart. Sewing was never my forte, in High school I happened to inherit the same teacher that had taught my two sisters who where both brilliant seamstresses , receiving the highest of marks for their works. My sister Pamela still has some things from her high school years , over 50 year after she has left !!! Mine fell apart on the second day, I got the lowest mark ever recorded for sewing until my sister returned home to live and she made my required works. The teacher knew this and questioned me about it , she must have felt sorry for me as I got an average mark that year then I gave it up for economics . So I am not a sewer but I tried to save my top. I found something similar at H&M but still can’t throw the old one away just yet. Price wise things are the same price if not a little more expensive than in Australia. The food court is cheap . tasty meals and a great view of this big city. When I was coming here I imagined a bigger version of Krabi but it is a city that is bulging at the seams with development, more cars than motorbikes always a sign of prosperity. Everyone is busy working . This is a city prospering on tourism, mainly bachelor tourists coming to this city of sin for a good time . But this town is becoming more family friendly it has a lot to offer for families, water parks ,fun parks, Nong Nooch Gardens, Sanctuary of Truth (You tuber Jayoe Nation has an excellent vlog on this ) and the Floating market. To be honest I haven’t been to any of these but have driven past them. I think if you are bringing children to this city just don’t venture down Walking Street at night or Soi 6 at night. There are plenty of really good hotels on the beach with pools so a family could really enjoy this side of the city.

On Saturday my friend came to pick me up in a car and took me to Bang Saray where he lives and another old aussie mate lives also. They put me up in a room at a little resort where one of my friends lives permanently. On the ride down Rob was showing me things and pointed to the left side of the road that is called the dark side I thought the obvious considering this town but no, street lighting didn’t come to this side until recently and the whole area on the left of the road was in total darkness. We passed the exit to Jomtiem and he pointed out new developments of high rise apartments to accommodate the influx of local Bangkokians wanting holiday apartments and the Chinese that are coming here in droves. We then passed a few water fun parks and saw a line up of traffic awaiting to get into the Nong Nooch gardens. Rob told me these gardens are so beautiful and I should find time to visit them . I googled them and they do indeed look magnificent so its on my list for my next visit along with the Sanctuary Of Truth. On arrival at this little fishing village that is slowly being developed, a little bay with a pier, fishing boats waiting for high tide to go out to sea. All families setting up picnics under the trees, not as many as in Kep in Cambodia but a similar scenario, happy families taking time to just enjoy the sea and each other. On the other side of the road a smattering of cafes, empty blocks covered in jungle foliage that no doubt in five or so years be housing high rises. Rob (he has been here 10 years) said the development here has been growing slowly over the last few years. This is the area that houses the Thailand Naval base on Sattahip bay. So in a way this area will not be overly developed. Rob drove me through an enormous Temple, rich in golden icons in the expansive grounds every Thursday there is a big market, actually this town has 4 markets weekly, I think there is one here in Pattaya that I have not found yet but then this is not a market town. He dropped me off at the loveliest little resort where my other friend Colin stays, my room was spacious and had a little balcony but the gardens where full of my favourite frangipanis and they smelt divine, it has a pool. We sat and chatted then around 6 after a shower I walked up to the bar where we were all going to meet. As I mentioned before Rob is a musician and had got there early to help set up the sound for the young Philippine duo that would entertain us . I enjoyed my walk through this village children playing, a little market to walk through on the way the main street with all you need to survive a roundabout and then I was at the Jasmine Bar, there I met with Rob, a few of his friends, a Belgian, a Canadian, a Norwegian all these men have been here for many years and all have lovely Thai wives and children. Colin arrived and the band started playing, we had some dinner and I began drinking some very good bourbon , blowing my budget for visiting the Sanctuary of Truth. It was great fun I did even dance this happens when a certain song comes on after I have had one or two drinks. This time it was Santanas Black Magic woman, I can’t help my self, I know after Krabi I vowed never to dance again but I did dance like no one was watching , no videos have surfaced so I got away with that!!! What a great fun night we had , laughing a lot . Rob he is such a gentleman , he always was back in the days of Wandiligong and he hasn’t changed , drove me back to Pattaya its a 40 minute drive mainly because of the traffic. The erratic traffic ,because they are in cars it is very dangerous, no one uses their indicators , they just decide to change lanes whenever the urge comes upon them and do it with out looking or indicating. In Australia we have a big prolonged process to get your license, you get your Learners permit at 16 , this involves a test then you must always drive with a licensed driver for 2 years at 18 you get your P plates this involves a written test and a driving test then you have to show your P plates go under a certain speed for another 2 years then you are qualified to mix with the adults. Here in Thailand the driving age is 15 and the test was minimal , watching a driving movie, then at 15 you are on your bike with the grown ups now they have made it a tougher test in 2017 up to 22,000 people died on the roads here. Being a driver is one thing but a passenger well I am always gripping on to something in all the countries I have visited, they all have their quirks. Rob dropped me off at the top of Nau Road which on the grid is North road and I had to walk to 3rd road which my accommodation is off . I now know where I am just in time to leave . The swimming pool is a throbbing disco party most days I will try and swim tomorrow as it is quieter during mid week . I walked down to walking street , it is a long way away so managed to catch a Soi Bau or Baht bus , I gave him the 20 Baht but he wanted more , ended up giving him 100 baht, I can’t win with these taxis here, I can’t fight them , they see my blonde hair, that I am alone so I have no macho man to back me up . I would walk home I thought. Walking Street at night is a busy street full of throbbing music, beer , Caucasian men and Thai bar girls and lady boys. I went at 10 in the morning a few guys were staggering out of 24 hour places but most had closed down , the street was being cleaned , rubbish being picked up but it had that decadent feel to it , the signs alone where testament to the night life here. Don’t get me wrong I like the fact that this town is what it is , it is full of colourful characters it is also full of laughter, of course there must be fights but what I see is a thriving economy, an exciting city of the night . A sad man can come here downcast about his life in the West and return home reinvigorated by the upbeat girls that take an interest in him, he buys them drinks etc but they make him feel worthwhile and I think that is a good thing. I can see that in my friend Colin who has only been here 12 months, he is retired, but he was sitting at home in the cold of the mountains, couldn’t go out drinking and driving getting depressed, children grown , divorced, now he is so happy in the sunshine , he has many girlfriends, he is as he told me a different person and life is good feels 30 rather than the 80 he was starting to feel he is 67. As a solo mature female traveller we are a rare species here in Pattaya, doesn’t worry me I am not after a Thai husband even if he was a good cook.

As I walked along this notorious street I looked up a connecting street saw a Chinese Temple in the midst of the neon signs, I headed up to it , a tiny little temple, I walked further to a connecting street noticing things thinking I was heading back to the beach , I went left and found my self outside a McDonalds , there are many McDonalds and 7/11 s in this area , after a breakfast of flavourless chicken nuggets and a juice I headed of in the direction of the beach , I did ask someone , I found the sea but it was the pier with ferries arriving and leaving. looking out to the beach I saw it was inaccessible and to get to it I had to go back along the street which was the far end of Walking Street. Who can get lost along a beach only me . I retraced my steps, by now I had done 7800 steps !!! Feeling like a coffee and knowing that my choices were overpriced Starbucks or Coffee club , around 7.50 for a cup I caught a taxi for that price and went back to the Marina mall which is the one closest to home. had a 2.50 coffee bought some supplies from the Big C supermarket walked home. The baht is ever rising but the prices here in the supermarket are not as cheap as you would think. I have to be honest found this part of Thailand to be more expensive than Krabi side. I am still staying within my budget , having the occasional meal out , 6 glasses of Jim Beam on the rocks were well above my daily budget but I have balanced that out now , I had the best time with my friends again and it just goes to show the difference a friend makes to your experience in a place , my friends in Cambodia, in Penang and here have all made my visits so much more richer. I leave here on Sunday heading back to Penang where I can’t wait to eat some spicy beans.

Until Next time img_20190804_115605img_20190801_111343img_20190801_121415img_20190806_122719img_20190806_124344

PATTAYA DON’T JUDGE

My first week here has been eye opening to say the least. I really like my little cabin in this complex and have had a few swims in the pool, however the pool is in the middle of a bar restaurant, an Indian one, I went one evening to have a good curry meal when I was confronted by bare chested Indian bachelors(I hope they were) being attended to by gorgeous Thai girls needless to say I wish they did take away, I did feel very uncomfortable not in a safety way but in a way where you feel you just shouldn’t be there, consequently I ate very quickly looking at my phone the whole time and scampered out of there as soon as I finished my very delicious meal. Sadly I won’t ever eat there again but know I am to swim in the morning. Every afternoon they seem to have thumping music gyrating customers but hey welcome to Pattaya.

My week was marred by hearing of the death of a work colleague , a guy who worked in our warehouse, a guy who I had clashed with many times , a guy who had only retired a few months ago, a guy who was my age . He was not ill, he passed in his sleep, he was lonely not in a relationship nor did he have kids, he lived alone with a cat. I sort of felt guilty for being such a bitch to him over the years but our personalities clashed as simple as that, I didn’t despise him he was a good guy hard working. I messaged my boss and friend who told me he had on his last visit to the store told her how proud of me he was that I was doing something with my life , travelling , writing, I was humbled that he had told her this , making me feel worse. than I already did . But I am very sad at his passing makes me think I am so doing the right thing. I met up yesterday with another friend of mine , a guy I used to sell firewood to in the mountains, he is 77 has always been a musician although now arthritis has got his fingers he still does sound for bands and plays the harmonica. He has lived just out of Pattaya for 10 years. He gave me some tips , took me to a fantastic new shopping mall that I will visit to tell you more about next week. We had a lovely lunch , so funny to meet after all this time and chat about things . Years ago at a party sitting around a cut off 44 gallon drum flaming with fire someone got their guitar and we all started singing I was on a bench sitting near my friend who when I began singing put his hands over his ears and said OH God and moved away, I reminded him of this night, he had forgotten but we laughed about it as I told him he scarred me for life about my singing voice!! We chatted of things of our past in that little village in the valley in the Victorian high country ,a place called Wandiligong. I had run out of my reading material and desperately needed a new book to read so we hopped on a baht bus , which is a covered ute, like I would catch in Krabi and Ao Nang and he took me to the Canterbury Tales bookshop a second hand bookshop . I had read about it and intended to go there so it worked out well. This bookshop is in the middle of all the happening places in Pattaya as in bars massage parlours. The streets are oozing with mainly single European men and beautiful scantily clad Thai bargirls and ladyboys. I was the only lone Caucasian woman for miles , there were a few couples the women holding tightly onto her partners hand, eyes popping. There is in the street a large gilded spirit house with golden arches and what looked like a Ganesh statue I noticed all the girls probably on their way to work lighting incense , giving an offering and saying a prayer, then they go off to the bars. It is all part of understanding the culture of places that I am enjoying by slow travelling. We all assume that bar girls , prostitutes have no grounding, no feelings. My friend was telling me that many of these girls hate doing what they do but it is work. I asked do they make a lot of money, the ones that dress well and look like models do in fact make a good living but your village girl with very little English just make ends meet but they work nearly every night . I have to give it to them they really look as though they are enjoying themselves and I can see where lonely divorced or single men are only too flattered by the attention these girls give them , for some its the first time they have felt desired. It is easy to see how some men fall for these women and even after they return to their homeland send her money and save for their next visit. I suppose in a way they are doing their bit for mental health but as my friend pointed out when it goes bad after the man actually moves here and the girl dumps him they tend to jump off things the latest favourite place is the new shopping mall!!!

I walked to the beach, it was pretty far but I made it . When I got there I was greeted by an ocean (pun) of boats, rows of deck chairs waiting for customers so they can overcharge them for sitting watching the water sports , paragliding , jet skis , speedboat rides. I had wondered while doing my googling why no one swims on this beach, one look and my question was answered it is too full of things , it would be dangerous , I saw 2 people swimming or jumping about, the water apparently is polluted from the towns overworked sewerage outlets. You could see why the developer in the late 1940’s decided this was a heavenly paradise to escape from Bangkok, you could see it was a beautiful beach before tourism took hold.

I walked back home calling in to get cool at the mall I had discovered the week before . I wandered around a bit got some supplies .After last week when I had gone there to stock up and had been ripped off by the taxi driver I walked home took me 10 minutes . I was hot by the time I got home and would have loved a swim but I couldn’t go there. it is such a shame as one of the reasons I booked this place was for the pool, but my newly cleaned citrus smelling room greeted me . I discovered that the cable TV here is great , many news channels, Bloomberg, CBS, Al Jazeera , even the ABC Australian channel, and a music video channel intermixed with Thai channels and Russian and a French channel. So we have to take the good with the bad this place probably couldn’t afford to be run as efficiently if it wasn’t for the restaurant leasing the area . I really do like this accommodation, the ladies that run it are so good and funny always laughing . I like to sit on my veranda as the breeze wafts by looking out at the palms and I did see a squirell that I thought was a monkey, I am so desperate to see a monkey in the wild . I am like a visitor to Australia wanting to see a kangaroo.

Food wise I really haven’t had any local dishes here, had a pizza yesterday with my friend . Had a bout of water poisoning the other day, I am so used to it now just look at it as a day of rest in the bathroom. I tend to buy pre prepared food at the 7/11 that they heat up for me , usually rice or dumplings when I run out of supplies . I have been having breakfast a few times here , just eggs , ham , juice , white toasted bread and coffee for $3.50 US. I am gluten intolerant so maybe it was the white toast bread that did the deed the other day, I have just been having yoghurt and a banana since then.

My writing is going so well , doing up to 1,000 words when I sit down to write, whether it is the veranda, my head space or does Pattaya have an underlying creative sphere, maybe .

Until next timeimg_20190727_125823img_20190727_140509img_20190730_165455img_20190728_104548

73 QUESTIONS ; VOGUE’S PARODY

This is a parody of Vogue’s video series of asking 73 questions to celebrities. In our version we get to know our fellow blogger better in the process. Thankyou @rachel_marcelle for nominating me.

  1. Usual Starbucks order ……..Iced Americano ,
  2. What does your work station look like…… wherever I find a table to lay my laptop, my pen and my notebook.
  3. Favourite food ;….  Mango and sticky rice
  4. Favourite author ……into chic lit so like Sophie Kinsella among others
  5. What do you think of open relationships……. If you can handle that all good but me I don’t like sharing
  6. What is your favourite video game …….. never played one
  7.  A guilty pleasure, treat……. custard
  8.  Favourite movie……. Legally Blonde, don’t ask me why !!!!!
  9. Favourite book…….. just read Never Fall Down  by Patricia McCormick still resonating in my head.
  10. Twitter or Instagram……. Can I say both , love putting pics of my travels on Insta and love the interaction with other bloggers and writers on Twitter
  11. Desktop or Laptop… I am forever moving so laptop
  12.  Best advice ever received……. My mother before I got married the first time said always make your bed and do the dishes and your house will look tidy.
  13. What project are you working on right now……… writing my novel have 52000 words half way there.
  14. Favourite colour …….. Emerald Green
  15.  Did I get good grades in school ….. in primary school I was always top of my class, but there was only 2 of us in the class!!! High School I was an average B+
  16. Dream Job……. always wanted to be an actress
  17. Do I play any sports….. NO useless.
  18. Do I have a degree…. Only in the university of life
  19. Nationality……… Australian
  20. Favourite kind of Blog post……….. travel but also enjoying reading  a lot of varied blogs , overcoming  adversity, health, makeup, fashion , self help blogs
  21.  What do you like to collect…… When I am in one place for a while I like to collect empty perfume bottles.
  22. Describe yourself in 3 words….Loyal, honest, kind.
  23. If you where a rapper what would your stage name be …..  Corky C
  24. Who was the last person you DM’d …. my old boss from the shoe store
  25. On top of your wish list right now….. an unbreakable, unlosable  pair of sunglasses
  26.  Sorting House……. haven’t got one to sort
  27. How many tattoos do you have…… none but I am the mother of an heavily inked son
  28. What are you grateful for this year…….. to be able to travel within my budget, be able to write everyday, see new countries ,my health,  watch my blog views increase
  29. Best thing that happened to you this month….. Being in Cambodia and able to discover it with friends and my son and his girlfriend
  30. Best thing that has happened to you today……. working out how to write this.
  31. Best thing ever……… getting closer to my sisters after many years being disconnected
  32. Favourite season……. Spring
  33. Favourite Holiday……. usually Easter as my birthday is in late April, I like chocolate.
  34. Fictional character you relate to most …….. Lisa Simpson
  35. Do I like surprises………. only happy and good ones
  36.  Biggest surprise I have ever had…. finding out I was 4 months pregnant after all tests came back negative and was diagnosed with Endometriosis.
  37.  Which surprise made you cry……..That one
  38.  Best surprise given to someone else………. late last year I was in Vietnam and my sister was going through a hard time , I felt so helpless  I came across a bakery in Melbourne that would deliver pies and quiches freshly made so I ordered   a good supply and she was so surprised, relieved for she didn’t have to worry about dinners for a while.
  39. Do you like muffins…… Love a good muffin but they are thin on the ground in SEAsia.
  40. Do you cook often…. No but if I am in a place for a while that has a fridge I will often go to a local market and buy salad things  cut them up and put them in a bowl, is that cooking??
  41. What is your favourite dessert……. baked cheesecake
  42. Is there a dessert you don’t like …….. meringue
  43. Cake or Pie….. Cake
  44. What is your least favourite food……….kidneys
  45. What is your favourite condiment…….  Chilli sauce
  46. 4am on a random Saturday what are you eating…….. cheese and crackers
  47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called……. Bad Boys 101
  48. Best animated film …….   Happy Feet
  49. What has a guy done  or said to impress you……. signed me up to sing a duet with him at a Karaoke  night, he didn’t realise I couldn’t sing a note !!!!
  50. Best thing to do on a first date……. go to a tapas bar , sharing food helps conversation
  51.  Worst thing to do on first date……. dribble
  52.  Best pick up line….from an Irish guy… Have got  any Irish in you ? to which I replied No , and he said…..well I won’t tell you the rest. years later I have had my DNA done and found out I am 4% Irish so my answer and the outcome would have been a lot different!
  53. Best comic book character… Spiderman
  54. Name 3 things that can always be found in your purse……. lipstick, passport, pen.
  55.  Favourite drink… Mojito
  56. If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be…….Cleopatra
  57. Kittens or puppies…. both
  58. Favourite sushi roll……..spicy tuna
  59. What lipstick do you use…. usually Revlon but not choosy as long as it is red
  60. What foundation do you use …. usually BB cream but ran out in Cambodia and am yet to spot it here in Thailand.
  61. Blow dry or Air dry…. air dry
  62. Who is your fashion icon…. my eldest sister always admired her sense of style
  63. Favourite Disney character……. Dumbo
  64. What are you doing tomorrow…… writing at least 500 words of my novel then will attempt to find the beach here in Pattaya
  65. Movie laughed the hardest through…………anything that has slapstick humour
  66. Movie that made you cry…. any animal movie especially War Horse
  67. If you could sing a duet with anybody who would it be…. Rod Stewart
  68. If you life was a song what would it be called…… She did it her way, it may have been the wrong way.
  69. Favourite animal…. Cow
  70. Person you would want to have coffee with…. Arn-Chorn the  book Never fall down is about.
  71. Favourite illustrator ……Michael Leunig , an Australian cartoonist
  72. Country you would like to visit. ……Myanmar
  73. Best way to decompress……… in the ocean bobbing up and down with the waves.

 

BANGKOK TO PATTAYA

My bus ride was great, even though it was over an hour late arriving but that’s a story for further down the post.

After virtually a month of having friends and family around I was alone again with no plans , no catch ups. I didn’t want to do tours I prefer as you know to wander around see where my wonky gps takes me and possibly get lost . After publishing my blog I always feel good so I went for a walk in another new direction , it was late afternoon and I sat at an open café had a pineapple juice I noticed many military men and women looking very neat and impressive , they were all heading in the direction I thought I would venture in. I finished my juice and headed off. I had noticed an abundance of shops selling royal memorabilia in flags , photos , golden ornaments, yellow clothing, so vibrant in the nearby streets. Off down the street I went discovering an extraordinary tree, like a Morton bay fig with many roots intertwining weaving themselves around each other, walls of the buildings had accommodated this tree that was many centuries old . After touching in amazement I moved on only to find that I was on the outside of one of the entrances to what I believe the Grand Palace , you have to excuse me but from my later googling I think it was or the temple of the Emerald Buddha , however the splendour of what lay before me was a feast for my eyes , military personal looking handsome and so well decked out were entering the gates along with many civilians all looking so fresh and neat, dressed in yellow and white , carrying baskets of flowers and offerings , I asked politely if I could take a photo of a family group and they were happy too. I knew yesterday had been a celebration of Buddhas first prayer meeting and assumed today was the same but it turned out the day after the full moon of the 8th lunar month Vassa commences, this is when the monks and nuns go into retreat for 3 months so a big celebration is held. This started way back when Buddha and his followers would walk the lands but when the wet came they could no longer sleep under trees so they were given sanctuary while the rains and monsoons prevailed. I love tripping over things unexpectedly like this, sometimes being ignorant can really give you a surprise and something that gives your heart a ping. I stood and watched as the dog handlers walked up and down hoping that the Cambodian doggies hadn’t left their scent behind on my chewed sandal thus being attacked by these shiny ,fit, well trained sniffer dogs. Entrepreneurial street sellers had set up stalls selling trinkets, and drinks . As I moved on and turned left I found myself back on Khao San Rd , stopping at Maccas for a few chicken nuggets and a salad , I discovered Maccas do a good salad here in Bangkok.

With my history in retail, shoes and firewood(!) to be exact, I like going to shopping malls. Off course my past past history in the mountains of Victoria being a firewood timber seller with my ex , the father of my children, I don’t go looking nor would I ever find a firewood yard in a mall , I must admit though we did, he still does make furniture out of logs he mills himself so Cambodia had a lot of this rustic furniture but I digress back to the future. After I exited that life and moved to Melbourne I worked for a shoe store eventually becoming the trainer of staff, I worked there for 12 years with a 3 years break when I followed my assumed fairytale life to Malaysia (that didn’t end well !!!). So I am always interested in not only shoes but also how goods are placed and of course customer service. I have found in Asia it is either two options they are breathing down your throat thrusting unwanted items in your face or are so entranced with their phones that they don’t see you, in Vietnam I actually had to wake the boy at the mini mart up as he was asleep on the floor behind the counter. So I had googled malls in Bangkok to find that Siam Discovery had won awards for being innovative in design and development . Of course I had imagined a huge chandelier with sparkling lights , open areas to sit but what I found was so different not only to my imagination and imprint of other malls but it took a while to work out what this was all about. It was open plan not many individual little stores side by side but all mixed up , as I wandered could begin to see the logic, there is a floor totally about Thai products all quirky and innovative and product placement is effective, you can wander from eco friendly shampoo to cat collars to casual sandals to reclining purple patio furniture all next to each other. I had read the food court was great so I ventured up there and purchased my food card at the cashier, ordered chicken rice, my go to food, you pay with the card it was tasty and cheap around $3.50 US . When you are finished and have money left on the card you simply line up and get your money back a great system . I was approached politely by many sales staff so the customer service here is excellent neither intrusive nor totally ignoring the customer. By the time I had got home I had walked 8550 steps , most of that in the mall.

On Sunday my last day in Bangkok after just walking down to Khao San Rd getting my bus ticket and doing some serious people watching and being haunted by hawkers the past days , I decided to head to a park, my friends(Kristen and Stu) had recommended Lumphini park but it was too far away to walk so I walked to the fort by the river Phra Sumen Fort , I sat by the river, under the shade of a gnarly old tree, I do like rivers as you know , reading a fascinating book (given to me by Kristen) called Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick a true account in the words of Arn-Chorn a boy soldier in the Kmer Rouge , as I read ,I sipped water, a few passers by chatting as they wandered along the riverside I would glance up and watch as the river ferries passed , I noticed a tug boat very low in the water and was astounded minutes later to see why that was, it was towing the biggest of barges not one , not two but three enormous big grey barges. It astounded me how this little tug boat could pull these enormous hulks , I also wondered what they were carrying with all the talk of countries dumping their recyclables in some Asian countries my first thought it was garbage but later when I googled it is products being taken to the port perhaps to be put into containers there and shipped off or imports that had been unloaded and were going to be distributed at the city port , as the traffic was going both ways . I had an enjoyable afternoon under the tree but I had to walk home , the heat was beating down on me, hot and sweaty, which forced me a not very often beer drinker to sit and have an icey cold bottle of beer which helped me do the final kilometre home where I collapsed in my air con room then packed for my trip to Pattaya.

After walking with my luggage to the bus pickup on Khao San Rd , I got there early, well an hour early, hey I’m a Taurus I like to be early, I did give birth to 2 Leos who love being late but I was understanding of their trait, nevertheless I had many anxious moments as they grew up. I set my luggage down and sat a cafe for while , getting water at 7/11 then waiting at the travel agent, a few other travellers arrived then ten minutes after departure time we were led to another pick up place along the street, we were told 10 minutes, which turned out to be 1 hour, however I cannot complain I survived the dusty distressing mini bus trip this was late that’s all. When it finally arrived it was a very new mini bus I sat in a single seat by the window , the aircon worked and the highways were paved !! No bumps , we zoomed along perhaps a tad to quickly but who was I to judge , it was quite a good journey.

Pattaya, when said is often followed with a wink and a nudge , it came into its own in the early 1950’s when a developer Parinya saw the potential of this fishing village with its glistening sea, sandy beaches as a tourist mecca, so he developed a large area with hotels , cafes etc. Originally the visitors were mainly from Bangkok travelling the 8 hours on a bumpy dusty dirt road to get there (yes when I read this thoughts of my recent Cambodian trek surged into my mind) . At the end of the 50’s American GI’s who where stationed close by would come here for their R&R , the place began to cater for the GI’S needs , accommodation, food, drink and girls. The onset of the Vietnam war 6000 GIs would come here for 5 days every month . The end of the war saw a drop in tourism numbers by 50% , budget guesthouses started to pop up , hippies started to visit along with Europeans on a budget, word spread of this city full of fun , beer and girls getting a reputation as a sleazy city. Even now when I mentioned to people that I was visiting here for 3 weeks , they all ask why? Why would a mature woman solo travelling choose to come here. My answer is I have friends here close by who I will catch up with and yes they are mature Australian men living the life of an expat not a sexpat. I will see them sometime but I also want to knuckle down and work on my novel which has been sorely neglected , I need to get some words under my belt before my next stop. I also want to see if Pattaya has more to offer than what we think it has. The place where I booked, once again seduced by a pool and the price but had no idea where it was, after getting off the bus hopped into an open air ute taxi which took me what seemed miles from anywhere, I got here hot and bothered but once seeing my room I was happy, it sort of reminds me of a holiday camp or caravan park with cabins , for $24 US I get the biggest bathroom I have ever had , a view of trees and a little veranda where I am writing this. The pool is how shall I say this unique?? It is part of the resort but it is also in the middle of an Indian restaurant , actually in the middle, they do weddings and pool parties as well as being a normal restaurant, I swam yesterday alone with the smell of garam masala in the air. It the weirdest set up but a great pool, we love a bit of quirky to upside down our day!! I walked to BigC which is a huge supermarket in a big new mall not far from me, contrary to my original thoughts I am not far from the beach nor this great supermarket. There I stocked up on goodies , mangoes, salads, yoghurt, cheese and dry biscuits too heavy a load to walk back in the heat so I went to the taxi rank and was told it would be 200 baht to take me home, what a rip off this is around $7 US for what took me 15 minutes slow walking, I told the driver I wasn’t happy but he said he was waiting 3 hours for a fare, that why he charged me so much, my yoghurt was curdling by now so I paid , no sense arguing . So later today I will resume my novel writing and have a swim in the crazy pool.

Until next time. img_20190717_151716img_20190718_121412img_20190721_120916img_20190721_123724img_20190721_130544img_20190724_121328

TUK TUKS AND TRAVEL DAYS

The rain had stopped for a few days the Kampot river glistened in the sun , children saying hello to me ,the puppies thriving they are little fatties and mother is so good with them but I had to say farewell to all the dogs, the river and my friends old and new as it was end of my visa so here I am in Bangkok.

My son and his girlfriend (Ben & Bec) arrived on Friday, I took them for dinner , sounds very generous of me I know but a pizza , a starter of Guacamole and a few beers only came to $15 US . I then took them to my friends floating bar the Green Boat , such an iconic boat , we had a few beers well I had one bourbon and watched the lights of Kampot all razzle dazzle at night as all boats are lit up as well as the bridges. Ben and Bec wanted to go to Kep as did I so I met them the next day and we hired a tuk tuk to take us the 30 minute drive, we wanted an open style tuk tuk so we could see everything and feel the wind in our hair. In Cambodia at the moment they are widening the road all the way from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville which passes Kampot. Now to start with it was a windy warm day, that means dust, and a lot of it, a lot of the householders along the way were watering the road in front of their homes to stop the dust, you wouldn’t be able to hang your washing out that’s for sure. After many bumps, potholes in the road we made it onto the last bit of sealed road for the most calm 5 minutes of the trip. We stopped at the famous Kep Crab market, the sea comes right up to the edges of the market, fisherwomen throw the crab pots out then drag them in with crabs in them , amazing, you can buy a crab then take it too a cooking stall and they will cook it for you, we didn’t bother but there was so many fish stalls, prawns hustle and bustle, a great experience. We had hired our tuk tuk driver for a few hours , $25 US for the time. He then took us further along the coast , I saw my first glimpse of a monkey in 7 months!! Arriving at the coast I saw what my friends had told me , families upon families set up a position on the boardwalk they had big mats and tarps to cover their area a lot had feasts of crabs they had no doubt bought at the market, karaoke machines being set up for the nights fun, children played on the sand and in the sea , walking along the fore shore on the road you can see glimpses at once were the holiday homes of the French merchants and bureaucrats all a pile of rubble now during the civil war these homes were destroyed by the Kmer rouge and stripped of valuables by the retreating Vietnamese. With the burgeoning tourist industry in Cambodia Kep may once again become the Riviera of the east and these fabulous seaside mansions may be resurrected , probably to the detriment of all the happy local families enjoying their weekends by the seaside. On our journey back we saw the infamous crab in the sea, my photo was not good sorry, and the white lady waiting for her fisherman husband to return from the seas, the people in my photo are Ben &Bec. So we headed home , already my hair was full of dust, sand and seabreeze, so more dust was added to the mix but as we neared the outskirts of Kampot a gravel truck had just dumped about 10 cms of stones causing our tuktuk to get bogged in the gravel so we got out and pushed the tuk tuk out of this predicament, luckily we are all country folk and used to pushing broken down vehicles , we jumped back in the poor driver and passengers, well we couldn’t take any more so he said he would take us through the salt fields to get into Kampot the back way. The salt fields were visible but salt is only harvested in the dry season however you could feel the salt in the air and it wasn’t long until we could taste it not to mention it coating my hair. We eventually arrived back and headed straight to the Green Boat to watch the fishing fleet head out to sea, after I took them to have my favourite dumpling soup then they walked me home met the puppies , I finally looked in the mirror, wow what a fright I was I almost had dreadlocks and my face had been exfoliated as well as wind burnt and salt encrusted but what a great adventure to have with my son and Bec. The water in Kampot is hard water so even after washing my hair with lots of conditioner it still looked and felt like it was full of dust!!!The weather was blissful , when we met for lunch the next day my friend and mine host of the Green Boat Tim saw us and said he was going to a friends place up the river would we like to come so we jumped into his Tuk tuk and went to this great place a backpackers hostel on the river you can sit in big comfy chairs chill out and listen to great music watching the river rush by, I could see my son loved it so they ended up booking in there for their last few nights 7 dollars US a night. I think they fly back to Melbourne on Friday. So I said goodbye to my boy and Bec, it had been fun meeting in a exotic yet dusty location and we had made some excellent memories.

Early Monday I boarded the mini bus to take me to Phnom Penh airport, now mini buses aren’t my go to means of transport but the bigger bus wouldn’t drop me at the airport, so there were 15 of us jammed in this 12 seater bus for 4.3 hours on yet another bumpy dusty journey, dust was coming through the vents , we couldn’t move at least the aircon was working , well sort of , I began rationing my bottled water as we got caught in a traffic jam on the outskirts of PP. Finally I literally fell off the bus waved goodbye to the remaining passengers who now had more room as 3 of us got off, I was going to say disembarked but on this bus it was being released from a vapid box on wheels, I think my hair had attracted all the dust that had entered the bus . What joy to be at the airport although my flight still had 4 hours until check in so I had coffee, water, people watched, tried to clean my self up. Finally I arrived in Bangkok took a very expensive taxi ride but I purchased the ticket at the proper counter and 900 Baht was written down for my area which is Khao San Rd and Democratic monument . My accommodation is up an alley but very near a 7/11 you all know I love Thai 7/11 they are the best, it was like a celebration for me after 1 month of no 7/11’s and to find one so close. Yesterday morning I wandered down to the infamous Khao San rd known for its backpacking hostels and bars. I had washed my hair in the morning oh the joy of soft hair Thai water is so far the best for my hair, but needed some mousse which I just couldn’t get in Kampot , and good shampoo/conditioner, I also had to check out the local tourist agent Mamas tours who do a mini bus, yes another, to Pattaya where I am heading on Monday. It will be easy to book on Sunday they said and the trip is only 1 and a half hours on a sealed road, I’ve survived the Kampot mini bus chaos this should be luxury, I hope!!

Yesterday and today are Buddhist holidays Asalha Puja or Dhamma day, celebrating Buddhas first teaching day that he held on the full moon of the eighth lunar month, I realised why this throbbing metropolis was so quite a lot of shops closed and not much traffic , no alcohol is sold anywhere so bars where closed or just selling lemonade. In the afternoon I went to say goodbye to my friends who I had caught up with in Kampot, another coincidence , they were staying at a beautiful resort. It had been our plan in Kampot to sit by a pool and have a cocktail but due to our social schedule and the rain we had not enjoyed this treat so we were going to imbibe of a cocktail while dangling our feet in the pool, but alas it wasn’t to be , we were however able to have a drink their room then they took me up to the 38th floor wow Bangkok just before sunset how big is this city 9.5 million people, you do a 360 turn and can see tall buildings kilometres away on the horizon, the Chao Phraya river weaving its way through the metropolis. Thank you to Kristen and Stu for taking me up to the roof it was a memorable sight, but I had left my phone in the room so no pics. Now I had just figured out Riel and Dollars now I am back to Baht but I am happy it has come naturally to me as my Thai thankyou Kah. Last night I had some sticky rice and Papaya salad at the street stall near me it was so delicious , the lady made it fresh. The full moon was so big I managed to get a few shots. Today I will just have an easy day I will go for a walk in the evening tomorrow I want to go to the newest shopping mall I feel like a bit of glitz and glamour after my dusty days in the wild east of Kampot . I can’t wait to return there in October, at least I know what I need to bring with me , its all about my hair products that are unavailable in Cambodia. When next I write I shall be sitting by a pool in Pattaya. Lets hope my first sentence is my busride was wonderful !!

Until next time

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CAMBODIA, PEPPER PUPPIES AND KIDS

I noticed last week that the prettiest of the dogs here at Mango Tree 11 my accommodation hadn’t been around for the last few days I asked Somnang the lovely Cambodian manager of my accom where had she gone he gestured me and under the shade of the leanto near the banana trees there she lay in a large flowerpot with 4 squirming little puppies blindly crawling over her . My first thoughts were Oh how beautiful these babies were born when I was here, my second thought was I am glad she is ok, my third thought was won’t they suffocate in the dirt, a very western thought, a motherly thought who knows, later I was to discover when she had carried them out of the birthing pot that it had been filled with rags and a piece of an old rug. They are growing every day and she is a great mother, the daddy is here also and is quite chuffed with his efforts . The other puppies still scamper about being cute and naughty, on Sunday there were 2 Singaporean men getting ready to go for a walk when one said “my sock, where is my sock” Somnang and I looked at each other looked for the naughtiest (cutest) of the puppies who was no where to be seen, he had run off with my precious Vionic sparkly thong the other week and Somnangs the day prior , he found it around the back of the building half buried. So the search began , after about 15 minutes the Singaporean guy got another sock from his backpack as he was putting it on his mate and Somnang where heard laughing from the banana orchard which adjoins my accom they had found the sock buried among the palm fronds that were being kept to reroof the bar of the adjoining guesthouse, little puppy bounced around searching for something else to hide . He is at my feet now, I go barefoot here unless I walk outside the accom, , he does love my toes though!!!

The chooks here have very long legs as you walk along the streets not the main one along the riverside but the back streets the chooks just wander around , I have been having a few meals at the local café on the corner of my street, I get chicken rice and the drumstick bone is very long , not a chubby round western style drumstick but elongated, I tell you what though it has to be the juiciest chicken I have had in my travels so far, even tastier than my Penang favourite Chicken rice place, and it is only 6000 Riel, $2.10 Aust and $1.40 USA. I am getting so good at this converting . I was craving a hearty meat dinner the other day Tim had said he gets a good steak dinner at the place I am going to stay when I return, so I walked up there and for Australian $9.00 I had the best western food , a tender rump steak, served with Kampot pepper sauce and lots of beans, broccoli, crispy roast potatoes, an enormous meal , so delicious. Sorry to all my vegan readers but my philosophy is eat what your body craves, I was so craving meat and steamed vegies, being of a certain age I know what my body needs. 90% of the time I travel I eat vegetarian, but sometimes , oh yeh I need a good feed of meat and 3 veg. I mentioned the pepper, Kampot was once known for its pepper industry, it was first documented in the 13th century , up to 8000 tonnes were harvested annually but with the civil war in the 70’s the production halted with only 4 tonnes per year were documented in the ’90’s, however a few entrepreneurial folk have brought this industry back to life. I am hoping to go to one of the farms on the weekend with my son and his girlfriend but I will see what their plans are. They arrive on Friday at the moment I think they are in Siem Reap . I get to spend 2 days with them then I am out of Cambodia for the time being.Last post I mentioned I was drinking Vietnamese coffee that I had purchased in Vietnam a few months ago, when I do go out I now get Cambodian local organic coffee. It is Robusta like Vietnam but is 100% organic, interestingly production has increased 50% in 2018. The government is helping farmers produce this crop organically to compete with the non organic market of neighbouring countries as they import a lot of coffee from Vietnam (second largest producer of coffee in the world) and Laos . It is a not bad brew and may get some to drink on my future travels I have my little drip maker that travels with me. One of the opportunistic sociopathic charismatic liars I met (he told me he was Italian , spoke flawless Italian and French but turned out was from Algeria!!!) would always travel with his coffee making kit, little one drip coffee maker as well as his coffee from Indonesia and Vietnam. I totally get it now as it is what I do, I did also purchase some Kampot pepper ginger infused tea, tastes so good and will be in my kit. Tea is not widely grown here but there is a native tea plant not commonly grown productively but in the future who knows. This is a country getting back on its feet and I am so looking forward to coming here to live for a year or more in October this year. I revisited Soon at the Kama café, Julian is away with his Cambodian women of song performances plus is opening a new gallery in Siem Reap, One Eleven Gallery it is called. I spent a bit of time there and reassured Soon I am so happy to come back and help with English conversational language and they can help me with my Kmer. such a fabulous lady is Soon , they are now producing these fabulous brilliantly coloured hand painted bags , as well as the lino prints they transfer onto t shirts, material and now calico shopping bags . The girls I have met are just lovely. I can see that both Soon and Julian have heard it all before from excited foreigners coming into town saying I will be back to help I don’t think many do return, but I will.

It hasn’t rained now for 3 days , the sun is shining. my hand washed clothes are dry, I walk with out any umbrella regrets , the internet has been behaving itself and I am in a pool of sweat most of the day but I am a fan of humidity, sometimes I remember my tranquil days in the pool at Krabi and wish I could just jump in the water but they are only passing thoughts that’s what showers are for. I usually walk somewhere late morning either to the somewhat expensive grocery stores or just head in another direction , the other day I was on a mission to find the phone provider I have my sim with just to grasp a better understanding of my data amount, on my way there I stumbled across a local market full of noise, ramshackle stalls with all sorts of fruits, vegetable, bunches of herbs interspersed with bike parts, cheap shoes, second hand clothes and cane wares. Street food vendors selling noodle soups from their carts , banana fritters , it was on a dirt, pot holey street many bikes were parked there and traffic was still awkwardly weaving up and down this very crowded street, I had to jump puddles , watch for reversing motorbikes and on coming traffic while the shop keeps yelled out their wares for sale making sure I didn’t trip over any thing. I love this about walking everywhere you do get to feel the atmosphere of a place . I finally emerged onto a main road and found the phone shop. Apparently for my initial payment of $10 US dollars I get 2 months unlimited data but get extra fast speed data , I had run out of my fast speed so paid another $5 US and got 5GB of fast speed valid until August. To tell the truth the difference between fast speed and ordinary I can’t really tell but at least they send you messages in English, in Thailand my messages come in Thai script so I can’t even translate but I read the numbers that’s the main thing. I am accumulating many sim cards, my coffee opportunistic friend also had a lot of sim cards I get that now also. Hopefully my Thai card is still valid when I return next week, time will tell as they say.

At around 5 every day I walk up to my corner coffee shop where I sit and watch the fishing boats go out to sea daily. On Sunday after the rain had cleared the families were all out sitting around watching the children play on the swings and slides at the playground by the river, I took my coffee crossed the road, very busy road, sat on the waters edge and observed these families, all with their motorbikes parked on the roadside, all the children laughing , little boys on the sandy river bank fishing with home made fishing rods, throwing sticks in the river, the balloon man attempting to sell his cheap toys and colourful balloons to wanting children. Mothers and fathers watched and talked to each other and others, little children running past me waving hello and smiling as I smiled back, you know I was the only one with a phone in my hand , that was because I wanted to capture this moment on camera , very millennial of this babyboomer. But I did put my phone away and sit there alone surrounded by these happy children that perhaps by western standards haven’t got much but I saw they are surrounded by so much love , as we all know that is what matters .

I have visited Tim a few times , just a fleeting visit but so nice to be able to drop in and say hi to a friend. My friend Kristen recovered from her Dengue and is now , laying in a hammock sipping a mojito by the iridescent blue waters of Koh Samui. I keep noticing these little brightly coloured houses , like little bird houses here where I stay there is a conventional Spirit House outside painted gold and red on its own pedestal , there is a shrine in the foyer with its Chinese figures and incense burning, but these little houses I googled but couldn’t find any reference to . I had not seen them on my travels I asked Somnang and he said they are for the ghosts and candy or lollies are given as offerings , maybe its a Kampot thing but they are such happy little houses, I am looking at one now that is in the photos.

This is my last post from Cambodia until I return in October. Next Monday I am heading back to Thailand first a week in Bangkok a city I have spent many hours in at the airport but never in the city itself, my blog next week will tell you my thoughts on that !! Must away before the puppy eats my toes, yes he’s back again!!Until next time.

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