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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Day at the Beach

Pattaya, Thailand

It is not the most beautiful beach
I have ever been on but it
certainly was the most entertaining.
You sit beneath a sea of beach umbrellas
to protect you from the strong sun.
You pay for a fabric chair and wooden
tables and someone is there to get
you cold drinks all day or they can
get you a meal from any cuisine.

But the show was on the beach.
Here is a man trying to sell fabric
flowers to Katie.

Don't like your outfit?  No worries,
you can buy another one.

Not my decor but it is available.

We ate beautiful fruits and prawns
and crab with hot chile sauce.

You could pay this person to
release a bird for you which
is considered good luck.

My favorite thing was getting
a foot & leg massage in
my beach chair.

I'm going back tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Travel Story

From Siem Reap to Pattaya

On a long journey you have many
experiences and many stories.  On
this journey around the world we
have collected enough stories to
fill a book.  Today we left Siem Reap
in Cambodia and traveled a few hours
by car to the Thai border at Poipet.

When we reached the border we had
to say goodbye to our wonderful
Cambodian driver and load our luggage
into a rickety wooden cart to be taken
across the border.  Poipet is a notorius
border crossing with a reputation for
scam artists.  We exited Cambodia and
had to walk across No Man's Land in
the scorching noon day heat to enter
Thailand.  We made it through the
border crossing in a half an hour and
thought it was going to be smooth sailing.
I guess we forgot about Murphy's Law.
We had arranged for a Thai car service
to meet us with a van to drive us
for 3 hours to the beach in Pattaya.

Once we entered Thailand we could
not find the van or driver.  We spent
45 minutes in heat that I can't even
describe on the side of a 7-11.  We
tried calling, we tried texting, we
kept some people with the luggage
while others went searching for
the driver.  Brennan was carrying
a sign with my brother's name
that we took from the window
of our previous driver's van.

A deaf man approached us and
started pointing to the sign with
the name on it and pointing in
another direction.  We all thought,
oh no, are we getting scammed?
But at this point we needed to
explore any option.  And here is
the amazing thing, this deaf Thai
man had read our name in English
blocks away and he recognized
this foreign word.  On one paper
the name was written in marker,
the other was printed from a
computer.  I can't recognize a
Thai word if I had 2 signs right
next to each other.  Could this man
have a heightened ability to recognize
letters even in a foreign language or
does he have a photographic memory?
We don't know but we do know that
this man, in a town filled with scam
artists and thieves, renewed our faith
in someone just being kind and helpful.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pub Street ~ Siem Reap, Cambodia

Happy Hour Just Seems To Be Happier in Cambodia

Set amid the jungle and rice
fields of northwestern Cambodia
is the town of Siem Reap.
And in Siem Reap is a street
known as Pub Street.

Pub Street is filled with
restaurants and bars.

Every place offers a Happy
Hour.  I have to ask if Happy
Hour is from morning to
midnight, shouldn't they at
least call it Happy Hours?

Though this place is a big party
plunked down in the middle of
the jungle, it doesn't have the
seediness found in other places
like it.  It is just a place to have fun.

There are musicians
playing in the street.

You can get a fish massage.

But mostly Pub Street is a
place to hang out with your friends.

And remember...
What happens in Siem Reap,
stays in Siem Reap.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 26

Barbara Frietchie Star

Hello from Siem Reap, Cambodia!
We are quilting along with Barbara
Brackman's Civil War Quilt 2011.

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: Dark (Blue)
4 - 3" squares

Fabric B: Light (Cream with blue)
6 - 3" squares - Mark a diagonal
line on the back.

Fabric C: Dark (Brown)
2 - 3" squares

Fabric D: Medium (Pink)
2 - 3" squares

Fabric E: Light (White with blue)
2 - 3" squares - Mark a diagonal
line on the back.

Make Half Square Triangles:

Pair together 3" squares, right sides
together in the following combinations:

4 - A/B         2 - C/B         2 - E/D

Sew 1/4" away from each side of
drawn line.   Cut on drawn line
and press to the dark.

Square to 2 1/2".

Layout units as shown and
sew together in 2 rows.  Press
seam in row 1 to the left and
seam in row 2 to the right.

Sew rows together and press
 seam open to reduce bulk.
Make 4.

Square to 4 1/2".

Layout units as shown and
sew together in 2 rows.  Press
seam in row 1 to the right and
seam in row 2 to the left.

Sew rows together and press
seam open to reduce bulk.
Square to 8 1/2".

This week I am sewing
my block by hand in a
great hotel in Siem Reap,
Cambodia.  The bed even
has mosquito netting. 

This morning I rode the
elephants to Angkor Thom.

Check out everyone's blocks
on Dustin's Flickr site:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spirit Houses

Spirit Houses can be found
throughout Asia, especially
in Burma, Cambodia, Laos
and Thailand.

Most houses and businesses
have a spirit house ~ most
placed in a corner of the property.

The house provides a shelter
for spirits that could cause
problems if not happy.

People make garlands of
flowers to be used as offerings.

We bought an offering and
placed it at the spirit house
at our hotel at the request
of Uncle Jamie who isn't
on this trip with us but
he is in spirit.

I loved this cat who sought
shelter from the rain in
the Spirit House.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Petronas Towers ~ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronus Charm

Dominating the skyline of
Kuala Lumpur are the
Petronas Towers ~ the tallest
twin building in the world.

The buildings are made of
reinforced concrete with
a steel and glass facade.

As we travel around Asia,
so many people think our
son Brennan is Harry Potter.
He has really caused quite
a stir with people pointing
and calling Harry Potter!
So we had him cast a petronus
charm in front of the
Petronas Towers.

Expecto Patronum!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mae Taeng Elephant Park

Sometimes It's Fun to Be a Tourist

We aren't big tour group kinds
of travelers.  We find our way
around on local transit, eat the
local foods, wander through
lonely streets, etc.  But every
once in a while taking a tour
is a fun thing.  We planned to
head up into the mountains
outside Chiang Mai and our
local truck taxi driver suggested
 a visit to the Elephant Park.

We had a great time!
First the elephants took
 a bath in the river.

Okay, this is where it did
get rather touristy with the
feeding of the elephants and
the elephants dancing...

...but then, the elephants
painted.  It was amazing.  If
 I had not seen it with my own
eyes I wouldn't have believed it.
Later that night we were showing
some new friends the photos of
the paintings and 3 of us in the
group had Fine Art degrees and
we couldn't get over how well
that darn elephant could paint.

Next it was the highlight of the
day ~ we got to ride the elephants.
I could go on a long journey by
elephant, it was wonderful to
ride atop this majestic animal.

Next we took an oxcart
ride.  That was not so nice,
it hurt to bump along the dirt paths.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch
beside a beautiful garden.

And then it was time for
the bamboo raft ride down the
river, which should have been
fun.  But in typical Murphy's Law
fashion, the monsoon rain started as
soon as we set off.  It was a long
ride down that river.

Even our sweet, kind taxi
driver had to laugh when he
saw us, we were drenched!
I was very glad he was there
to drive us back to the Villa.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wat Pho ~ Bangkok

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

The Wat Pho temple complex in
Bangkok, Thailand has the largest
reclining Buddha in Thailand.

The statue is 46 metres long.

On the soles of the feet of the
statue are signs of the Buddha.

People make offerings of
beautiful arrangements of
lotus flowers which are
the flower of the Buddha.

The head of the Buddha
from behind, resting on pillows.

The statue shows the
Buddha in repose.

Wat Pho is the temple
with the most Buddhas
in Thailand.