About Us

We are a married couple who retired and moved to Thailand in 2014. You are welcome to join us and our travel monkeys Sun Wukong and Malcolm Jr. on our adventures! We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

These Tiny Moments

Our friends Jmayel and Sacha at 8 Miles From Home made a video called just that, These Tiny Moments. It is deep, beautiful, thought provoking and makes my heart grow each time I watch it. Here is the link for your pleasure.    8 Miles From Home Video - These Tiny Moments

I have always been a very positive person, sometimes to the point of getting on other people's nerves. Lately, I have been lingering too long on moments that are not happy, but frustrating regarding living in Thailand. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say, it is all part of living in a culture I try to, but will never completely understand. It is not the first time and if I am being realistic, won't be the last I experience the vast differences.  

Here is advice from an expat couple living in Japan for managing the these times. "It is important to hold onto and relish the tiny moments that make you laugh, smile, appreciate and give you peace."

Once I let go of the negative, it didn't take me long to experience some new moments and because they made me feel so good, it reminded me of Jmayel and Sacha's video and then like a snowball rolling down hill other moments started to gather. Here are some of my favorites.

A very lively, adorable 60 year old woman from Bosnia, with her purposeful stride is walking toward us on the beach. Maria is already waving from a fair distance and as she gets closer her smile and giggle are absolutely infectious as she greets us with, "Good Morning Vince and Lin!" That was the extent of our connection, but she was so delightful and I found myself smiling from my toes when we passed each other. 

The rooftop common area at our condo the week between Christmas and New Years had many families lounging in the sun and playing in the pool including two boys from Sweden living an expat life with their parents in Laos and an adorable girl named Annie on vacation with her parents, also from Sweden. Annie is 9 years old and one of the sweetest children we have met. She always has a genuine smile and hello when she sees us. The boys, Lucas, 5 years old and Felix, 14 were very interested in the game I was playing on my tablet. In the next moment I found myself surrounded snugly and I handed over my game to their delight. They were so happy and I had a precious moment of acceptance by two strangers. Humanity could learn a lot from children.

The next evening Annie gave me a box of Swedish Ginger Cookies as a gift because I shared my coloring book and pencils with her. What a doll!

Also the next evening we were having a lovely conversation with Felix and Lucas's mother and father and wonderful moment of connection with Nada. I told her we have friends living in Split, Croatia and she said that is where she is from! We showed her the pictures our friend has posted of her home town and she was reminded of her Mother, Grandmother and places she explored growing up there. It is a moment I won't soon forget.

I was inches from the eye of a pregnant elephant. I had just washed and scrubbed her head and was touching her face. I can still feel her staring at me and my entire being was alive with an energy I have not experienced before, for one tiny moment we were connected.

Tea. I have always loved tea, but never dreamed I would one day be able to stand in the middle of a tea plantation in the northern hills of Thailand.

There is something special about seeing the innocent joy on a child's face.

Little did I know that the sunsets and sunrises we would see would be so magnificent. This one was in the north of Thailand on the top of a mountain. Our view was vast and the entire sky turned many shades of pink and orange.

In the north of Thailand there is a lake full of bright pink lotus flowers that only bloom for two months. As far as the eye can see it is a magical experience not easily described. I really expected to see a unicorn or two!

Standing arm in arm watching a full moon rise over the Gulf of Thailand and listening to the waves gently lap and swish to the shore.

Our nearby Khao Takiap hill, we call Monkey Mountain, I managed to catch this picture of a mother and her baby.

We have so much to be grateful for and I know that I must continue to look for Those Tiny Moments!  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Our Version Of The 12 Days Of Christmas

The information I found about the song, The 12 Days of Christmas listed presents given as far back as 1780. Given the times, one would be given gifts including Parrots, Starlings, Plovers, Gold Pinks, Feathers, and food. Here are some of the more interesting ones.

A very pretty peacock upon a pear tree
Goldie ring and the part of a June Apple Tree (Referring to a ring necked pheasant)
Turtle Doves and the part of a mistletoe bough
Ducks a laying
Squabs a swimming
Hares a running
Boys a singing

Bears a beating
Ships a sailing
Cocks a crowing
Badgers bating
Lads a loping
Asses racing
Bulls a beating
Stalks of merry corn
Arabian Baboon

Three sides of meat
Eight Ponies
Nine Banners
Ten Barrels
Eleven Goats
Twelve men
Thirteen hides
Fourteen rounds of cheese
Fifteen deer

In the spirit of The 12 Days of Christmas here is our version. There are many things we are able to find but they are from a store that imports ( $$$$$ ) foreign food and it is very expensive compared to what we paid back in the US, so these things are a real treat for us.

Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds, Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese and salami with Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Vlasic Dill Pickle sandwich on fresh Sourdough French Bread

Celery with Cheddar Cheese and Wheat Thins

Vegetarian Bean Burritos, with Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 
Fresh Cilantro, and Tostito Lime Chips
No picture of the burrito because it was gone before we realized it!

Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Fresh Mozzarella with basil on a toasted baguette with tomato and garlic.  
No picture here either! 

Black Olives

Rice Krispie Treats

Turkey Dinner (aka:Chicken) with Gravy and Cranberry Sauce and Stove Top Stuffing

This is the reason we used chicken instead.   
Even at the favorable exchange rate we have now this bird would be $176.00 USD.   

Pumpkin Pie-ish Dessert

I don't have an oven so I made this in my rice cooker. I mixed the wet ingredients per the instructions then I divided it in half and also divided in half the cake mix and the butter. I put these three separate containers in the refrigerator for the next week. 
I poured the wet mix in the rice cooker, sprinkled the cake mix and swirled it through a little bit and poured the butter over the top. I cooked it on the “regular rice setting”.  When it was done I let it cool completely and turned it out on a plate. It really satisfied our craving for pumpkin pie!

For Santa, Italian Lemon Cookies, Danish Butter Cookies, Vanilla Wafers, Ginger Snaps
Next year Vince says to leave him Pizza and Microbrew Craft Beer instead.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

How Loy Krathong Is Really Celebrated!

Unlike the previous post about the Loy Krathong Gala Dinner at Centara Beach Resort which is for tourists, this post is a short one about how Loy Krathong is really celebrated by, it is safe to say, nearly every family in Thailand.....of course, to greater or lesser degrees.

Arriving home from our dinner at Centara we heard loud music emanating from the beach.  Walking to the beach only takes a couple of minutes and once there we headed in the direction of the fishing village.

There was a stage set up in the sand with flashing disco lights, music loud enough to need ear protection and so many people dancing and jumping on the stage, we were waiting for it to crash to the ground.  A little further up the beach was another stage for community and school dance performances and the music coming from it was equally as loud.

The Police were present and we watched as 4 of them took away a man that was so drunk he probably didn't even know who was holding him up.  Just like parties all over the world, more than some will need a hangover cure.

All around were booths set up selling food and home made Krathongs.   Tables and chairs set up like a food court took up a large space and children were running and laughing in and out of the water.

By 11 pm it looked like everyone had already floated their Krathongs.  They were being washed back up the beach, battered and lifeless having given up the wishes, hopes and dreams to the sea.  We listened to the sounds of celebration fade into the night as we walked back home.

We were settling in for the night when we heard fireworks.  These pictures were taken from our balcony with Vince hand holding my camera and trying to catch one or two.

Celebrating Loy Krathong at Centara Grand Beach Resort

Loy Krathong is one of the most ritualistic and colorful events happily celebrated by families all over Thailand. Handmade Krathongs come with a candle, three incense sticks and some flowers and are made with banana leaves folded in designs.  Floating the Krathong signifies the purging of bad luck and in current times often used to ask for riches, love and prosperity.

                       So begins our lovely evening spent at the Centara Grand Beach Resort

We heard a sweet voice calling...."Mr. Hat, Mr. Hat!"
It was our friend Bim whom we have not seen for many months. 

                   Dancers and Musicians leading the guests to their garden and poolside tables

               Our fresh orchid garlands to be used later in the evening to vote for Miss Noppamas

            There was a Krathong on every table for the guests to float at the end of the evening

These are giant Krathongs made by each department at the hotel floating in the swimming pool

The food was delicious and there were nearly 50 different dishes to choose from but you can see where my eye went for photos!

Traditional Thai Dance

I love that I caught the sign in this picture!

What Venus is to beauty for the ancient Greeks, Noppamas is the ultimate beauty for Thai women. 
It is said that a woman of great beauty and charm named Noppamas was a favorite of King Phaya Lithai in 1347 and that she made the first Krathong.  Thai women all across the country enter local Noppamas Beauty Contests in her honor.

These contestants were representing the departments they work at Centara.  The ladies circulated the gardens and each guest placed their garland over the neck of the woman they chose to be Miss Noppamas.

Sun Wukong was obviously the winner!

Making wishes before floating Krathongs

I like how the reflections are in this picture

Mr. Hat floating our Krathong

Our favorite part of the evening was the giant ice sculpture of a Krathong.  It was incredibly beautiful and we were mesmerized by the changes throughout as it was thawing in the heat. 

 It was a nice place to cool off from the heat. It was 32 C or 90 F at 10 pm!

This is my favorite!

If I was a cat I would want to live at Centara Grand Beach Resort!   Just look at those eyes!

Good Night from mysterious, magical, and oh so beautiful Hua Hin, Thailand