Monday, July 26, 2010

Time to Eat

When it's time to eat, there is no shortage of choices. If you want McDonalds, there's McDonalds with a Thai twist. If you want Starbucks, they have those too. But what we love most are what they call "fresh BBQ"...and fresh it is. Everything of a fish-nature is caught that day, then beautifully displayed on ice with free samples to entice even the pickiest eater as you stroll by. Everyone wants you to try their restaurant and it seems there are a bazzilion of then, but we found one we really liked and ate there probably four times. This is their sign:

Not only was their food wonderful, but where elce can you get fresh Jumbo Prawn, lobster, blue crab or Australian fillet, for around $11.00!
Check out the Crab Kabobs....YUM!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thai Massage

One of the things we really look forward to are the massages. Their menu boards have a variety to choose from and they can be customized. Massage here is way less expensive then anything back home, so needless to say, we spoil ourselves when we're here. $100 Thai Baht = $3.22 USD, so a $250 TB hour long massage is $8.00!!
This morning Mike and I had foot treatments where they completely smooth the rough skin, then message your feet and legs up to the knees for an hour. When they are done, your feet are as smooth and soft as a baby's.....heaven!
Tanner wanted an hour of his two favorite areas: feet and hands.
Here he is being the spoiled kid that he is on this trip:

Afterward, lunch at our favorite hotel, Poppies was just what we needed. Poppies is a beautiful small, intimate boutique hotel right on the beach. There are only 22 individual bungalows and they usually let us choose which one we want. Here are some pics from Poppies today:

Here we are with Lek and Kan, another worker we've known for eight years:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lucky Balloons

The lucky balloon is a tradition here and we send some off every time we come. They consist of a round cylinder shape about 18” in diameter and 4’ tall, and made of either tissue or fine white cloth. At the bottom is a lighter ring that you light. Then like a hot air balloon, it fills with the hot air then rises up and away. With it goes all your bad luck and any wish you make or prayer you say for someone. It’s always lit at night and you watch it until it becomes just a speck in the sky. Tanner is bringing some home. When he sends one off, someone will probably report it as a UFO or something “strange in the sky”.

Koh Samui

The island of Koh Samui is near and dear to our hearts. Of all the regions, cities and islands of Thailand, Koh Samui is the only area we’ve come to every time we’ve come to Thailand. The island is beautiful with fine, white sand beaches, crystal clear water only waist deep for ¼ mile out and fabulously friendly people. When we come, we are sure to visit the friends we’ve made: there’s Jeffrey, the Planet Scuba guy from England who Tanner has taken previous classes and dives with. He’s goofy in a fun sort of way. I think he’s had too much Nitrox! Phu has four little shops where she sells wonderful string lights and “Lucky Balloons” (more on that later). Lek, a best friend for sure, we have “known” for ten years, which is how long we’ve been coming here. She works in the restaurant at our favorite boutique hotel, Poppies and feeds us whenever we show up. Every time we come, she tells me how she and I just don’t age. Only my sons age. I love Lek!

Holly and Phu at her shop

Lek, in center with Phum and Kan

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tanner's Dive pictures

For his birthday, Tanner received a nice underwater camera, so after his dive course was finished, he took a couple of fun dives and tried it out. Here are some of his pictures.

Farewell to Koh Tao

Our last night was bittersweet. This portion of the trip has been wonderful and most relaxing. On our last night we sat and watched the sunset, which was absolutely spectacular. Wish we could bottle it up and bring it home with us!

Winding Down in Koh Tao

Mike and Tanner had their day on the scooters while I relaxed with a good book at the beach and pool. You can never have too much relaxing on this sort of trip! No helmets required. All ages ride scooters. One of the funniest things they saw was a man with two kids balanced on the back of the scooter, one kid on his lap plus a rather large dog sitting in the front where you put your feet. These scooters really aren't that big!

At almost every spot of this resort is a wonderful view of something.

Tanner finished his dive course and is now PADI certified as a rescue diver. The last day was particularly grueling as he had to rescue an “unconscious” diver and haul his dead weight up the boat ladder five times. Needless to say, he was up for a nice Thai massage at the end of the day. This is a picture he took from the dive boat looking back at the beach and town.

We have one more day in Koh Tao, then it's off to Koh Samui to see some familiar faces that we have met over the years and are sure to visit each time we return.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 7

We're still on the island of Koh Tao for three more days. Tanner is progressing in his rescue dive course and when done, will have his Master Diver's license, quite an achievement for a 17 year old! His other love is fishing and he manages to get a little in each morning prior to breakfast and class. Here's his first catch...rather small and he had no idea what it was!

Mike and I did some exploring today on Honda scooters. It was a blast and we pretty much saw most of the island which is only 8 miles long. The beaches here are beautiful, scenery is lush and where we are staying...The Sensi Paradise Resort, feels like a tropical rain forest with beaches. We have a rustic but well appointed bungalow that overlooks the water. Here's a view from our porch...

I think I need one of these at home. What I would save on gas!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's a Tuk Tuk?

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a ride in a Tuk Tuk. Basically, a Tuk Tuk is a motorcycle taxi. It zips along ignoring most rules of the road and if the traffic is horrific it will probably get you there sooner then a regular taxi. Unlike a taxi, it has no meter, so the driver's stated fee is always up for negotiation.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here in Koh Tao, Thailand

Before leaving Bangkok, we visited Ayutthaya, one of the World Heritage sights. We got there when it opened at 9:00 and tripped through it all by ourselves which was awesome. To be able to walk around, stand on and climb something so old and magnificant was amazing- sort of like when we climbed the Great Wall of China back in 87.

Another highlight was the giant Gold Buddah at one of the several temples we stopped at. It is an honor to be able to enter these temples and place gold leaf flakes on the statues as a sign of respect and for good luck.

Bangkok Airport.....HUGE

Today is Friday,and after flying from Bangkok to Koh Samui, we took the ferry over to this beautiful island of Koh Tao. We have not seen this island yet and heard it has the best diving. Tanner is the diver in the family and has his advanced dive certification. For the next three days he will be taking an intense rescue dive course. I plan on doing some serious exploring to see what exotic beads and components I can find for my jewelry designs-on a treasure hunt so-to-speak.
Stay tuned for more of our Koh Tao stay....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thailand Day 1

Ok, so we finally made it to Bangkok-26 hours later and 8100 miles from home. It usually takes around 20 hours, but we had an unusually long layover in San Francisco and then again at Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. As I write this it is 4:10 PM Wednesday, which makes it 2:10 AM Wednesday back home (14 hours ahead)
Surprisingly we woke up fairly early the first day. Bangkok is a huge city (pop 17 million) so we pretty much take taxis or tuk tuk's where ever we go. It's very hot and humid so we go out mainly in the mornings and evenings. This morning we saw the famous Queen Saovabha Snake Institute (Tanner and his snakes!) then pretty much hung out at the pool until it clouded over. We have seen pretty much all the main Temples, floating market, etc on previous trips so this time we are catching the few things we missed before. Tomorrow is a day trip to Ayutthaya, the ancient city and former Thai Capital for over 400 years. Mid July is the start of monsoon season and they can get some rather heavy rains. We're here in Bangkok for 3 days then off to the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui where the monsoon weather doesn't go. That's where the R & R really begins. Will see you there....

Bangkok from our hotel room

Waiting at Narita Airport

Candy display at Narita

Tanner plugged in-thank goodness for the internet!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Featured Artist for July 10-17

My featured artist for this week is Trusk4u, an amazing jewelry artist from Hillsborough, South Carolina. She is married, with two grown children and two dogs. Although her first crafting love was sewing, once she started out designing and making jewelry as a hobby, it quickly grew into an obsession. As you browse around her various shops and blog, you will see that this "obsession" definitely suits her:

Etsy shop
HAF shop

It's Been So Real

Now that the boys are literally flying around my house, it's time to say goodbye. They started out flying from countertop to chair, then their favorite spots kept getting higher and higher: top of the refridgerator, pot rack, now the top of the kitchen cabinets. We have held on as long as possible, but leave for Thailand in two days, so we will be delivering them to the flight cage where they will stay for about one month and learn how to hunt and just be owls.
Farewell my lovelies. You have brought such joy to our family and we will miss you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Featured Artist For July 3-10

My exciting featured artist for this week is Carmen Trueheart of St Augustine, Florida. After leaving corporate work she resorted to some of her "hippy ways" and has been creating beautiful jewelry ever since. She uses vintage elements, sterling silver, lampwork, gemstones and precious metal clay to make some of the most stunning pieces ever. Check out her work and learn more about this amazing artist at her Blog, Website and Etsy shop.
In addition, she donates a portion of her sales to the "Best Friends Sanctuary" organization.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Then and Now....

It's been a quick four weeks, but what is amazing is how fast these magnificant creatures have changed in just this short time. They are absolutely gorgeous with personalities to match. They practice their hopping and last night hopped right out of their box! One of their favorite things to do is to sit in my front yard olive trees and just watch whatever happens by. Directly across the street are 100 year old Cottonwood trees, creek and bike trail. I'm hoping this is where we can release them when that time comes......probably sooner then I would like.
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