Tag Archives: chiang mai

Travel Photo: Umbrellas, Bo Sang, Thailand

6 Dec

Painted silk umbrellas in Bo Sang, outside Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bo Sang, a village outside Chiang Mai, is the umbrella-making capital of Thailand.

A Fistful of Dollars

17 Sep little girls in marching band, Rantepao, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

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Our favoured local, back in Rantepao in the Tana Toraja, was the hangout of the local Guides Association, a Teamsteresque conglomerate of the most amiable rogues since Dick Van Dyke.

Sporting various permutations of Aviators, moustaches, long hair, cropped hair and funeral sarongs as night-time outerwear, the chaps spent most of their time out back smoking clove cigarettes, drinking Bintang beer and swapping stacks over rupiah a card game not dissimilar to shithead.

We liked them a lot.

Didn’t play cards with them, mind.

I mean, that would have been just stupid. Continue reading

Eight Months, Seven Countries

24 Aug Giant tree roots grow down over the ancient monastery of Ta Prohm, near Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

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As Z and I enter our eighth month of continuous travel, here’s one amazing thing we’ve done in each month of the year.

January: Making the Leap!
I’d been a home owner for almost a decade when we left in January. Working constantly for longer than that. Between us, Z and I had accumulated piles upon piles of, well, crap. Sifting through it was like sifting through past lives, wondering what this next phase would bring, what would happen when we stepped off the plane with packs on our backs, an odd mixture of anticipation, excitement and, yes, I guess, grieving, too. Continue reading

Zorb Balls and Sky Coasters

7 Jul
Z in lake, underneath brightly coloured zorb ball.

The ultimate splashdown. Falling out of a zorb ball and into a lake.

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Thinking of taking the kids to Thailand this year?

One of the huge benefits of the general nervousness right now is the instant availability of fun of all kinds. With close to zero queues.

Over the last couple of weeks, junior and I have enjoyed a championship minigolf course all to ourselves. We’ve had back-to-back goes on rollercoasters at a nearly deserted theme park. And sir has continued his adventures in extreme sports.

Such as zorbing (or xorbing) — pictured above — an activity which has now taken the place of zipwiring in sir’s ever-changingl canon of “most fun ever“. Continue reading

“Mum! FEET!!!”

30 Jun

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]It is amazing how fast children adapt to and internalise the conventions, taboos, the social norms and etiquette of another culture.

And not just by eating crickets, as the nine year old is doing in his charming self-portrait below.

Self-portrait of Z with cricket in hand, approaching mouth.

Shown not entirely to scale...

We are in Thailand right now. An etiquette minefield. One moment one is torn between sheer admiration for the enviable phsyique of the hot young thing who has popped into chat to the novice monks of Wat Suan Dok wearing tight white spaghetti vest top, denim hotpants and no bra (honestly, none required), and a sense of unappealing smugness at having remembered to cover one’s own, perhaps rather less, erm, enlightening, shoulders, legs, et al.

The next, one is innocuously sat in a tuk-tuk, those cutesy petrol-powered three-wheelers that are so emblematic of swathes of Asia that miniature versions sell in night markets from Chiang Mai to Kandy, when one’s spawn taps one irritably on the thigh and adjures, sternly, “Mum!!!! FEET!!!” Continue reading

At the Orphanage

28 Jun

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]Our first volunteering stint as a family brought us to Baan Kingkaew orphanage, a home for orphaned children aged from three months to six years old.

I’d wondered before whether spending an afternoon playing with young children could be meaningful. Could in any way improve these little ones’ lives.

And, yes. Something as easy as arranging a visit, bringing plasticine, paper and art materials, toting tearful children around on one’s hip and doling out the physical affection which orphaned three and four year olds crave so intensely did, I think, help a little.

Continue reading

Sweet Charity? On Volunteering

26 Jun

Z pretending to fly an Antonov cargo plane, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

When volunteering, it's good to have a handle on your capabilities.

I have an aversion to the idea of volunteering overseas which dates back to a hospital bed in small town Mali.

It wasn’t the extended families cooking on open fires in the grounds, the babies too weak to cry, or even the emaciated woman hawking bloody sputum onto the floor beside my bed that did it.

Nor was it an operating theatre that would have had Florence Nightingale reaching for the ether, through which I ventured on an all-too regular basis to the surgeons’ bathroom. (Kind of them to share. But still…)

It was the kid from the Peace Corps. And, of course, he was trying to help. Continue reading

Elephant Artists

25 Jun Elephant at an easel, using his trunk to paint. Mae Sa camp, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Elephant at an easel, using his trunk to paint. Mae Sa camp, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Elephant artist painting. Mae Sa, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Elephant artists? Now, that’s something you don’t see every day.

The painting pachyderms of Maesa Camp work with an incredible concentration… Continue reading

Seeing the Light

24 Jun

Repeating patterns of mirrored mosaics, altar of side temple, Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Gorgeous glasswork at Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai.

There’s a brilliance about the light in the medieval temples of northern Thailand. It glints off mirrored mosaics, gold buddhas and gilded towers, off gaudy dragons and solemn elephants, illuminates great swathes of brightly coloured murals…

It puts the sombre stained glass gloom of European cathedrals to shame. Continue reading

A Tiger Petting Zoo

22 Jun Z petting sleeping baby tiger, Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Z petting sleeping baby tiger, Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

My baby boy with a baby tiger. Chiang Mai, Thailand.


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A petting zoo — with tigers? Truly, only in South-East Asia. But few children would pass up the chance to pet and stroke a real, live, furry tiger cub… Continue reading