Thanksgiving at Old Country Buffet

It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner this year and rather than cook at home we decided to go out for Thanksgiving Dinner. There are local menu restaurants that do one time buffets for Thanksgiving but these are priced high and generally, in a restaurant that just serves by the menu day to day, buffets are either a disappointment or are staffed by employees who would rather be at home

Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Phuket

It was suggested to me several times in blog comments or messages on Facebook that I should add some more hotel information, a bit more specific that the Top 10 Phuket Hotels list (a list which has been updated several times). So, I have done a Top 10 Family Hotels in Phuket post, and now here's the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Phuket. There is also now a Top 10 "mid-price" hotels list. The rankings are based on TripAdvisor ratings. There are links for each hotel to online booking / availability / price checking and for guest reviews.

Top 10 Phuket Luxury Hotels

1. The Baray Villa (Kata Beach)

The Baray Villa

The Baray Villa consists of 14 luxury villas, which are run by the Sawasdee Village Resort, and yet totally separate from the resort. Villas are 2 floor houses with huge rooms, jacuzzi, direct pool access, set in tropical gardens, with a spa (of course) at the resort. Not on the beach, it's about 10 minutes walk to the sands at Kata Beach, but I reckon you'd stay here to relax and feel a bit special. Maybe rent a scooter to get around Kata or scoot down to Naiharn or a sunset drink at the After Beach Bar.

The Baray Villa - Online Booking
The Baray Villa Reviews

2. The Shore at Katathani (Kata Noi Beach)

The Shore at Katathani

The Katathani Resort has been open for many years. The Shore is their newer luxury pool villa wing, opened in 2010 on quiet Kata Noi beach. And it looks great! Pool villas, many have sea view but the view does vary, all villas with private pools of course. Very popular with couples. Check the reviews below - most are from couples.

The Shore at Katathani - Online Booking
The Shore Reviews

3. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)

BYD Lofts

BYD Lofts is a different hotel, the rooms are like serviced apartments, with kitchens and a shared rooftop pool, near the center of Patong Beach, but not in a noisy area. Surprised to see it listed as a luxury place, you normally imagine beach front .. BYD I guess is 5 minutes or less walk to the beach. A good place to stay if you like to be near the center of all the action (that's what Patong is) but need a quiet place to retire to.

BYD Lofts - Online Booking
BYD Lofts Reviews

4. Villa Zolitude (Chalong)

Villa Zolitude

Villa Zolitude is "up in the hills" .. and seems to be very popular. Located between Phuket Town and Chalong. Not near any beaches, certainly not within walking distance - about 10km to Kata or Karon. Villa Zolitude is reached by driving up the road to Radar Hill (which is the highest road in Phuket). Certainly quiet up there, away from the crowds by quite a distance. Good idea to have some transport if you stay at this hotel. It amuses me to see reviews complaining about the location. Hey, folks, do some research!

Villa Zolitude Booking - Online Booking
Villa Zolitude Reviews

5. Kantary Bay Hotel (Cape Panwa)

Kantary Bay Hotel

The Cape Panwa area is a beautiful part of Phuket well away from the main Phuket beaches, an area that we really like. Kantary Bay Hotel is right by the Phuket Aquarium, with studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom suites. All suites have a living room and kitchen. Panwa is a little out of the way, south of Phuket Town and at least 30 - 40 minute drive to the main beaches - good to have a car if you stay here. I am sure the hotel has some shuttle services though.

Kantary Bay Hotel - Online Booking
Kantary Bay Hotel Reviews

6. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)

Pacific Club Resort

The Pacific Club Resort seems to rank in the top 10 every time I do a top 10. It's in "the" top 10 and the family top 10, and yet it's not by the beach, so the hotel itself has to be good! It's about 10 minutes walk down the hill on a little back road which I think would be very dark at night to the sands of Karon Beach. The hotel is in the hills, with seaviews and jungle views - the hills behind Karon are very green. There are standard rooms and suites with 1 or 2 bedrooms. The restaurant is also meant to be very good, especially the steak, and I keep saying I will try it one day!

Pacific Club Resort - Online Booking
Pacific Club Resort Reviews

7. Renaissance Resort and Spa (Mai Khao Beach)

Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa

Mai Khao Beach is still one of Phuket's gems. It's like 10km long with just half a dozen resorts plus a couple of small bungalow operations. Renaissance is one of the best in the area, close to the airport (don't worry, you can't hear it) and right on the beach which is never crowded. There's a variety of rooms - simple "deluxe" rooms up to pool villas with seaview. Remember that Mai Khao Beach is way up in the north of Phuket, it's over 40km from here to Patong, Karon and Kata. I mean, if you want solitude, why would you visit these main beaches anyway? So again, I am perplexed by reviews moaning about the location. I love the location!

Renaissance Resort - Online Booking
Renaissance Resort Reviews

8. Twin Palms (Surin Beach)

Twin Palms

Surin Beach, despite rampant hillside development manages to retain a laid back feel on the beachfront with small restaurants and bars although they tend to be a little expensive, and yet Surin is so so different to the big beaches it's nice to come here for a meal and drink sometimes. Twin Palms is not huge, under 100 rooms - the more luxury rooms are huge duplexes and penthouse suites. Twin Palms also has its own semi-private beach club (Catch Beach Club) right by the sea.

Twin Palms - Online Booking
Twin Palms Reviews

9. Trisara Phuket Villas & Residences


Trisara has private pool villas near a small private beach just north of Layan beach (which is north of Bang Tao Beach) in the north of Phuket. 39 villas, lots of space. Villas of varying sizes from 2 - 6 bedroom, so can be ideal for families or weddings. Or just for a relaxing trip for a couple. My favourite review says "makes you feel like a rock star" :)

Trisara - Online Booking
Trisara Reviews

10. Mom Tri's Villa Royale (Kata Noi Beach)

Mom Tri's Villa Royale

Mom Tri Devakul was one of Phuket's tourism originals. His Boathouse hotel opened many years ago on Kata Beach. Villa Royale was built later on the rocky headland overlooking Kata Noi beach. A stairway from the hotel takes you down to the beach. Great views from the rooms and from the restaurant too. It's got a certain touch of class, only 35 rooms and is often fully booked well in advance. Mostly a place for couples.

Villa Royale - Online Booking
Villa Royale Reviews

For Phuket hotel bookings, I recommend checking out first - it's what I use. Any questions about hotels or Phuket, please do ask on the Phuket Facebook Page.

Top 10 Hotels in Phuket
Top 10 Family Hotels
Top 10 Couples Hotels
Jamie's Phuket Hotel Suggestions

darf ich mir was wünschen...?

Ich habe lange überlegt. Ohne wirklich eine Lösung zu finden, habe ich mir gedacht: "Ich frag euch einfach!"

Hier also meine Frage. Darf ich mir was wünschen? Darf ich mir eine gebastelte Weihnachtskarte von euch, von dir einfach so nur für MICH wünschen?

Ich krieg doch so gern Post und gerade vor Weihnachten fänd ich es nett, wenn mal nicht nur die üblichen Amtsschreiben, Rechnungen oder eben auch die vielen Rechnungen zum Jahresabschluss und -anfang im Briefkasten lägen.

Euch allen ein wunderschönes Wochenende, einen traumhaften 1.Advent.

Und vielleicht sehe ich ja die Eine oder Andere von euch bei uns am Stand auf dem Adventsmarkt in Neu Ansbach Hessenpark. Am 01.12. - 02.12.2012 je von 11:00 - 19:00 Uhr. Ich würde mich riesig freuen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße

Adventskranz to go

die Bezeichnung ist mir spontan eingefallen, als ich meine kleine Verpackung für 4 Teelichter in der Hand hielt.

Wenn ihr wissen wollt, wie man für alle möglichen Gegenstände schnell und einfach eine Umverpackung werkeln kann, fast egal um welche Ausmaße es geht, dann schaut euch mein Monatskit von Dezember an. Dort gibt es die ausführliche Anleitung dazu.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße

Material Kit Dezember 2012

Heute möchte ich euch mein Material-Kit für den Monat Dezember vorstellen. Dieses Mal habe ich mich auf unheimlich wichtiges und hilfreiches Bastelwerkzeug konzentriert.

Das Kit beinhaltet:

den neuen Papierschneider                                       33,95 €
den Papierfalter                                                         7,95 €
20 Blatt A4 Farbkarton Farbe eurer Wahl +
4 Blatt A4 Flüsteweiß                                                8,50 €   
Gesamt:                                                                   50,40 €

Bild folgt.

Dazu gibt es eine ausführliche Anleitung, wie ihr mit dem Papierschneider schnell und einfach für alle möglichen Dinge eine Schachtel, Umverpackung werkeln könnt. Dabei zeige ich euch, wie ihr einfach und schnell den Grundstock an Verpackung an jede Größe anpassen könnt.

Wenn euch das Material-Kit gefällt, ihr aber den einen oder anderen Artikel schon habt, dann könnt ihr natürlich die Artikel tauschen und andere Ware im gleichen Wert aussuchen.

Sollten sonst noch Fragen sein, meldet euch einfach.

Gern könnt ihr in dem Zusammenhang die Sammelbestellung am 06.12.2012 nutzen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße

Adventskalender, schnell und einfach

heute möchte ich euch ein weiteres, kleines Anleitungsvideo zeigen. Wie kann man schnell, ohne großen Aufwand und Materialeinsatz jetzt noch so kurz vor knapp einen Adventskalender werkeln.

Ich hoffe, ich konnte die eine oder andere Idee weitergeben.

Vielen Dank fürs Schauen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße


Hallo zusammen,

ich hoffe, ihr hattet ein schönes Wochenende und könnt gut in die neue Woche starten.

War das nicht ein Krimi in der Formel 1? Normal mache ich mir da nix daraus. Aber mein Sohn!!! So bekomme ich an meinem Basteltisch schon das eine oder andere mit. Aber gestern war ja der Wahnsinn. Da musste ich mich mit auf die Couch setzen und feste die Daumen drücken.

Und er hat es geschafft. Sebastian Vettel, zum 3. Mal. Wahnsinn. Herzlichen Glückwunsch.

Doch nun zum Kreativen. Ich habe festgestellt, dass ich euch meine Tauschkarte von diesem Monat noch garnicht gezeigt habe.

Meine Tochter kam eines Tages mit diesem Stern an. Mir gefiel der so gut, dass ich ihn unbedingt verarbeiten wollte. Also habe ich noch was hinein geklebt und die Karte gestaltet.

Euch noch einen schönen Montag
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße


Texas here we come !!!!!!!!!!!

The next stop on our vacation took us out west to the Lone Star State of Texas , and what a great time that was , Big Frank picked us up at the airport with his big truck with lights flashing and the works , what a ride to Sister Faye's and Bobby's place ,. Our home away from home awairted us and with everything stocked in the 5th wheel we had all the comforts of home . Faye and Bobby drew the plans for their new home made out of metal, a real ranch style home and the inside and out are just beautiful , they have every thing landscaped soooo pretty. We had a great time exploring the ranch and I do mean Ranch , cattle , chickens and all kind of critters running around , Faye took us for a ride around their place on her John Deer Gator , lots of land , and Bobby spends a lot of time taking care of it all , we made the trip in their John Deer Gator and Ciejay loved it and even got to drive it , we went treasure hunting , no treasures but lots of fun looking .  We had a week-in pinic  with all the grand-kids and Tessa and her gang , lots of food and fun , We went to a few catfish houses to eat and do they ever pile the food on your plate. We took day trips and went to the casino in Ok . broke even again lol , . The best part of this trip was to get to spend time with our Sister Faye and her husband Bobby, they were so sweet to us and Ciejay said she could live there if we ever win the . Itook lots of pictures so here goes hope you enjoy.

The Long Road Home ...


I had visions of saying goodbye to my father, running a couple quick errands and heading home early in the afternoon, in order to pack, rest a little and perhaps take one last walk on the beach.  Well, that was the plan anyway.  It turned out to be a blustery day with frequent squalls and I didn’t get my walk.  So my visit ended as it began, with grey skies and strong winds.  On the whole the weather during my stay had been very cooperative with sunny skies and cool trade-winds, so no real complaints.

All things considered it was a good trip.  I got more done than I had expected.  Two weeks was just right, allowing enough time to accomplish what I needed to, without dragging it out too long.  I didn’t manage to see everyone, but I am not as social as my better half when left to my own devices.  Shopping got off to a slow start but in the end I found almost everything I was looking for.  One highlight was being there to mark my mother’s ninetieth birthday, even if she wouldn’t look at me and didn’t know who I was.  The paperwork and legal stuff went pretty smoothly considering I dread that kind of thing.  After I left, my father said he really missed me and that made me feel good and bad at the same time.

This is the second year in a row that my father’s friends have offered me the use of one of their properties in the Islands.  I am overwhelmed by their generosity and eagerness to help.  They even went out of there way a couple of years ago to come stay with us in Chiang Rai when they were visiting Thailand.  Good people are good people, regardless of their social standing or fiscal position but I must admit to being attracted to accomplished individuals who have done more than I have, or at least different things which I find interesting.  I can’t overstate my appreciation for the generosity of these friends.


Arriving in Bangkok my senses were accosted by a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells, all encased in asphalt and concrete, intersected by pedestrians, cyclists and cagers rushing frantically and perpetually toward some essential yet questionable destination.  Each year when forced to pass through this seething mass of humanity, I find myself pondering how I managed to live in this place called Bangkok for more than thirty years.

Of course I was younger then and not nearly so accustomed to my present level of comfort and pace of life.  More importantly I suppose, I had a life in Bangkok back then.  A place to live, things to do, friends and interests, all of which go a long way toward making any place feel more like home.  Many of the places still remain amidst all the new development but they have been overwhelmed by growth and progress.  Of the many people one once interacted with regularly, only a select few have remained in the inner circle, connected through technology and social networking, even though separated by time and distance.

I seem to remember a singular point in time in the early 1970s, which rapidly expanded outward sending a complex maze of tentacles to seek out and explore every imaginable nook and cranny of this strange new world.  I have no clear recollection of when this amplification slowed to a halt and began to collapse in upon itself.  My gaze became more inward as I focused and centered my life around the things I had discovered to be of greater importance to me.  My random quest for more became a focused search for less, if that makes any sense.

*Chiang Rai*

The flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai was the most beautiful I can remember.  The patchwork of clouds added accent and texture while not blocking the view of what lay below.  Bangkok soon faded as the image from my window seat changed to that of the geometric layout of industrialized agriculture.  Further north the patchwork of small family worked fields became more chaotic until we reached the lush green mountains that signaled our approach to Chiang Rai.  By then the grey industrial haze of Bangkok was but a memory, replace by clear Chiang Rai skies.  Even the ever-present clouds that had accompanied our flight north, took on an otherworldly glow as we descended toward our destination. 

We flew over a large body of water that I only later realized must have been the lake at Phayao.  I pointed out the White Temple, to a Bangkok tourist sitting next to me, which sparked off a brief but pleasant conversion before we landed.  My wife was waiting for me at the airport and her embrace helped vanquish the stress and fatigue from my long journey home.

As I awoke on my first day back, it eventually came to my attention that it was Thanksgiving Day.  I clearly had much to be thankful for but the traditional celebrations of past years had to take a backseat to the simple joy of being home this year.  By way of celebration I did dust off the Trek in the early afternoon and went for a 41 kilometer ride which left me exhausted but content, despite my lack of fitness after the trip.

Though I do not enjoy these long journeys, I understand they are necessary and even educational to some extent.  Soon enough they will no longer be necessary and I will no doubt lament that fact.  For now I am just very glad to be home.


Back to Capt. George's Seafood Restaurant, Williamsburg, Virginia

Captain George's Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia is one of the few, what I consider, expensive buffets that I go to. When I say expensive, I am talking about dinner for two with just soft drinks coming to almost $80 after tax and tip. If someone asked me what is the most complete and best seafood buffet that you have experienced, my answer would be Captain George's. A number of years


Freitag...! Oh Mann, die Zeit rennt. Geht es euch auch so?

Heute möchte ich euch die letzten Geburtstagskarten zeigen. Sie sind von


 und Silvia
Mädels, vielen herzlichen Dank. Ich habe mich riesig gefreut.

Nun wünsche ich euch allen ein wunderschönes, erholsames, ruhiges Wochenende.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße


heute zeige ich euch die Geburtstagskarte von Nicole, die mich im letzten Monat erreichte.

Hab ich mich gefreut. Nicole, nochmal vielen herzlichen Dank für diese schöne Karte.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße


Ciejay and Malcolm, wish all our friends and family a very , very ,Happy Thanksgiving Day ,  remember to save me a wish bone, and remember the Bible say's "Be Ye Thankful.                             2014

                    We love you all

Amulet Alley in Phuket Town

Now here's an interesting local place that I have meant to write about for ages. Phuket Town is the place to look for local life, history and culture, though much of Phuket Town was only built after 1900 and then thrived on the tin and rubber booms. Before that, Phuket was more rural, and the main town was Thalang in the center of the island. Way back in 1785, the people of Thalang battled against a Burmese invasion (more info see : The Heroines of Phuket). These days, Phuket Town (officially called Phuket City though everyone says Phuket Town) is the center of government and business. The old center of town still features a lot of old buildings, and businesses that have been in the same family for generations. There's a lot of content on the blog about Phuket Town. If we go out in the evening, we go to town, not to the tourist beaches. We have several favourite restaurants in town and I just enjoy a walk sometimes around the older streets. And there always seems to be something new to find. I was amazed a few years ago to find the Shrine of the Serene Light hidden up a tiny alleyway and connected via a passage to the back of the Wilai restaurant on Thalang Road. The entrance to that shrine on Phang Nga Road is currently being widened and tarted up. Opposite there is the north end of Amulet Alley (see map at the end of the page).

Amulets for Sale

I've used Amulet Alley (sounds like something out of Harry Potter) as a shortcut from Phang Nga Road to Rassada Road often enough. You might not notice this alleyway, but if walking in town, always worth exploring the side streets! So what's in Amulet Alley? Yes, people selling Buddhist amulets - which are like lucky charms. I'm not an expert though I wear one myself that we got from a temple near Chumphon (my wife's home town) .. got one in the car too that's meant to be for safe journeys.

You can buy simple amulets in temples for 100 Baht or less. In fact the one around my neck was given to me free by a Buddhist Nun. She gave us each one (myself, my wife, daughter and son). But these are not the ones for sale in the market at Amulet Alley. Well, I guess we can call in a market, or maybe just a street for amulet collectors and devotees. Rare amulets can sell for 1 million Baht. There are shops and markets selling amulets all over Thailand including a huge market in Bangkok. There's even an amulet collectors magazine.

Reading the Amulet Weekly

You'd have to be a real collector to know a rare amulet from a reproduction, but trade I think must be good. Look around, you see many people here wearing amulets, and the reasons for wearing one are varied. Not just for general "good luck" but an amulet can be for love, for good luck with school or work, for protection from illness, and of course it helps if you believe.

Buddha amulet seller in Phuket Town

Wheeling and Dealing

(above) These guys looks like they're serious amulet dealers, while I was there, they were always on the phone and I imagined them discussing the latest amulet prices. I'm not sure of the business hours of this street, sometimes there are more amulets for sale than others, it seems to be quite informal. Not really a market, more a gathering place for amulet enthusiasts.

Amulet seller and customer

Near Amulet Alley...

Thai Hua Phuket History Museum
Kopitiam Restaurant
Abdul's Roti Cafe
The Old Thavorn Hotel
The Oldest Herb Shop in Phuket

Amulet Alley - Location Map

View Amulet Alley / Phuket Amulet Market in a larger map

Tauschpost Oktober

Heute möchte ich euch die Tauschpost von


 und Sandra
vom letzten Monat zeigen.

Im Moment sitze ich ja daran den Stand vom Adventsmarkt im Hessenpark zu bestücken. Hoffentlich vergesse ich nicht Bilder von den Werken zu machen, bevor hoffentlich ganz viele über den Laden- bzw. Budentisch gehen.

Ausserdem habe ich schon 6 Adventskalender fertig und es fehlen "nur" noch 2. Auch hier muss ich dringend daran denken Bilder zu machen, bevor sie verschenkt werden.
Ich kann sie leider nicht vorher zeigen, damit nicht verraten wird wer einen bekommt und wie dieser dann aussieht. Habt also noch etwas Geduld.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße

Ich bin begeistert....

als erstes möchte ich mich mal ganz dolle bei euch bedanken. Damit habe ich nicht gerechnet, als ich mein Monatskit erstellte.

Von den vorbereiteten, zugeschnittenen Materialpaketen sind nur noch ein paar da. Wahnsinn. Wenn du also auch überlegst... Donnerstag geht die Bestellung raus.

Als nächstes ein großes Danke schön für eure Kommentare und Mails zu meinen Anleitungsvideos. Das hilft mir, da besser zu werden und die eine oder andere Sache zu verändern. Vielen Dank.

Doch nun zum kreativen Part. Ich bin immer noch nicht rum, euch alle Tauschkarten des letzten Monats bzw. meine Geburtstagskarten zu zeigen.

Hier ein paar Bilder.

Dieses Werk ist von Katrin

Die kleine Schokoverpackung ist von Marion

Und hier meine Geburstagskarte von Nurit
Mädels, vielen Dank
Für den Moment
lieben Grüße

Blüten basteln mit der Wellenkreisstanze Teil 2

Ich hoffe, ihr hattet ein schönes, erholsames Wochenende. MIr macht es ja schon zu schaffen, dass es selbst tagsüber nicht wirklich hell wird. Ein Wetter so richtig zum Rumlümmeln auf der Couch oder eben zum Basteln.

Heute möchte ich euch ein weiteres Anleitungsvideo zeigen. Wie versprochen eine weitere Art eine Blüte, genauer gesagt dieses Mal eine Rose zu fertigen mit der Wellenkreisstanze.

Hier mein Video vom Wochenende.

Nun wünsche ich euch einen wunderschönen Montag und einen guten Start in die neue Woche.
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße

Back to Dutch-Way Family Restaurant, Gap, PA Again and Again

Since my last article about Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA this past June, we have been there again several times. We have found another favorite to add to our list of must eat at when we are in Lancaster County. The food is good and the selection is always fine, even on their feature nights.

One thing that is nice is that the offerings on the buffet always seem to include something

Geburtstags- und Tauschkarten

Bevor die neuen Tauschkarten kommen, möchte ich euch die "alten" noch zeigen.

Dies ist die Post von Annett.

Diese Karte ist von Audrey.
Und dies ist die Tauschpost von Beate.

Mädels, vielen Dank dafür. Jedes Werk hat mir richtig gut gefallen.

Nun wünsche ich euch ein wunderschönes, erholsames Wochenende

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße