Speculation In Chiang Rai…

There is talk and speculation everywhere, as to what the future holds for Chiang Rai.  People seem to hold strong opinions on what will be built, when, where, by whom and what effect it will have on the future of Chiang Rai.  There are reports of the Chinese buying up land and driving up prices.  Our newest golf course, Happy City, was apparently developed by Koreans. 

Chiang Mai is still the primary destination for Thais escaping Bangkok but Chiang Rai is coming into its own.  Several Thai celebrities have properties in the area and we even have a few royals from Europe who spend at least part of the year on their own private estates, with one of them sponsoring football in the area.  We are slowly becoming a destination, not just a day trip or a stopover, on the way from Chiang Mai to Laos.

The new bridge over the Mekong near Chiang Khong is supposed to bring big changes.  There is talk of a rail line or two being built, from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and perhaps more likely from Chiang Khong to Denchai, but that talk has been with us for a longtime.  No doubt it will happen one day but I think it is still far in the future.  All this talk and speculation has got me looking back, not forward.  It started me thinking about how much has changed in the relatively short time we have been living in Chiang Rai, or Phaya Mengrai to be more precise.

Other than the bridge over the Mekong there have been two new bridges opened over the Kok River to facilitate traffic flow.  The bypass road which extends from the airport has opened two sections and it looks like a third is getting near completion.  I have heard another bypass road, on the other side of town, has begun construction but we don’t often get over that way, so I have not seen it myself.

Closer to home they have been widening the 1020 road from Chiang Khong to Thoeng and there is talk of another, yet to be built, road that may pass to the east of our village.  Landfill and roadwork seems to be constant and the roads to town are marked by the slow progress of heavily laden trucks hauling gravel from the quarries and dirt excavated from the hills.

The opening of Chiang Rai’s Central Plaza shopping mall has changed the shopping landscape and spurred other retailers to renovate and upgrade in order to keep pace.  New schools and restaurants have been added.  New housing developments are everywhere and now there is flurry of condo building.  I am not a football fan but I hear there are a couple of new stadiums in the area.  When we began our house they were still in the process of installing telephone lines, so the adsl high-speed internet I depend on, didn’t arrive until around the time our house was finished.

Living to the east of Chiang Rai we have perhaps been spared the most negative effects of development.  We enjoy the modernization in town but live far enough away, we only see it when we want to.  Close to us the biggest development has been the purchase of some 8000 rai of land between our village and the Ing River which has been planted with rubber trees.  Some rice land was lost but much of the purchase was scrub and prone to flooding, so the trees are a marked improvement.  Riding my mountain bike in the area, before, was a struggle and limited to the dry season.  Now the trees are getting bigger, there are trails everywhere and there is an interesting new embankment I rode on recently that helps to keep the river at bay.  The trees are tall enough to block views of landmarks, leaving me wondering where I am part of the time but with the trees boasting fresh young leaves it is a joy to ride through the plantation on the way home and I see real potential as a recreation area.

I have no idea how much of the new development and speculation will prove profitable for the investors.  Some think there will be increased traffic from China, while others think it will only be cargo trucks passing through as they head south, thus providing little benefit to the local economy.  I still stumble upon the ruins of old dreams from time to time on my rides.  Great ideas sometime lead to great folly and make for an eerie view of the gap between what could have been and what is.  I love riding through these resorts turned ghost-town but I am sure they represent a very painful chapter in the lives of others.

Since I began this post a while back, the smoke has become overwhelming and I have stopped all outdoor exercise until it clears.  My post about the burning from last year was republished by Asiancorrespondent.com, with more people reading the post this year than last. 

I moved the mountain bike indoors and mounted it on the training stand.  Besides getting a little exercise while watching TV, I am playing with adjustments, trying to find the most comfortable and efficient riding position.  Now I know what I want for my next upgrade.  Here are a few pictures from my last couple of rides before things got bad.
Kok River near Chiang Rai.

Flowering tree spotted from the trail.
Ing River near the rubber plantation.

Nice road through the rubber trees.

Flood prevention embankment between the river and the trees.

One of the lesser used trails in the plantation.
With all the holes, not sure how long this embankment will last.

Mongolian Stir-Fry at Old Country Buffet and Ryans PART 2

See our article of March 22, 2013 for PART I

PART II

The next visit was the night I would try
it, but when I went up and that the young man who was being trained was
gone but a very personable young lady was there in his place. I went up
and she smiled - so rare at an OCB from many employees with very special
exceptions. I asked for chicken with noodles and vegetables. She filled
a large

Osterkranz

Lisa hatte ja für die Tauschpostrunde diesen Monat die Osterhasen gebastelt. Zwei Osterhasen waren nun noch übrig und sie hat sie kurzer Hand einen wunderschönen Osterkranz für die Tür gebastelt.

Ist der nicht schön?

Nun wünsche ich euch allen ein wunderschönes Osterwochenende und den Kindern viel Spaß beim Suchen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Tauschkarte von Nurit

Heute möchte ich euch die Karte von Nurit zeigen.

Dieses Stanzset für diese Art Türchen habe ich ja auch liegen. Geplant habe ich damit eigentlich Adventskalender. Doch diese Idee für eine Karte finde ich auch sehr schön und werde sie sicher mal nachwerkeln.

vielen Dank dafür
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Tauschkarte bzw. -objekt Nicole

Heute zeige ich euch Nicoles Tauschobjekt, Eine Karte ist es nämlich  nicht. Doch seht selbst.

Eine wunderschöne Dekoration für den Tisch. Eine Serviettentasche. Meine Tochter hat sie sich schon mal auf Seite gelegt für ihre Konfi nächstes Jahr.

Vielen Dank für die hübsche Idee.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

MAN DAY

Well , here in my smaller home in Thailand there is no room for a Man Cave or Man's receration room , with a pool table , bigscreen TV and a mini bar for friends to come over and relax. Besides, the lady folks and kids would want a little of your space after a while and there would  go the Man Cave -----soooo my friends  and I came up with the next best thing  a "MAN DAY".A day set aside for just the men to get together and do what-ever , as for now our man day consist of a fishing day every Wednesday , we've been doing it for a month now and the wives don't seem to mind and we're having a great time . We have even thought of heading up to the hot springs for a days of relaxing , and maybe a fishing trip on a commerical  fishing boat with guides and the whole works , out in the Ocean for the bigger game fish , the ideas just keep piling up , but for now the Wednesday fishing day hits the spot.
  Do you have a Man Cave or a Man Day ? and if so how is it working out for you and your friends ?

One thing you need to know , is there is no Football , Baskeball or Baseball played here in Thailand and us old retired folks are way to old to be running up and down a field playing scoccer, and it cost a arm and a leg to get thoses programs on cable. Sooooo  fishing works out just fine with a trip to the Hot Springs once in a while .Take care and enjoy your very own MAN DAY with you buddies, Oh ya  theres no hunting over here either , and with the size of the snakes in Thailand  we don't go camping either, and yes there are still Tigers (wild) in some of the forest too. Oh I forgot  no NASCAR either.  LOL























Tauschpostkarte Katrin

Heute zeige ich euch die Karte von Katrin.

Ist die nicht süss? Vielen Dank für die Idee.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Tauschpostkarte Beate

Was für ein schönes Wochenende. Ich hoffe, Ihr hattet auch eine schöne Zeit.

Heute möchte ich euch die Karte von Beate zeigen.

Wie ihr seht, hat sie eine Aufstellkarte gewerkelt. Eine tolle Idee, die zum Nachwerkeln anregt. Vielen Dank dafür.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Village Farang Answers Questions …

Here is comment from my last blog post.  It contains several questions so thought I would use it as a starting point for yet another post.

JJ Said:
“Well, just finished the blog. 300+ posts in 2 days! The level of material -- and the fact it resonates with me to such a degree -- kept me reading...

You like questions, so here are a few:



1) I can only assume that you've seen most of Thailand by now. Which place do you miss the most? By miss, I mean a place that development and time have altered so dramatically that it's been rendered unrecognizable from when you first encountered it. 
My tenure is nowhere near as long, but my list of missed places already saddens me.
2) You seem to be a very carpe diem kind of guy, looking for adventure around every corner. Do you have any regrets? 

3) Do you have a history with Hicks? I didn't follow that exchange...

4) One of the biggest differences I feel from when I first came here is how Thais in general react to farangs. Perhaps due to the sheer volume of them, or it could be their usual lack of understanding, but I usually get the sense that Thais as a whole are becoming a lot less genuine/friendly/etc with farangs as time passes. Would you agree? If so, do you see the trend changing? Or will the influx of tourists and expats end up eliminating the "Thai smile"?

5) Have you ever considered supplementing the blog with videos?

6) Have you traveled much to the bordering countries? Other than Mae Sai, I see no mention of them.”

Let me start with the easy stuff first.  I am not really into video but I have considered podcasts.  Since I am already spread a bit thin, with my attention scattered over too many venues, I don’t feel it is a good idea to make things even harder or more complicated.

Your question about “Hicks” really threw me.  I had to search through several hundred comments before I realizes you were asking about the author Andrew Hicks and a comment he made.  I didn’t really follow that exchange either, so don’t feel bad.  I have chosen not to hitch my wagon to the notorious nightlife of Thailand so I do not follow those who have.  Hicks would fall into that category for me, so we do not have any history that I know of.

Having long ago removed myself from the tourist areas of Thailand, I really don’t have a read on what things are like in areas more heavily populated with expats and sexpats.  Though I have to admit feeling a little uncomfortable a few times on our recent road trip through the Isaan region.  At times it felt a little too much like an extension of Pattaya for my liking.  For the last fifteen years I have had nothing to do with the nightlife and even that last ten years living in Bangkok, we lived and socialized in an upmarket area devoid the stereotypic foreigners and the lack of understanding you allude to.

As for traveling to other countries in the region, I really haven’t.  When I was young, in the mid 1970s, things were not as open as they are now and there were many place where it was not advisable to travel.  Besides my interest was, and still is, focused on Thailand, not on the region.  My interest never even extended to the minorities and stateless people, popular with some tourists, who are at best on the fringes of Thai society.  When I traveled a few years back with my wife, it was to snow covered peaks, pine forest and the national parks in my homeland, which I now find exotic after living here for so long.  Sharing these places with my wife made them even more amazing.

My adventures here were within Thailand and usually at the invitation of Thais.  As a youth I accompanied wealthy Thais, to Chiang Mai and Hua Hin, staying in their family holiday homes.  I once accompanied a couple of monks on the train to Chiang Mai where they were going to spend the rainy season.  I was young and presentable so many a young lady took me home to her village as a novelty but I won’t get into that. 

Being accepted into the different levels of society was a challenge and an adventure for me.  Keeping it all separate and straight, remembering how to speak and act in different environments was tricky at times but also a lot of fun.  It also helped me find myself and grow into the person I am today.

In a way I lead three different lives.  I kept my daytime and nighttime lives completely separate and my farang relationships were in yet another box.  Things began to change as I got older and more experienced but Thailand never left me wanting when it came to new challenges or experiences.  Which leads me to question number one and two.

I am not particularly nostalgic nor do I second guess my choices.  I make the best decision I can at the time, with the information I have, and move on from there.  That means I really have no regrets, as I am only who I am today because of what came before.  I don’t really identify with yearning for some place or past which no long is.  I live in the moment, as much as possible, while always keeping an eye on what is coming over the horizon.

As I age, I seem to have gravitated to a more domestic lifestyle, simplistic by design, but surrounded by creature comforts and the love of a good woman.  I no longer look outward so much or focus on the big things.  It is the little things that are close enough to touch my senses that get my attention.  I now notice things, feel and sense things, which went unnoticed years ago.

Sure it is great to bump into an old friend and take a stroll down memory lane.  It can bring back long forgotten memories and flood the senses with sights, sounds, smells and emotions but I can’t say I miss those places, or times, and wish they hadn't changed.  Besides what is the point, life marches on, and for me now is always the best place to be.

I know I jumped around a bit but I hope I answered your questions, even if not in the way anticipated.  Then again, after reading the blog, this was probably what you expected. ;-)  Thank you very much for taking the time to read the whole thing and ask questions.

Mongolian Stir-Fry at Old Country Buffet and Ryans PART 1

This article has been in the works for almost a year. My first encounter with what has now become a widespread feature at Old Country Buffet and Ryans restaurants - and Hometown Buffet was in April 2012 in a Ryans in Hagerstown, Maryland. There the Mongolian Stir-Fry was being prepared at the steak grill with a sign in front showing what it was and how to order. As I noted in an article about

Tauschpost von Annett

Und schon wieder Wochenende. Wo bleibt denn nur die Zeit?

Heute möchte ich euch die Karte von Annett zeigen.

Clear und simple, einfach schön. Vielen Dank für die schöne Idee.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Tauschpost Anita

Ab heute möchte ich euch so nach und nach die Tauschpostkarten der Mädels von diesem Monat zeigen. Ich komme leider nicht dazu alle auf einmal zu fotographieren und einzustellen.

Heute zeige ich euch die süße Karte von Anita.


Eine wirklich schöne Karte. Anita vielen, lieben Dank dafür.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Tauschpost

Mittlerweile sollte meine Tauschpost für diesen Monat bei allen Mädels angekommen sein, so dass ich euch zeigen kann, was ich verschickt habe.


Dieses Häschen hat meine Tochter gewerkelt. Ich dachte: "Hey, wir haben bald Ostern. Da passt das doch wunderbar." ich finden den Hasen absolut goldig.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

May-December Pairings and Other Relationship Thoughts…

So not too long ago we were at Chiang Rai Central Plaza, or what I call the Mall for short.  I won’t bore you with what we were doing, as that is not relevant to the topic, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a familiar face.  Ends up it had been two years so I had to run the face through my built-in facial recognition pathways.  Even with a few extra pounds I placed her before my wife did.

Big smiles and greetings all around and then I put my foot in it, by asking about her farang husband.  When we first moved to Chiang Rai, and before my wife learned how to bake bread, we had a favorite bakery where we bought bread and visited almost weekly.  The new couple were expecting when we met and soon had a little baby girl resting on the counter in their shop, when we would visit.

They had a hard time trying to make it here in Chiang Rai, and after moving a couple of times in the area, they eventually moved to Bangkok and later to Phuket, I believe.  Anyway they are no longer a couple and I felt bad as our friend held back tears and told us her sad story.

Through this encounter I found myself pondering the many relationships we have watched disintegrate over the years.  Sometimes people you know as a couple simply drift away from you, when they drift apart.  Other times the acrimony forces you to choose one side or the other.  Of course there are other relationships which manage to stay together but have you wondering how, or even why, they would want to.  Then there are those who put on a good front while hiding the disfunction that exists at home.  Understand that I am not talking about the bar scene or short time pay for play but couples, married or otherwise, who really try to make a go of it regardless of where they came from. 

Common knowledge says you need to be the same to make things work, same age, same race, same interests, same religion, same education and same socioeconomic background.  Yet some statistics seem to show that May-December relationships are no more likely to fail than your average pairing, despite having very little in common at first glance.  Of course there could be many explanations for this.

Thailand is an excellent place to view May-December couples, with most western men not finding Thailand until later in life.  My guess would be that a certain level of dependency may lead to greater longevity in some pairings.  The man may have invested too much and feel it is too late to move on.  The younger woman may feel gratitude and a sense of obligation toward her, White Knight, who may have rescued her from a less than glamorous life.  Then again it could be the devil you know is preferable to uncertainty and loneliness.  Perhaps I have just forgotten the desperate lengths some people will go to in order to fend off loneliness.

Sure there is a lot which can go wrong due to age, language, culture and the like.  For example, if the woman is very young and childless I guess I can understand there might be pressure on the older man to have children, and quickly.  You still hear women say they believe a baby is the best way to lock a man into a relationship, even though their own experience disproves this old belief. 

More often than not, the women who are looking outside their own culture for a husband already have children from past failed relationships.  It is often that desperation which leads then down that path of finding a foreign benefactor to begin with.  The thing I don’t get, is why would these couples, who already have multiple children between them, choose to produce yet another baby with little chance of the father being around until maturity? 

Regardless of what I might think, making babies seems to be a priority for some, even in old age. If I were an older guy coming to Thailand after divorce and redundancy, the last thing would be looking for is to repeat past mistakes and go down the exact same path as before.  Then again I am perhaps not the best judge, since I didn’t get married until I was 45 and already had an understanding of myself and women, sufficient to know what was necessary for a relationship of mine to work.  It also helps that I never bought into the norms of society to begin with.

On a more personal note, I have found our twenty year age gap an advantage in many ways.  To begin with we have more time to spend together since neither of us work, and we relish the time we spend together.  In this modern age, with two working parents and the over-scheduling of their children’s lives, is it any wonder people snap under the pressure or find they no longer have anything in common after the children grow up.

One also hears gossip about friend's partners which makes them sound more like enemies rather than soul-mates.  While I consider my wife my best friend and confidant, I seldom hear that view from others.  If we were both working and spending the majority of our waking hours apart, I wonder if our last 15 years would have been so wonderful.

I can find no rhyme or reason in observing all the failed or struggling relationships I observe around me.  Perhaps it is something external in the pressure exerted by modern society, or maybe it is something in our genetic makeup.  After all, we seldom lived past our forties in the past, and what worked on an evolutionary level for a relatively short-lived creature, maybe just doesn’t work for a species which has more than doubled the lifespan, for which it was designed.

With my parents reaching their 90s having been together for something around 64 years, perhaps my expectations are not in touch with this modern era where most relationship do not last.  I seem to come from a minority background and hold a minority view on relationships.  For me marriage is a onetime deal and there will be no repeat performances in my future. 

I see more young people, especially the better educated and more affluent, looking for alternatives but still the pressure exerted by family and society is substantial and cannot be overlooked.  I suppose couples like us with our 20 year age gap and our decision to live a life not burdened with children, will never be the norm.  Our biology is just too hard to resist for most.  Maybe these May-December relationships will in the end disappear if economic discrepancies are eliminated.  The way things are going with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, with the world shrinking yet becoming more polarized, I think it more likely May-December relationships are going to be around for some time to come.

letzte Sammelbestellung im Zeitraum der SAB

Du möchtest auch noch das eine oder andere Geschenk von SU aus der aktuellen SAB Aktion? Dann beteilige Dich an der Sammelbestellung am 21.03.2013. Bis abends 20:00 Uhr sollte Deine Bestellung bei mir sein.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Circumnavigating Phuket Island by Speedboat!

Phuket is a big island. I've said that before, but it's worth repeating. Part of the reason for starting Jamie's Phuket in the first place was to show that there is way more to Phuket than some beaches, bars and a few well known attractions. Over the years doing the blog it's been good to explore Phuket and the surrounding area. Over the bridge into Phang Nga province, by boat over to Phi Phi, Racha Yai or Koh Yao Noi islands. Ah yes ... a boat. Phuket is an island, and within a 1 hour speedboat ride there must be 100 small islands, there's certainly some amazing scenery (such as Phang Nga Bay), and if you charter a speedboat you can go when and where you want (within reason!). Many speedboat tours head to Phi Phi or James Bond Island or Khai island (for snorkeling) or Raya island. You can take boat trips every day for a week to somewhere different. You can ask my friends at Easy Day Thailand about all kind of tours. They tend to offer private tours and try to avoid the crowds as much as possible - yeh, some of these places can get real busy - to avoid crowds it's best to visit places early or late in the day .. or just do something different, explore, see what happens! And that's what we did last weekend!

The boys at Easy Day Thailand had hired a speedboat for the day to see what could be done. The aim was to cruise a complete circuit of Phuket Island stopping off on the way at a few places and seeing what's possible. We did not start until after midday which led to a very late lunch and a feeling that probably a 10am start would have been better. We started from Chalong Bay and headed off south and east towards the east coast of Phuket...

Speedboat Wake

It was a HOT day with calm seas. It's a long ride to get right around Phuket .. I'd say we covered about 130km, or 70 nautical miles. In places we could open the throttle, but there are plenty of marine craft around Phuket, with speedboats, longtail boats, fishing boats, sailing boats ... you have to slow down sometimes! Best anyway not to race, but enjoy the views of Phuket island from the sea.

Koh Sirey from the sea

(above) View on the east coast - this is Sirey Island, you can see the temple on the hill, it's a nice place to visit. And (below), we passed a fishing boat heading for the fishing port on Sirey.

Fishing Boat on the east coast of Phuket

First stop was Koh Rang Yai island, which I last visited a couple of years ago. It's a lovely little island. There were about a dozen boats by the beach and looked like mostly Russian tourists. Rang Yai is not big, but if you walk 100m from the boats, you get this...

Koh Rang Yai

Oh yes! We walked across the island which is mostly full of coconut palms (see photo below). There is some private development here, a restaurant, a small bar, some bungalows, but it's mostly very quiet, and remember this was the middle of the day in high season.

Koh Rang Yai - Island Interior

Paradise? Well, don't ask me .. I've traveled a lot and my mind varies between two points of view - there is no paradise (someone always spoils it), and paradise is what you make it. Well, the kids in our group certainly loved Rang Yai :)

Jump at Koh Rang Yai

We could have stayed much longer at Koh Rang Yai, but due to our late start, people started to feel hungry and lunch was still nearly 40km away! The plan was for lunch at a restaurant next to Sarasin bridge which joins Phuket to the mainland. So off we sped up the east coast of Phuket. The east coast is way less visited than the west coast where the main beaches are found. The east is mostly mangroves, small islands, fishing villages. Oh, and places like this ...

Sand Bar near Naka Island

Just a low-tide sand bar near Naka island, a sailing boat, the island of Koh Yao Yai beyond. As we all remarked on the boat, Phuket is just so crowded and touristy! Sure it can be, but that's not my Phuket ... so maybe there is a paradise :)

The speedboat captain slowed down quite a bit on the last 10km before the bridge - he'd never been this way before. A first for all of us. The speedboat owner Mr Kung was aboard too, and he'd never done a full circuit of Phuket either. By this time we knew that a trip of this kind needs an earlier start! It was nearly 4pm when we dropped anchor just past Sarasin Bridge on the beach next to the Thanoon Seafood restaurant which is actually on the Phang Nga side of the bridge.

Passing under the bridge

Dropping anchor

I'd only been to Thanoon Seafood once before, and I had suggested that it might be suitable for lunch on this trip. It was just about perfect - great view, quick service, cold beers and easy to park the boat right by the restaurant. Actually a late lunch was good, as by about 4pm you can feel the heat dropping, the light is beautiful and .. yeh, one more beer please!

Thanoon Seafood

And then we noticed that local kids were playing around, cooling off by jumping off the bridge ...

Kids Jumping at Sarasin Bridge

Leap of Faith

And on the other side of us, trying to catch something for dinner ...

Fishing in the channel

Well, our lunch break finished at about 5pm! This was of course an experimental trip. We learned that an afternoon trip is possible, but it would be much better to start earlier! Sun was already sinking low as we sped down the west coast of Phuket. An earlier plan to be at Phromthep Cape (at the southwest corner of Phuket) was abandoned. We stopped for a short while at Koh Waew, a tiny island close to Bang Tao Beach. Everyone jumped in for a little spot of snorkeling.

Tropical fish in the water at Koh Waew

But time was ticking and speedboats don't want to be out after dark, so we could not stop long. It was not far from sunset when we left Koh Waew - still about 45km to get back to Chalong Bay. Sunset at Koh Waew I guess is not seen by too many people. Nice.

Nearly Sunset at Koh Waew

And then a dash down the west coast passing Bang Tao, Surin, Kamala, Patong, Karon, Kata, Kata Noi, Naiharn and Ya Nui beaches, rounding Phromthep Cape, past Rawai beach and back to Chalong Bay just before dark. A great afternoon! If you want a trip like this, just ask Easy Day Thailand, the schedule is flexible, there's a lot of possible stops along the way.. they can work something out for you. I want to do it again :)

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag

Heute aus privatem Anlass. Der Kleinste meiner Großen (sieht man ihm heute mit seinen knapp 2,00 m nicht mehr an) hat heute Geburtstag.

Aus diesem Anlass möchte ich Dir, lieber M. alles erdenklich Gute wünschen. Ich freu mich auf heute Abend.
Dir bis dahin liebe Grüße

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Two Visits to Southern Smokehouse, Linden, New Jersey

I only get to Southern Smokehouse when I have something scheduled in New Jersey. While the restaurant is only a hour from my home, the trip involves tolls that amount to more than the cost of the meal. I do look forward to my annual two trips to this area and while there are other buffets to try around there, I go to Southern Smokehouse for dinner on both trips.

This is our third year back to

Filzwollreste, eine weitere

Wie ich euch ja schon mal geschrieben habe, habe ich so viele Filzwollreste von meinen ganzen Schuhstricken, dass ich kaum noch wusste wohin damit. Nach dem ich nun schon mal Topflappen ausprobiert habe, war ich begeistert. Die sahen hinterher so toll aus. Also habe ich mir eine Grundfarbe, von der ich ein paar Knäuel hatte, heraus gesucht und habe mit den Resten Streifen eingestrickt. Da entstehen zwar ganz schön viele Fadenenden, die dann verstochen werden müssen. Aber die Mühe lohnt sich.
Ehrlich. Vorm Waschfilzen sahen die Topflappen so aus.
Und nach dem Waschfilzen dann so.


Die sind absolut dick, für große wie kleine Hände geeignet und dabei doch flexibel und passen sich gut der Oberflächenform an, so dass man das jeweilige Kockgut sicher in der Hand hat.
 
Die weißen Topflappen mit roten Streifen, die ich euch letztens zeigte, habe ich am Wochenende verschenkt. Die sind richtig gut angekommen. Das hat mich gefreut.
 
Nun wünsche ich euch ein schönes, ruhiges Wochenende
 
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Babykarte, Karte zur Geburt

Ein Kollege von uns ist Mitte Februar Vater geworden. Leider hatte ich keine Zeit eine Karte zu werkeln. Aber ein kurzer Anruf zu Hause und.... ja zum Glück habe ich eine kreative Tochter, die nachmittags mehr Zeit hat als ich.

Seht mal was sie in der Größe A5 (damit alle Kollegen/innen einen kleinen Gruß schreiben können) gewerkelt hat.

Ich fand die absolut süss. Das Verdeck des Kinderwagens hat sie gefaltet, damit steht er einwenig 3-D mäßig ab. Echt ein Hingucker.

Lisa noch mal vielen Dank für die schöne Karte und Deine Hilfe.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Zauberkarte, Geburtstagskarte

Diese Technik wollte ich schon lange mal ausprobieren. Im Netz habe ich die Art von Karte unter dem Begriff Zauberkarte gefunden.

Sie geht unheimlich schnell, macht wenig Arbeit und sieht so absolut toll aus. Die werde ich immer mal wieder machen.

Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

neulich bei uns zu Hause

Ich freu mich echt für jeden, der heute nicht irgendwie in dieses Schneechaos hinaus musste. Für 25 km habe ich mehr als 2 Stunden gebraucht. Schön ist was anderes, das kann ich euch sagen.
 
Doch zu meinem Foto von heute. Vor ein paar Tagen war meine Freundin bei uns zu Besuch. Sie hatte für Ihre persönlichen Sachen eine Tasche dabei. Kaum stand die auf dem Fussboden fing unsere Katze J.D. an um diese Tasche herum zu schleichen.
Zum Glück hat Angelika selber einen Hund und hatte schon Katzen, so dass sie sehr verständnisvoll war.
Alles was in der Tasche nicht kaputt gehen sollte, wurde zur Sicherheit herausgenommen und schon sah es so aus.
 
Ein Karton, eine Tasche, ein Wäschekorb....egal. Kaum steht was auf der Erde, muss J.D. Probe sitzen. Und dann macht er ein so treudoofes Gesicht. Kann man da was sagen?

Euch einen schönen Dienstag und wer noch muss eine gute Fahrt
Für den Moment
liebe Grüße
Conny

Top 10 Phuket Hotels

Update 2016 - new Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016 list!

This Top 10 / Best Phuket Hotels list based on TripAdvisor rankings as they were in March 2013. For each hotel there are links for checking online rates and availability - I suggest using Agoda.com if you want to book a hotel in Phuket. There are also review links - also mostly from Agoda where possible - only people who have booked the hotels through Agoda can make a review (I've left some reviews myself), and if you check the reviews, they tend to be very honest reviews, with plus points and minus points - combine Agoda reviews with the TripAdvisor reviews for an even wider range of people's views.

1. The Baray Villa by Sawasdee Village (Kata Beach)

The Baray Villa

The Baray Villa - just 14 luxury villas, which are run by the Sawasdee Village Resort, and yet separate from the resort. Villas are 2 floor with huge rooms, jacuzzi, direct pool access, set in tropical gardens, with a spa available. Reviews make the villas sound fantastic! It was also number 1 in 2012. Yes, please!

The Baray Villa - Online Booking
Baray Villa - Reviews

2. Rising Sun Residence (Chalong)

Rising Sun Residence

Not a beach hotel at all, Rising Sun Residence has 12 villas in the hills in the Chalong area near Chalong Temple. There are seven three-bedroom villas, four of these have a private pool and jacuzzi, kitchen and large living room. The five one-bedroom villas are built around a large pool with sun deck and jacuzzi. Long way from the beach, so would suit people who want to explore Phuket and "come home" in the evening. Jamie's Phuket kind of people!

Rising Sun Residence - Online Booking
Rising Sun Residence - Reviews

3. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)

BYD Lofts

Up from 7th place last year, BYD Lofts is not really a hotel, it offers serviced apartments, with a viewtastic rooftop pool, near the center of Patong Beach. There are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. A good place to stay if you like to be near the center of all the action (that's Patong) but need a quiet place to retire to. I know I knock Patong, but for sure it's convenient to have a lot of restaurants, shops and tour counters near you.

BYD Lofts - Online Booking
BYD Lofts - Reviews

4. Trisara Resort Villas

Trisara

Trisara was 9th last year, and I gotta say it might be my choice. Trisara offers private pool villas on a private beach just north of Layan beach in the north of Phuket. Trisara is a "secluded, luxury, amazing views, forget-your-worries" style hotels. Only 39 villas, lots of space, no crowds. Villas from 2 - 6 bedrooms, so can be ideal for families or big groups, or weddings. Or just for a relaxing trip for a couple. And yes, it's miles from any busy areas, so don't complain that you have to get taxis everywhere :)

Trisara - Online Booking
Trisara - Reviews

5. The Shore at Katathani (Kata Noi Beach)

The Shore at Katathani

Katathani has been around for years, but The Shore is their newer luxury "pool villa" development, opened in 2010. And it sure looks good! Pool villas, some with seaview (note: reviews mention that the view does vary from villa to villa), all with private pools. As I said, this "private villa" thing seems to be the trend in the last few years. A great hotel for couples. I see lots of honeymoon reviews.

The Shore at Katathani - Online Booking
The Shore - Reviews

6. Pen Villa (Surin Beach)

Pen Villa

And the totally new entry ... Pen Villa. I had to check on this one. A smaller hotel at Surin beach, and I'd really not heard of it before writing this . Must have opened in the last couple of years, and looks like the kind of personal place which requests guests that they make reviews on TripAdvisor. Every year there are a couple of places that make me say "Where?". Power of the internet. I'm sure it is very nice though!

Pen Villa - Online Booking
Pen Villa - Reviews

7. Renaissance Resort and Spa (Mai Khao Beach)

Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa

Mai Khao Beach is still one of Phuket's quiet secrets. It's about 10km long with only about 7 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, ever crowded. There's a variety of rooms - simple "deluxe" rooms up to pool villas with seaview. Mai Khao Beach is way up in the north of Phuket, it's over 40km from here to Patong, Karon and Kata. If you want solitude, it's ideal and why would you visit the main beaches anyway? I love the location of the Renaissance!

Renaissance Resort - Online Booking
Renaissance Resort - Reviews

8. Kantary Bay Hotel (Cape Panwa)

Kantary Bay Hotel

The Cape Panwa area is south of Phuket Town, well away from the main Phuket beaches, and it's an area that we really like. Kantary Bay Hotel is right by the Phuket Aquarium. The hotel has studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom suites. All suites have a living room and kitchenette. Seeing a trend here? Old style hotels are out ... it's nice to have something more like an apartment so you can be a bit more independent. Explore Phuket .. explore with the help of this blog :)

Kantary Bay Hotel - Online Booking
Kantary Bay Hotel - Reviews

9. Pacific Club Resort (Karon Beach)

Pacific Club Resort

The Pacific Club Resort seems to often rank highly when I make top 10 lists, despite (again) not being by the beach. It missed the list last year, but it's back! Pacific Club is about 10 minutes walk down to the sands of Karon Beach. The hotel is situated in the hills above Karon, with seaviews and green views. There are standard rooms and also 1 and 2 bedroom suites. The restaurant is said to be good and I must try it one day! (I've been saying that for years).

Pacific Club Resort - Online Booking
Pacific Club Resort - Reviews

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

Mom Tri's Villa Royale

Mom Tri's Boathouse hotel was one of Phuket's first five star boutique hotels with a famous restaurant. The Villa Royale was built later on land which used to be the location of his home, on the headland overlooking Kata Noi beach (just south of Kata beach). Steps from the hotel takes you down to the beach. Great views from the rooms and from the restaurant too. It's got a touch of class, and is often fully booked even in low season!

Villa Royale - Online Booking
Villa Royale - Reviews
More about Mom Tri's Villa Royale on Jamie's Phuket


Is that really the top 10? Well, it's based on the TripAdvisor list, I had to base it on something! Maybe you stayed at a hotel that's not listed, but should be? Do add a comment below! Phuket has a very confusing mix of old and new resorts, big hotels and small guesthouses, villas for rent, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas... There's something here for everyone, but sometimes. There is a trend in recent years for new luxury resorts and for sea view (not on the beach) villas. Land prices and rent are very high these days in Phuket, so it's hard to think about opening a small hotel or guesthouse. I'd say Phuket is slowly heading upmarket. Older tourist areas like Soi Bangla in Patong are being redeveloped. Out with the bars, in with aircon shopping centers and new stylish resorts. And dotted around the coast, many new 4 - 5 star resorts have opened in the last few years. If you have a favourite hotel, let me know :)

Since doing the 2012 list, it was suggested that I add some more specific hotel information, so I have written a few new blog posts were added about different kinds of Phuket hotels ...

Best Phuket Family Hotels
Best Phuket Luxury Hotels
Best Phuket Lower Budget Hotels

For Phuket hotel reservations, I recommend you check Agoda.com - it's what I use myself. On the subject of reviews, by all means read them, but do think also about actual hotel features - location, size, room type, price (!), suitability for kids etc.. one person's heaven may be another person's holiday nightmare! Some like it quiet and secluded, others want action. Some want great views from a hillside, some want beachfront.... Any questions about hotels, please do leave a message or ask on Jamie's Phuket Facebook Page.