Chiang Rai to Pai on the Ninja ...

I was awake at first light and ready to go by seven but it was a cold, wet, cloud of mist that enveloped my world at this hour.  Delaying as long as I dared, half an hour later I was on my way regardless of the weather.  With the visor open, eyes stinging and water dripping down my face, I limped along at a feeble pace.  Bumps in the road would dislodge the droplets on the windscreen, adding to my discomfort and further blurring my vision.  It was the same with the visor on my helmet, covered in mist as it was.  It wasn’t until I passed Chiang Rai town that I was able to put the visor down and start making time on what I expected to be at least a seven hour ride.

One full-moon cycle had passed since our trip to Pai with Cookie in the truck.  This time I was alone on the Ninja 650, with only a vague idea what I would be doing.  I spent a couple of days on my Google Map examining our previous route and looking for alternate roads that would expose me to new ground.  Google Maps suggested a route through Chiang Dao which turned out to be a no go.  After speaking with locals in the area I retraced my path, pleased to discover that my wife had not missed a shorter route on our previous trip, but discourage that I had waisted valuable time on a false trail.

I am a bit of a dinosaur in that I have never used GPS and this time even traveled without a map.  There are, after all, road signs and locals to ask if one is uncertain about the path ahead.  The overcast conditions made for a cool and comfortable day of riding but not a good day for photography.  I had modified a liner from an older jacket to use with a new lighter one and that kept me comfortable during the cold wet morning.  It wasn’t until noon that felt the need to remove that liner and once again enjoyed feeling the cool breeze on my upper body.

I arrived in Pai at two thirty, almost exactly seven hours from my time of departure.  After a shower and a little nap it was time to eat and explore parts of Pai that we didn’t have time for on the last trip.  The first thing I noticed was the change in atmosphere.  Gone were the crowds of Bangkok Thais and in their place was a smattering of foreign travelers.  To be fair it was still early and the vendors were just setting up in parts of walking street but I wanted to take advantage of the evening light and catch the sunset down by the river.  The walk from the hotel to the river and back did wonders for my feet and legs.  Having collected a few shots and after a massage I turned in early, so still don’t know what the nightlife is like in Pai.

Twenty years ago I may have joined my fellow travelers in one of the open bars or restaurants but on this day I really could’t see the point.  I much prefer riding alone and at my own pace with time for photos and pee stops in the mountains but it is a little lonely when you get to your destination.  I guess that might be why riders like to travel in groups.  Another thing I have noticed, is that riders tend to be both drinkers and smokers.  I guess if you are doing something as inherently dangerous as riding a motorcycle, why worry about the added risk of drinking and smoking.  Still I find myself taking a step back when talking with fellow riders on their roadside smoke breaks.

Except for the occasional wave to a passing rider or a smile and a nod to a traveler I passed on walking street, all my communication was with Thais.  There is what appears to be a reluctance on the part of some travelers to talk to other foreigners.  If I don’t make the first move, the gap between us is not bridged, and we remain strangers.  Perhaps I was just tired from a long day on the bike but I just didn’t feel like mounting a charm offensive and allowed others to maintain their distance.  To be fair tourists and I don’t really have a lot in common, though it can be entertaining to get their take on things.

Thais are a different story.  I’m not talking about those in the tourist trade who make their living by interacting with foreigners but normal people who don’t have much contact with farangs.  A good example can be found in a couple of fellow travelers and their driver, I saw at breakfast.  We obviously saw each other but having not been properly introduced, as is the Thai way, we politely ignored each other.  Later, however, we crossed paths on a mountain pass where everyone stops for a photo op.  This time there was an instant sign of recognition and the Thai gentleman approached me as we took pictures of the sign that marks the spot and shows others where you have been.  A pleasant exchange followed after he discovered that I spoke Thai.  Also talked with Thai BMW rider from Bangkok for a few minutes.

I find even those Thais who speak relatively good English, are relieved to speak Thai.  Expats sometime take offense at being ignored, or by a Thai’s reluctance to deal with their mindless babbling.  If you don’t speak Thai, then what comes from your mouth is nothing but meaningless noise to most people, if you hadn’t guessed.  Throw in a lack of understanding about proper social etiquette and how to approach locals and what do you expect of an encounter.  The reaction of some expats is sad, however, considering it is their own fault that they live here without learning to speak Thai.  Recently a guy was complaining about bad service at a car dealership because they didn’t speak good English.  Leaves me wondering how many mechanics back home are great linguists.  Even expecting one’s wife to translate in an area where she has little interest, expertise or vocabulary is a little far fetched in my opinion.  I somehow doubt that the actual service was really all that bad.

Back to my travels, the next day started off with no more than a light fog as I headed out of Pai toward Mae Hong Song and Khun Yuem, where we stayed last time.  The weather cleared early and I managed to get some shots along the way.  The mountain pass at Doi Kiew Lom View Point was clear and not as windy as last time.  Making good time I made a quick pitstop in Khun Yuem, intent on making it to Mae Sariang by day’s end.  Parts of the 108 after Khun Yuem were quite quick, with plenty of opportunities to get out of second and third gears for a change.

Then of course there was a river valley where it looked like the road had been entirely engulfed by the river during the last rainy season.  Riding on the dirt was actually preferable to the patches that still had remnants of asphalt here and there, making the ride quite uncomfortable.  Anyway it gave me an excuse to get off the bike and take a few pictures.

I am embarrassed to say, I blew right past Mae Sariang.  I almost stopped at a big PTT station for gas at a wide spot in the road but was distracted by signs that had me choosing which road to take.  Stopping might have alerted me to where I was and sent me on a search of someplace to spend the night.  As it was, I was several kilometers down the road when I started to get an inkling that something wasn’t quite right.  At one of the police checkpoints along the way I discovered my oversight and though a little chagrined at my lapse, I was happy enough to continue riding until I got to Hot.  One officer thought I could probably make Chiang Mai before dark but I was pretty well done for the day by the time I pulled into Hot and I refuse to ride after dark.

It took some doing to find accommodation for the night and the place I found didn’t have the word hotel anywhere in its name.  It wasn’t quite as nice as the place in Pai but it was half the price and quiet enough, so I didn’t complain.  A little roadside food and a stop at the seven eleven and I was good for the night.  Interestingly day one and day two were both 371 kilometers and change, with a time difference of only half an hour from start to finish.

Initially I had planned to spend a night in Chiang Mai on this trip but found myself missing my home and my family.  I enjoyed the riding and being on the bike but the nights were far less enjoyable.  The wife and I talked several times a day, as I kept her up to date on my progress but it was not enough to keep me from missing her company.  Gone for me are those self-reliant bachelor days where I depended on no one.

I awoke on the third day to a beautiful sunrise and a burning desire to get home to my lovely wife and my dog.  The road from Hot to Chiang Mai, I could have done without and it was a relief to get on one of the bypass road around Chiang Mai.  I am not typically a speed or distance junky but my desire to return home combined with very light traffic from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai had me moving more quickly than usual.  I was lucky enough to slot in behind a car from Bangkok doing 120 to 130 when conditions permitted.  Letting him run interference, I was able to relax my field of attention a bit and enjoy the ride.  Even with a couple of leisurely coffee stops, I covered the 325 kilometers from Hot to home in roughly five hours and was home by 1pm.

For those unfamiliar with riding a motorcycle in Thailand, seeing a bike in the oncoming lane is often viewed as an invitation to overtake a slower vehicle or simply move into your lane to make a turn.  That means you sometimes have to retreat to the shoulder to avoid being hit.  The unregulated nature of the roads where I live make them a lot more fun but with the consequence of being much more dangerous.  Dogs, chickens, kids, bikes, scooters and various farm equipment, farm animals and their droppings are to be found on the roads.  On this trip I had close encounters with many of the usual suspects, with a lone cow in the middle of a narrow mountain road being the most exhilarating, one might say.  That is all on top of the sometimes questionable condition of the road surface.

Despite the dangers and inconveniences I still enjoy riding around in the mountains of Chiang Rai but I am happiest when I can return home at the end of the day.

Kaffeeklatsch am Mittwoch???


hoffentlich wundert Ihr Euch nicht, mich hier am Mitwoch gleich mit einer Kaffeetasse zu sehen... *hihi* Nein, den BiWuBären-Kaffeeklatsch werden wir auch weiterhin sonntags abhalten, aber ich wollte Euch doch so gerne mal meinen neuen Wohnzimmertisch zeigen. Und jaaaahaaaa... Birgit hat endlich die Teile für mein Erdbeer-Cottage wieder hervor geholt, alles geordnet usw. und als allererstes beschlossen, dass die Rückwand vom Wohnzimmer so überhaupt nicht geht, also noch mal alles auf Anfang. Tja, das hält erst mal wieder auf und Birgit vertreibt sich die Zeit mit Reetbündelkleberei und etwas Rumpinseln, also nichts, was ich hier so recht zeigen könnte. Deshalb stelle ich Euch heute halt meinen Tisch vor, denn den kennt Ihr ja noch gar nicht.

Wie für mich gemacht, oder? *zwinker* Birgit hat sich nämlich gedacht, für mein Erdbeer-Cottage müsste es schon etwas Besonderes sein. Und da ist ihr irgendwann die Porzellantasse wieder in die Finger gefallen, die wir mal neben vielen anderen schönen Dingen von unserer lieben Melli bekommen haben. Die war für unsere Kaffeeklatschbilder zu klein und als Accessoire viel zu groß, aber als Möbel genau richtig - nur die Farbe musste etwas angepasst werden. Und da hat Birgit die Tasse nebst Untertasse mit Dekoschneepaste bestrichen, danach mit roter und grüner Farbe gekleckert und zum Schluß noch ein paar hellgrüne Rocailles aufgeklebt. Durch die Paste ergibt sich ein recht krisseliger Untergrund, aber das war Absicht von Birgit, sie meint, eine Erdbeere wäre ja auch nicht glatt wie ein Babypopo und so sehe es gleich viel spannender aus. Jedenfalls kommt obendrauf noch eine Acrylscheibe und voilà - fertig ist das Designerunikat für den Erdbeerliebhabär...

Und damit es noch mal einen Extra-Pfiff bekommt, hat Birgit unten in die Tasse noch ein paar Kaffeebohnen aus Glas geklebt - Kaffeeklatsch eben *grins* Damit auch jeder gleich weiß, dass dies der Tisch vom Blogbärchen dieses Blogs ist...

Ich hoffe, mein Tisch gefällt Euch - und ich hoffe doch sehr, dass wir bald mal etwas von meinem Cottage vorzeigen können... Aber wie auch immer - es wird!!! *jubel*

Liebe Grüße
Euer Tischbesitzer Flutterby

Happy 2012

I know it is little late for this stuff. But I believe in better late than later.
This is an assorted post. I have put it all in one place - my predictions, my wishlist, my resolutions for 2012. 

So, my predictions for 2012...

2012 is going to be horrible.
No doubt about that.

To start with, it is a leap year. That is going to be one extra day of farmer suicides, murders, rapes and more importantly traffic jams and T.V serials. But this year is not only going to be longer, it is going to appear even longer. Yes! We have olympics this year - the event they conduct once every four years so that stronger, faster, fitter athletes can sell shoes, chips and colas to dumber, fatter and lazier us. We have elections coming up as well. The media is going to bore us to death with its news coverage. They are going to tell us everything about the elections but for the most important one - where the nearest poll booth is so that we can avoid getting stuck in the traffic jam on election day.

 But do you know what is going to make 2012 annus horribilis? It is Harsha Bogle announcing in a solemn voice, 'This is end of an era.' as Sachin tendulkar gets out in his last test innings. Fifteen minutes later he will declare end of another era when Dravid gets out. And some time later in the same day he will go, 'Laxman is clean bowled! Oh, what the heck! Let's end another era.'

I am not much into sports. It is physically demanding - on my eyes. But I will definitely miss Sachin Tendulkar. He is the last batsman about who I can say, 'When he played his first test, I was just a teenager. I will bunk classes to watch his innings.' I don't think I will talk about cricket hereafter. What can I say about Virat Kohli and the ilk? Do you think, 'When he played his first test I was changing my kid's diapers.' is a good conversation starter?

Enough with the predictions. Let's move on to the resolutions. You can't be more careful about making new year resolutions. You are going to live with it for like.. at least a week. So I thought a lot over it in the dying days of 2011 and then the first ten days of 2012 and have whittled down my list of new year resolutions to just two.

1. I am going to do things on time this year. In fact, ahead of time. I have already started making a post on why 2013 is going to be horrible. Watch out for it on December 31, 2012 or January 11, 2013.

2. I want to become fitter this year. I plan to distribute free chips packets in my neighborhood.

Moving on to wishlist for 2012, Please come back after, let's say, six months. I will be ready by that time.

The Phuket Blog - Best of 2011 (Part 2)

Continuing swiftly on from the Best of the Phuket Blog Part 1 (January - June) .. here's the best bits from the second half of 2011. I enjoyed 2011 - we had some very nice days out, our kids are growing up and learning about life every day. We had holidays with my Mum and Dad here in September / October. And I've had no trouble finding new places to blog about, although I have also "reblogged" a few things that were originally on the Phuket blog back in 2006 or 2007, mainly to keep everything current, also to add new photos, as some of the older blog posts don't have great images. I am still using a Canon EOS 20D, which is quite old, and will most likely be upgraded this year. Bring on 2012!

July 2011... A very good blogging month. Starting with a favourite little restaurant in Phuket called Kopitiam located on Thalang Road in the old town. They do good old style coffee (Kopi) and Chinese-Thai food like Hokkien noodles and the restaurant is full of old photos of Phuket. The Chinese connection continued - I blogged about the big Chinese shrine at Thau Reua, close to the Heroines Monument - most tourists will drive past this shrine on the way from the airport to the main beach areas. It was being built when I first arrived in Phuket in 1999. It was only completed in 2010 .. and this was the first time I had looked inside!

Dragon at Tha Reua Chinese Shrine, Phuket

We found a new restaurant in July called Yellow Door, on the north side of Phuket Town and we've been several times since. And then on the weekend of 15th - 17th July was the 3rd annual Kathu Village Festival - a street fair with a great street procession on the first evening. We live in Kathu and I really like the area. Some superb costumes in the procession ...

Kathu Village Festival 2011

I have friends in Phuket who are involved in all kinds of businesses. I wrote in July about a couple of friend's places... If you want to book a tour, hire a car, charter a boat, visit Phi Phi, just about anything - contact Diego or Ingo at Easy Day Thailand! And if you want Yoga classes, go and see Becky and The Little Yoga Room!

August - it's low season and one thing I love is that the evenings are longer - sunset is 30 minutes later than January, it just makes the day more relaxed for me. I had the chance to visit places after work, catch the sunset, take in some views. The viewpoint by the wind turbine in between Naiharn and Ya Nui beaches is great, and when I visited in August someone was paragliding too! The weather in low season is mixed but can often be like this ...

Paragliding in Phuket

Also in August, another first - I had heard about the Por Tor festival (Hungry Ghost Festival) but never had a look before... another WoW! Very much enjoyed this - something very different for me, for the whole family in fact. It's a very local festival based around a small Chinese shrine in Phuket Town. Huge red turtle cakes are made as offerings.

Por Tor Festival - Por Tor Kong Shrine

The blog, being over 5 years old, is a little ragged in places.. can be hard to find some posts, so I wrote a couple of things to tie up some blog pages in neat packages - Phuket Museums and Phuket Waterfalls. In September, I realised that despite working for many years at Karon Beach, I had never stopped at the Karon Temple Market which takes place every Tuesday and Saturday evening. I have to make more of an effort! Hey, the Chalong Temple fair is coming up soon 23 - 29 January 2012 - I will be stopping there to get some new photos for sure. From local markets to new resorts, I actually got invited to the opening party of the Holiday Inn Mai Khao Beach, they obviously think I am a full time blogger with lots of spare time! Could not make the party, but did blog about the resort.

On another sunny evening, I visited the Nai Harn Temple for the first time. It's a stones throw from the beach. As the evening sun bathed the temple in light, Monks chanted inside. A spiritual experience? Well, a photo op for sure!

Naiharn Temple, Phuket

The 2011 Phuket Vegetarian Festival started on September 26th - my favourite Phuket event! The history and the traditions and the bizarre piercings and all the firecrackers - love it! The next 6 blog posts in September and October were all about the festival and it's many ceremonies. We attended the opening ceremony at Kathu Shrine - raising the Go Teng pole for the Gods to descend. We went back at midnight too. First time I'd done that.

Prayers in Kathu Shrine

The festival lasts 10 days. Best 10 days of the year! A few days after the start we investigated the "Birth and Death Gods" procession in Kathu village, and during the festival we also saw early-morning face piercing at Sam Kong Shrine, a big street parade in Phuket Town from the Bang Neow Shrine, we were at our "local" Kathu shrine early morning for more face piercing. And we were back at Kathu on the last night of the festival for the bridge crossing ceremony which seemed to attract the whole local population! A few photos from the vegetarian festival ...

Street Procession in Kathu Village 29th September 2011

Face Piercing at Sam Kong Shrine 30th September

Sword Head

Early October was a busy time for photos! Mum and Dad here for holidays and I took some time off work, we were out most days, though the weather was not very kind - most of the blog posts from October right into December were based on things we did during the holidays - we investigated quite a lot of new restaurants such as Thanoon Seafood, next to the Sarasin Bridge between Phuket and Phang Nga. And also the restaurant at Cape Phromthep, which somehow we had never tried before in all these years .. what a view!

Our lunchtime table

We also ate at Kin Dee Restaurant in the north of Phuket and I blogged about the floating restaurants at Coconut Island. We had been busy bees on holiday and I was glad to have a backlog of new things to blog - once I was back at work, things were busy! We visited the old Chinese mansion in Phuket Town called Chinpracha House, open to the public for taste of early 20th century Phuket life. Nice to be on holiday! Another day we headed to the south of Phuket and visited Rawai Beach and Ya Nui Beach.

Making the Fish Trap

Mum at Yanui Beach

(above) Fishermen making a fish trap at Rawai beach - and my Mum at Ya Nui beach :)

December 2011 - new pages on the blog included the very good Thai Hua Phuket History Museum and the new bridge from Phuket to Phang Nga that you can walk across - quite a popular new exercise area for local people. And the year comes to an end ... already a couple of new places ready to blog :) I have less time at this time of year, high season and the dive shop is busy. A day off is more likely to be relaxing at home, not driving and exploring Phuket! Thanks for reading the Phuket Blog ... much more to come! Please do join the Facebook Page, please do keep reading! The photo below was taken yesterday. Not blogged yet!

The "Other" Phuket Big Buddha

And as we enter 2012, here's a photo I took on New Years Eve. We (meaning my family) avoided the crowds and had a NYE dinner at a small restaurant by the beach in a less touristy area. The whole idea of the Phuket Blog was to show Phuket in a different light, hope that is still obvious, hope it will continue through 2012.

Lantern and Moon, New Year 2012

Happy New Year from Phuket!

Kaffeeklatsch (Nr. 81)


als Blog-Bärchen vom Dienst habe ich ja so meine Verpflichtungen, aber auch durchaus die eine oder andere Vergünstigung... *zwinker* Und zu den äußerst angenehmen Verpflichtungen meines Blogbärchendaseins gehört ohne Zweifel die Übernahme dieses ersten Kaffeeklatsches im neuen Jahr! Ja, die Feiertage sind erst mal vorbei (Wir warten auf Ostern! *hihi*) und nun geht wieder alles seinen geregelten Gang. Und wenn die Dinge wieder normal laufen, dann muss es hier auf diesem Blog ja wohl auch wieder einen sonntäglichen Kaffeeklatsch geben, jawoll!

Wie Ihr aber sicher auf den ersten Blick mit Kennerblick festgestellt habt, bringt das neue Jahr auch ein neues Kaffeeklatschoutfit mit - Birgit hat uns nämlich extra für's neue Jahr einen neuen Kaffeeklatschbecher spendiert. Und ich habe die Ehre, ihn einzuweihen... ganz nett hier drin, doch, lässt sich aushalten! Da werden sich auch die anderen BiWuBärchen wohl fühlen, Sonntag für Sonntag... ;O)

Ich wünsche Euch nachher jedenfalls ganz viel Spaß bei leckerem Sonntagsnachmittagskaffee und ein, zwei leckeren Stückchen Sonntagsnachmittagskuchen - oder müsst Ihr vielleicht noch ein paar übrig gebliebene Weihnachtsplätzchen aufmuffeln? Und einen schönen Rest-Sonntag und viel Spaß bei allem, was Ihr am verbleibenden Wochenende noch so vorhabt ebenso wie eine tolle Woche, das alles wünsche ich Euch natürlich auch.

Aber bevor ich mich von Euch für heute verabschiede, muss ich doch noch mal ganz kurz erklären, was die Kreuze auf meinem Kalender auf sich haben, über die sich einige gewundert haben... *kicher* Datenschutz, Ihr Lieben! In meinen Kalender hat Birgit nämlich viele Geburtstagstermine mit eingearbeitet - und die gehören ja nicht so in die Öffentlichkeit, darum haben wir die Fotos etwas bearbeitet. Und weil bei uns der August der Geburtstagsmonat schlechthin ist, haben wir da einfach gaaaaaaaaaanz viele Xe gemacht... Alle Klarheiten beseitigt? Na denn...

Liebe Grüße
Euer Flutterby

Jahresausblick (Fortsetzung)


also, ich bin echt gerührt, dass Euch mein Kalender so gut gefallen hat. Aber Birgit hat auch wirklich schöne Bilder ausgesucht, das muss man ihr lassen... *schmunzel* Weiter geht's nun mit der 2. Hälfte meines Kalenders, genauer gesagt im Juli:

Ein tolles Foto von Rubiel in unserer Trauerrose, die ja nur so heißt, weil die Zweige runterhängen - ansonsten macht die uns gar nicht traurig sondern im Gegenteil nur Freude und sie hat sogar die beiden großen Stürme jetzt gut überstanden ohne umzukippen, das hätten wir alle gar nicht für möglich gehalten... äh... wo war ich... öhmmm... jedenfalls macht sich Rubiel mit seinem Fellchen richtig gut in dieser Rose, perfekte Bärchenmimikry... *grins*

Im August findet sich dann das perfekte Duo - unsere blaue Hortensie und Bluebell, unsere größte Hortensienliebhaberin. Und wenn ich auch nicht so viel von Vorsätzen für's neue Jahr halte, aber diesen einen habe ich: Mich nicht wieder von Bluebell zum Versteckspielen in der Hortensie überreden zu lassen! Vermutlich wird sie mich ja doch wieder drankriegen, aber mein guter Vorsatz hat dann immerhin eine längere Haltbarkeit als viele andere Neujahrsvorsätze. *hihi*

Im September finden wir das schöne Beweisfoto dafür, dass ein Schmetterlingsflieder wie ein Magnet auf Schmetterlinge wirkt - sogar auf so ausgefallene Exemplare wie unseren Fluttercino.

Für den Oktober hat Birgit ein Bild ausgewählt, das zwar überhaupt nicht zur Jahreszeit passt, das ich aber sehr mag - nicht nur, weil das abgebildete Bärchen so fotogen ist *flööööööötpruuuuuuhuuuust*, sondern weil mir die kleinen wildwachsenden Veilchen in unserem Rasen so gut gefallen. Birgit ist zum Glück sehr tolerant, was den Rasen angeht, solange es grün ist, ist es ihr wurscht, ob da ein Grashalm oder ein Wildkraut wächst.

Unser Apfelexperte Granny Smith hat seinen Auftritt im Monat November. Nachdem wir letztes Jahr zum ersten Mal eigene Äpfel ernten konnten/durften, hoffe ich doch sehr auf eine Wiederholung! So ein ungespritzter Apfel direkt vom eigenen Baum ist schon was Feines - und erst die Apfelkuchen, die man daraus backen kann *yammi* aber ich schweife schon wieder ab, dabei fehlt doch noch ein Monat:

Unser Toffee im Flieder hat den Dezemberauftritt bekommen - Birgit meint, das bringe ihre Sehnsucht nach Frühling zum Ausdruck. Naja, denn...  ;O)

Nun wisst Ihr, welche 12 Bilder mich durch mein bärsönliches Jahr begleiten werden. Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass in 2012 wieder einige schöne Bilder entstehen werden, die Birgit für einen neuen Kalender verwenden kann. Denn was das angeht, habe ich gar nichts gegen "Same procedure as every year" - über so ein Geschenk freue ich mich jedes Jahr wieder!

Euch allen ein wunderschönes Wochenende!

Euer Flutterby



na, werdet Ihr auch gerade von "Andrea" weggepustet? Wir haben ehrlich gesagt die Nase voll von Sturm und Orkan, nachts kriegen wir kein Auge mehr zu vor lauter Klappern und Heulen und Pusten - dabei soll Andrea ja heute noch erst richtig mit Wucht kommen *menno* Immerhin - wenn man schon kaum vor die Tür kommt ohne weggeweht zu werden, dann kann man sich ja wenigstens im Haus amüsieren.

In Birgits Fall heißt das: Aufräumen! Diesen scheußlichen Anfall bekommt sie meistens am Jahresanfang, vermutlich, weil dann durch das Wegräumen der Weihnachtssachen kurzfristig freie Flächen entstehen und sich einiges neu durchdenken und arrangieren lässt. Glücklicherweise hält dieser Schub bei ihr nicht allzu lange vor, so dass ich damit rechnen kann, dass sie demnächst wieder Hand an mein Erdbeer-Cottage legt *jippiiiie* So langsam kann's mal weiter gehen damit, finde ich!

Während Birgit also beschäftigt ist mit Auf- und Wegräumen, Bügeln, Betten beziehen, Staubsaugen etc pp. - also all so langweiligem Menschenzeugs, dachte ich, ich zeige Euch mal, was meine Birgit mir zu Weihnachten geschenkt hat. Überraschung!!! Einen Kalender! *kicher* Aber nicht irgendeinen Kalender, sondern natürlich wieder eine Spezialanfertigung nur für mich, dieses Jahr werde ich immer ein BiWuBärchen vorfinden, das Spaß in unserem Garten hat. Hihi, und meistens ist es das BiWuBärchen, das mir morgens aus dem Spiegel entgegen blickt, wenn ich mir die Öhrchen trocken rubble *grins*  Wenn Ihr also Lust habt, Euch mein Weihnachtsgeschenk anzuschauen, dann geht's los - allerdings muss ich vorher eine freundschaftliche Warnung loswerden: All das schöne Blühzeug löst doch eine gewisse Sehnsucht nach Frühling und Sommer aus... *seufz*

Beginnen wir mit dem Titelblatt:

Da wir winzig klein aufgenommen wurden in all der Blütenpracht unserer Nelkenkirsche, habe ich als besonderen Service für Euch ein paar Hilfslinien eingezeichnet. Mir soll ja keiner nachsagen, ich würde meinen Job als Blogbärchen nicht ernst nehmen...

Und im Januar haben wir gleich unsere niedliche Zwergiris zu fassen - ach ja, wenn die erst wieder blüht! Diese kleinen Blümelein gehören mit zu den ersten Blühern bei uns, noch früher als die Krokusse.

Und weiter geht's im Februar mit den Mini-Narzissen. Das schöne Gelb - da wird mir gleich sonnig um's Gemüt an diesem grauen Sturmtag.

Im März bleiben wir sonnig - Flatterbärchen in Forsythie...

... und im April wird's dann schon wieder rosig in der Nelkenkirsche.

Rosige Zeiten auch im Mai - ach ja, wenn die Magnolie erst wieder blüht!

Und im Juni musste es natürlich ein Rosenbild sein - und selbstverständlich ein Schnappschuss mit Rosey!

Ich hoffe, mein kleiner Ausblick auf's Jahr (schließlich wird mich dieser Kalender nun durch das Jahr 2012 begleiten) hat Euch so weit gefallen - jedenfalls gibt's beim nächsten Mal die Bilder für's zweite Halbjahr. Nehmt das als Ankündigung oder als Androhung, ganz wie Ihr wollt... *hihi*

Liebe Grüße
Euer Flutterby

Jamie's Phuket - Best of the Blog 2011 (Part 1)

Happy New Year! Yes it's 2012 or, as we say in Thailand, 2555. Both calendars are used here, with the Buddhist date being used for a lot of official business. By the end of 2012, I will have been in Thailand for 13 years, and in April this blog will be 6 years old. I am happy to say that even after doing this Phuket weblog for so long, there were plenty of new experiences in 2011. I just want to repeat - this blog is not the usual tourist website talking about the golden sands, the swaying palms, the exotic seafood, the naughty nightlife ... the blog is still very much personal and based on things that I do with the family or alone. I very much enjoyed 2011, and rather hope that Mayan forecasts are incorrect. I'd like to enjoy all of 2012 too and plenty more of the 21st century!

2011 started with January. We don't normally do too much in January - it's peak season, I am working a lot and the kids are in school. I wrote a Top 10 Phuket Hotels page which will need updating soon. We tried a new restaurant called Peang Prai, near Bang Pae Waterfall, and I also wrote about Kathu Waterfall which is only a few miles from our house and the excellent Phuket Mining Museum.

Kathu Waterfall, Phuket

February is another busy month for Phuket, and the kids are still at school - days out are limited, no holidays ... but the school arranged a special trip to Phuket Fantasea which we very much enjoyed. Sure its the biggest tourist attraction in Phuket, and I had been avoiding it for that reason. Now converted - it's actually very good! The great weather in February was good for views. I got some nice photos at the Karon Viewpoint and we had a nice family walk up Monkey Hill in Phuket Town.

Sunset at Phuket Viewpoint

I realised in March that I should write something about my actual full-time job, as manager of a dive center! So here it is : Diving Phuket with Sunrise Divers! It was a month for putting some order into the blog too, so I wrote 3 pages about hotels - Kata Beach Hotels, Karon Beach Hotels and Patong Beach Hotels. Was a month of work and not much else. Kids finished school in mid March and they went with my wife to stay with her family in Chumphon.

In April, another first! Well, I had been to Phromthep Cape plenty of times but somehow had never hiked down the path to the very end of Phuket. Now done - Phromthep Cape - The End of Phuket!

Phromthep Cape

My dear wife came back from Chumphon and we changed plans a bit. I had always been in Phuket for the Songkran festival, but in 2011 we drove from Phuket to Chumphon on the night of 12th April, arriving after midnight, ready for the celebrations on the 13th! It was very nice to share Songkran with the family - see here : Songkran 2011 in Chumphon. We all came back to Phuket and had one of the best family days out of the year, taking a ferry over to Koh Yao Noi island and hiring a couple of scooters. Will do it again sometime for sure.

Songkran Trucks

(above) Songkran in Chumphon

Dad and Boy

(above) Koh Yao Noi by Moped!

In early May we had a long weekend away to Khao Sok National Park, and on the way back we "discovered" Sri Phang Nga National Park, forests and waterfalls, another place which is now on our "Go Back To" list!

The boy at the waterfall

Food and drink in May ... I finally blogged the After Beach Bar which is like a Phuket legend, built on the hillside just south of Kata beach, great seaviews, great sunsets, guaranteed Bob Marley sounds... Also "reblogged" a restaurant called Bang Pae Seafood, which is on the Northeast coast of Phuket a million miles from the main tourist beaches. It was one of the first restaurants I had blogged in 2006 and needed an update, as do quite a few of the older posts on the Phuket weblog...

Sunset at the After Beach Bar, Phuket

(above) The After Beach Bar

We reach June, halfway through 2011 .. and at this point I realise that the "Best of 2011" will need 2 parts! In June I wrote a blog page about my wife's home town, Chumphon, where we had celebrated Songkran. Might be our home one day too! Back in Phuket ... June is low season and there's more time to relax. We enjoyed a Walk in Old Phuket Town (actually I enjoy walking there any time!), and I found time to actually stop at the Heroines Monument which is seen by most visitors to Phuket - I had never actually stopped there before.

Thalang Road Phuket

(above) Thalang Road - old buildings with new cars

The Heroines of Phuket

(above) The Heroines of Phuket - the statue is in the middle of a traffic circle on the main road south from the airport.

And then.. also in June, some more fun for the kids! We had a day out to the Splash Jungle Waterpark located north of the airport. Kids loved it (so did Mum and Dad actually) and despite the high price I guess we'll go again sometime. Some days we do things "for dad" or "for the blog", and some days it's for the kids, and sometimes they match!

Super Bowl at Splash Jungle

(above) The Super Bowl at Splash Jungle Waterpark

Continued at ..... Best of the Phuket Blog 2011 Part II (July - December)

Stand Up comedy show on New year's eve

I had been thinking of getting up on stage and try my hand at stand up comedy for some time now. There was an opportunity on New year's eve at my apartment. And I went for it.

Some jokes got good laugh. Some didn't. But all things considered, it went well. Thinking of repeating it. Here is the video of the same.


Willkommen im Januar


so, nun hat uns der Alltag wieder... hier bei uns kann man schon laut "Weihnachten raustreten" in den Raum rufen, da passiert nichts mehr. Alles schon abgebaut und sogar schon in der Abseite verstaut... so ist das bei uns. Birgit meint, wenn ein neues Jahr anfängt, dann muss auch einfach mal Schluss sein mit der schönen Weihnachtsdeko, stattdessen werden die neuen Kalender aufgehängt und geschaut, was das neue Jahr uns so bringt...

War das nicht eine geschickte Überleitung? *zwinker* Selbstverfreilich hat Birgit auch in diesem Jahr etliche Kalender rumstehen und rumhängen, und da werde ich ihr als Gentlebär, der ich nun mal bin, auch weiterhin tatkräftige Unterstützung zukommen lassen. Wir haben auch dieses Jahr wieder einen Sprüchekalender, aber heute gibt es mal ausnahmsweise ein Bild von Birgits Eselkalender, weil ich das Foto so gelungen fand:

Toller Schnappschuss, oder? Aber den Monatsspruch von unserem Sprüchekalender habe ich trotzdem für Euch, einen vom Goethe: "Was immer Du Dir tun kannst oder träumst es zu können, fang damit an! Mut hat Genie, Kraft und Zauber in sich." Sehr passend zum Jahresbeginn, wo viele ja ohnehin noch vollgepumpt sind mit den guten Vorsätzen aus der Silvesternacht *grins*

Aber ich habe noch ein Sprüchlein für Euch, noch mal als Nachtrag gewissermaßen für die Hoffnung auf ein glückliches Jahr 2012: "Glück ist ein Wunderding. Je mehr man gibt, desto mehr hat man." Gesagt hat das Germaine de Stael, kannten wir nicht, wem das genau so geht, dem dürfen wir mitteilen, dass es sich dabei um eine französische Schriftstellerin zur Zeit der französichen Revolution handelt. Seht Ihr, schon was gelernt dieses Jahr *hihi*

Dann wollen wir's mal anpacken, das neue Jahr, und weil man ja immer am Besten eines nach dem anderen erledigt, bringen wir dann mal als Erstes den Januar gut hinter uns - habt also einen wunderbaren Januar!

Liebe Grüße
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Willkommen 2012


ich hoffe, Ihr seid alle richtig gut reingekommen ins Neue Jahr! Und weil so ein erster Tag im Neuen Jahr nun mal etwas Besonderes ist, gibt es heute ausnahmsweise mal keinen Kaffeeklatsch, sondern eine Extraportion Glück für Euch:

Zwei Schornsteinfeger, ein Glücksklee und dann auch noch (ein) Schwein gehabt - das soll Euch Glück im Neuen Jahr bringen! Wir wünschen Euch nur das Beste für das, was 2012 nun vor uns liegt und möchten Euch einen unserer Lieblingssprüche mit auf den Weg geben:

Mögen sich all Deine Wünsche erfüllen,
außer einem; so dass Du immer etwas hast,
wofür Du ringen, wonach Du streben kannst.

        Irischer Segenswunsch 

Ganz liebe Neujahrsgrüße von uns allen!

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