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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Unrestricted garnishing or…

Hmmm, well in a show of newly married collaboration, Chris has chosen the title of my first (and probably only) honeymoon in Africa post!!

We are about to leave our wonderful safari camp, Flatdogs, in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. We have had an amazing time and seen lots of exciting animals including:

Chameleon (I even got a hold), Warthogs, Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Elephant Shrew (Chris’ fav), Puku, Kudu. Oh and did I mention some LIONs?! That would be two pride’s worth and two gnarly males.

Ah yes, and not one, not two, not even three, but four amazing Leopard sightings

So all in all a fab time. The most difficult decisions we’ve had to make are what to have for breakfast. It’s a tough life!

We have to go now - heading off on the more adventurous part of our trip - 8 days’ canoeing down the Zambezi. Wish us luck :-)

the newly weds

xxx

We’re getting married…

Here is a link to the wedding website. Enjoy!

Newly engaged!

We’re home…

It’s freezing! We’re in South Queensferry now. The Scottish weather is behaving itself in the only way it knows how - it’s cold and wet, but with sun every 5 minutes for 30 seconds.

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The End is Nigh…

We’re back in Bangkok. We’ve arrived early yesterday morning after a 14 hour overnight train journey with non-functional air conditioning. Fortunately the manual air conditioning (the window) was functional, but only after the removal of a moderately-sized screw.

We’ve been shopping. Shopping in Bangkok’s malls is surprisingly pleasant compared to the UK with the one exception of signage. We got stuck in the Paragon Centre for a whole hour whist trying to find the correct exit.

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Bangkok by night

This afternoon we went around the clothes shops of Siam Square - there are many stalls, with little space, so twice Fiona tried on clothes with the aid of a oversized ’skirt’ to protect dignity, whereas I was aided by the assistant holding a sheet across a corner of the stall. We’ve got some trousers now, but not much else.

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Bangkok by day

We’ll be home in less than 24 hours. That’s it, that’s all.

Ready, Steady Cook

As we are currently in Chiang Mai, we decided to follow all the other thousands of tourists who take a cooking class here. We duly booked into a half day course and were ‘picked-up’ (read collected on foot) and taken to our cooking school (5 mins round the corner, 10 mins late).

We started with a quick tour round the local market - lots of exciting looking fruit and veg, some rank smelling meat and some fish flapping around on the concrete floor. Very intriguing. We were introduced to four types of aubergine (none purple), four gingers, and three basil - who knew such variety existed?!

Back at the school we prepared four different dishes under the instruction of two entertaining teachers. First up was Phad Thai (yummy) followed by Tom Yum Soup (hot, spicy, kind of nice), Tofu and cashew (v yummy), and Green curry, from scratch (v yummy, if a little spicy for my still-delicate taste buds!!). So, all round to ours for some nice Thai cooking when we get back (might have to find a useful shop for ingredients first though)!

Budding chefs:

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The finished product:

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The greatest bat show on Earth

We’ve just returned to Ayutthaya after lovely couple of days in Khao Yai national park. Inside a cave that also functioned as a Buddist temple, we saw thousands of bats of three different species from an enjoyably close proximity. I was quite happy with that but when treated with the spectacle of two million Wrinkled-nosed bats leaving their cave we were blown away. Pleasingly a few were knobbled by raptors on their way out to add to the fun.

Our tour group was an eclectic bunch. A perfectly pleasant couple from Bristol with humourous accents, an Israeli chap that had a comment on every topic imagineable, and a unusual Frenchman who was prone to inappropriate spontaneous outbursts of singing or wailing. Then there was us of course.

 Next morning we saw lovely White-handed Gibbons and Pig-tailed Macques along with numerous deer and copious elephant poo. Wild Dogs caused quite some excitement amongst our guides. The Bird of the Day award was a tricky choice between the monsterous Great Hornbill and the tiny Vernal Hanging Parrot.

Ican’ttellyouanymoreasthespacebaronthiskeyboarddoesnotwork. Itisdrivingmetodistraction. And we’ve got a train to catch…

Why is an elephant large grey and wrinkly?

If it was small white and round it would be an asprin.

Fiona and elephant

Fiona is so engrossed in the Thailand manual that she is oblivious to her surroundings.

We are in the former capital city of Ayutthaya. We have had a long day that started before 0500in Bangkok. Since then we have been wrestling with train timetables and bookings for our last few days of adventure. With so much to do and see we have taken to bikes and have had a very pleasant day learning to integrate ourselves with the local road system and its occupants.

Chris on a bike (nice rucsac)

There’s lots of old stuff here (I always forget about that). Temples that have lost their grandure and now show their red brick interior. We did see a restored massive gold buddha though, then nipped outside for a coconut refreshment.

An old temple

Tomorrow we head off to Khao Yai national park for a few birds, bats and beasts before heading north to Chaing Mai.

Travelling the independent way…

…is definitely much ’simpler’ - you still get that “Are we going the right way?” feeling, but at least we are a bit more in control and not at the mercy of dodgy travel agents - we successfully escaped from Ko Lanta to the mainland and then on an overnight coach (VIP by the way!) to Bangkok, followed by an early morning train up to Ayutthya, where we are currently residing. All very satisfactory as Chris might say! And so yes, we agree with you Lachlan!

Travelling the Thai way II

This is how elephants get around in Thailand:

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“Great God, this is an awful place”

Now, I know Scott was somewhere with a rather more challenging climate than the 30 degrees Celcius we are currently experiencing, but by a slight error of judgement we have ended up in a place that can only be described as …er… a bit pants. Well, OK I could describe it otherwise, but standards of decency must be maintained.

We are on the beach of Hat Khong Nin on the island Ko Lanta. Our guidebook describes the island favourably, however thus far it has no redeeming features whatsoever. It is a hole. Even my red curry was a wet, watered down flavourless affair.

We arrived on the island having failed to book accommodation in advance (we did try, but Thai phones are somewhat taxing). A seemingly reasonable gentleman touting for business on the jetty offered us board at his establishment, the Lanta Nice Beach Resort, and offered us a lift there. His place had an OK review in the manual, so we went against all our past reservations of such touts and went with him.

On arrival he informed us there was, in fact, no room at the inn, and didn’t even offer us a stable. We searched up and down the beach and found all the other hotels to be full. To add to our annoyance, the town was not even nice. Finally we found a smelly room at the Pink House. It’s the most expensive room we’ve had in Thailand, and also the least pleasing.

We’re cutting our losses and leaving on the next ferry, 17 hours after arriving.

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