We are trying to rent our home so that we may be free to see the sea!
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Unfortunately Miss Pat's English and my Thai did not come to a meeting of the minds and we arrived at 9:30 AM for the 2:30 PM class. But fortunately the Phuket Zoo was only 10 minutes away.
When we were in Bangkok for 3 days I tried to tempt the girls into spend at least one of them with cultural activities. My choice was the Tiger Temple 3 hours NW of the city where the monks have created a preserve for homeless, orphaned, or damaged tigers. The critters are so docile that tourists are allowed to walk with them in their valley. Now how cool would that be? But the girls were having nothing doing with shopping, eating, & clubbing tethering them to the city. So when I heard about petting the tigers at the Phuket zoo, I was all for it. The father was regal, gorgeous, soft and a bit stoned. The month old cub sat in your lap and played like a kitten.
As zoos go Phuket is relatively small but the animals exhibited were meticulously cared for with a great deal of love, which was in return reciprocated by the animals. The walkways and enclosures were well landscaped with flowers cascading down the enclosures' rocks. Fountains and streams cooled the animals as well as the visitors. I'm sure space in the middle of Phuket Town is premium, but many of the animals seemed cramped in the small spaces provided. After having visited the Singapore Zoo recently where enclosures were huge to the point of being invisible, one is apt to feel sorry for Phuket's critters.
Chers to the adorable elephants! KK
No visit to Thailand is complete without experiencing the marvelously healthy and delicious foods that are prepared here. And the best way to do that is learning how to do it yourself. Mandy is vegetarian and Cass has always loved to cook so they're apt candidates for Thai cooking school.
Miss Pat took her class of 7 to the street market set up only a block from her home to show us how to choose produce for our recipes. Visiting the market was an experience in itself as the photos will show.
We made vegetable spring rolls, Tom Yum Soup, spicy papaya salad, Green Chicken Curry, and bananas coconut. Yum, a fantastic dinner was enjoyed by all after only 4 hours of chopping, squeezing, slicing, marinating, frying, and simmering.
Cheers to Miss Pat's Patience, KK
02/23/2009, Andaman Sea
The world's second most powerful earthquake, the 12/26/04 tsunami, has not altered the super-sized beauty of the Andaman Coast. The emerald waters of Phangna Nga are clean but silty due to the rivers emptying into the bay from the mainland. So we briefly visited the craggy limestone towers concealing hongs (Cave systems where the top of the cave has collapsed leaving a steep crater in the island which is only accessible from caves at low tide), caves, and honey-hued beaches to the east of Phuket on our journey south to find clear snorkeling waters.
Hiding behind surreal cliffs, Railay Beach is accessible only by boat and remains a mellow place enjoying psychedelic sunsets. But Phi Phi Don was our first taste of really clear water. Unfortunately it's is also the diving and nightlife center of this area so the anchorage was churned and choppy from all the speed and long tailed boats delivering passengers to their dive sites. And at night it became party central with raucous music until the wee hours.
So we slipped away quickly to a bit of paradise at Koh (island) Racha where we were one of only 2 boats anchored in a beautiful bay with water so translucent we felt we were floating on air. Couldn't get the girls out of their snorkel gear for 2 days. Tried our old haunts at Nai Harn and sailed to Patong Beach, Phuket's decadent beer and bar Mecca. We soon tired of chaos, winking neon, strident techno, and carnival atmosphere (gasp!) and retired to serene Laem Singh, where we enjoyed the benefits of our last few days with 2 very fine human beings. And to top it all off - we were the only boat in the harbor, answering Mandy's quest for seclusion. (Remember she's the NYC girl!)
Cheers to celebrating Christmas all year long, KK
The Kreitzberg daughters chose the end of February to celebrate Christmas with the family. With little more than 2 weeks planning Mandy flew from NYC and Cassie from Whangarei, New Zealand. My passport had run out of Visa pages so Terry and I took the opportunity to visit the American Embassy in Bangkok and within 15 minutes I had 20 clean pages to fill. What a difference from the 6 week fiasco obtaining these same pages for Terry and Cassie in Australia!
Bangkok's official name is a whopping 43 syllables which translates roughly to "Great City of Angels". It is no longer just a messy 3rd world capitol, but has become a skyscraper modern universe of diversions and excesses catering to every indulgence from all night binges and shopping sprees to the old fashioned devout Buddhism of Siam (good actions bring good results, bad actions bring bad results). Thailand's third gender, Kathoey or lady boys, create gender-illusion through the magic of sequined costumes, big hair, & hourglass figures at Kathoey Cabarets. It's fun towatch them strutting their stuff down Khao San where street food abounds and backpacker hostels make living an inexpensive prospect. It creates an ambiance unlike any other.
Justly famous for debauchery, Khao San is also a charming neighborhood that never sleeps. The girls had not seen each other for a year and returned to the street for one last drink after they'd put their parents to bed at 2 AM. While enjoying an al fresco espresso and brandy, Mandy felt an arm squeezing her shoulder only to be confronted by a baby elephant searching for bananas, which they gladly purchased for 20 Bhatt (50 cents). Unfortunately their habitat has succumbed to developers and they must beg their dinner (along with their handlers) on Bangkok's quieter late night streets.
After a whirlwind 3 days of testing Bangkok's limits we flew to Phuket to board Sora and explore her gorgeous islands.
Cheers to family! KK