My love affair with Cairns

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My love affair with Cairns

 

Trinity Inlet Marina

Talking a walk along the esplanade on the weekend is always a different experience to that of weekdays and to be honest, it’s not my favourite time to walk I have to admit.

So having hit the boardwalk around 5.30pm  I sighed deeply when I saw ‘the masses’ and as if by the stroke of a magic wand, my mind immediately switched into the music that was playing through my ipod and I slipped into my usual brisk stride towards the lagoon with relaxing music firmly ringing in my ears. Read the rest of this entry

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Gigolos? in Bali?..you betcha! :)

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According to the Lonely Planet of a couple of years back there are Gigolos’ in Ubud and there are Cowboys in Kuta! Oh really??
And it all stemmed from that damn book we all know so well, Eat Pray Love….sheesh it seems that book spurned a culture of women who flocked to Ubud in search of Ketut who would tell their fortune, Wayan who would heal them and then there is the other thing called loooooooooooooove 🙂

So in my lonely planet’s description of Ubud’s Gigolos, they were easily identified. Long black hair, dressed in white, slim, taut and terrific bodies and some tribal tatoos thrown in for good measure…yep I saw them last time I was there and I also did notice that they were seen at all those live music haunts where beautiful, young and not so young western women hung out.

No doubt these gigolo’s didn’t have to pay for anything as their striking good looks ensured they would be supplied with  free drinks, free food and well whatever else followed on from that 🙂

I saw it, I laughed about it and I went about my business thinking I knew something about Bali and Ubud in particular….wrong!!
Fast forward 7 months and the culture has grown exponentially…those two particular guys that I saw almost everywhere in my travels about the live music scene were still there but this time instead of their uniform white attire I now notice they’re wearing black, they’re so much more inconspicuous …so what’s happened here I wonder.

Hmmm… according to the local western women I met, there is a much more sinister scene that has evolved here in this ‘cultural’ and ‘bohemian’ part of Bali …you have to hand it to these local guys for their entrepreneurial savvy!

So what came first? the chicken or the egg? well who knows!! but what I’ve discovered is that there is a very large and very lucrative yoga business thriving in Ubud…so many young and beautiful western women are coming and going on a daily basis drawn by this culture.

It’s so easy to be seduced by so many things here in Ubud, it’s a spiritual place, it’s a place that’s steeped in culture, ceremony and a race of very beautiful people.

If you are into personal growth then you will find anything you need from organic and raw food, meditation, kirtan, tai chi, yoga of every conceivable variety, toning, transforming, healing, releasing, emerging, spinning out , writing ,reading, poetry, art, love, loss and the whole damn thing!!

It’s such an amazing place once you get beyond the facade of the tourist strip.

The tourists than come to Ubud aren’t here for nightclubbing, getting blotto and getting laid…well maybe the latter is questionable, after all what’s wrong with a little holiday fling…why AAMI’s recent advert on our TV  showed us what a wonderful time could be had in Bali with the lovely Ketut being the man for all seasons!

But back to the gigolo’s of Ubud…no longer are they identified by their attire and their long hair and just having to hang out at the local haunts… oh noooooo…now it’s the local tour guides that are in the drivers seat for having a holiday fling…sheesh what has this place come to…I must be naive or perhaps having been to Bali 3 times in the past year has opened my eyes to what’s really going on.

So this is how it goes…there are no taxis’ in Ubud but there are hundreds if not thousands of people movers that take people to every tourist attraction in Bali. After all, Ubud is central and any place you might like to visit is within a couple of hours drive. You spend hours and sometimes do an overnight trip with your driver and this is where the game can begin!!!……far out I missed it entirely when I was there last time but my friends didn’t…sheesh I must be naive!! lol

I’m a friendly person, I get along with most people, after all it’s my job description being an Aquarian…but far out..I didn’t think I needed to be ‘on guard’ lol

But I learned first hand this time around…..hey I’m not saying that all drivers will come on to you but what I am saying is be aware…it’s a story I heard so many times over and over whilst there AND experienced it first hand on more than one occasion…well that’s because I’m just so irresistible of course hehehehe

Even when I dragged myself of my sick bed to make the 2 hour trip to the airport on my departure…well that driver did start with his ‘tactics’..sheesh like I was in the mood for him..NOT….I was only just managing to keep myself from throwing up and he’s coming on to me…bloody hell give me a break !!!

Buuuuut I did have an amazing time with a group of awesome and wise  women that I met from Australia, Germany, Canada and Hong Kong…we all met through the same accommodation, shared many breakfasts together around the pool. ..had the odd meal together at Bali Buddha or one of our favourite warangs in the nearby laneways, enjoyed a Halloween eve  writers workshop, a poets slam where I was the keeper of the judges scores and numerous ecstatic kirtan sessions…..oh Bali you are a land of such contrasts…you inspire me, you amaze me, you stir me to the core of my being and I will return to you one day.

There is something about a sunset on the beach…..the brilliance, the vibrancy, the magic in it all…I miss that here in Australia 🙂

This is the life for me…..it’s tough but I can do it I’m sure 🙂

This is what Bali is all about for me…pampering me!!!

Cape Tribulation….. Daintree Magic!

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The Bouncing Stones

You’ll find bouncing stones at Thorntons Beach and as history would have it, this is a sacred place . I wanted to take one of those bouncing stones, I was so attracted to them and after all I’m always collecting stones, feathers, bits of wood and other interesting obscure objects from nature….. but my companions advised against it….’no good would come of it’ they said.

As the story goes, in more recent times after someone posted about the mythology of the area on facebook, bouncing stones were bouncing right back to their origins by people who had innocently been compelled to take a sample with them when they returned to distant lands, far, far away and who had by now become a little freaked out by the prospect of bad luck befalling them..

Whilst these stones are not likely to be bounced about, there are hundreds of small rounded stones laying about this beach

So I played with them, bounced them across the huge hulking black boulders with creatures stuck to them like barnacles on a ship and all the while continued to argue with myself about whether I should temp faith or listen to what my more learned companions were telling me and accept the old adage to ‘tread lightly’ and ‘take only photographs’…pft I guess the prospect of bringing the dark forces upon me was not all that appealing in the end!

I love the Daintree, it just oozes tranquility, serenity, solitude and peacefulness and you can’t help but feel that you are a million miles away from civilization. So strong and overwhelmingly empowering is that  feeling of being at one with nature. It’s no wonder it’s a world heritage listed environment and one of the oldest rainforests in the world.

Whilst so many people that come to Cairns head further north to see for themselves the wonder that is the Daintree,  it’s still such a place that you never feel like you’re jostling for space, unlike so many other scenic attractions that are so widely promoted throughout the world.

Of course if you’re after the high life, then you wouldn’t be heading to this region so it’s a certain type of person that heads here, whether that’s for 4 WDriving, jungle surfing, crocodile adventures, horse riding, kayaking, eco touring, participating in a retreat or assorted other types of adventures or doing nothing much at all other than lazing about, reading a book, swimming and generally relaxing. But one things for sure, it’s a nature lovers paradise and a pristine environment at that.

Mangrove’s twist and contort creating grotesque landscapes that look like they’re from a land that time forgot!

Not a person in sight, a typical scene at Cape Tribulation and it’s surrounds…it really is somewhere where you can just ‘be’, there’s plenty to do or nothing to do at all, it’s really up to you but one things for sure, it’s a most beautiful and serene place to experience.

Of course if it’s a backpackers holiday you’re looking for then you can have that too…you can do as much or as little as you like but if you’re smart you’ll choose the latter, getting blotto can be done anywhere and this place is to be savoured wholeheartedly, it’s a place like no other.

Early morning and the beach is deserted…my favourite kind of place

I wandered down onto the beach from my eco village digs as soon as I woke up and this is what I found,  pure solitude, it was quiet, it was warm, it was sunny and it was so inviting that I just wanted to lay on the sand and breathe the air, bask in the morning glow of the sunrise and count my blessings for being in this piece of paradise.

This fan palm is endemic to the Daintree, stumbling across a forest of these unique palms is a wondrous sight

I was fortunate enough to be with someone who once lived here so we were taken to a secret palm forest, off some beaten track where the only sounds were our own voices and an assortment of birds along with some weird sounding creature that I had never heard before. But I was assured that it was only some local species of bird that I was hearing and that I could stop looking behind me expecting some yeti or guila monster to come rushing out of the bushes directly at me!!!…yes I know I have a vivid imagination but that is just another example of how isolated this region is..it’s all consuming and at the same time so very, very appealing.

The isolation you feel in the Daintree is something that is rarely experienced elsewhere

Who doesn’t love the white sands of a  deserted beach?

White sandy beaches that seem to stretch into infinity and with those mountains that are such an integral part of the Cairns landscape, no matter where you might be…it’s magic is what it is, just pure magic and a large part of why I choose to live here, I am a mountain kind of girl after all! 🙂

It’s an idyllic day for a stroll along the beach as the tide is coming in

Beaches that have rocks to scramble and over and around, mountains that stretch all the way down to the sea and deserted beaches that remind me of what it might be like to be marooned on a desert isle send my mind into another dimension as I drift off and away with nothing to distract me from exploring the vast realms of my fertile imagination.

It’s an eerie experience walking through the mangrove swamps, I’ve never seen anything like it!

Meandering along a boardwalk through the mangrove swamps is a weird sensation..the ground is covered with what looks like some sort of brown velvety carpet that seems to creep over all these crooked and twisted hooks poking out of the ground. They are in fact mangrove roots and there is a smell like no other, at first unpleasant but soon becomming just another sensation along this journey of discovery.

This landscape is so foreign to anything I have ever seen before or smelled!!!

It’s so easy to feel like you’re the only one here

Oh yes, Cape Tribulation, I do so love you…I can’t wait to get back to you, too experience your serenity, your beauty, your awesome display of nature’s wonder that mesmerizes me like a narcotic………

I’ve got the bug….the travel bug that is!

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I sense there’s a bit of a bug lurking around me, not your usual cold and flu type bug that most people will avoid like the plague and not even the creepy crawly variety that sends people scurrying every which way but another type of bug that I suspect many of you have found yourself caught up in at one time or another!

Yes, it’s that age old bug affectionately known as ‘the travel bug’….oh and I’ve got it bad,  it’s been lurking alright, in fact it’s looming like a giant shadow that’s following me and showing itself at every turn. I know I’m powerless, in fact I  know I want to catch this bug and I feel like I’m being swept up in it’s clutches. It’s a whirlpool effect that’s mesmerising me, tantalising me  and driving me batty with possibilities and being the impatient type it’s not all that relaxing really and hardly conducive to feeling harmony right now.

I do have a trip to Bali organised for October but that’s not alleviating my appetite one little bit! I mean on the contrary, it’s only fueling my hunger.  I’ve not even started to pack my bags and I’m sticking pins in a giant imaginary atlas of the world to all the other places that have planted a pile of random seeds in my psyche.

This bug is presenting bigger and more powerful than I’ve ever experienced before, I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s causing me such consternation this time around. After all I’ve had it before, it’s not my first dose by any stretch of the imagination but the strain of this variety of travel bug is mighty powerful and I’m not sure I’ve built up my resistance monitor enough to resist it, I doubt I’ve got the willpower to avoid it and to be perfectly honest I’m more concerned about how I’m going to fit it all into my short and medium term plans…let alone manifest the necessary funds to do it!  Pft,  it’ll be alright, it will all be as it’s meant to and onward and upward is my motto now.

My days are being consumed with trying to figure out which direction I will head first!!! This all started with a friend I have in Lao who has started a community teaching project, well being a TESOL teacher of course I took the bait…so that’s loosely slotted in for after Bali…go to Lao, do a little voluntary teaching, get involved in this project and immerse myself in the laidback lifestyle that is Luang Prabang.

Well those plans had barely registered on my mental travel log when a girlfriend that I hadn;’t seen for many years, sailed past here on a cruise and stopped off for a quickie lunch and the next thing you know, she and I were plotting a cruise for next year. Well yesterday in the travel section of the Sunday mail I almost used up all the ink in my pen scribbling circles around all the cruises that appealed……among those to whet my appetite was a 21day cruise to Hawaii which sounded pretty good,  visions of giant green cliffs  and frangipani lei’s and ukulele’s flooded my mind, oh yes that does sound appealing. But then so did the 11 day cruise around Vietnam and Cambodia. The thought of another visit to Angkor Wat did spark my interest,  but wait I’ve been to those countires a few times so maybe somewhere else.

Wow what about the Eastern Mediterranean 11 night cruise aboard the “Slendor of the Seas’ and departing from Venice of all places…visions of gonodola’s, baclava, dolmades, smashing plates and belly dancers took over from the south pacific images of only a moment before….I could just see myself shmoozing around Mykanos, Athens, Corfu and Dubrovnik,  far out wouldn’t that be something else, phew I could almost sense my blood pumping at the very thought!

But the 35 nights sailing to Hawaii, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tonga, Suva and a handful of other pacific islands stood out like a neon light…but what if I get sea sick…sheesh 35 days is a long time for a girl to be hanging over the side of the boat!!!!!  Nah my gf told me they’ve got good drugs for sea sickness these days, a shot in the backside and a pill everyday and ‘bob’s your uncle’ 🙂

Well moving on from the cruises, another friend who happens to be from Norway threw me another bait only yesterday over a cup of tea. She suggested we head over to her homeland and of course with a stop over in India to visit our beloved Guru’s ashram. Far out brussell sprout, Norway? Are you for real, Norway?  I’d never even considered it. I mean what do I know about Norway anyway but she sure did make it sound enticing. Oh she says, we can drive through Switzerland, visit my friend who’s in Amsterdam and well as you can see, I’m jumping out of my skin by this time with so many options, so diverse, so exciting and so full of opportunities. Why imagine the photographic opportunities alone, Wow!!!

So that big old travel bug has pulled me into it’s web of possibilities, it’s running a travel movie 24/7 and I’m feeling like I’m boggle eyed from staring in disbelief at what’s being shown to me. Lots of new places to consider, finally getting the opportunity to pull myself away from SE Asia where I’ve been happily stuck for many years now.

Well it looks like in 2013 there will be no time for anything but travel, perhaps I’ll just buy a 12 month subscription for travel insurance, hey maybe I’ll buy a round the world travel ticket, now that’s a thought, see my mind is constantly in go mode, the green light is stuck on and I’m thinking that before long I’ll be scrambling for that stop button and then I’ll come back down to earth with a thud! Ouch! 

 

 

Monkey Magic

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Monkey Magic

You never quite know what’s going on when looking into those eyes!

You can see where the term ‘cheeky monkey’ comes from!

Ho Hum, think I’ll just chill out for a bit!

Morning aerobics anyone?

It’s almost angelic looking but don’t get too close!

Laughing or Snarling, you be the judge 🙂

If only they stayed that cute!

Sitting slap bang in the middle of the pathway, this little fella was playing hide and seek with his piece of apple!!!

Nothing like a bit of de lousing to while away the time

 

The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is home to band of Balinese Macaques, crab eating monkeys I’m told! I also read somewhere that there are 4 bands of monkey’s occupying different parts of the sanctuary. As to the accuracy of this I can’t say, but I do know that there is a healthy population of monkeys to be found and getting a photo with one or more on your person is altogether possible whether that’s desirable or not!!

I was also told that these monkeys were ‘nice’ monkeys, ‘not nasty’ monkeys and I had no reason to doubt that very useful piece of information.

But you know there is a saying, ‘don’t believe everything you hear’ and another ‘never assume anything’ and so it came to pass that if these are the ‘nice’ monkeys I’d hate to see the other type down Ulu watu way!!!

It’s only natural that people will want to feed the monkeys and banana’s are readily available as you pass through the entrance. Now I chose not to feed the monkeys and whether I had an inner sense about this or not, I’m glad I chose to pass.

They’re a cheeky little lot for sure, scampering around above you, below you and every which way. Maybe it was because the wind was pretty wild when I was there and they might have been a little ‘frazzled’ but I saw several innocent tourists being ‘nipped’, well you could also read that as ‘bitten’!

The odd squeal here and the odd gasp there was not unusual as you wandered around the sanctuary and maybe I was lucky or I like to think that I was a little smart, cause I didn’t get that close to any of those antsy little crab eating monkeys. Actually come to think of it, if that is true and they do eat crabs then surely that would tell you something about their teeth now wouldn’t it???

If you put your hand in your pocket you could have an inquisitive and hungry monkey near by and if you actually did hold out your hand to feed them well that was some sort of pot luck too and you would want to have quick reflexes.

And I will say  that I had first hand information about the level of first aid being offered here. Not because of any monkey bite but my friend did have need of a little medical assistance and I use the term ‘medical’ loosely here. However it’s good to know that you can get assistance in the unlikely event of you having need of a bandaid or a bandage!

The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is within walking distance if you’re staying in town. There are three temples inside the sanctuary that are typically covered in moss providing an opportunity for  you to spend a moment to sit in quietness and of course the variety of flora is amazing. Great tangled vines, deep gullies, moss covered winding pathways and stairs and all the while, monkeys are scampering about all over the place.

It’s cool, it’s beautiful, it’s exhilarating if a monkey is hot on your tail, and it’s definitely well worth the visit.

As for the ‘friendly’ monkeys ,  well it pays to be cautious I’m just saying, that’s all!

Enjoy the journey 🙂

 

 

 

 

Postcards from Hanoi

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Postcards from Hanoi

The Beautiful West Lake

Hanoi in 2008 was a stark contrast to Saigon. So different is so many ways. Whilst it was much slower in pace and more laid back than the frenetic pace of Saigon, I also found it to be far more ‘traditional’ if that’s the correct word.

Saigon cafe’s almost always had staff with a good grasp of English whereas in Hanoi there was ‘some’ English but getting understood if you wanted something that differed to the menu seemed like a monumental task that the staff were just not versed in. This resulted in many frustrations.

However getting across the road seemed a breeze compare to Saigon where you felt like you were taking your life in your hands each time you crossed.

I mean I’m a short person so walking out onto the roads on Saigon with your hand raised didn’t do much for me as I barely rose above the level of the top of a car as opposed to a tall person who would be easily seen.

In Saigon’s Pham Ngu Lao district were I lived for 3 months, I stayed almost directly opposite a huge park and the idea of taking a brisk walk in the early morning or late in the day like most of the locals held huge appeal. However I had to psyche myself up so much just to cross that damn road and then to get back again so being in Hanoi was a very welcome reprieve indeed.

For me it seemed like I could casually stroll out onto the footpath and just wait patiently to cross the road without having to dodge a zillion bikes, trucks, buses, cars and rickshaws and whatever else would shoot around the corner or cut you off midway across.

But back to Hanoi, crossing the roads easily was such a welcome relief and the activity around the West Lake was a joy. The weird array of exercise rituals I witnessed still brings a smile to my face.. In fact occasionally here in Cairns when walking the esplanade in the morning I come across an elderly Asian visitor doing some contorted form of exercise and I laugh to myself at the memory of the antics I came across on those early morning and evening strolls.

The other stark difference was the formality of Hanoi and after the easy going, very western lifestyle of the locals in Saigon it came as a bit of a shock although I shouldn’t have been too surprised being the homeland of Ho Chi Minh himself.

The rickshaw drivers all wear pith helmets and the vast majority of the men in Hanoi wear long navy pants and white shirts creating a very formal feel to this historic, French influenced city.

The architecture is amazing, so much French influence, so many winding little alleyways, so much greenery along the little streets and a vast array of shops sellling every conceivable thing you could want.

Silk street was a favourite of mine and the beautiful clothes, the multitude of decor shops, shoes, knock off watches of every conceivable well known brand you can think of at prices around $25 was amazing. If you had a design you’d seen in a vogue mag or similar, you can bet you’d find it in one of the streets of Hanoi. I bought my son a Tag Heuer ‘original’ for almost nothing. It’s a pity the watch band had such individual links and pins that could not be replicated back in Australia but to the untrained eye, my son had an original Tag Heuer watch!

Hanoi is well worth the visit itself and the best parts for me and the absolute  highlights of my time in Vietnam were my trips to Sapa and Ha Long Bay…only a hop skip and a jump from Hanoi. But do your research as trips to both places are dependent on the weather so the time of year you choose is paramount .

 

 

No parking restrictions here by the looks of it!

No one in Australia looks so stylish when riding a scooter!

Hanoi Flower Seller

Awesome decor in a Hanoi Bar/cafe

Chicken for dinner anyone??

St Josephs Cathedral in the Old Quarter with its’ spectacular stained glass windows

Mukti, my gorgeous travel companion..she’s looking upwards as 2 ‘electricians’ repairing power lines that are rubbing together and sparking..sheesh no safety gear to be seen here!

What an awesome display of flora

Morning and evening exercise is a staple of life in Vietnam

I’m off on a little jaunty around the city of Hanoi to take in a few of the local sights

The red bridge across the West Lake

While the parents exercise, the baby sleeps along the West Lake

High end fashion..west meets east!

A little street in the ‘Old Quarter’

Bicycles, motor bikes and 4wd vehicles…..past and present in harmony

Exercise time on the West Lake, although I’m not sure about this move!

The Fan Dance is an impressive sight

Reminiscent of times gone by

Well I did order ‘Iced Tea’???

Girls can never have enough shoes!

Workplace Health and Safety? Who needs it? ….Are we over regulated?

The Old Quarter Hanoi

It’s still possible to walk across the streets in Hanoi without taking your life in your hands! No so in Saigon!

 

Postcards from Koh Chang

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Postcards from Koh Chang

Koh Chang is one of those places that always conjures up really warm and fuzzy feelings for me. I’m immediately transported onto the beach where the settting sun is blazoned across the horizon, blinding in it’s display of vivid colours along with a feeling of absolute peace. Oh yes, it’s a pleasurable moment that one and whilst I’d love to return, somehow I think that 6 years may have just changed that pre tourist vibe somewhat and I’d so not want to be disappointed  . What appealed to me most was that is was the largest marine park in Thailand’s group of islands and it certainly wasn’t ‘party central’  which was a big draw card in my deck of cards.

It was 2006 and back then it was a rather idyllic location, perhaps a little backwards in comparison to the more popular islands such as  the ‘full moon’ party island of Koh Phangan or the rather commercial Koh Samui and then there’s Phi Phi and Phuket which I haven’t been to as it has never held much appeal to me. Geez I can just walk downtown any night in Cairns if I want to experience tourists letting their hair down and getting blind drunk.

I go to SE Asia to experience the culture, the food, the people and the environment and Koh Chang didn’t disappoint…you could hire a little Suzuki 4WD and travel around the island at a leisurely pace in half a day. You could drive without seeing any other people, visit places where you feel you’re the only one there and when you do meet up with people, it’s very low key.

Koh Chang Thailand

Wandering along the only street near where I was staying was to witness people going about their daily business, ample little shops and humpy’s to purchase Thai clothes and handicrafts. Little restaurants cooking on primitive stoves, 44 gallon drums cut in half with a bunch of chickens strung onto a steel bar cooking away on a bed of coals.

Is this what’s meant by ‘it’s a dog’s life’??

I was always amazed by the ‘clumps’ of dogs that I would stumble across in the mornings enjoying what seemed like a sand bath….was it cool for them? warm for them? or was there some unforeseen magnetism that I wasn’t privy to?

A village in the back blocks of Koh Chang

This is a classic and picturesque sight that I came upon whilst driving about the island of Koh Chang. It really was such a joyous holiday for me, which I expect will be hard to replicate. If I had to define that, it would be about the laid back atmosphere and the feeling of stepping back in time.

Children will be children wherever they are!

It seems like such an easy life for the children of this village. Playing out their days on the sands of this tranquil beach that is a hive of activity in it’s own right albeit quiet if you measure it against the more tourist orientated and thriving destinations elsewhere in Thailand.

Sandcastles hold appeal no matter what your age 🙂

We came across this little group of Japanese tourists who glowed with happiness and seemed to be relishing the joy of being children and creating their own little fantasy island.

The shipping lane is busy between Trat and Koh Chang

We flew into Trat and from the tarmac jumped on board these funky little carts that couriered us to our waiting ‘people movers’  that dropped us at the ferry terminal..from there we enjoyed a relaxing journey across to Koh Chang. It was a busy little sea channel with all sorts of transport ferrying people back and forth. The ferry carried cars, trucks, bikes, produce and people and there was no hype here, everyone just wandered about taking photos, sitting chatting on the large observation decks, hung about with the vehicles chatting about who knows what or just admired the stunning scenery along the way and all eager to reach our destination and go about our business and for most of us to  scatter in every direction to our accommodation and embark on our very casual and very relaxing holiday .

Mmmmm I wonder how much longer he’s going to fit into this little bathtub?

In the day time, this little shop sold something or another and then as the day came to a close the focus turned to washing, eating and rolling out the bedding between the racks of clothes and the shop would for a short period of time, become a ‘home’ amongst the clothes, bags and assorted tourist paraphernalia..but not before the the tv would be switched on, the little food burner would be brought out onto the footpath, the children washed and fed before the shutters would be pulled down until morning when the home would once again be transformed into a shop. Life is pretty darned simple in Koh Chang!

Bathtime can be fun, regardless of how much or how little water you have

Plastic bowls are a multi use item in Koh Chang…this bowl is line with sand!

I could never decide if the dogs were sick, old or whether this was just their ‘lot’ in life….this looks like an old dog to me but all of the dogs seemed to have a similar look which is something that I’ve observed generally whilst travelling throughout SE Asia. Regardless of where you are, the dogs all seem to be related!!!

Siesta time, Koh Chang style

And in true Asian style, in the heat of the day, any place is as good as another to catch a few zzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.

Who would have thought a light globe could become a thing of beauty

I wonder what these little critters are because they seem to attach themselves to anything that they come into contact with….it would be easy to think that this is a process that has taken place over a long period of time but I wonder if it’s something that’s relatively short….regardless of what I think, this light globe has managed to remain intact and take on a beautiful hue with so many little wiggly bits now calling this ‘home’…where did this light globe come from, how long has it been in the water and so on and so forth 🙂

A lone coconut, washed up front who knows where?

And the coconut, maybe it’s a scene from Gilligans Island, who knows….well maybe not everyone knows about Gilligan’s Island but that’s what I’m reminded of when I look at this photo, lol…images of a deserted island spring to mind, oh but wait, there’s footprints there so I’m not alone!

These little shells house a myriad of life

Phew, so many critters have scrambled for a footing on this piece of floating wood,  I don’t even know if they’re still alive, if they’ve ‘flown the coop’ or what??? But it sure makes for creating vivid imaginations in my mind!

The old humble thong, once trash becomes a work of art

And this thong’s straps seem to have some appeal, where did it come from? who did it belong to? where’s the pair? what nationality was the owner? so many questions, so few answers 🙂

Despite stormy skies, the sunset is still idyllic

Anything that floats by will become home to the myriad of little critters than search for a new home!

And what have we here?

Not even these storm clouds can dull the magnificence of a Koh Chang sunset

The remnants of an enormous explosion of firecrackers to mark some auspicious moment on Koh Chang, leave behind a magical carpet on the sand

Bamboo lanterns create a picture of serenity and bliss

You’re never too old to build sand castles

Sandcastles with a Japanese flavour

Sandcastles complete, now it’s time to catch upon some social media

Calm waters, the beauty of another breathtaking sunset and life doesn’t get much better on Koh Chang

Who says you have to take a straight photo…it’s all in the mind’s eye after all

Thanks for the memories, Koh Chang, you thrilled me, you excited me, you calmed me, you filled me with awe, your daily sunsets brought tears to me eyes, you gave me so much pleasure and you asked nothing in return. You’ve given  me a set of memories that will remain indelibly marked in my heart and in my mind forever:)