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Archive for 'Thailand'

The Beautiful Lotus

Lotus flower

Lotus pots

The lotus flower:

1. They grow in humid and warm climates such as Asia.

2. The roots of the plant grow in water, usually a shallow river or pond and the leaves float on the water (as a rule). The flowers grow above the water and have a thick stalk.

3. The petals range from white to vibrant pink.

4. The plants spread out and cover several feet of water.

5. The flower is edible and are used as garnishes and in herbal medicines and teas.

6. The leaves are also edible and used as a wrap for other dishes.

7. The lotus is an important part of both Buddhism and Hinduism and some of the deities are drawn with the lotus flower. It’s also found in Egyptian records.

8. A lotus flower is a symbol of purity since it rises above the muddy water in which it grows.

9. The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck.

10. The rock band Radiohead had a song called The Lotus Flower.

I remember when we went to China we were served lotus root as part of our dinner one night. I didn’t like it very much, but as the sole vegetarian on the trip, I ate a large variety of stalks and stems. I revolted after a while and foisted off the stalks and stems on the carnivores.

Has anyone tried lotus root or flowers?

Relaxing at the Summer Palace

Thailand was one of our stops during our recent cruise. We’ve visited Bangkok before, and this time we elected to do a trip to see Bang Pa-In Palace, in Ayutthaya Province, which is where the Thai royal family always spent the summer. The current king and queen still hold receptions and banquets here and use part of the palace as a residence at times.

The gardens are gorgeous, full of flowers and mature trees. There are loads of pagodas and places to sit and rest with views of the garden and large bodies of water.

Pond_Bang Pa-In Palace

Peaceful bodies of water to stroll past and admire.

Pagoda_Bang Pa-In Palace

Bang Pa-In Palace

Pagodas to admire  Flowers_Bang Pa-In Palace

Gorgeous flowers everywhere

Garden Topairy

Topiary -  A herd of elephants. They had lots of different animals—a real menagerie, but the elephants were my favorites.

Turtle_Palace

The locals checking us out as we strolled through the gardens.

Royal residence

A corner of the current royal residence. I loved the Wedgewood-like scroll work.

There were lots of other tourists present during our visit, yet the place seemed to absorb everyone and retain its peaceful air.

Shelley

I enjoyed our visit very much, and immediately plot bunnies started jumping around inside my head. Travel does that to me. The grounds and buildings are now a part of a scene in Snared by Saber, my current WIP.

What do you think of the topiary? Have you seen other shapes?

The Big Buddha

Big Buddha, Phuket

The Big Buddha, near Phuket in Thailand sits on a hill and is visible for miles. I love the serene expression on his face.

Model of Buddha

Here’s a model of the entire area, which gives an idea of exactly how big the big buddha is.

What do you think of his expression?

Elephant Ride in Thailand

Elephant Ride, Phuket

Hubby and I during an elephant ride in Phuket, Thailand.

Elephant: A Great Way to Travel

Camera Critters

Elephant

My photo this week was taken in Phuket, Thailand.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

Bird’s Nest Soup

While we were in Phuket we did a day trip to PhiPhi Island and motored past PhiPhi Lei shown in the photos below. The locals harvest the bird’s nests to make the famous bird nest soup. The nests are made by swifts using saliva and you can see them hanging down from the cave ceilings.

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The soup supposedly has many health properties such as aiding digestion and improving the immune system. Here’s a link to a recipe for the soup.

I’ve never tried bird’s nest soup, and I’m not sure I want to. It’s meant to be a gelatine-like substance and is full of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Have you ever tasted Bird’s Nest soup?

Elephant Safari.

One of the things I wanted to do when we visited Phuket was ride an elephant again. We managed to get a cheap deal for our holiday because it was monsoon season. The first day in Phuket it rained quite heavily and I was a bit worried it would spoil our ride. As it happened I needn’t have worried because the sun shone as we set out for our hour long ride.

Elephant

This is hubby and I on our elephant.

Jungle, Phuket

This is the view from the top. I have to add that I didn’t feel very safe and the ground looked a long way down! An elephant’s skin is very rough and it feels abrasive to the touch, almost like sandpaper. It’s also very bristly.

Elephant Ear

Our elephant had freckles. He was very cute.

Mahout

This is our mahout–the elephant driver.

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This is the end of our elephant ride and me saying goodbye to our mount. I enjoyed the ride, but I was pleased to stand on my own two feet again.

Elephant Garage

Resting up after the road with a small snack to pass the time.

Would you like to ride an elephant?

Birds and Four-legged Beasts

Camera Critters

This week I have photos of two different critters taken during my recent holiday in Phuket.

Kingfisher, Phuket

I think this is a type of Kingfisher. He sat very still while we kayaked around him and took lots of photos.

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We hired a tuk-tuk to go the a restaurant and watch the sunset. This was one of the elephants we saw on the way there. He’s bedded down for the night with his dinner at his feet.

To visit other Camera Critters go here.

Holidays and Ever Wondered?

I’m so excited – no, I haven’t sold another book. In fact I’ve been receiving a lot of rejections, but I’m not talking about those today. No, I’m not. Hubby came home last night and said, “How would you like to go on holiday in September?”

“September?” I said. “I thought we weren’t going on holiday again until next September.”

He grinned at me and said, “How would you feel about Phuket in Thailand?”

My answer was yes. (of course!) and so long story short, we’ll be jetting off to Singapore and Thailand in September for 11 nights. I’m really excited since we haven’t been to Phuket. We’ve visited Bangkok and also Singapore, but Phuket is new territory.

A few days ago Sandra Cox posted the following called Ever Wonder? It made both hubby and I chuckle, so I thought I’d repost for your enjoyment.

EVER WONDER …

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?
Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?
Why is it that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes? –
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

I wondered recently what Samoan men wear under their lava-lavas. In fact, I’m still wondering because I didn’t like to ask…

What have you wondered recently?