Tuesday, 30 September 2014
There is a lot of sweeping here and I frequently wake to the sound of sweeping in the morning. Good brooms. Each morning as I walk to work I pass this lady or one of her off siders sweeping the paths. They always smile and give me a sawadee hello.
It was wonderful to see them and talk about Meg's death and then talk about it again and then toast Meg with a poolside G&T, which she would have loved.
The pool quickly became my favorite spot, lovely water, frangipanis by the poolside, built in seat and table (under an umbrella) - what's not to like. The view over the roof tops of other resorts, to the beach and beyond to the fishing boats on the ocean was gorgeous - especially at sunset.
" Let's Frangi Up" was the quote of the weekend.
Friday, 26 September 2014
The vegetation at school and throughout Chiangmai is lush and green and colourful.
I'm enjoying the floral displays, not that I know what many of the flowers are.
These are some flowers I found growing in the surrounds of a temple in Chiangmai. The cannas and the frangipani are familiar. The red flower in the middle grows everywhere and is called the needle flower and I don't know what the white one is. Friday flowers for you!!
Thursday, 25 September 2014
|Maya Mall, Nimmanhaemin|
This meant a visit to two shopping malls.
While I have been posting photos of temples, street life and elephants, the mall is probably a truer indicator of life in Chiangmai today. Both were very busy, and don't close until 9.30pm each night. The Rimping Supermarket (a western orientated supermarket)at MAYA mall is open until midnight. There are Cinemas, as well as Starbucks, KFC, international fashion chains, food halls and technology shops - its just like Highpoint.
On the weekends they are really crowded. At Airport Plaza mall the sign tells car owners to park with the car in neutral and the hand brake off as the park cars behind each other. If you return and your car is jammed in, the attendant comes and pushes the other cars out of the way!!!
The shopping was a chore, although deciphering which detergent works in a front loader provided a challenge, but now I have markers that work, rulers with a straight edge, a Thai phone number and of most importantly CHOCOLATE.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
This lion provides an alternative to my elephant fixation. I was wandering through the old town of Chiangmai and explored this Wat. Lion statues commonly guard the entrance to Wats.
The photo looks scratched and old as I spent time playing with iPad photo effects.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
As you can see some of the seats and tables are in the river, with umbrellas. There are also tables on the bank and in small bamboo shelters built over the river. It was very busy. Its very popular with the locals and there are men in uniform on the road guiding cars into parking spots. The girls had to wait quite a while before getting a table in the water. You can order at the table and food and drink are delivered by the waiters. A fairly surreal experience, but fun. Would it take off on the banks of the Ovens River???
There was a swing over the river and a walkway as well as the rubber tyre structure. At the top of the photo you can just see the tightrope across the river which provided a challenge to some of the students.
I rode down, but gladly put the bike on the bus for the ride home as the heavens were about to open and I was happy to have an excuse to ride up the hill.
Monday, 22 September 2014
Reading in the shade means perching under a grass thatched roof on a rickety bamboo platform above the water's edge.
Only one elephant was there when I arrived, the others were out taking tourists for a ride through the jungle. They returned to be washed in the river by the tourists. The water was flowing quite quickly but looking at the color of it I'm not sure I would be too keen to jump in.
Friday, 19 September 2014
Meg helped me in so many ways - up and over hills - on the bike and in life. We also enjoyed the thrill and joy of the summit, the speed of a flat (but Meg preferred something "lumpy") and relished the ride down. It would be impossible to count the number of times Meg waited for me on a hill - climbing up Buffalo, La Serrena or Mt Pilot or to Falls Creek or here on the back road to Stanley.
Please Remember - cycling is not a photogenic activity - bad hair day here !!!
As all cyclists know its not about the bike. We rode, we talked, we had coffee (and cake), we cursed Tony Abbot and celebrated Cathy McGowan's campaign, we planned adventures, dinners, celebrations and weekend escapes. We shared stories of our mother's health and illnesses and tales of childhood and of family.
We enjoyed the company of the Beechworth Mafia and being part of LFZ.
With tears in my eyes I cannot believe we will not once again ride up to Stanley or walk around the lake.
It is impossible to understand the depths of her mental illness and how one so full of life could leave us.
I struggle with my faith at such a time but can only believe that she is in with a loving GOD- who ever she maybe.
As my wise friend Shane has said Meg lived out the gospel message of "love one another as I have loved you"
Love to all and take care
Monday, 15 September 2014
It also meant for a hot and tiring day. The power did come on intermittently last night, but we had to search for the circuit breaker so it actually went on in the teacher's quarters.
Today I had Chemistry under the shade of tree - acting out physical change and chemical change. Earth science was in the ping pong area with mineral samples set out on the tables - nothing if not adaptable.
The photo above shows the heavy rain falling yesterday afternoon. This was as I was riding back up the hill. I pulled over just prior to the downpour. Luckily for me the verandah I had chosen to shelter under belonged to Ban Pong massage. So I had a foot and calf massage for one hour. By that time the rain had stopped and a rode the remaining hilly 10 kms with relaxed legs.
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Exploring Chiang Mai again today. Had an afternoon stop at the Raming Tea House. Lovely spot with a green courtyard and a shop selling celadon ware. Mt tea came in this elephant tea pot and celadon elephant cup. The teapot did not pour well and I was reminded of the urinating elephant I saw last week as the tea spurted out.
Cute cup, but would it be too kitsch in Finch Street?
Friday, 12 September 2014
I had a bad day on Tuesday - rude Year 10 boy - say no more. When Muyassar, the Uzbeki art teacher, asked how my day was, I became a bit upset (in typical Mary style). At dinner time Muyassar knocked on my door and suggested the "rice paddy". So I had a beer, some chicken and hot basil and a debrief about life at APIS with Muyassar and an American couple and felt much better.
The food was fine, the beer was cold, the view was green and conversation cathartic. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.
I am off to Chiang mai for an ex-pats ladies night hosted by the Principal's wife.
The ceremony was coordinated by the Thai language staff. Teachers were encouraged to wear traditional Thai clothing, hence the men in the photos are wearing collarless cotton shirts. However Zane (red hair, white shirt) said he bought his in Bangladesh from a mate who runs a sweat shop!!!
Luckily I had packed my Laos wrap around skirt, which was appropriate.
The ceremony began with "The King's Song", followed by a Thai chant and concluded with a song praising teachers. The school captain - who I fondly call "Our Leader" spoke about respect for teachers and how wonderful teachers are and that students should show gratitude to their teachers. Amazing!
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Today we had the Wai Khru rehersal. I learnt that a wai is a gesture with both hands together, as in prayer, and then bowing.
After the rehearsal the students worked in grade level groups to make cone flowers for their teachers. These will be presented in the Wai Khru ceremony tomorrow. The orchids were beautiful as well as the other flowers. Students made their own arrangements and then placed them in a cone made with a banana leaf with a small candle and two incense sticks.
Above you can see Kevin, from China, who is in my Geometry and Earth Science classes concentrating as he arranges his bouquet.
Ah Mun below is also from China and one of my Earth Science students. She is very quiet and a lovely student.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
Monday, 8 September 2014
So excited to see some elephants today. They were at a resting place and waterfall not far from school. They come from an elephant farm near school which runs a "Be an elephant owner for a day" program. I would like to do that one day when I have visitors. I had cycled past the farm yesterday and stopped in. The manager told me they would be at the waterfall most mornings and it was OK to visit and look.
Today I just visited the water hole and watched the elephants and the tourists. They were great, gentle and gorgeous - the elephants - not the tourists. The baby is about four months old and was very cute.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Our outing was to an Italian restaurant in the Airport Plaza mall in Chiangmai. It was also Cindy's (back of the group on the right) birthday, so we had ice-cream cake as well. Another cross-cultural experience - eating Italian in Thailand to celebrate Cindy's birthday with one Thai student, one Korean and three other Chinese students, my French/Arabic colleague and Mary the Australian. It was a pleasant evening and a nice way to get to know the students.
Friday, 5 September 2014
Last Saturday in Chiangmai it teemed with rain for about 30 minutes. Luckily I was in the room at
my guesthouse. When I came out the streets were flooded. The locals weren't phased at all. Walking, cycling, driving and riding their motorcycles and scooters through the calf deep water. Look at the color of the water! I did not want to walk in it!!!!!
The water made it impossible to cross the street or to walk along the footpath. I managed to make it to the corner and amused the passing traffic by taking photos. Then I spotted a sign for a Thai massage, in the beautiful building below. I jumped a small barrier and came out an hour later, slightly sore, but also relaxed and the water had disappeared.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Monday, 1 September 2014
Yes, I have bought a bike. A ladies mountain bike a Trek skye. It was the quickest cycling decision I have ever made. I caught a tuk tuk between two stores and within two hours had negotiated a deal, got the bike set up and was ready to go. This shop, Jackybike seemed the most professional and although we couldn't communicate beyond hand signals and the odd word they were very nice and looked after me and set me up with lights, rack and paniers.
There were posters of Lance on the wall - not sure they had caught up on the drug scandal. My attempt at a conversation about Cadel Evans didn't really work.
I rode back to school (about 25 km), an effort considering I am not bike fit at all- it took 4 hours. I did take a wrong turn and so wasted about 45 minutes - some of that cooling down in the office of a condominium development and asking the bemused staff if I could please use google maps to find my way.
Half way up the hill I stopped at the Bamboo House for a coke and to wait out a storm for over an hour. Then a stopped and looked at ants for a while on the steep sections. Hopefully it won't be such a long trip the next time.
I am looking forward to exploring the area around school and if necessary using the bike to get in and out of town. As this article describes Chiang Mai offers great cycling. It is becoming an eastern cycling epicenter.