Sunday, 30 November 2014


As December approaches my mind is turning to home. A pre Christmas walk at Mt Buffalo is something I will miss. A great tradition. I hope my Beechworth friends Kathy, Jan, Christina and Elizabeth will be exploring Mt Buffalo soon.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

An APIS Waterlily - Friday Flowers

I walk pass this  lovely pond in the grounds every morning on the way to my classroom.  The water lillies are out early in the morning but close up before noon.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

Turkey and mashed potato followed by pumpkin pie.  The full American meal for Thanksgiving.  It was great to have mashed potato and the turkey was lovely.
I enjoyed my first ever slice of real pumpkin pie. Actually it was my second as we had turkey and pumpkin pie in the dining hall last night.  However it was extremely average, with small portions and the Americans told me not to judge pumpkin pie by what we were given.
It did seem bizarre to be eating turkey in Thailand. Another cross cultural experience.
The restaurant was quite good and is apparently a popular breakfast spot, so I will be heading there again.  I was also excited to see that they sold grain bread, cheese and milk.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Wrangling the staff

Today was school photos day.  Always a messy day in schools and it was no different at APIS.  We started with staff photos at 8.00 that didn't actually get taken until 8.40 am.  This is the elementary and high school and Building A (Admin) staff lining up for the group photo.
The lone camera man was shooting into the sun, which seemed a bit odd and having difficulty with his flash and extension cords.
The tall chap in the white shirt is the headmaster, Mr Greg.  You can see how he dwarfs the Thai staff.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Walk to a Waterfall and Beyond

My Saturday afternoon stroll to a nearby waterfall turned into a saga.
1. The track was unmarked, with many junctions and a few signs written in Thai.
2. I could hear the waterfall, but not see it.
3. I arrived at this spot with a crossing over a creek, but couldn't actually cross. The waterfall was below passing through a rocky chasm.
4. Instead of retracing my steps, I decided to keep walking in the direction of school.
5. As the sun was setting I found a small lake, but no track leading off the main ridge.
6. As the evening darkened the jungle seemed to become denser and more overgrown.
Finally I found a small section of concrete track heading downwards which eventually  lead into the village near school, but I long way from my original starting point.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Another Sunday with the Elephants

I spent the weekend on campus.  In theory catching up on preparation and correction - or grading as the Americans call it.  I have made inroads, but there is more to do, especially as the quarter (not the term) is coming to a rapid conclusion.
As a work avoidance strategy, and a chance for some exercise, I rode up to see the elephants again this morning.  They are amazing.  One of the mahouts kindly took this very gorgeous !! photo of me.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Friday Flower Market stalls

Loi Krathong was a festival of flowers as well as lanterns and floating things.  The floating things were decorated with flowers, the floats in the parade were decorated with flowers, the Thai women and men in the parade carried flowers and had flowers in their hair.
The parade went past the flower market, which was still open and doing a good trade at 9 pm.
The vivid shades of the orchids were glorious.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Yummy Noodles at Loi Krathong

Vegetarians were well catered for by the food stalls at the Loi Krathong parade.  These noodles were fresh and yummy.  I liked the banana leaf presentation too.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Banana Crepes

Of course Mary the sweet tooth stopped at the banana crepe stall for a snack on Loi Krathong. Yummmmmm. While waiting for the crepe and watching the passing parade I had a pleasant chat with an American tourist about insect/mosquito repelling strategies. Wearing long sleeves was agreed upon as the best thing to do.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Something else I didn't try

No idea what these are?  I think it might be a sweet taco?  Meringue making in the background, indicates that it could be sweet.  However the scarily bright garnishes were often putting.  Will try another time.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Something else I have yet to eat - Grass Jelly

I didn't try the grasshoppers at Loi Krathong or this. Grass jelly - the black jelly in the cups is a Thai dessert treat.  It is made by boiling stalks and leaves of a particular grass and is called Chao Kuai and considered a treat.  It is often served with Carnation Milk and I have seen advertisements for green and pink grass jelly - I think they add color to the milk.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Loi Krathong - The Food

There were plenty of food options along the length of the Loi Krathong parade route. So I will share some of the images this week, as they show typical Chiang Mai street food.
Lots of excuses to stop and snack while following the parade.
However I didn't snack at this one.
Although the image on the case of this food cart is of animal with horns, I think the food is far removed from any large animals.  Think more along the line of insects - grasshoppers in particular.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

My 100th post - Missing my Saturday morning Beechworth coffee

A sunny Saturday morning with Poppy and Dave at the Milk Bar is always a good thing.  Missing the routine, the company and the coffee.
Love to all in Beechworth.  Enjoy the coffee and say hi to Poppy and Dave.

Friday Loi Krathong Flowers

Last Friday night I was in Chiang Mai for the Loi Krathong parade.  The women in the parade had gorgeous hair styles featuring stunning flowers.

Friday, 14 November 2014


Lanterns filled the night sky in Chiang Mai on Friday night as Loi Krathong also coincides with the Yi Peng lantern festival.  Thais believe lighting the khom loy lanterns will bring good luck.
There are so many lanterns that the flight schedule at the airport was changed with over 100  flights over the weekend canceled  in order to avoid accidents.
Too many photos, too many editing decisions so its three photos today not just one.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Making Krathongs

The banks of the Ping River near Thapae Road were crowded with stalls selling and making Krathongs for the festival.
The boy on the left is making bread Krathongs and the photo on the right shows the stalls for flower krathogs, using a base of banana palm trunk.
The river was a mass of floating krathongs - but dark light meant blurry photos.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Glamourous men at Loi Krathong

Turbans, flowers, bling - the attire for a well dressed fellow leading a loi krathong float in the parade on Friday night.

Loi Krathong - Elephants of course

Of course the elephant float was my favourite float at the Loi  Krathong parade on Friday night.
I followed it down the street, snapping away with my camera and cursing the Chinese tourists who would jump in front to have their photo taken with the elephant.
Finally a shot of the white elephant - it means something - not sure what - connected to a myth.
More Loi Krathong photos to follow this week.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A tuk tuk up the hill

To get up the hill on Sunday afternoon after my weekend in Chiang Mai I caught a ride in a tuk tuk.  They are rarely seen on the hill and I was concerned that it would not make it up the road.  However if I can make it on the bicycle, surely a motorised vehicle could.  And it did, but with considerable engine strain on some of the sharp corners and steep inclines.
I think the drive was impressed he made it too.  A nice Sunday drive for him and his wife.

Loy Krathong photos - yesterday's didn't upload

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Friday Loi Krathong Flowers

 The Grade 12 students won the prize for the best decorated Krathong at yesterday's Loi Krathong festival.  As a Grade 12 Advisor I was particularly proud of their work.
However I also admired one made by a group of Grade 11 boys.  It was in the shape of a boat with a skull and cross bones image drawn on a banana leaf sail - very creative.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Loi Krathong

As I'm writing this I can hear fire crackers and explosions in the night as the village celebrates Loi Krathong Festival.
The festival takes place on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, which usually coincides with November in our calendar. Loi means to float and a krathong is the buoyant decorated basket.
Participants ask water spirits to sail away their troubles in their krathongs, which are containers traditionally made from sliced trunk of a banana tree  and carrying offerings of incense, lotus flowers and a small coin.
It was a full on afternoon here.  Students made Krathongs in the afternoon using slices of banana  trunks for the base and then decorating them with intricately folded banana leaves, orchid flowers and incense.
This was followed by cultural performances of costumes, traditional dancing and drumming and a beauty contest (yes! its traditional) in the auditorium.  There was a BBQ for dinner then the Krathongs were launched on the creek, followed by launching of lanterns.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Swimming Carnival at APIS

Today APIS hosted the Swimming Carnival for the Chiang Mai International Schools sport association. The carnival was for junior students only, so there were plenty of little people in the pool and running around preparing for events.  There are 7 International schools in Chiang Mai and all were represented.  Many parents also attended.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Back to Australia from Bagan

Helen, Jenny and Julie are now home in Australia.  we had a wonderful time in Myanmar/Burma (or Bermuda - Julie's family warned her about approaching hurricanes) and then a lovely week here in Chiang Mai.  We were a well matched travelling group, with humor, organisation, flexibility and common interests meaning we had a great time together.
It is back to reality here and I'm sure Helen, Julie and Jenny are back to the reality of work at home and missing the freedom of travel and "springers" and spice for dinner each night.
Two weeks ago we were watching the sunset over the plains and temples of Bagan.

Monday, 3 November 2014

A Burmese Lady

We met this beautiful lady sheltering from the rain, under the gateway to a temple complex at Bagan.  She was there with her friends, fellow field workers, who laughed and smiled at us as we tried to communicate with them. Very difficult when "Mingalabar", which means hello, was the only word we knew.
When the rain cleared they headed back into the field, walking past their wooden cart to cut grass (or some type of low growing green crop) with with a scythe.  Hard work - especially in the heat- but they were smiling and cheerful.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Shwedagon - A Burmese Landmark

As it is the first of the month, its time for City Daily Photo blog theme day.  For November the theme is "Landmark".  So I have chosen this image of Shwedagon Paya in Yangon.  Although the main spire is covered in bamboo scaffolding it dominated the city skyline.  The temple complex is a major landmark in the city and an important symbol for the people of Myanmar/Burma.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Friday Temple Flowers

Garlands of these gold and white flowers were on Buddha statues at Shwedagon temple in Yangon. They had a lovely perfume and were very elegant and beautiful.

Astrology seemed to be important to the Burmese. The  day of the week a person is born will determine their planetary post, eight in all as Wednesday is split in two, a.m. and p.m.
Each planetary post was marked at Shwedagon  with a small shrine with a Buddha image and a guardian angel behind it. Devotees offered  these flowers (and others)  and poured water on the flowers while praying.