Sunday, 31 May 2015

Yangon for the Weekend

Saturday I will be looking out over Yangon/Rangoon rooftops to the Shwedagon Pagoda.
We have a Buddha holiday on Monday, so a long weekend provides an opportunity to see Yangon properly. Due to my visa issues I missed exploring Yangon with Helen, Jenny and Julie when we visited Burma/Myanmar in October.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Friday Golden Flowers from Doi Inthanon

I liked the juxtaposition of the downward facing golden trumpet flowers and the golden spire on one of the Doi Inthanon chedi's.
The  extensive gardens surrounding the Doi Inthanon were colorful and I have shared a photo previously.  At the bottom right hand corner you can spot one of my sentimental favourite flowers - hydrangeas.

Friday, 29 May 2015

What's for Breakfast - Not much that Will would eat.

Breakfast for me is usually muslei, banana and yoghurt (Australian Farmers Direct Greek style yoghurt).

However I also have the option of breakfast in the dining hall with the boarding students.  I try and go once or twice a week and have an omelette as an egg and protein fix.


The style of the omelette varies depending on the chef.  They can be oily, or more scrambled than omelette like.

My nephew Will made last year his year of "no eggs on Sunday" so I don't think the omelette would entice him to the dining hall.  

The condensed milk on sweet white bread toast wouldn't either, but the students love it.  

I'm not sure what the porridge concoction is, (it was aromatic) but I know it would not tempt Will, or me.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Occupational Health and Safety

Photos of work sites has become an unplanned theme this week.

I saw this group on the roadside as I was heading up the hill one day in the dry season.

Electrical wiring in Thailand, as in most of Asia, is messy and unreliable.

This group without fluoro vests or hard hats or steel capped boots were trying to fix the wires.  I'm sure they weren't from the electrical company.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Working on the road

Flip flops (or thongs as I call them - much to the shock and misunderstanding of the Americans on staff) and socks as work wear.  

No fluoro vests either.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

President More

Today we had elections for a new student council.  More (above) has been the school president this year.  He is a great student, wonderful artist  and lovely person.  In this photo he stands next to a banner featuring a photo of himself in Grade 6 - love the pose - still holding a pen and looking outwards.

He is off to study Art and Psychology at UCLA Berkley in California next year.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Asleep on the job

Nearly every day I say "You wouldn't see that at home".  Well you wouldn't see a harvester like this at home- neither the size, the decoration or the colorful decoration. I originally stopped to look at the harvester, but was intrigued and on looking closer found the driver napping under the red shade cloth.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Bright Funeral Procession.

Traffic was stopped.  Monks were walking around the moat. Crowds were watching.  The monks and lay people were pulling a long rope.  What was happening?
After a while a huge elephant shaped scarphogaus cam into view. It  was being hauled along. On it was a coffin, along with a huge picture of an elderly monk.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Buddha's Flower for Friday

Buddha was born under a Sala tree.
The flowers are  beautiful and aromatic. The trees, like this one  are often planted in the grounds of temples.

Friday, 22 May 2015

A golden Buddha

I like the Buddha's expression in this statue.  I also like the textures and colours on the pillar and walls.  I think I took this at Wat Lam Chang - but what the wat - I'm not too sure, they do begin to merge into one another after time.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Good view at the Best View

 Curry with a view.  Last night I had dinner up at the "Best View", a restaurant overlooking school, with Bridget and Matt from APIS.
I always order the red curry - its great- and can now do so in Thai.
Great view from the deck overlooking school (the red roofs) and looking out to Doi Pui which I climbed last week with Emily.  The puff of smoke would be from the Doi Pui village.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chicken? Pork? No thanks

Last week I showed the rotisserie chicken at Doi Pui.  This was on the BBQ grill next to the rotisserie.  I'm not sure what was on the skewers..... the insides of some animal!!!!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sacred trees on the road to Lampang

The road from Lampang to Chiang Mai (at least for 15 km) is lined with these stately trees, each wrapped with orange fabric, making them sacred and safe from removal.

Apparently some people would like to widen the road, but The King was not happy with the idea, so they are still there.

One story is that the rulers of the region in the late 1800s were inspired by Napoleon, who planted plane trees for shade for his soldiers along the roadsides of France, to plant these trees along the roads leading out from Chiang Mai.
These are Yaaang Naa trees, that produce resin and some produce a poison sap - handy for arrow tips!

Monday, 18 May 2015

A lazy day on the river

Saturday afternoon was spent floating down the Ping River on tubes.  Great fun, a few beers, cool water, warm day, but not blazing hot. 
A great gang of young staff from APIS and yours truly. 


Mark, in the middle, is a true gentleman and came to save me when I was washed downstream trying to ford the river. Hilarity for all.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Cycling past the Friday Flowers

Its been too hot for me to be on the bicycle lately, but that hasn't stopped the locals.  I stopped to take this photo of the colourful trees (Flame Trees and Rachupruek Trees) on the road side and a local "bunch" rode by.  Chiang Mai is the cycling capital of Thailand and bunches are common on the hill, especially in the mornings and late afternoon, when it is marginally cooler.
Unfortunately three local cyclists, out on a group ride on  a major road, were killed earlier in the month by a drunk driver.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Authentic Som Tum

This lady has made many more Som Tum salads than me and hers was wonderful. This was at a roadside stall at Doi Inthanon.
You can see her husband, the chicken roaster in the background.
If you want to try some som tum at home here is a recipe from the Hair Bikers

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Som Tum Masterchef Winners

Winners of the golden pestle, along with Miss Bridget and Mr Nick!!
 The teachers team beat the student teams in the Som Tum - green papaya salad mash off today.(Ingredients are mashed together in a mortar and pestle).
Our plating was remarkable.  We had luck with the mystery ingredients, tofu and tro, we just used them for decoration.
The Thai judges liked our flavours, but it was too spicy for the farang (foreign) judges. 
MKRish Our students will be so proud of us!!!! PS No tears!!!

One Chicken please

Dinner for our stay at Doi Inthanon was provided by this roadside stall.
Rotisserie chickens over coal fires in drums dotted the roadside near the park entrance.
Slightly greasy, smoky flavour, but overall a good chicken.  Would you argue with the owner of this knife???

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Doi Inthanon

The Royal Chedis, perched on the side of the mountain,  dominate the skyline on Doi Inthanon.  They were built by the Thai Air force to commemorate their Royal Majesties 60th Birthdays.
The surrounding gardens are colorful and lovely, with some gorgeous blue hydrangeas my mother would have admired.  The chedis are modern in design featuring stylistic Buddha images and murals.

Monday, 11 May 2015


This weekend I went on a scooter trip with two friends who teach at the Primary Campus.
We visited Doi Inthanon National Park.
Most of Sunday morning was spent at Mae Ya waterfall.  It was wonderful. We sat under the waterfall just below the tree in the photo and enjoyed the play of light in the flowing water.
The Mae Ya falls are supposed to be the tallest and the most splendid in Thailand.  We thought they were lovely and the many steps of the broad falls would be more spectacular during the wet season.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Chiang Mai, along the canal

A typical Chiang Mai street scene along the canal, A red Song Tiew (taxi ute) passing a fountain in the canal,  as it drives under a tropical tree (yesterdays Queen Crepe-myrtle).

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Love a crepe myrtle

Lagerstroemia speciosa, also known as Queen's Crepe-myrtle or Giant Crepe-myrtle has been looking spectacular in the school gardens  and in the streets of Chiang Mai over the past month.  Lovely mauve/purple flowers and interesting seed pods.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Buddha Tree

Many trees along the roadside and in the grounds of temples have pieces of fabric wrapped around their trunk or  thick branches.  This means the tree is sacred, like a monk, and is protected.  This is a Bodhi tree in a Chiang Mai monastery wrapped with pink and orange fabric.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Sunset on Suthep

Sunset over Doi Suthep from Suthep Road in Chiang Mai.
If you look closely you can see the golden plated chedi at Wat Phrathat.
Doi Suthep is the home of Chiang Mai's guardian spirits, Pu Sae, Yu Sae and their son Sudeva Rishi.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Ascent of Doi Pui

Today was a public holiday for Coronation Day, providing an opportunity to explore the local area.  With another teacher, Emily, I walked up to Doi Pui, a highpoint and Hmong Village in the hills behind school.  What I thought was going to be a morning walked, turned into a 7 hour trek.  It was up all the way for 13 km, then a steep knee crunching descent.
Half way up we came across expansive lychee orchards, hidden in the jungle.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Elephant or Horse?

What would you name this creature?
Is it silver or aluminium or tin?
Many questions after a visit to the Silver Temple, Wat Sri Suphan.
It is one of Chiang Mai's oldest temples. As it is lined with incredible silver panels, it is also one of the more unusual temples in the city.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Songkran blessings

Part of the Songkran festival on Thursday was to bless students with water and wish them well for their studies in the New Year.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sweet Street Food

At night the footpaths and streets become a hive of activity as food stalls set up and sell their specialties.  Many Thai people do not have kitchens in their home, or even if they have a kitchen many will not have a refrigerator.  Therefore they buy their evening meal, and breakfast and lunch from a street food stall.
The variety of food and the location of the stalls will vary throughout the day.
As you know I do have a sweet tooth, so a stopped at this stall near Chiang Mai University on my way home this afternoon.
Banana roti is a treat.  It is sweet, but would be sweeter if I didn't say no to the sprinkle of sugar, the drizzle of condensed milk and the option of chocolate sauce or butter.
Most of the roti stalls seem to be operated by Muslim families,  they maybe from Malaysia, where Roti is a traditional dish. 

Flame Trees for Friday

 The vibrant red flame trees have been brilliant this week.  They look great from the distance, especially from  the road on the way up or down the hill.  These are seen from the top floor at school, looking out to the hills across the roofline of Suan Bua, the resort next door.
The close up below is of of a tree in the school grounds, that brightens my morning as it is the first thing that draws my eye as I leave the apartment block.
This flame tree is also known as the Royal Poinciana Tree in Thailand.  Its scientific name is Delonix Regia.  It is not the same tree Cold Chisel sing about, the Illawarra Flame tree, Brachychiton acerifolius, but according to wikipedia this tree is used as a street tree in Brisbane.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Songkran Sandcastles

Pop, Grade 11, on the right and Karla, Grade 4 on the left were dressed in Thai traditional costume for the APIS Thai Cultural Day.
Today at APIS we celebrated Thai New Year, or Songkran.  The celebration was two weeks late, as Songkran was 13-15 April, typical APIS, but we had fun and I was able to miss a double period of Year 9 Science - always a good thing.
The play ground was decorated with colored banners and umbrellas, the portable sound system was pumping out some Thai tunes, fun for all.  The photo also shows one of the flame trees in the school grounds which are putting on a spectacular show at the moment.
A part of welcoming the New Year at Song Kran is  to build sandcastles.  This is usually in the grounds of a temple and it is seen as a way of returning sand to the temple that has been taken away by visitors throughout the year.

Im, Grade 6, sorts through the flowers to be used for decorating the sandcastles.  The vibrant orange of the marigolds was beautiful.
 Pon, Jay and Yu, all Grade 12, (my advisory group) begin work on what was to become the best sandcastle of the day.