Season’s greetings from Khao Lak, Thailand.
A blog isn’t very personal, I’m afraid, but it’s the best way for me to send out my compliments of the season. And it’s from the heart.
I wish family, relations, friends, old and new, a very Merry Christmas and a new year full of happiness, health, fun and inner peace. I hope 2014 shines brightly on you and your loved ones.
I’ve received a huge amount of kindness in my eight and a half months travelling so this is also a Christmas thank you card.
If you’ve given me a bed, or a meal, or shared a ride or swapped a story, my sincere thanks to you. Whether you’ve commented on the blog or simply just read any posts I appreciate it.
A lot of pictures and incidents never make it into the stories I write so in the spirit of Christmas fun here’s a few little quirky moments that I hope bring a smile to your face.
SUNBATHING ON THE BEACH ALBANIA
Life in Albania can be a little tough. So when the chance for a spot of relaxation comes up nothing gets in the way. I watched the lady tanning herself just to the right of the digger. She never raised an eyebrow.
MOUSE ON THE RUNS
In the dead of night on the Indonesian island of Sumba I was woken by a loud crash. The noise came from the bathroom, an indoor outdoor affair.
I went to have a look and found the culprit, a mouse. I took him outside and headed back to clean up. No damage but the mouse had eaten into a packet of medicine. This was a mouse with a serious problem. He’d eaten through three capsules of diarrhoea relief tablets!
THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (JUST AVOIDED)
Many shrines, pagodas and temples have names. There’s usually a religious or spiritual element to them. One pagoda in Bagan stood out from the rest. I’m afraid I don’t know the story behind it. Did the world almost come to a catastrophic end in Myanmar and I never knew about it?
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?
In the remote Indonesian island of Sumba my hotel served up the world’s toughest chicken for lunch. The menu was almost as bad, totally indecipherable and only in Indonesian. Nobody spoke English and there were no other restaurants.
However, I worked out they had a vegetarian section. So in the evening for dinner I randomly chose four options, confident one or two would be fine.
First course – two fried eggs. Not what I had in mind but fair enough. Second course – soft-boiled egg. Oh dear, quite a lot of egg. Still, I’m confident in the third course. It duly arrives – an omelette. Fourth course – I never found out, I left. Probably my loss, I’m sure they did a lovely soufflé.
MONKEYING AROUND WITH PUPPIES
They start their novice monks very early in Myanmar. At such a young age the idea of religion and spirituality can come a long way behind the fun of playing with a puppy.
THE HANDY SKILLS OF A LANDLADY
Travelling with a backpack? Take my advice and get a small lock and two keys. Even better advice, don’t put the two keys in the same place. You lose one you lose both.
I turned up at my lodgings at Kotor, Montenegro with neither key. I explained to my landlady. She went into her kitchen and in a few seconds turned up with a hacksaw and her teenage son. Within minutes they had cut through the lock.
Great…..but I chose not to ask how she became such an expert.
ONLINE SHOPPING IN YANGON
Done any of your Christmas shopping online this year? Well before the advent of the internet Yangon pioneered online shopping…..with a difference.
Many old apartment blocks don’t have lifts. For residents and the delivery people this meant exhausting inconvenience. The answer? Dangle ropes with hooks, bags or clips attached down the side of the building. Payment is in the bags and I’m told money is never stolen. All manner of goods or postal packages are then hooked or clipped on.
But there is no escaping one of life’s tyrannies…..junk mail is often attached.
It’s not quite what I was looking for but Christmas trees are a little rare around here. So this picture from Bagan with a tree shaped monument will have to do.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL