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Fishing village, Khok Kloi District

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We were curious to drive north to the Sarasin Bridge that connects Phuket to mainland Thailand, Phang Nga Province.

Phuket is 48 km (29 miles) long and 21 km (13 miles) wide, and is the largest of all the Thailand islands, surrounded by the Andaman Sea. Saphan Sarasin was the first bridge built that linked Phuket Island to the mainland and was named after a Thai Chinese politician, measuring 700m in length. It was built in 1967 to replace the ferry which was then the only connection to the mainland.

We made our way along the west coast into the Khok Kloi District and came across a tiny fishing village. Fishing boats and hand made crab pots lined the beach, which was long and open with a calm blue sea spilling onto its fine white sand sand.

Not a soul was in site along the tranquil shore, which continued on for miles in either direction.

Out on a substantial pier, stood a fisherman, ready with net in hand as he read the water and watched for fish.

It was obvious that he knew what he was doing, and had mostly likely spent most of his life patiently waiting for the right time to cast. I loved his face. This, was his life.

I wished I was fluent in Thai so I could sit with him and listen to his life story.

This place…the village where few ever set foot, is an entire world to some. When they lay to rest at night their dreams are of tomorrows catch or of sea turtles laying eggs in the sand. What a beautiful existence.

I have no doubt that they have their fair share of stressors, but I love to think of the pureness and simplicity of it all. Part of why I love to travel so much is because I love having the honor of catching glimpses of these lives and places. It is often here, where the world is nothing but ocean and sky, that I feel closest to God.

Read more at: http://www.phuket.com/phuket-magazine/sarasin-bridge.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001

Songkran…every country should have one!

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Yesterday was Songkran, which is the Thai New Year, and we have decided that it is our new favorite holiday. On this day, everyone in Thailand spends the day in a huge water fight, and it was epic!
My morning began just as all my mornings do – with an hour bike ride beginning at 6am. When I returned I looked out across the back yard and noticed this beautiful scene…prayer and offerings made in a picturesque setting.

Everyone in the house was still asleep so I got the pickup ready for the days adventures: 3 big tubs filled with water and water guns!

When everyone was ready, we set out to see just what Songkran was all about.

The celebration of is one that embraces goodwill, love, compassion, and thankfulness, using water as the means of expression. The word Songkran is from Sanskrit, meaning to move or step forward. The first day of Songkran takes place when the sun moves from Pisces into Aries, which marks the New Year’s Day according to the Buddhist calendar.

It didn’t take long for us to find the chaos…people lined the streets with buckets of colored baby powder paste which they smeared on each others faces.

Others congregated around huge tubs of water and garden hoses…

As we approached they’d signal for us to slow down so they could have a water fight with Aidan and Emma in the back of the truck.

Some dressed up in colorful wigs,

Some stood on top of water tank trucks in masks,

Young and old,

Regardless of race or social standing…

Everyone was free game!

Some groups filled their tubs with ice and water, and it was during those dumpings that I’d hear Aidan squeal as ice cold water ran down his back.

Emma got thoroughly smeared in baby powder paste at one point.

From the beginning of our adventure to the very end, the twins were completely drenched.

I love this photo, showing the older lady in the back, laughing hard at the scene before her, as others dumped and sprayed us as we passed by. She was just about to be hit with water from the creatures guns.

We loved the energy and happiness which was everywhere.

We also loved the craziness and spontineity in the air.

We are so glad that we were able to take part in this amazing celebration. Next year we hope more of the creatures can be with us – and of course, any of you who’d like to join! You’re guaranteed to have a blast and a half!!!

Settling in

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The past few days have been settling in time for this tribe. We haven’t done much for several reason – one of them being that Mycah had less than a week to unpack and move in, then pack and head off to Hawaii for a coupe of months. During that time we loved every second with her and the beautiful spirit and energy she adds to our home. She did have enough time to fall in love with a baby at the night market.

We love night markets, day markets and any other kind of local markets. The variety of fresh fruit here in Phuket is incredibly abundant, ranging from 3 different kids of mangoes, to lychees, passion fruit, red and yellow watermelon, pampelmousse, mangostine, rambutan, bananas of all shapes and sizes, the sweetest pineapples you’ll ever taste, and so many more. It’s what we live on.

We attended a church activity the other night while Danny was flying to Singapore, and the food at the function was delicious…

It consisted of a bag of sticky rice rolled into a ball, watermelon, spicy papaya salad, chicken balls and various fresh plants. The only plant I recognized was basil, while the others were quite spicy and one tasted just like grass. Good stuff!
We played games together as a group, took a picture then went our separate ways. Such incredibly sweet people whom I am excited to get to know.

This week we drove to the Patong Beach area, which is always a bit of a mad house.

Cruise ships offload tourists from all over the world and sunburned Russians stroll through town in nothing but their budgie smugglers (and sometimes a shirt if you’re lucky)

Everywhere one looks, businesses are open with workers at the entrance trying to lure people in…massages, nails, clothing, tailored suits, crafts, souvenirs….all claiming to have the best price and to have created their goods by hand.

We are grateful to live where chaos turns to country and bustling roads turn to meandering paths through forests, fields and beaches. We have discovered an otter that lives in the ponds around our home. He’s very shy and terribly cute! Aidan named him Oswald…Ozzy for short.

As a family we have been working out at the gym, and when no one but us is in there, I’ll sing out loud to the songs on my phone and embarrass Aidan as much as possible. It just seems like the right thing to do. Last night he reassured me that it’s not my voice, it’s the song. Hahaha what a funny boy.

Danny and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, and he was so sweet to find me a road bike so I can get back to cycling again – one of my passions. What a wonderful gift. These last four years have been a time of growing, learning and loving.

We love being here and love the Thai people. We love their smiles, their comments about Aidan’s hair looking like chow mien noodles, and their beautiful country. Life is good, and we are grateful.

Mycah…the Pro Yogi!!!

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We are so proud of Mycah!

She totally rocked her YTT (Yoga teacher training) with hours of incredibly difficult physical and mental work. She was the youngest in her group of 9, and did such an incredible job.

At her graduation she was complimented on her talent and was told that she was born to teach yoga – a natural. We are so excited to watch Mycah enjoy this great accomplishment.

Just a couple hours after her graduation, Danny, the twins and I headed for the airport, where we endured a couple of hours of “we can’t find your name in our system”, “yes we see your e-ticket but we don’t have you in the computer” and finally, “that’ll be an extra $1200 in luggage fees…” We finally made the flight, but only because they waited for us. It’s always a little disconcerting to walk the isle as heads slowly turn upward and toward us, eye’s glaring and teeth exposed on those that are still awake, as they give you that look of, “so you’re the reason why take off was delayed!” It made me want to have popsicles to hand out as peace offerings.
Actually, everyone was kind and we soon settled in to an extremely empty flight, lay across 3 seats and fell asleep.
It was wonderful to arrive home in Phuket, unpack and settle in.

I have a habit of feeling the need to unpack and settle in completely. Immediately. So, that’s what I did.
Across the street from our house is a field where kids congregate to play soccer.

Even though we have a large pool in our back yard, the community we live in has two pools we are allowed to use as well.

There’s also a gym, which means we have no excuse…

This morning while Danny slept I went for a walk and enjoyed the fresh morning air. Bird song filled the air, and I offered a quiet prayer of gratitude for life and the beauties of nature. I waked down a narrow path which everyone uses as a shortcut to the gym,

and came across a small shrine in a beautiful setting…

A large tree stands tall and wide, with sap hardened and hanging from its outreached branches.

A large meandering pond covers a open area just beyond the beautiful tree, and across the pond is our home, reflected in the water.

I walked along the bank, watching for frogs, and didn’t see one! Several birds chirped and sang, and dragonflies hovered just above the waters surface, then darted off on other adventures.I finally reached the bridge that crosses the pond, leading to our house, and stopped to gaze at the beautiful scene.

It feels so good to be here. It’s good to be home.

Beautiful Bali

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There are so many things I love about Bali, and I especially love the hardworking, constantly smiling, Balinese people. A few days ago we visited with our dear friends in Ubud, and just before sunset I slipped out with my camera and quietly walked into an area of rice fields behind their house.

The air was still warm from the day but I could feel a coolness from the knee high rice plants surrounding me. I walked the narrow paths that meander between fields, feeling absolute peace in the tranquility. The endless green was interrupted only by altars standing strong and tall, ready for offerings to the Gods…because no matter where one works in Bali – whether it be in a parking garage, a store in the middle of town, or a rice field, religion comes first and altars are found for offerings to be made several times a day.

I thought of the backbreaking work so many had already gone through to get the paddies to this point. The planting and weeding and watering, as well as the work that was yet to come.

Just before the sky turned orange, droplets of water formed on the plants surrounding me, and like tiny crystals, they reflected the last of the suns rays.

I said a pray, watched the last of the setting sun, then walked back to house where the crowd was enjoying each others company.

I found Emma, who has always been weary of small babies, completely at ease with sweet little Pierre in her arms.

A sailing friend that Jude made in Florida, has come to visit for a few days. We adore her her. Her name is Rebecca.
Mycah, Rebecca and I, took a scooter ride to show her around, and as usual, felt the warmth of the Balinese culture.

Roosters pecked at offerings laid down on sidewalks,

and women gathered to prepare flowers and food to place in offering baskets.

I love these women and their dedication.

Marigold lei’s drape the necks of sacred statues, like Dharma,

and Ganesha.

Plants have been decorated with hollowed out eggs for Easter,

And decorations still stand proudly in the streets.

These faces,

these dedicated people, have left such a great impact on my heart.

After our little excursion on scooters we returned home – me following Rebecca and Mycah, the Melon Heads, the entire way.

I’m so grateful we still have the villa in Bali, even though we are moving to Phuket, so we can return often to our Bali family. Our villa will continue to be an Airbnb while we are away.

Bouncing back to Bali

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Our last few days in Phuket, Thailand, we successful and relaxing. That’s a great combination. We looked at so many homes until we were so confused as to which had what features, that we were wiling to settle for whatever, wherever! We started to remember them by things like…’remember the house with the snake…?’

We also had to try keep track of which realtor showed us what, but in the end, one particular realtor truly stood out from the rest and delivered! Personally I think she went above and beyond because she has her own company with a couple of friends, rather than working for a big business – taking pride…it makes a difference. She found us a beautiful home for a great price in a wonderful location. We signed a 6 month rental contract starting April 1st.

Aside from an amazing back yard with a huge pool, we are right around the corner from this gorgeous beach that is out of the tourist zone. Our Realtor, Yuma, has a facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BOONEpropertyphuket/

I’m excited to find a good deal on a road bicycle and get cycling again.
We received message from some of our fellow sailing friends, who were visiting Phuket, and met them for dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with Richard and Jan of s/v Morpheus.

Parts of Phuket become so bright at night, with fluorescent signs everywhere, and naughty places open for business in the tourist areas.

One of the wonderful things about living in the tropics, is that there’s always a fruit stand open some place…night and day.

We of course had to try some funky Thai chips…

I didn’t think these hot wings flavored ones were very good, but Danny and Aidan liked them.

These salt and sour ones were my personal favorite!

And these chicken shaped morsels had a sweet and sour sauce to dip into and were pretty tasty on their own as well as with the sauce!

We finally headed to the airport and began the trek to Indonesia. Many of my friends keep asking where on the map we are, so I took these on the airplane monitor…our first flight took us from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The second took us from there to Denpasaar, Bali.

It was so wonderful to see Mycah. We have missed her so much. She is now half way through her Yoga Teacher Training Course and is working so hard from dawn till dusk in the classroom and studio, and once home she has homework and studying for exams to complete. She’s loving it and learning so much, and will no doubt, be an amazing instructor. Her Yoga school is close to our villa, so she is able to stay with us.

Jude is in the Caribbean right now, in her happy place – which is on a sailboat. She, along with our broker, Jeff Jones, and another sailor, are transporting a Saba 50’ catamaran from St Lucia, to Nassau, Bahamas. She is loving life!

Loving Phuket, Thailand

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Every day we spend in Phuket, we fall deeper in love with it.

The scenery is beautiful,

The food is cheap and so delicious,

and the company has been fantastic!

I can’t tell you how weird it is to be down to 2 creatures right now! I keep looking around frantically, wondering where the others have disappeared to. But, the twins have personalities filled with humor and spunk that make up for a crowd of people, so it feels like there are more of us around.
Danny made it back to us, after transporting the jet he flies to Switzerland for maintenance, and hopefully we get to hold him hostage for about a month.

We have been exploring, and loving the warmth, ocean air and friendly Thai smiles.

We came across this interesting monument, erected after the tsunami – symbolizing the waves, currents and water movement that build within the ocean, gathering strength and volume, rolling forward onto the land.

Aidan and Emma found some hideous fish flip flops that they are determined to purchase for their ‘adopted’ big brother, Kalin Keck. Crazy thing is that I know he’d wear them!

We have been enjoying a constant supply of fresh fruit, especially mangoes, watermelon and passion fruit.

We did try some new chips, which we gave a thumbs up. Most chips here have fish or seaweed flavoring, which doesn’t jive with my universe though.

One of the things that crack me up, is the insane electric wire webs that run along every roadway…

Today we cooled off in the gorgeous water of the Andaman Sea,

Enjoyed gazing over lazy boats at anchor,

And plodded across a long pier.

Regardless of what we do, we just love being together, teasing, laughing and loving. Danny was kind enough to stop and let me out when I saw a beautiful pond full of water lilies that I just had to photograph…

Blossoms were in purple, pink and white,

and Lilly pads were spread wide in a beautiful shade of green.

As usual, I took far too many photos!

I also found a blob of frogs eggs…it’s a good thing I didn’t have a blow torch with me!

Our down time has been spent relaxing in the pool here at the hotel. Check out how long Aidan’s hair is when his curls are straightened out in the water!

While here in Phuket, we have been looking at rental homes. Our plan is to head back to Bali next week, spend a couple weeks enjoying the island and gathering our stuff, then moving here to Phuket. We love this place and are ready to explore Thailand. We have looked at 4 homes so far, and will see 3 more tomorrow and will make a decision by the end of the day tomorrow. Our villa in Bali has been doing well as an Airbnb, so we’ll continue to run it as that.

Mycah is doing splendidly in her Yoga Teacher Training and earning so much. We can’t wait to see her next week.
Life is good, we are so grateful for this beautiful world we love exploring, and for our health to enjoy it.