Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Weekend in Pakenham

This past weekend we were invited by Alec's friend Daniel to stay at his parent's beautiful house in Pakenham, an outer suburb of Melbourne.  We can never resist an opportunity to get out of the city on the weekend.

Dad and Clemmy played bubbles in the driveway.

"Mmmm, rocks!  My fav."

Clementine can climb now and no surface is safe.

Clem loooooved their dog, Milly.  Milly was less enthused.  She chased her around the house and gave her cuddles and kisses and giggled at how silly she was.

Poor Milly.  "Soft!!!!" is a work in progress.

Alec and Daniel played drones.

I picked blackberries.  They were everywhere!  The Americans might be scandalized to know that blackberries sell for sometimes as much as $7-8 a punnet here, so I felt like I was picking money.  Being rich with free fruit that you picked yourself is a good thing to be.

Molly also had fun.  She rolled in poo and was very upset that she had two baths in one weekend.

Overall a very lovely weekend.  Thanks Daniel for having us!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Thailand: Tiger Cave and Home

Tiger Cave!  It's close to the airport, so on our way out to go home we asked the driver if we could make a stop here.  It's a temple inside of a cave, it's pretty neat.  As you may know, Alec knows a bit about Buddhism so he always has interesting facts when we see places like this.  I am always surprised at how much he remembers as he hasn't been a Buddhist for many years.

Statues of saints


A family brings offerings to the monks and they get blessings in return.  They offered medicines and tiny statues.

We had a laugh about this sign and then wouldn't you believe I smashed my head so hard into the ceiling five seconds later I had a goose egg and a headache for a few days.

A statue of the tiger.  I believe the legend goes that there was a tiger living in this cave til the monks chased it out and built a temple.

"Where should we put the whale skull?  Oh, lets put it by the shed." -Alec  (It was a random thing to see at a temple).


Deep monkey thoughts.

And then we went on to the airport to start our journey home.  We checked in early (Alec likes to be everywhere early) and tucked in with some iced tea and our books.  I was texting Malia and she said "Wow, you must have a really long layover because it's Wednesday and you're not coming home til Friday!"  At first I was like, ohhh maybe there's a time change.  Then I really looked at our ticket and no, we had gone to the airport and checked in a whole day early.  WHAT HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.

After much humming and hawwwing at the counter it turned out that there was nothing they could do that wouldn't cost many hundreds of dollars.  We were staying another day.  I didn't cry the whole trip from missing Clem but after that I took myself over to a quiet corner and had a good cry.  I missed by baby and I wanted to go home.  Maybe that's why we had convinced ourselves that was the day we were leaving?  We still don't know how that happened.

We took a taxi back to Ao Nang and checked in to an overpriced, very touristy hotel with a pool on the beach.  I wanted AC, a tv, and a swim in chlorine.  We walked up and down the touristy part of town, ate dinner, and laid in our cool room and watched TV.  It wasn't bad, in fact it was quite nice.  Somehow this last silly and emotional bit of the trip bonded us in a way the rest of it couldn't.  Yes, we'd had an amazing time being free away from our kid, but we were ready to be home together with our little family.

The next day we checked into the airport with no problems, had a long layover in Kuala Lumpur, and made it back to Melbourne in one piece.  THE END ^_^

Railay and the Penis Cave

This was one of our most fun (funnest?? idk) days of the trip.  Railay and Tonsai are separated by this bit of cliff/jungle and to get between the two you can do the 15 minute hike through it.  Quite a hike to do in flip-flops.

Ahhh the first peek onto the other side.

I guess I didn't take a picture of actual Railay but you can imagine a white sandy beach full of higher-end tourists of all shapes and sizes.

We didn't know where we were going so we wandered through paths that went past these neat trees and smaller caves (there are a lot of caves in this post).

We saw one little cave off the path with naught but a ladder leading into it.  No one was around to tell us no so we ditched our shoes and scrambled up.  It was rad and I love that there are weird caves without safety railings all over them somewhere in the world. 

I almost didn't include that picture of me in a bikini because idk.. body issues?  Even though I work out a lot I'm still working on accepting that things are different after having a baby.  But like I said, I was determined to wear a swimsuit for most of the trip and Thailand is an excellent place to do that.  Not to mention tourists in swimsuits really do come in all shapes and sizes on beaches outside of the US.  I find the old people with wrinkly tans and tiny speedos a little endearing, they may not be a size 0, but dammit they are going to enjoy the beach.

Diamond Cave, much bigger and beautiful.  It was full of bats and the sound was lovely.

There was a really neat cave by Ko Lanta that we could have seen but someone told me that parts of it are very small and you have to roll on the floor to get to the next bit.  When I heard that I was like nooo, I will pass on that experience.  The thought alone made me very nervous.

The last part of the walk was along this boardwalk, past the beach on one side and restaurants on the other.

And finally we come to the Penis Cave!  It has an official name, but let's call it what it is.  I took this picture to also highlight the woman trying really hard to meditate in tourist central.  The other dude who looks like he might be meditating was an old Russian yogi who was in ridiculous shape.  He got like 10 random tourists of various nationalities to do yoga with him on the beach.

Local fisherman leave the penis statues (lingams) as an offering to the ghost of a princess who haunts the cave.  Just what every woman wants, a few thousand penis statues!

An opportunely inserted candle.

It just keeps going, can't decide if I like the gold or the hot pink best.


"Oh look, that one has feet and a penis tail!" -Alec

I'm glad we did this walk in the morning before there were too many people.  I swam out to that cove on the left side of the picture, it opened up to a cave with a shallow pool and big rocks for climbing. with a opening through to the other side of the cliffs.  Beautiful doesn't even touch it.  

Friday, 13 February 2015

Tonsai Beach

Tonsai is a smaller bay and right next to its higher-end neighbor, Railay.  Its main attraction aside from the beach is that it is surrounded by massive cliffs and so it attracts mostly rock climbers.  It felt like Flagstaff transplanted into Thailand.

We stayed at a place called Andaman Nature Resort.  Resort is a loose term I suppose, the thatched bungalows felt like glorified camping.  Actually, I have stayed in tents that felt more stable than these guys.  It was nice nonetheless but I couldn't help thinking, "Stevie would die if she saw these!"  (She's my friend back home-hates nature).

I had this weird fantasy about staying in one of these things during our times of traveling in Asia, but this was our first.  It was felt very exposed, you could see the ground through the floor boards and there was only electricity at night.  Meh, the mosquito nets were functioning and it cost $15 a night for both of us.  Most of the people staying here were on extended climbing trips.

A monkey on someone else's porch.

Cliffs on all sides.  The tourist town was located on a U-shaped walking path starting at both ends of the beach.  The left side of the path had all the restaurants and hotels and the right side had jungle full of building waste and garbage.

It was beautiful.  Anywhere we went, we were looking up at the cliffs.

We spent an entire afternoon sitting on the beach watching the ships and the tide come in.

Tonsai was great but it had a weird vibe (probably also because I don't think any non-tourists actually live there).  Most people were there for the climbing so it felt a little sceney as non-climbers.  There were also a lot of people randomly meditating or doing yoga or fire dancing or other hippy-approved activities.

I took a few pictures of other tourists during our beach sit.  I really liked this one for some reason.

Sooo many dreadlocks.

Alec was also thoroughly entertained.

French dudes in their teeny-tiny swim bottoms.

This is the biggest palm tree I have ever seen.  It was huge, I estimate 4-5 stories high.  I wonder how old it was.

Walking back to our bungalow enjoying a coconut shake.  Shakes (fruit blended w/ ice) were an excellent part of Thailand.  Tonsai was full of take-away shake stands, everyone including me walked around with their plastic cups.  This also felt weird and wasteful but it was great.

Hey monkey enjoying a jack fruit.  I am pretty sure it wasn't a durian (they look the same) because I couldn't smell it.  I brought home dried and double wrapped durian to share with Anders because of curiosity; I'd never had it and had always heard that it smelled terrible.  You see signs around Thailand and other countries in public places saying "NO DURIAN" because of the smell.  I can confirm that it smells awful and tastes like farts in your mouth.  Why do people eat it, so gross.  That's the end of my durian story.

Cool plant.