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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Garbage as Art

We walk the dogs along a number of beaches here and have gone to some beaches without the dogs. A break is sometimes in order. We noticed just prior to, and during the rainy season, the large volumes of garbage that floats into the beaches. After one particular storm, the accumulation was incredible. Palai beach was literally covered from one end to the other with debris. I went to Siam beach one afternoon and was taking photos of the skyline across the ocean horizon, I kept seeing what I thought was floating coconuts in the distance. A few hours later the "coconuts" turned out to be two used rusty propane cylinders, similar to what you would use on a propane BBQ. The following visit I paid closer attention. A heavy few days of storms on the ocean had managed to push the debris into the small cove at Siam beach and I was amazed at what I found. I actually began to try and sort it out into piles, as it was impossible to get to the water without walking through the stuff. I stopped counting disposable lighters after 100. The toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, moisturizer, eyeliner, lipstick,  and shaving cream containers could have filled the shelf at the moo shop.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome Vietnam

I see by my stats, that I now have a reader in Vietnam. Welcome to my blog. Vietnam is a country that is on my list of places to see! You join readers from 12 other countries!

A Night at Loy Krathong- Part 2

We attempted to cross the road from the temple, in order to make our way to the Chalong Pier. It was a very interesting exercise in dodging traffic. By now some very brave police officers had stationed themselves on the center line. You need to understand that the roadway is 4 lanes wide. On this night, the west side was jammed with tables of the Krathong sellers, and people had also double parked in front of them with sidecars, trucks and motorbikes. The northbound traffic was thick and some of them were trying to create a third lane northbound. Others had simply double parked in the slow lane and there was traffic making it's way (mostly motorbikes) southbound, weaving between the parked vehicles and the northbound traffic. The south-side was not better. We had parked on the east side and our bikes were somewhere in the maze of parked bikes, as well as those who had created an additional parking space , with southbound traffic was whizzing past, again there were three and sometimes four lanes in the space of 2 marked lanes, and looking both ways was paramount, as some people were driving northbound in the southbound lanes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Night at Loy Krathong- Part 1

Every year there is a festival, called the Loy Krathong Festival,  that spreads across Thailand. It is not as promoted here in Phuket as much as the vegetarian Festival, and availability of information, at least in English is very sparse. But the Phuket Gazette did have a writeup that was published before the events, that acted as a fairly good guide. 

A guide to the celebrations referred to the origins of the festival as follows:
"Different legends surround the origins of Loy Kratong. The most popular version is it was an expression of gratitude to the goddess of water 'Phra Mae Kongka' for having extensively used, and sometimes polluted, the water from the rivers and canals. It is also in part a thanksgiving for her bounty in providing water for the livelihood of the people.
Some believe the festival originates from Buddhism. They say the offering of flowers, candles and joss-sticks is a tribute of respect to the footprint of the Lord Buddha on the sandy beach of the Narmaha River in India, as well as to the great Serpent and dwellers of the underwater world, after the Lord Buddha's visit to their watery realm. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Beached

Sarongs and Beach Dogs at Laem Ka Beach
One of the main attractions of Phuket is for tourists to come here, lay on the beach, and swim in the beautiful waters. The west side of the island has the best beaches from the perspective of long stretches of sand and lots of open water. But the east side has some good swimming and relaxing beaches as well. The west side seems to attract the tourists. With any of the beaches there are more what I refer to as local beaches, primarily used by the local Thai and the expats who find them; usually not well sign posted and normally involving a hike up and down some wandering trails.

Some, like the beach at Laem Ka, is close to well known areas, such as Rawai and Nai Harn.  Laem Sing beach is between world famous Patong beach and the beaches at Kamala and Surin. Trying to find these lesser known, but just as beautiful places, even on brochures, travel magazines or the internet is a challenge. Laem Ka beach for example, is not on any of the 8 maps of Phuket we have, nor 15 of the first hits on the web when searching for beaches on Phuket as your search parameter.

Loy Krathong Festival

It seems that not  a month goes by that there is not some form of festival, celebration or cultural activity. I read in the local paper a comment from a young person who commented about "just another cultural event", almost as if it was a bad thing. I think these events are great and am happy be be able to be where people take great pride in the diversity of their cultures and celebrate them openly and with great fanfare. I am just finishing a couple of Kite writings, but wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about Loy Krathong. I will be writing about the weekend and will have, I hope lots of pictures to share when I do post on this event. The issue right now is to decide what sites to go to and what i want to see and experience most. This event is celebrated all over Thailand and in some parts of Lao PDR (Laos).
In the meanwhile if you would like to know more and see some photos from past years please follow this link-

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bienvenue France

Another country added to the readers now viewing this Blog. They join those of you from:

 Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Taiwan, UK and USA
Thank you all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Tribute to Shaun

Shaun (R) with his friend Rick(L) all glittery and decked out to party circa 1984

I had not ever intended that this blog would be making so many entries about the passing of friends, but as with all of life there are no accurate predictions, when it comes to people passing on. Today I was saddened to learn that a friend of our had died in Vancouver. His name is Shaun O'Flanagan.
Shaun played a pivotal role in my early years of coming out and was responsible in many ways with introducing Clive and I to each other 27 years ago. He was very active in a group called Hominum, that had been initiated by another friend Andrew. The two of them were good friends and often out activities in those days always included both of them. At the time he lived in a high rise in the west end of Vancouver. This was a whole new experience for me. Living in the country and always living on military bases, the concept of what a high rise apartment was foreign, and he used to be amused by my need to go out to the balcony to look over the city. He would often accuse me of going out to be a pervert and try to look in other peoples apartments. But I was such a hick, I was actually more fascinated with the way people looked so small walking on the sidewalk so many stories below.