Culture

My Two Perfect Days

I’ve been thinking about what my perfect day would look like and I actually have two kinds; one where I stay home and one where I go out and about.

The One Where I Stay at Home

My perfect day starts early in the morning, usually on my day off, once I’ve dragged myself out of bed. I love to exercise and whether that’s a session in the gym, which is what I did this morning, swimming a few lengths of the pool, or running round the park or reservoir, I feel energised, most of the time 😉 and ready to indulge in my day.

Things to Do in Bangkok
Running at Nong Bon Reservoir, Bangkok

The next part of my perfect day is to have breakfast of cereal and coffee, while I catch up on emails and blogs that I follow and once that’s done, I sit done to write. Whether that’s for this blog or working on my book or writing up a course for work, I write, something. I love writing, and if I don’t do it, I feel kind of guilty, especially on my day off.

Things to Do in Freetime in Bangkok
Writing and Writing (not always with wine!)

When I’ve finished writing, I’ll potter around my apartment, making lunch, or deciding what to do next and I’ll listen to music. I try to listen to music every day and since I have iTunes on shuffle I am getting to hear songs by different artists, some of which I love but have forgotten about, like Pink Floyd, Simple Minds, and Prince. It’s a great pick-me-up and sometimes I’ll sing and dance along. I am a terrible singer, but it makes me happy. 😉 This is one tune I loved in the past, but had totally forgotten about it until recently..

I usually have more than one book on the go at any one time and there’s nothing I love more than to kick-back and read. I spend just an hour or two relaxing on the sofa reading my favourite books. At the moment, I’m reading River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh. He’s a really fabulous writer and I have a few of his books in my collection. I’m also dipping in and out of a few travel books, and Jaya, a retelling of Indian’s greatest epic; The Mahabharata.

Things to Do in Freetime in Bangkok
Perfect days reading

My perfect day ends with an evening out with a friend for dinner or drinks. I usually go to my friend’s house, here in Bangkok, for cocktails, or we’ll venture out to any of our favourite places to hang out. We always have loads of fun together and it’s great to spend time with my little partner in crime! There are a few more people back home that would fit this bill, and whenever I go home for holidays, I get to have perfect evenings with them too.

The One Where I Go Out and About

My perfect day out and about happened just last week. I started the day much the same, exercise, breakfast and catching up with emails and blogs, but then I left to go to an art exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, a huge building full of art exhibits and one I go to regularly. The exhibition was called ” Opera Omnia” and it displayed 40 masterpieces by Caravaggio, only they were HD reproductions of the incredibly detailed originals, which are currently housed in museums across the globe. Having just been to Italy, I wasn’t going to miss out on this. It’s a fabulous place to wander around and it’s one of my favourite places to spend time.

Art fix satisfied, my perfect day continued with a spot of lunch at a restaurant I was introduced to a few weeks ago by a friend. I had two favourite lunch places, both of which have since been closed to make way for new hotels and condos. I prefer going out during the day and I was struggling to find a place that opened all day, and one that had a 6-hour happy hour! Most places don’t open til 5 pm and they’re a little expensive to go to all the time, so I was thrilled when I found Monsoon. I’ve only been a couple of times so far, but it’s my new place to go for my perfect days out.

Things to Do in Freetime in Bangkok
Perfect days out

After lunch, I headed to Emquartier, one of Bangkok’s glitzy malls. As a rule, I hate these places, too many people and overpriced shops that you find anywhere in the world, but I by-passed all that and browsed around Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore that I like to go to for travel books. I love browsing around bookstores and, usually, I go to a much smaller one that has 4 floors with shelves and shelves full of second-hand books, but I wanted to buy The Rough Guide to Spain and I like those all shiny, new and up to date. I found what I was looking for, plus I made two extra purchases, a beginners guide to Spanish and a book about the history of art. Perfect!

Things to Do in Freetime in Bangkok
Kinokuniya, Bangkok

I arrived home and spent the rest of my day, watching TV, with a glass of red, or two, and chilled out before work the following day. A perfect end to a perfect day!

What’s your idea of a perfect day? 🙂

Reflections

A few years ago, I spent a fabulous day tramping around Dovedale in the Peak District of England. Along the 3 km route, we passed caves known as the Dove Holes, used the stepping stones to cross the river and meandered along the path until we reached Milldale, a village of beautiful stone cottages with gardens full of brighly-coloured flowers. It would be so lovely to live there! From there, we turned around and retraced our route and ended the day, back at one of my friend’s houses, with a BBQ and beers. It was such a great day out, not only for the green and glorious countryside, but I spent the day with some very good friends.

Things to do around the world
Dovedale, UK

In Cyprus, my friend and I and my mum and dad visited the Paphos Archaeological Park. I love these kind of places, I’m fascinated with the history and this one didn’t disappoint. There were ruins galore, remains of beautiful mosaics, and an ancent amphitheatre. I was in my element. I remember it being so hot that day, but it was nice to get out into the countryside with three of my favourite people.

Things to do around the world
Paphos Archaeological Park, Paphos, Cyprus

I arranged to meet my friend in Adu Dhabi and, one day, we took a trip to Dubai. We went up the Burj Khalifa, a real treat with phenomenal views for miles around. We stayed up there for a couple of hours and we were glad we did because the views became even more spectacular when the sun went down and the neon lights of the city came on. It was a trip to remember.

Things to do around the world
Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Wat Po in Bangkok reminds me how much I love exploring my city. I love just going out, with my camera, and visiting my favourite places and there are plenty of new places that I find all the time. There is a never ending source of things to see.

Things to do around the world
Wat Po, Bangkok, Thailand

I spent seven weeks in New Zealand and at first I really didn’t want to be there. I had just come from Thailand and I missed everything about it, but thank God I got over that because I ended up having the best time there. I did so much and saw some wonderful things in that short space of time, including these Mirror Lakes. The water is so clear and still, it created some gorgeous reflections.

Things to do around the world
Mirror Lakes, New Zealand

Whenever I used to go home, I always made the trip to Scotland to see my Nana, who is, sadly, no longer with us. This day, my mum and I had taken a trip to Edinburgh and we had lunch in the Halfway House. I spent the first 12 years of my life in Scotland, so I never really got to enjoy the city as an adult. It’s a beautiful place, and, although I wouldn’t choose to live there again, it’s nice to go back to my roots.

Things to do around the world
Edinburgh’s Smallest Pub, Edinburgh, UK

New Zealand again, this time in Bluff. I’d rented a car, from Dunedin, and taken a road trip down to the south coast. It was New Zealand’s winter time, so I had the place, almost, to myself. I took the Bluff Heritage Trail, through wind-worn forests with brilliant views out to sea. I was also treated to a couple of seals playing in the surf. On the way back to Dunedin, I spent a very cold night in a little cottage in Owaka, so cold that I had to wear five layers, all under a blanket. Brrr! I can still feel the cold. It was in New Zealand that I acquired a love of walking and sightseeing.

Things to do around the world
Bluff Heritage Trail, Bluff, New Zealand

In 2013, I graduated from The Open University with a Bachelor of Science with honours. I can’t tell you how proud I was! I wasn’t even going to go to the graduation ceremony, but a friend suggested I go, otherwise he thought I would regret it. I was glad I did. It was in Manchester and my mum came with me. The ceremony was a little nerve-wracking, but everyone there had all done something that was really worth this grand occasion. Afterwards, my mum and I took to the town and enjoyed a lovely meal and drinks in a Thai restaurant.

Things to do around the world
Manchester, UK

Another day out in New Zealand and this day took me on a jaunt along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway. It was on a day when I was supposed to be going whale watching, but it was cancelled due to bad weather. So I wrapped up and went off in exploration of the local area, through farmland and forests, until I reached the black-pebbled beach, and sea. I did loads of other stuff in Kaikoura, like horse-riding, wine tasting, cave exploring and having a Thai meal in a restaurant that didn’t have a liquour license, but not to worry, I had two lovely bottles of wine in my hand that I had bought from the winery. How’s that for good luck?

Things to do around the world
Kaikoura Peninsula, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Whenever I’ve visited my rellys in Adelaide, they’ve taken me out and about to see stuff and we’ve gone to Granite Island a couple of times. It’s a small island next to Victor Harbour, small enough so you can walk around passed huge boulders, plants dancing in the sea breeze, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the cute fairy penguins which live there. It’s even better when you’ve got Ernie by your side telling you about all the different plants and animals there.

Things to do around the world
Granite Island, Adelaide, Australia

I love going to Adelaide and the last time I went was for Christmas in 2014. I wanted to do some exercise, so my cousin suggested we hike up Mount Lofty. So, at 6.00am we started our day, along with my other cousin and his daughter, Amy. When we arrived at Mount Lofty, we stopped at this map which showed the different routes available to the top. I asked “Where are we?” Amy burst out laughing. She pointed at the map to show me a large, red “YOU ARE HERE” sign. She giggled “We are here!” I didn’t live that down for the next thirty minutes, she couldn’t stop laughing! It was a fabulous morning out in the sunshine, followed by a well deserved coffee afterwards.

Things to do around the world
Mount Lofty, Adelaide, Australia

A few years back, I spent a month on Koh Tao with friends. One day, I said I was going to visit a resort called Mango Bay. The best and easiest way to get there is by boat, but I wanted to walk across the island and my friends jumped at the chance to come with me. It was such an arduous journey, slowly going up some very steep hills with nothing on our feet but flip-flops. When we finally made it to the top, dripping in sweat, we took a well deserved break at the Mountain Bar. The views from our vantage point made us forget how hard it was getting there.

Things to do around the world
Views of Koh Tao, Thailand

Another day out in Adelaide with my two cousins, Scott and Craig. We walked along the Torrens River before heading back to the city through the botanical gardens. I love trees and this Eucalyptus camaldulensis, or river red gum, was worthy of a photo. It was thought to be living between 1,500 and 2000 years ago and it died when it was 500 years old! Imagine the things it has seen in its lifetime. We finished our walk at my favourite bar in Adelaide, The Austral, somewhere I try to visit whenever I’m in town.

Things to do around the world
Ancient Tree, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Australia

Vachiratharn Waterfall is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, near to Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand and I went there when I first came to Thailand in 2008. Throughout the day, I did bamboo rafting and stood on the highest point in Thailand. In the evening, the tour guide asked me out for a few drinks with him and his friends. We didn’t go anywhere fancy, just a little roadside bar, but we had such a fun night and it made me realise that, as a solo traveller, there may be times when you feel lost or lonely sometimes, and I certainly felt that throughout my travels, but things happen that always have a way of making you feel good again.

Things to do around the world
Vachiratharn Waterfall, Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand

I like to be reminded of some of the things that I’ve done. I wish I had a photographic memory and remembered everything I have ever done, which is why I love to take so many photographs! 🙂

What makes you remember some of the things you’ve done? 🙂

The Changing Seasons-April 2018

The Changing Seasons post, inspired by the lovely Sarah at Secret Art Expedition and hosted by Su at Zimmerbitch. I must say, I am loving writing these posts, it reminds me of everything I’ve done during the month, from the big things right down to the small. So, without further ado, here’s what I got up to in April.

I started the month with a visit to one of my favourite drinking dens, Le Cafe des Stagiaires, with my little partner in crime, Chris! It’s a lovely little bar in Sathorn, with happy hour deals, always good in my book, and a nice atmosphere with seats on the pavement, canopied by the trees that line Soi 12. You can really imagine that you’re in Europe somewhere! 🙂

Things to do in Bangok
Le Cafe des Stagiaires
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton

I work really unsociable hours and my hours don’t match Chris’s, so when he’s off, I’m not, and vice versa. But, Sundays are a good day for both of us, even if Chris is meant to be working, he gives in sometimes and we enjoy our “Sunday Sessions,” as we’ve fondly named them.

Things to do in freetime
Sunday Sessions
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton
Things to do in freetime
So uncouth!!! It was a non-alcoholic drink that we put to good use in our Mojitos! Actually not bad!!
Photo Credit: Chris Wotton

There is an abundance of different colours and many different species of flowers and plants at my local park, so I always stop mid-run to photograph a few.

The best thing I did in April was to visit Italy to celebrate my birthday (35 AGAIN!!!) I met my mum and dad there and what a wonderful week we had together. Honestly, I took SO many photos and I plan to write about my visit there, but these are just a few of my favourite places.

Things to do in Rome
St Peter’s Basilica
Things to do in Rome
Ponte Sant’Angelo
Things to do in Rome
The Colosseum
Things to do in Rome
The Roman Forum
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Navonna
Things to do in Rome
The Duomo, Florence
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Del Popolo
Things to do in Rome
The Pantheon
Things to do in Rome
The Spanish Steps

When I got back to Bangkok, I still had a few days holiday, so me and Chris when to Escape, a new roof top bar located, strangely, on the fifth floor of one of the monstrous shopping malls here in the city. It was glitzy and glamourous and the drinks were fairly pricey, but we were making the most of a rare weekend off, for me at least.

Places to go in Bangkok
Creativity in wine!!
Places to go in Bangkok
Decorated bar

Good old Facebook 😉 reminded me of one of my all time favourite tunes; Tiesto’s Adagio for Strings. It stirred up a good few memories from the past and it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it!

I was introduced to the Mark Steel lectures by a friend earlier this year, and I finally got round to watching one of them. He takes famous people from the past, like Freud, Aristole, and Napoleon and tells their story in a way that is informative yet hilarious!

And finally, it was my 50th birthday! God knows how I got to be 50, I am still 18 in my heart and head! (Not so in body- it takes me days to get over a night out!) Still, they say life begins at 30/40/50/60/70…!! After a few months of actually freaking out about it, I have accepted this fact, after all, it’s only a number !!! I stopped counting at 35 anyway!!! 😉

If you would like to join me and the others in this challenge, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

A Treasure Trove of Roman Memories

One of my dreams came true last month, I went to Italy. I studied mythology in the Greek and Roman worlds as part of my degree and ever since then I have been fascinated by the history of these two places and have really wanted to visit Rome. So, not only did I get there to celebrate my birthday, but I got to spend a wonderful week with my mum and dad. I took so many photographs and I can’t wait to share them with you, but, for now, here are some memories we made as we enjoyed our week together.

Things to do in Rome
St Peter’s Basilica
Things to do in Rome
Mum with St Peter’s Basilica in the background
Things to do in Rome
Castel Sant’Angelo
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Navonna
Things to do in Rome
The Colosseum
Things to do in Rome
In Florence
Things to do in Rome
Using the Metro
Things to do in Rome
Walking from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza di Spagna
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Di Spagna
Things to do in Rome
In front of Santa Maria Maggiore
Things to do in Rome
Having a rest on Via Nazionale
Things to do in Rome
Ristorante Taberna Patrizi e Plebei
Ponte Palatino
Things to do in Rome
Walking from Isola Tiberina to Piazza Campo di Fiori
Things to do in Rome
Piazza Rotunda
Things to do in Rome
Mum and Dad
Things to do in Rome
Off to our local

We really had such a fabulous and fun time together and this was a trip I will never forget. My mum and dad have been to Rome a couple of times before, but they said they saw so much more this time. I’m not surprised, we must have walked a good 5-7 km most days and my poor mum didn’t give up, even though she was in pain from walking so far. I can’t thank mum and dad enough for making my birthday so very special.

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons – March 2018

The Changing Seasons post, inspired by the lovely Sarah at Secret Art Expedition and hosted by Su at Zimmerbitch. Here is my round up of things I got up to during March.

As I hadn’t been out exploring much since I got back from Sri Lanka, I took myself off to Chulachomklao Fort in Phra Samut Chedi District, around 29 km south of Bangkok. Getting there was fun, I only knew that I had to take the 145 bus to Pak Nam Market, then take a boat across the river, and, finally, a truck to the fort. It always seems a bit of an adventure when you don’t really know the way. I had to ask a couple of people to find the market and once I had located the truck, it dropped me off, right at the fort.

First up, the gun park which tells you the history of the guns, although the information was all in Thai, so I just had to wander around and imagine.

Things to do in Bangkok
The Gun Park

This proud statue of King Rama V stands at the front of the fort.

Things to do in Bangkok
King Rama V Statue

The disappearing guns were used only once in 1893 when the fort protected the sovereignty of Thailand from French invasion. They were designed to be hauled up by their hydro-pneumatic system for firing and lowered again afterwards.

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

H.T.M.S Maeklong was in service for 60 years and deployed during WWII. It was fun to scamper about on her decks!

Things to do in Bangkok
H.T.M.S Maeklong

There’s a mangrove forest there too.

Things to do in Bangkok

 

Things to do in Bangkok
Mangrove Forest

I forgot that I had heard about the resident monkeys that live there until this one started walking towards me! I was a little nervous!

Things to do in Bangkok
Just strolling!

But, thankfully, they didn’t pay me any attention and continued to play or groom each other, oblivious to my presence.

Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

It was a great day out and, although the sea looked far from the usual images that you see in Thailand, it was good to get out and about.

Things to do in Bangkok
The Gulf of Thailand

I made a video of all the beautiful birds that I saw in Sri Lanka, and, the best bit, I didn’t even have to leave the confines of my friend’s garden to see them. They greeted us with their song in the morning and it was just fabulous to hear them and see all the different species that visited throughout the day.

 

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Nilla at Image Earth Travel for the work I do here on Talkingthailand. It’s always a joy to receive these nominations and it makes me feel happy and honoured that someone takes time out of their day to acknowledge me. Thank you again Nilla, it was very much appreciated.

At last, I picked up my sketch pad and drew something. Whenever I do this, I mean to do it more regularly, but I never get round to it. I should do it more because I love sitting down and creating something. This drawing is a copy of a painting I saw in an art gallery, but it has my own twist on it! It’s a combination of pencil, charcoal, and pastel crayons.

Things to do in free time
My Art

As well as showcasing my photographs on morrisophotography, I also upload my best shots to Viewbug, and I sometimes enter their free photo challenges. In March, I found out that 2 of my photos had been ranked in the top 50 and 1 in the top 80! When you consider the amount of people that enter these challenges, I was thrilled with this result!

Photography challenges
Artistic Wildlife Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 50
Photography challenges
Animal Families Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 50
Photography challenges
Legs Photo Challenge-Ranked Top 80

I started watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson. His passion and knowledge of the universe, evolution, science and much more just oozes through his silky voice. Everytime I watch it, it (he) makes me want to learn all that he knows. It really is a fantastic and mind-blowing show. I thoroughly recommend watching it, if you haven’t already!

TV Recomendations
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Photo Credit: http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/tv/cosmos-a-spacetime-odyssey/

So, that’s my March done and dusted. I’m already having an awesome April, I hope you are too 🙂

If you would like to join me and the others in this challenge, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

 

 

Photo Walks Around the City; November and December 2017

On the last round up of what’s happening on the streets of Bangkok, I took relatively few photographs. But here they are. We’ve already said goodbye to 2017 and welcomed 2018 in with open arms!

Happy New Year to you!!

I hope 2018 brings joy and good fortune with everything we do!

Much love 🙂

House of Lucie

The House of Lucie is an art gallery that I have wanted to visit for a while and last year I went to see “Unseen Lithuania” by Marius Jovaisa, a world famous photographer known for his aerial photography.

The House of Lucie aims to honor master photographers like Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, David Bailey and Lord Snowdon. It also aims to discover and cultivate emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography worldwide.

Here are some of my favourite photographs by these masters photographers

And some familiar faces from across the world

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Cassius Clay by Marvin E Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Micheal Jackson by Gene Trindl

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Dylan by David Bailey

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Marley by David Burnett

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Muhammad Ali by Howard Bingham

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Ornette Coleman by William Claxton

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Salvador Dali by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Pablo Picasso by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
David Bowie by Antonin Kratochvil

I loved looking at these photographs. I recognised most of the celebs but not others. Now, most of these people are no longer with us, so it’s lovely that these photographs remain to serve as a kind of memorial.

For more art galleries in Bangkok, check out one of my previous posts.

 

French Ambassador’s Residence, Bangkok

The French Embassy is located in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and in the grounds of the embassy is the residence of the French ambassador, Gérard Araud. Usually, I only get a glimpse of this charming colonial-style building from the river as the boat surges on by but once a year, in September, the ambassador open his doors to the public as part of the European Heritage Days initiative. This initiative was started in 1984 so everyone could enjoy free visits to various sites in order to appreciate and learn about cultural heritage. It also raises awareness of citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe, in particular.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The ambassador’s home from the outside

The house was built around 1830, and in 1856 it was rented by the customs department to the French trading mission, before being awarded to France by King Rama V in 1875.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
Photograph of the original house

There are guided tours available in different languages but the number of people is limited. However, you are free to wander through the house and grounds between 10.00am and 4.00pm. The tour includes lunch which you can enjoy in a seating area on the ground floor of the house.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The spacious back garden

On the day I visited, I just missed a tour and I didn’t want to hang around waiting for the next one, although the lady told me I could go back and join the next one, but I was happy just to mooch around on my own.

So, let’s see what’s inside.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The seating area on the veranda

Art and Culture in Bangkok

The reception room

The living room with a few of the ambassador’s collectibles

The dining room

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The dining table ready for dinner
Art and Culture in Bangkok
The menu from 1913

Another dining room

The book collection

Art and Culture in Bangkok

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The Bangkok Times

My favourite, some old photos and newspaper clippings of meetings between two nations

For relaxing

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The swimming pool
Art and Culture in Bangkok
Some more snapshots and knick knacks
Art and Culture in Bangkok
Chill out zone at the back of the house

This garden is amazing and I can just imagine sitting by the river with a glass of wine. I wonder if the ambassador does that? 😉

Fantastic river views

Places like this in Bangkok just amaze me. I hope you enjoyed the tour 🙂

Guided tours:

French: 10.30am, 11.30am, 2.00pm, 3.00pm
Thai: 10.40am, 11.40am, 2.10pm, 3.10pm
English: 10.50am, 11.50am, 2.20pm, 3.20pm

Address: