The Patara Elephant Sanctuary allows you to get up close and friendly with elephants of all sizes. The sanctuary’s advertisement says you can be an elephant owner for a day. With the elephants walking around freely, our first task was to scrub the mud from their tough skin, then walk them to a large pond and give them a bath.
Wanting to see more of Thailand than the typical iconic Buddhist temples crowded with tourists, I made a special request of our guide, Lucky 8. This day was to be spent out in the Thai countryside where there would be neither tourists nor admission tickets. It was by coincidence that we happened upon a Buddhist funeral in Lucky’s home village. Yes, this entire blog will be about attending a Buddhist funeral in rural Thailand.
When traveling in Europe I try to blend in as much as possible. Clearly this was not going to be possible in Thailand. Arriving Sunday afternoon hungry and tired, we thought it best to jump into the Thai culture by eating street food for dinner at a nearby weekend night market. Ordering our food through gesturing and fumbling with the Thai baht currency, we had fresh spicy food on a stick served by friendly people all willing to help out. Our Thai experience only got better and better.
Singapore is sometimes referred to as Asia Light or Asia 101. Everyone speaks English, you are statistically safer here than anywhere in the world, the food is wonderful, cabs are cheap and plentiful, trains are always on time and the airport is rated the best in the universe. Above all, if you are over the age of 50 you cannot be sentenced to a caning as punishment. Continue reading
Darwin is the most northerly city in Australia. In April it is just too hot and humid for words. April is the wet season and is characterized by high humidity, monsoonal rains and storms. I learned of this just now while writing this blog, not as we planned our trip. Darwin can receive 17 inches of rain in January and zero in June. This is a land of extremes. Continue reading
We are finally headed to Uluru. But first we need to make a brief stop in the much less famous Glen Helen. Why? Because some Internet guidebook told me we should drive there immediately after landing in Alice Springs. I took their advice. Glen Helen may be a more fun spot in less severe heat. Also for those who love to hike. However, the one night we spent there was plenty… Continue reading
Travel plans were once again befuddled by the South Pacific cyclones. This time it was Marcus, which turned out to be the strongest, most destructive cyclone to strike Australia in over ten years. Huge trees were toppled in Darwin, north of us. We only suffered from severe rain. Fifteen inches of it, in a single day. That was enough to cancel all tours to the Great Barrier Reef. Continue reading
While staying in the City of Gold Coast near Brisbane (pronounced Briz’-bun) we went on our first Australian outback safari. But first we need to explore the City of Gold Coast itself. Continue reading
Several cities around the world are defined by a single building or structure. Paris and the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge and Sydney and its Opera House. Because of this strong association, the convenient location of our hotel and the terrible summer heat wave, I did little else in Sydney other than make short excursions exploring various views of the Sydney Opera House.
Bay of Fires in Tasmania is famous for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and orange lichen-covered granite boulders. As a photographer, these bright red beach rocks in Binalong Bay on the east coast were a must-see item during our visit to Tasmania.