Sunday, September 29, 2013

Walking Food Tour in Bangkok

When I was preparing for my trip I visited the TripAdvisor website for tourist ideas and found lots of praise for a walking food tour.  I’d been on an equivalent tour in New York several years ago so was keen.  I signed up for a tour in the oldest part of Bangkok which would visit a range of cafes during the morning and over lunchtime.

We met up at a skytrain station, glad to be out of the rain which had been falling relentlessly since mid afternoon the day before.  When our guide arrived she offered us each a pastel rainmac so we were walking around as a matching set of plastic wrapped delicacies.  My group mates were a Swedish man who loves to cook, an Indian couple who had met while working in USA and a Mexican-American currently working in Indonesia so we had a good range of food experience between us.


Our first stop was an old chinese inspired cafe where we met the owner as he was eating his morning meal.  We had roast duck over rice and used a soysauce, vinegar and chilli dressing.  All very tasty and a good start to the tour. 


Next to an Indian inspired cafe for a fragrant curry sauce with noodles, much to the amusement of the Indian couple who had never had anything but rice with their curry.  The chef put together each bowl from a big pot of sauce and an array of bowls containing egg, herbs and onion.


Our next stop was the other side of the river so we hopped over on one of the ferries and down a narrow alley to find a traditional Thai cafe that is very popular with the locals.  Here we had 4 tasty dishes – broccoli and mushrooms; green papaya salad (our favourite); fried chicken with lemongrass and mint; and deepfried shredded cuttlefish (the only dish I wasn’t taken with)


Back across the river to a bakery where we had a pork bun and a bun filled with delicious green custard flavoured with Padang (I bought some of these to eat later).  All of the bread and buns seemed luminous white compared to the brown and rye bread that I tend to buy back home.


Our final destination was an upmarket cafe that was packed with Thai ladies who lunch after they shop.  There were tables spread with European style bakery


But we were there for thai green curry served with deep fried roti (another surprise for the Indian couple) followed by an ice-cream trio of coconut sorbet, tamarind ice-cream and durian ice-cream (I was so eager to tuck in that I didn’t take a photo!)


Three hours on, very wet and very full we all thanked our guide and went off into the city happy.  i really enjoyed the tour and ate food I would not otherwise has sampled and saw nooks and crannies of the vast city that I would otherwise have missed.

Based on 2 great experiences I’ll be seeking out food tours on future trips.  Have you been on a food tour?

So here we are at the end of a week of my Bangkok experience based around my urban scavenger hunt.  My next trip is to Ottawa and I know I’m going to have fun finding the items on the list and looking at the similarities and contrasts with these Bangkok images.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bangkok shops and markets

I loved the bustle and colour of the stalls that line many of the pavements


many selling food for immediate consumption.


deep fried banana, pad thai made as you watch, prepared pineapple, crystallised fruit, peanut brittle and so much more

I did see some foodshops with shelves piled with interesting looking packages


and visited a supermarket to see what kind of things they stocked and found plenty that was familiar and plenty that I’m not used to


Apart from food the most common shops seemed to be florists as many Thai people buy a flower garland daily to please the spirits of their house, vehicle or place of work.  People create these by threading small roses and petals taken from larger flowers


In the tourist areas the other common site is tailors offering to make clothes for you in 2 days – their windows are full of dress forms and collar options


Shopping in Bangkok feels so different from in UK with more bustle and colour and less space to move and more delicious smells and more interesting take away food.  Tomorrow I’ll finish my tour of Bangkok with the walking food tour and other photos of what I ate.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wandering in Bangkok

I had 3 free days in Bangkok and on 2 of them I wandered around areas near-ish my hotel, looking and absorbing and sitting and watching and taking photos.  On the 1st day I took a taxi to the museum and then meandered back and on the other day I meandered out from the hotel and caught a taxi back again. 

Taxis are safe, reliable, easy to flag down and brightly coloured as you see here.  They were cheap to us (about £1.50 each trip) but that is expensive compared to the public transport that local use.  The fabulous skytrain (like the subway on stilts) is fast and frequent and costs about 10p for a short trip.  The ferries that cross the river are 3p per journey going up to 20p to travel several stops along the river.  Despite all the great public transport the roads are busy at during rush hour hardly move.  Motobikes are clearly popular and seem to cover the pavements, and some drivers even drive their bikes on the pavement to get past the static traffic – rather hairy for pedestrians.


The river and smaller canals (klongs) criss cross the city and I used them to navigate a lot – walk til bump into the water etc.  There are some really impressive multi lane bridges over the river and people cross it on the ferries.  The klongs have plenty of footpath bridges too


That tall tower on the bridge was massive upclose and one of many signs that height is deemed impressive with most of the wats and important buildings having towers with metal points on top to increase their height


I passed plenty of intriguing doorways that looked to lead to courtyards and gates or grilles hiding interiors.  The padlock int he photo is the grille in front of one of the collections in the museum – not very pretty but I guess its effective


and I was delighted to happen upon this scene – yes the kids are cute but what really pleased me was the label above the door in English meaning I could satisfy my library loving friends.  This is a primary school attached to a wat – all school education in Thailand is free and schools are attached to temples or churches or are state run.


With all of my walking about in the heat I was pleased to discover plenty of benches in parks and in shopping malls and beside the klongs


and plenty of locals relaxing in shady spots and around the table set up near the food stalls (I’ll share images of them tomorrow)


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bangkok on show

Driving in from the airport one of the first things I noticed were massive posters of the royal family outside buildings, on arches over the road and on hoarding at the corner of street junctions


flags were prominent too


As well as revering their monarchy, Thais are very proud of their democracy and given that I work in elections I had to visit the democracy monument when I spotted it on the tourist map


Big monuments and statues are everywhere in many forms.  Shaped trees seem very popular and I watched a guard trim these with scissors in the museum grounds.


Fearsome statues flank the doorway to most wats  And the love of large statuary seems to thriving in modern settings too with these fabulous trees standing in the entranceway to one of the big shopping malls and people queuing to take a photo in front of them.

Dotted throughout a massive market and eating park that we visited one evening (and where I took the up and down from yesterday) were several life size statues depicting life when that area was a bustling warehouse.  We couldn’t resist posing with the statues even though the light was not great for photos


The only musicians I spotted were also in a decorative panel


tomorrow some benches, bridges and public transport and a bonus item for the bibliophiles

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Look Up Look Down at dinner

Food is always a focus for me when I travel as I love to sample local flavours and there were plenty of opportunities when I was in Bangkok last week.  I’ll have a post all about the food walking tour I did on Sunday but for now a taster looking up at the fabulous name of the restaurant and down at a delicious bowl of Tom Yum


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bangkok–setting the scene

I’m back from Bangkok, mostly recovered from jetlag, and keen to share my photos.  I really enjoyed having my list of hunt items and it made me hunt out some different aspects and look at the city in new ways. 

First up my hotel – one of many western style hotels in the city and pretty indistinguishable from hotels I’ve stayed in elsewhere.  The luminous green drink was the special fruit mix visitors receive when they arrive – the best I can say about it is that it was wet!


The skyline shows the prevalence of modern tower buildings which dwarf the more traditional buildings but have not replaced them. 


and the silhouette of the wats (buddhist temples) is still evident everywhere, and for me the signature skyline shape of Thailand. There are wats everywhere, big and small.  Another sign of spiritual belief found all over are the small floral garlands that are hung on buildings and motorbikes and cars and boats and in doorways to please the spirit of that object or place and so make the day better


all of the wats welcome visitors, as long as you cover shoulders and upper legs and remove your shoes.  I’m using these photos of shoes outside a wat as my item for feet and footwear. 


Bangkok really is an east meets west city with lots that is traditional and distinctively Thai and lots that could be in any large city.  Plenty more examples as I share my whole list over this week

Monday, September 23, 2013

Scavenger Hunt 2013 Finale

Rinda’s Scavenger Hunt has become a very welcome staple of my summer – both finding items and watching as blogfriends hunt too.

This year, for the first time, I found all items plus both of the substitute items.  My last was the plane because I flew on the 16th so knew that this would squeeze into the timeframe.  This year there were not any items that I was wracking my brain to find and I did find the three which needed a vigilant eye – funny notice, cloud and something out of place.

I’ve recorded them all on two project life (digital) pages



Thanks to Rinda for another fun challenge and now off to see how everyone else has done – one thing I really enjoy is seeing the wide range of photos for the same item.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

City visit photo scavenger hunt

Thank you for all of your suggestions for items to include on my photo scavenger hunt to use when I’m visiting another city.
I’ve compiled this list, with some items inviting multiple photos
1. Benches
2. Billboards
3. Bridge
4. Building for worship
5. Doorway
6. Feet
7. Flag
8. Food
9. Group of locals relaxing
10. Headwear
11. Hotel
12. In shop windows
13. Local landmark
14. Outdoor market
15. Person dancing or playing music
16. Person in national dress
17. Public sculpture
18. Public transport
19. Skyline
20. Tower
21. Urban art
I think they will be fun to collect, take me to some interesting places and give a good feel for each city. 
And I've started collecting - mostly on my camera but I don't have a way to transfer them to my tablet.  So I took a few with my tablet to post now
breakfast in my hotel - no real clues to my location there
a place of worship   and not on my list but pretty and distinctive of here, pots of water lillies

I'll share the rest of my finds in Bangkok when
I'm home next week and able to connect my camera to my blog

Monday, September 16, 2013

Look up look down on the move

My 1st post created entirely using my tablet. (which is why you may have seen this post pop up on 

Some typical sights at an airport looking up at the departures board

and down at luggage being loaded

and yes I also captured a plane for summer scavenger hunt - although that is not the reason 
I am embarking on a 17 hour journey  (much as 
I love the hunt and want to get all items that would be taking the hunt to extremes)

Getting ready for the Commonwealth Games

I do like to be prepared and, yes, the games are a year away but preparations are underway.  Glasgow is host to the games next year so I thought I’d participate.  No I haven’t been hiding athletic prowess !

I’m hoping to be a spectator – I’ve been online to order tickets for rugby 7s and athletics but will not know if I have any until October when the organisers will randomly allocate the tickets amongst those who booked. 

And I’m hoping to be a volunteer – working with the Commonwealth Organisation in assisting the team organisers.  if successful I’ll be part of a team assigned to a particular country and with my experience in the Pacific I’m hoping it will be one of the small island nations.  I attended an interview earlier this month and will hear if I was successful in October or November with training starting next March.

At the interview I did manage to have my photo taken with the Games mascot – Clyde (the name of the river in Glasgow)


I’m hoping this is not my only interaction with the games !

Sunday, September 15, 2013

foraging treasures

Picking wild blackberries provided a pleasant afternoon’s pursuit, red fingers, prickles and now promises of winter delight in my freezer.

[following Abi’s idea of a photo and 20 words to tell a story]

Friday, September 13, 2013

oh yes that sounds fun

‘Fancy a challenge?’ was the intriguing subject in an email I received from blogfriend Miriam at the end of July

She was thinking of creating a piece using crochet chains, like those she had seen in wall hanging and wondered if I wanted to play along too during August.  I’m always ups for a creative challenge so said yes

Creating the chains was the easy, and very relaxing, part.  The simple process of creating a long, long chain was so relaxing and a relief to not be counting stitches or checking the hook was through the correct part of the previous row. 


I decided to use 2 main colours and a pale background to create some abstract design because I wanted to experiment and get a feel for how the chains would look.  I went for a montage of rectangles and filled each in differently to see how different approaches looked


I like that just changing from vertical to horizontal rows gives a different effect


I liked mixing the two and using a pattern where both colours are a continuous line

I like the texture that the chains provide and how snuggly they nestle together


Creating this small sample I had plenty of ideas to use in a bigger piece.  I think some circles would be fun and some freeform shapes.  I’d also like to try using different weight yarn and different size crochet hooks to vary the thickness and texture of the chains.  Definitely a technique I will be using again – thanks to Miriam for the challenge

Pop over to see what Miriam created for this challenge.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Look up Look down while tidying the garden

I’ve been busy digging up weeds and grass that has strayed off the lawn and pruning off dead flowers. I have aches in muscles I didn't even know I had!!


unusually the same item appears in both images – my gardening gloves

Monday, September 9, 2013

and the hunt goes one

as we near the 21st September and the end of Rinda’s Summer Scavenger Hunt 2013 I have 2 photos to share, 2 still to capture (which I’ll share in my layout of all items in Rinda’s final linky) and a a plan to continue hunting

First my last 2 captures of theatre and civil building – spoilt for choice for both in Edinburgh




And now I’d like some assistance please in creating an urban vist list.

I’m going to be visiting two large and very different cities over the next few months.  I’ll be working but will have time to wander and explore.  I have visited both before and done the big tourist items.  Having seen how many items JimJams collected in a day visiting Copenhagen and knowing how much I enjoy the summer challenge and how it encourages me to notice different things I thought that I would create a list of about 20 items to use in these 2 cities and I’d be happy if I collected 10 of the list.

I’ve pulled some items from Rinda’s lists

* outdoor market

* tower

* a person dancing or playing music

* a historic landmark

* building for workship

* person in national dress

* flag


and have some ideas

* skyline

* doorway

* feet

I need some other ideas and I’m not going to tell you which cities they are to avoid that having an impact.  What do you like to capture or see in cities? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting wet for PhotoArt Friday

Water was Bonnie’s suggested theme for this month and I have plenty of images of water to play with.

I decided to use the water spray created by the boat when I was on a Seabird Safari in July


I love the sculptural shapes and so I layered all of my images together to create one super, refreshing, colossal spray


I did play with some textures on top but didn’t find anything that improved the image so I stopped.

Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful water based photoart in the gallery.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Look Up Look Down at seasonal change

signs of the changing season all around

– getting dark earlier

- children in school uniform walking past my window

- fallen leaves over the grass

- start of the big reality TV contests that peak near Christmas

- changing plumage on black headed gulls and some other birds


clusters of seeds on trees


picking apples from the tree in my garden – planted 3 years ago when I moved