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Back in the crazy world of Bangkok

We are once again in Bangkok.
Our first day was mostly spent with a quick swim in the pool, a meander along the streets just to see what had changed and then lounging around in the air con room.
We were suffering from a bad dose if jet lag which is unusual for us but it was probably due to dehydration. On the seond leg of our flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok we were trapped in our seat. We had the window seat and the middle seat. A lovely young Thai lady was allocated the aisle seat. She smiled sweetly as she sat down and then promptly pulled down the tray table, plonked her I pad on it and plugged in her ear phones. As usual with anyone from this area of the world , within minutes of take off she was flat out asleep and stayed that way for practically the entire seven hours. We did disturb her once to get out but it was such a performance to get past we didn't repeat it meaning restricting the amount of water we drank.

ticket out of the machine at the public taxi rank and get allocated a bay number. Ours was 32 of course it was the only bay that was empty all the rest had taxis waiting to whisk you away. He soon turned up and we negotiated the price to Mango Lagoon. 500Baht. Suprizingly it hasn't changed since we first started coning back in 2006. He was quick to point out that he couldn't drive us all the way there as there were '"many people walking" we understood and agreed to be dropped off at the main road. He seemed quite relieved. You can actually drive down Soi Rambutri but like he said there are so many people walking it would take forever.
He gave a friendly tour as we battled with the choked up traffic. Despite being 6.30pm on a Sunday it was more like rush hour back home.
Once we made it to the hotel it was a quick change into lighter clothing and out for a cold drink and a bit of people watching from Gecko Bar.

close to our hotel. By evening we were recovered. We'd arranged to meet Christophe at 7pm. We'd first met him on Kapas back in 2012 and had bumped into him a few times since, over here in various places.
It was lovely to catch up and after a long chat and a beer in Gecko Bar we all went to Ranees, our favourite restaurant, where they do an amazing massaman curry.
As the title suggests Bangkok is crazy, to get back from Ranees we had to negotiate crossing the main road. A tourist policeman stood in the middle of the crossing, arms stretched out, taxis and motorbikes slowing down to stop, people from either side began to cross when the policeman shouted " go go go" and gestured us to run as a private car roared past. Pedestrians scattered everywhere out of the way..


Thai Food

This wasnbt the plan for 2020. But the fickle finger of fate prodded us yet again, and here we are, a day away from a trip back to Thailand, and our first visit to Laos!

The second half of 2019 had been an all-round shocker. To say it was less than awesome would be an understatement. And to top it all, it looked like we had to cancel our planned March 2020 to visit South America for work reasons. We were quite miserable about this prospect, but the travel gods smiled on us and presented us with a three week gap in Januaryb& and so this trip was born! ????

We are both guilty of having the personality trait of wanting to repeatedly experience something if we love it. In travel terms, webve had to actively stop ourselves from wanting to continually go back to the places we loveb& at the expense of exploring so many new and unknown parts of the world. So we made a rule that we cannot return to a place for at least five years, but preferably ten!

One of our main sources of happiness is travel, followed closely by good food. Therefore a trip to Thailand rates highly b it is Renbs most favourite cuisine in the whole world, and ranks in Andrewbs top ten too.

Herebs a quick snapshot of the Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam): Itbs a constitutional monarchy under King Vajiralongkorn Rama X as head of state, with a prime minister as head of government. The population is just under 70 million, the capital is Bangkok and the currency is the Thai Baht (THB). The official language is Thai (which uses the Khmer script), but nearly 70 ethnolinguistic groups exist. In terms of religion b 94% are Buddhist, 4% are Muslim, 1% are Christian and 1% hold other minority beliefs.

While Laos has flown under the radar for us (in comparison to its bigger and bolder neighbours), we have been meaning to fix this oversight for a few years now. However, itbs only an introduction to the northern and central parts of the country at this point.

Herebs a quick snapshot of Laos: The population is just under 7 million, the capital is Vientiane and the currency is Lao Kip (LAK). The official language is Lao (also called Laotian, and which uses an Akson Lao or Lao script), but itbs a multi-ethic country with languages like Khmu and Hmong spoken by the many minority groups. French


New Zealand, North Island October 2019

Arrived in Wellington 8 a.m., got our **rental car and were at our hotel (QT Hotel - central/view of harbor) in about B= hour. Our room wasnbt ready (no surprise) so we went to the National Museum Te Papa (superb) which was just across the road from the hotel.

**Bernie took to driving on the left like a duck to water. I guess since webve driven on the left frequently and for a whole year (South Africa), it seemed natural to him.

Te Papa National Museum had well-done historical exhibits, an extensive larger-than-life visual display re: **Gallipoli, naturally, lovely cultural displays, and also really nice natural history exhibits.

**The main purpose of the Gallipoli campaign was to end World War One quickly by creating a new war front that the Turks could not defend. The campaign took place between 25th April 1915 and 9th January 1916 and is considered to have been a great failure for the Allied Forces with 140,000 men killed or wounded.

New Zealand and Australian (ANZAC) troops supported British and French soldiers in an attempt to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, in Turkey. Despite months of fighting, they were unsuccessful and many men died or were wounded. For New Zealand those numbers were 2,779 dead, 5,212 wounded for a total of 7,991 casualties. Allied troops pulled out in January 1916.

For a country whose population at the time was just over a million people, having almost 8,000 men killed or wounded in one campaign was devastating.