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July 2014
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September 2014

Thailand - two beaches and a birthday

July 2014

Happy Birthday to me!


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For my birthday, we went to Thailand and hung out on the beaches of Phuket and Khao Lak.  I am not really a beach girl, but living here in Asia has given me a new appreciation as the beaches are so beautiful.



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It is hard to see in the above photo - but I am wearing my birthday crown from cousin Maria and holding a bottle of champagne - this weekend was all about the celebration!



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In Phuket, we had a beautiful private villa.



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Sweet little towel elephants on the bed.



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The villa had a private pool.  

Did I mention this was my fiftieth birthday?  GULP.



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Sweets on arrival, a treat from the hotel.  They also surprised me with the birthday cake in the first photo.



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July is a rainy month in most Asian countries.  The Indian Ocean was too rough to swim, but we were very lucky and had sunny skies for the five days we were there.



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 We did enjoy walks on the beach and collecting shells...



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Quiet time...



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We tasted the local cuisine at a neighborhood restaurant.



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One restaurant had a young hawk tied up outside.



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Peaceful sunsets...



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We were in Phuket for three days then we moved to a hotel in Khao Lak, about an hour away.  What was unique about this hotel was the pool - it is suppose to be the longest in SE Asia.  It was fun swimming around the property.



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The photo below was taken at sunset - such a pretty glow.  I loved the architecture, it was very Thai.  Our room was the one on the right side - the end unit.  



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You could jump off our back porch right into the pool.




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And D had fun jumping off the back porch!




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We enjoyed a few massages.  The price - $15 for an hour with fresh coconut oil.  Oh it had the most wonderful smell!  The beach was directly in front of us - so relaxing to hear the waves.



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The friendly masseuses.



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We had a very enjoyable time at the beach.  Now we need to plan a trip when we can actually swim in the ocean!



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Until next time ...

Sawasdee  - สวัสดี ครับ/ค่ะ



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Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Yogyakarta, Indonesia

July, 2014

Yogyakarta, usually referred to as just Jogja, is a city in Java, Indonesia.  It is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Borobudur Temple.  It is also well known for its Batik fabrics.


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We drove by this neighborhood several times on the bus and we both were intrigued.  So one morning we ventured into it - what a blast!


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The streets were wide enough for a motorcycle or a becak (their form of a tuk tuk).  When we started for our walk, we did not see anyone.


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We did see these two unusual little chicks.  Their heads have such an amazing color.  A woman told us they were chickens - but that may have been lost in translation.  I would love to know what kind of bird or chicken they are.  Do you know?



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As we walked further in to the neighborhood - the children starting to come out.  Shy at first...



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But then, wanting to pose for us.



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It wasn't very long before the children came out of the woodwork.  They all wanted to have their picture taken.  We soon had a stream of children walking around the neighborhood with us.


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Because they were almost all little girls, we stopped at a local shop and purchased bracelets for them.  It was refreshing that the children did not beg for anything, especially not money.  



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Aren't they beautiful children?  The one below was so sweet and photogenic.




Look at the batik fabric on her blue dress.  This area is known for their batik.


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At one point we stopped and spoke to a group of women frying chips.  It was in the middle of Ramadan so all muslims were fasting from sunup until sundown.   They were preparing the food for the entire neighborhood to eat after sunset.



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One of the neighbors spoke English well, so we chatted with her for quite a while.  She was married to a Dutch man and they owned a restaurant in town.  She invited us to her house for coffee, we declined as we felt uncomfortable drinking when they were not allowed (no drinks during the fasting period either).


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As we were talking with the ladies, many of the seniors came out to see what was going on.  People were very curious as to what we were doing in their neighborhood.  The one who spoke English told us that tourists/westerners never venture into that area.  The Seniors wanted their photos taken too.  The two women in the photo on the right are sisters.




Next came the moms with the babies.  So sweet!






This little guy was very shy.  He was the son of the woman who spoke english.  His friend with the water balloon thought the whole thing was very funny!   



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A favorite photo below, with all the boys running to see us - they did not want to be left out of the fun.


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Our walk through this neighborhood was the highlight of our trip.  I LOVE this photo - one last pose before we left the gates of their neighborhood.


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Other parts of the city...

the bird vendor



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There were many interesting graffiti murals throughout out the city.



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Horse buggies were used by tourists ad locals.



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We always enjoy a four-person motorcycle shot!



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 It scares me so to see the very young children standing up...but oh what fun for them.



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The gas station...



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It always amuses us to see the different street eating in Asian countries.  In Yogyakarta, during Ramadan, the street vendors put out mats for people to sit on and eat.  Notice the condiments are even laid out for you.  This was a new one for us.  We did not give it a try...



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And to end this blog - a photo of D that I really like - by an old textured door.



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