A Travellerspoint blog

10 Days on a Tropical Island Paradise.

Koh Wai, Thailand

sunny 32 °C

If you ever feel the need to rest and relax in paradise, we have the place for you - it's called Koh Wai. It's a small island not far from the bigger island of Koh Chang. We discovered it while on a snorkeling boat trip. It is exactly what you think of when you think of a tropical paradise; a lovely, small resort, away from it all, with a gorgeous beach, hardly any people, a coral reef, and loads of ice cream. We even had an in-house gecko to eat the bugs. There are a few very small resorts on the island, but we stayed at the fancy one because it had running (cold) water and electricity 24/7. I talked the family into going there for a week, but it wasn't enough, so we stayed for 2! Well, we tried to stay for 2, but realized mid way through the second week that our Thai visitor's visas were about to expire, so we were forced to beat a hasty retreat.

We stayed in a couple of these little cuties on our first night, but the existence of scorpions, snakes, and killer centipedes coupled with the big gap under the door, left me very tired in the morning...
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...so we upgraded to this beauty for the rest of our stay. Mac spent hours on the deck, looking out over the ocean, carving cuttle fish bones. He gifted the resort a very interesting assortment of carvings when we left.
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We spent countless hours hanging out on the beach
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...kayaking
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...swimming
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...playing
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...fishing
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...relaxing
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...eating / drinking
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...checking out what the tide brought in
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...wild life viewing
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...and making friends
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Mike and Mac became heroes of the day when they pulled a near drowning boy out of the water. They had been out for a walk and were approaching a small hidden beach when a teenaged boy called to them for help. There were about 5 boys at the beach. Two of them were pulling one of their friends out of the water while another boy further out was going under. The poor kid who had called for help was on the beach and didn't swim. My boys rushed in and managed to get the second boy safely out of the water. The boys later said that they had been in the water for about 20 minutes, and although they hadn't gone too far out, there was some kind of current preventing them from getting back to shore, and they had become exhausted. All's well that ends well, and both boys were laughing and smiling later that day.
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As for the heroes, one set of parents bought us supper that evening, and the other set bought Mike and Mac a fishing trip.
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As always, we were sad to leave. I daresay, this time we were even more sad than usual. Mac had made a friend of Bem, a 17 year old boy who worked in the restaurant. Despite the fact that Bem seemed to work about 14 hours a day and they didn't speak the same language, they somehow managed to bond. I think it was their shared love of fishing. Mac would go out and catch squid (which incidently sprayed ink all over Mac and I several times) and Bem would give them to the cook to cook for us (which was fabulously yummy). Mac and Bem even set a few crab traps together.
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I better clarify Bem's painfully long work days so that you don't loose sleep tonight feeling desperately sorry for him. As far as I can tell, the Thai people work very long, not hard, days. Much of the time, you might not actually know that they are working at all, such as when they are napping, watching TV, playing on their blackberries, talking on their phones, visiting their friends, or setting crab traps... Unfortunately, Bem's job did not have quite enough flexibility to allow him to go fishing in the kayak with Mac :(

As I mentioned previously, we were caught a bit by surprise when we realized that our visitor's visa was only good for 30 days, not 3 months, so we bid a sad farewell to the lovely little Pakarang Resort.

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Posted by wilsonprawdzik 07:50 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Koh Chang

Can it get any better than this?

sunny 32 °C

Two weeks in Thailand, and we're just getting into the groove. We keep finding more things to do, and more places to explore. We spent two weeks in a little town called Klong Proa. Or maybe that was just the name of the beach...we were never really sure, but of course after two weeks, it felt like home.
Mike and Meg came across this swing in front of a little hippie resort built on the side of a cliff.
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There are 7-11's everywhere. Even non 7-11's like to pretend.
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More snorkelling...didn't I tell ya she was hooked?
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A major highlight for Mac and I was getting our PADI open water diving certificates. it took 3 days and we got to do 4 open water dives. Breathing under water is as cool as it sounds. MIke and Megan came with us on one of our dive days, but the water was a bit choppy and Mike ended up feeding the fishies his breakfast. Meg didn't feel so hot either. Fortunately Mac and I were fine and enjoyed our first day of diving. As you can imagine, there is a whole other world down there.
Mac getting a little help in for his first dive.
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Look at me - I'm breathing under water!
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And so am I!
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These little Christmas tree corals were my favorite. When you snap your fingers near them, they close right up and become invisible - it never got old!
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Nemo's cousins - so cute.
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Meg and I managed to squeeze in a couple of spa treatments. Can you believe we got these great nails for only $7/each. Meg is in heaven. It's her next favourite thing after shopping.
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Mike celebrated his 43rd birthday in style. Favorite gift? Hands-down, the toaster!
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We even managed to find him some cheese cake.
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No surprise that Mac managed to find another adventure park. It was up in the tree tops of the jungle. Very cool!
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Poor old Meg had a bit of a stomach virus, so had to wait at the reception deck for us ... as luck would have it, she got to watch the monkey's playing in the trees while she waited.
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Well this seems like a very long post...Mike just takes such great pics that I want to share them all. Next stop for us will be a little wee island that we found on one of our snorkel trips, should be very quiet and relaxing.
Take care, and keep warm :)

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 04:36 Archived in Thailand Tagged chang koh klong proa Comments (1)

Thailand

Hot beaches & and cold fruit shakes.

sunny

After an 11 hour flight on the fabulous Thai Airlines (where they still provide such services as feeding you and handing out nice warm hand wipes), we landed in the flooding city of Bangkok. Fortunately, we landed at the airport that wasn't flooding, and managed to stay out of the water for both nights we were there. We were lucky to have a little Thai market very near to our hotel....it was hot and crowded and stinky and we loved it! You probably can't read the signs in this picture, but the pots that are bubbling away include such exotic treats as "friendly liquid' and "liquid forest".
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Flooding aside, I couldn't get my boys excited about a lengthy stay in a big city when the world's nicest beaches were so near, so we hopped on this cute little plane and headed to the land of fruit shakes and pineapples, AKA the island of Koh Chang.
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We love this place. It's just like in all the pictures - it's stunning. The weather is smoking hot, with sunshine every day. Neither the pool nor the ocean are cool enough to be considered refreshing, but we're toughing it out. (FYI, the island is inside a national marine park, which means the surrounding area has been afforded a degree of protection .... not like we like to think of preservation, more like 'psssst...I'll give you 500 bahts if you'll look away while I fish this coral reef" kind of protection, but it's a start.)

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We had to get Mac out for some serious snorkeling ASAP, so we all headed out on a boat trip. The best surprise of the day was that Megan managed to overcome her fear of tropical fish so that she could snorkel with us! She's now hooked :) The water was crystal clear, and the boat took us to several different sites where we saw loads of brightly colored fish and coral. It was an amazing day...and here are a few pics to prove it...
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Megan in her debut snorkeling adventure....
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Mac's science lesson; fish and coral of south-eastern Thailand
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So many more stories to tell and pictures to share, but alas, it's past my bedtime, so it'll have to wait for another day. Don't forget to let me know when you plan to join us over here, so that I can reserve your beach hut :)

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 08:19 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Sud de France

Sete - The Venice of France

Favorite things about the South of France…

Megan…Agd' Adventure
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Mac….Agd' Adventure
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Mike….The Barbie coffees
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Jane….The bakeries, and the Clarkes, and the bakeries…
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When we left Normandy we headed for Sete, AKA the Venice of France. It's easy to see how it gained this alias, with it's own network of canals throughout the old part of the city. Add in a mountain backdrop, and you have a very charming little city.
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We continued to gorge on bread and cheese, and spent several lazy days strolling around the canals. and shopping for fresh sea food at the market. We were very happy to meet up with yet more Yukoners; Angus, Max, Janet, & Nils Clarke, are also enjoying a gap year. It was so nice to see some familiar faces, and hang out with others who speak Canadian.

It wasn't all sloth and over-indulgence though. Mac talked us into an afternoon at an adventure park where we faced our fears of tarzan ropes, high wires, zip lines, and 50ft monkey bars. Come to think of it, the only screams I heard were from Janet and I, so maybe we were the only ones with fears to face. Mac and Megan won the bravery award when they conquered the 'black diamond' route . They are so strong!
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With temperatures dropping to below 20 degrees, we decided it was time to find some serious heat...Thailand here we come:)

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 07:01 Comments (0)

Normandy

Not just war beaches....

I didn't expect Normandy to be so beautiful…what a great surprise! The only things I ever associated with Normandy were the D-Day beaches, which were in fact gorgeous despite their gloomy history, however, the little villages scattered over the countryside were picturesque. I loved going for drives through the expansive farmland, just so that every now and again I could come around a corner and see a petite village lying along a valley wall.

Of course it's hard not to love a place in which you get to stay in a 500 year old farm house.
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The best part was that it is still being (hobby) farmed today. There were ducks, chickens, cats, sheep, goats, bunnies, guinea pigs, monster fish in the fish pond, and an apple orchard - something for everyone. Because it's enclosed in a big stone wall, it was used as a medical centre during the second world war.
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The farm was owned by Rosemary and the Colonel. The colonel had a 'map room' above the barn, which was a big old room filled with war maps, memorabilia, and models. Due to health issues, the Colonel hadn't been able to make it up the stairs to the room in 5 years, but with enthusiasts like Mike and Mac around, we couldn't hold him back. They spent hours up there one evening listening to his stories.
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Thanks to Sylvie for telling me that Mont St Michel is a must see. It was a bit out of the way, but well worth it. If you ask Mac, it even outranked the Eiffle Tower. Yay for the 'shoulder season' for leaving the narrow, winding, shop lined path to the monastery, void of crowds. The monastery itself was amazingly well preserved, despite parts of it being 1000 years old. Behind me are the cloisters where the monks hung out during their down time.
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The little village surrounding the monastery was just the cutest little thing.
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Mike got to teach Social Studies for a day as we toured the beaches. Of course I payed little to no attention during my actual high school history classes, so I was a pretty clueless, but enthusiastic student this time around. Here, we are standing at the end of Juneau Beach DSCF9140.jpg

The beaches were very interesting, but the Canadian Cemetery was more than I could take. The sight of all those stones marking the graves of hundreds of soldiers whose average age seemed to be about 20, was overwhelming. I left in tears.
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Once again we were sad to leave our little farmhouse with the sloping brick floor, and fireplace in our bedroom.

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 11:07 Comments (0)

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