Sunday, September 20, 2009

Korea - My last stop for this trip

Seoul was my last stop, and unexpectedly one of my favorites. I found the city and country to be inviting, beautiful and elegant. Since I enjoy woodwork, the temples and palaces were amazing. Food was great as well. I can't wait to go back and see more of Korea.

Awesome paper lanterns.

How many police does it take to guard the donuts? This intersection had hundreds of police in riot gear each day for reasons I do not know.

The cityscape from my window.

One of my favorite buildings - the sliced look.

Kimchi heaven.

How many varieties of dried shrimp are there?

Something that is common in so many countries, but not the USA - a vendor parked on the sidewalk selling fresh corn out of the back of his pickup.

One of the many vibrant outdoor markets in Seoul.

Big drums and colorful costumes at the changing of the guard at the palace.

More colorful pageantry.

Scooters at work delivering pizza. Some day I will travel the world just to put together a photo documentary of scooters.

So that is where all the silkworm larvae go - boiling pots of street food.

Another beautiful palace.

Amazing woodwork and painting.

Great doors. Another photo documentary - doors of the world.

A beautiful temple.

One of my favorite Buddhas.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My last few days in Bangkok

I returned to Bangkok after a wonderful, relaxing time in the islands to the south. My last few days in Bangkok were spent enjoying the menagrie around Khaosan Road and touring the Grand Palace and a floating market.

It can really downpour in Thailand this time of year as these three girls on a scooter can attest.

Thailand is not just the land of smiles, it is also the land of the 7-11. On Khaosan, which is only about 200 meters long, there are no less than four 7-11's. I found them to be nice, air conditioned respites where I bought my morning coffee, daily chocolate milk, and water as well as sundry items.

One of the many food vendors in Chinatown in Bangkok selling all kinds of yummy prepared items.

And, if you loos a bridge or upper plate, I guess you could pick one up here. Odd display. Not sure if it is advertising, recycling or selling??? I heard dental care in Thailand is cheap.

One of the food vendors on Khaosan. He is barbecuing corn and various meat sticks.

Quite a wide variety of dried cephalopods can be found in Chinatown.

Another street vendor selling crab.

This guy had the best variety of kabobs I saw.

Even the monks are tourists sometimes.

One of my favorite stops - a juice stand on Khaosan. Typical price was 20 baht (34 baht to the $.)

Everything and anything is for sale on Khaosan Road. Here you can get your identification.

And if you run out of money, there is always the ATM on wheels.

The soup boat at the floating market. You know these ingredients are fresh, but where do they wash their hands or dishes? I ate here and did not get sick, but I think my stomach was pretty used to a varied diet by this time.

Sitting on the boat after a long day at the floating market.

Another soup boat. Looks like Tom Ka soup to me.

Crowded boating is the norm at the market.

Fresh flowers and fruit and a nice smile.

A beautiful display of produce at the floating market.

The coconut juice from the young coconuts was delicious. The meat is soft too. I found a vendor who filled the coconut with coconut ice cream. That was a treat in the hot and humid afternoon.

My feet enjoyed the market.

Try the mango...

Statues at the Grand Palace.

Beautiful architecture at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Another victim of too much fun in Bangkok? She slept here all day. I can't imagine it was very comfortable.

My favorite curry stand on Rambuttri Road, just off Khaosan. A great dish of green or red curried chicken here was 30 baht and very good. They are open 24 hours a day.

A final look at the colorful tuk tuks of Bangkok. These can be a wild ride and were my choice when traffic was backed up because they maneuvered around the cars.

I had a final 2 hour Thai massage the day I left Bangkok. The Thai massage is a wonderfully painful experience. For petite women, the masseuses can put a world of hurt on you with their elbows and knees, but it sure works out the knots.

Diving in Thailand

I did a bunch of dives around Kho Tao and found it to be one of my favorite underwater spots. The water here was as warm and clear as anywhere I have been except maybe Dahab. Lots of life too. I only had the camera for one dive, so you can imagine the diversity of things to see.

Cephalopods are so cool!

Did you see the fish in the picture? She is poisonous.

Here is a closer look. It is a stone fish.

I thought the Christmas Tree worms were pretty.

Not a place to put your hand. These urchins were not only colorful, with what looks like an eye, but they also move pretty fast, at least for an urchin.

More worms.

A pretty urchin.

Lots of long tenicle anemones and great visibility.

Cool coral.

See the "eye" in the middle?

Happy to be under water.