Car delivery today in Phuket…Continuation of the ox cart rides for Viking Mekong River cruise passengers…Two videos and photos!

Tom’s video of the oxen along the bank of the river early in the morning.  Second video below.

This morning at 10:00 am an employee of Gregory’s (our Phuket property owner), brought us the rental car. For the excellent price of THB $9000, US $258 for our entire stay we’re pleased with the older car. We’re hoping the pouring rain will stop and we can end our six day stint indoors.

Tomorrow, we’ll include photos of the “used” car and photos we’ve taken while out and about proving the weather improves enough to get out. At the moment, there’s thunder and lightening. 

The second bedroom in the Phuket house which we haven’t used.  The en suite bathroom contain the Jacuzzi tub.

We’re anxious to head across the island to purchase beef and groceries.  Beef is not popular in some parts of the world that hold the “cow” as holy based on religious beliefs and is not fit for human consumption. 

Many religions and cultures throughout the world consume a vegetarian diet. However, many Thai people include beef in their diet, although it may not be readily available in some of the local grocery stores and markets.  

Yesterday, four housecleaners appeared at the electronic gate at 9:00 am to clean the house. Letting them in via a wall switch that slides the electronic security gate open, they all entered, sharing their names as they graciously bowed to greet us. 

The Jacuzzi tub in the second bedroom’s en suite bathroom.

All we remember of their names as they hurriedly entered is that two of the four had the same name, not unlike the two Katuks in Bali, whom we’ll see again soon. 

Only one of the four cleaners spoke a little English, but they had no trouble knowing what to do and required little coaching from us. They maneuvered  efficiently and quickly through each room, obviously with a familiar routine they’ve implemented in the past. 

Today’s pouring rain.  As soon as it stops, we’ll head out. If it continues throughout the day, we’ll wait until tomorrow.

When the Jacuzzi tub’s water supply wasn’t working correctly, they immediately contacted the maintenance guy. I believe his name is Bo. Within minutes he arrived to make the repairs and an hour later he was out the door with the task completed. 

Although using the Jacuzzi may be an excellent idea at this time, it’s been so hot in the past 24 hour I haven’t been motivated to use it. With the amount of water and energy required to use the tub, I may only use it once in a while providing I notice some added improvement from doing so.

The opening in the wide electronic sliding security gate.

We’re still remaining mindful over the excess use of air con and continue to only use it only at night in the master bedroom. During the day we’re doing fine without AC. After becoming accustomed to heat and humidity in Bali and living in hot climates throughout the world over these past years its not different here in Phuket.

We can’t help but giggle over how, in our old lives, we’d never have tolerated this heat and humidity without turning on the whole house AC.  How much we’ve changed over this period of time!

Occasionally during the day, I rest for a few minutes in the bedroom using only the overhead fan to keep me comfortable. We keep the bedroom door shut at all times to keep out the mozzies and flies for better comfort at night.

Now on to our continuing Mekong River cruise posts with today’s story, a continuation of the ox cart rides. We’d yet to share today’s two videos we are now able to post with a strong WiDu signal here in Phuket.

I’d have loved to join in on the ox cart ride under different circumstances.  But after seeing the carts and the sitting positions required of the riders, we both knew there was no way I could have participated.  

I encouraged Tom to join the others but he decided to stay behind with me when the carts were intended for two passengers and he’d have to ride alone. That wouldn’t have been that much fun for him. Its the idle chatter and shared experiences that make such an activity memorable. 

They reminded us of the buffaloes in Bali although oxen are smaller with shorter horns.
Instead, we stayed behind attempting to get online to post the day’s story and photos. As mentioned in an earlier post, the WiFi signal on the boat was extremely poor, worse than we’d experienced on any cruise in the past. 

It was only with the assistance of thoughtful cruise director Enrico who encouraged me to sit at his desk using his computer, connected to a wired network, that made it possible to upload any posts at all while on the ship.  We realized how frustrating this must have been for our worldwide readers who, at times, didn’t see a new post for days.
As the ox cart participants piled into the carts, many seniors older than us, we were thrilled to be able to take today’s included videos. Of course, it would have been more exciting to be able to do a video while in a cart, but we did the best we could under the circumstances.
The staff shoveled this path the prior night to ensure passengers could make it up the river bank.

Later, many passengers explained the bumpy nature of the ride making us feel grateful we’d made the decision to stay behind. Adding the extreme heat and humidity to my already difficult condition, always made the tours more challenging regardless of their general difficulty.

We enjoyed watching the white oxen hanging out on the bank of the river on the prior evening, early in the morning and again when they were hooked to the wagons seemingly content with their occasionally required tourist trek. 

Off they went on a 40 minute ride..

As we watched the oxen for quite awhile, we noticed the gentle interaction between the handlers and the oxen, as they were rubbed and petted as one would lovingly pet a dog or cat. It was comforting to see. With a cart driver for each cart carrying a pair of passengers we didn’t see any rough treatment used to get them moving.

By 11:45 am, the passengers were back on board and by noon, the ship’s anchor was raised and we cast off for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, another historically interesting stop in our journey along the Mekong River which we’ve already included in prior posts.

With more stories to share, we’ll continue along this path with a few more cruise posts as we add more and more on Phuket as soon as we get out.

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2015:

One year ago we spotted this package of crocodile meat in Australia priced at AUD 15, USD $10.91.  ext time we’re in Australia, we need to try this. For more details, please click here.

Comments regarding Angkor Wat and….Ho Chi Minh Memorial in Hanoi…Photos and more…

Can you even imagine safely navigating these steps at Angkor Wat?  (Not our photo)

It was impossible for me not to feel badly about missing Angkor Wat, one of the most revered temple sites in the world.It would have been foolhardy to risk any further injury, we stayed behind.  We watched a special presentation on the describing the unbelievable site and its enchanting history.

It was very hot and uncomfortable on the long walk to and around this site, The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

If you’re interested in information about Angkor Wat, please click here. The historic site is rich in history and content attracting visitors from many parts of the world, anxious to see it in person and tackle its massive stairway.

Kong, our knowledgeable Viking Cruise guide, explained that visitors climb the step and cry when they can’t figure out how to climb down.The above photo clearly shows how tough that would be. Also, a several mile walk is necessary to get close enough for good photos, which I was unable to do based on my current condition.

The Presidential Palace on the ground of the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Park.

The many tours in Vietnam with hours of walking with many steps threw me into a tailspin back to where I’d been in the recovery process a few weeks ago. In Singapore, most days I lay flat on my back in our hotel room taking hot baths three times a day hoping for a little relief.

Gorgeous grounds and fountains in the surrounding park lands.

As my situation improves once again, its no longer necessary to be lying down and we’re able to stay out of the hotel room as we are at the moment, sitting in a luxurious bar in the Hotel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

Fortunately, a portion of the long hike was on smooth roads such as this. The heat was at 98F, 37C, with 80% humidity.

The only way I’ve been able to make some headway in this recovery has been keeping the walking and steps as indicated on my FitBit under about 4000 steps a day. That would have been impossible on any of the tours of the past two days.

Jack fruit grow prolifically in the park.
Although Ho Chi Minh is revered as a modest man with little desire for opulence, he owned these cars, one of which was bulletproof.

Instead, we joined our group again last night for the second dinner in Cambodia and will do so again tonight for our third and final dinner together until checking out of the hotel tomorrow for a five hour bus ride through the countryside to the river boat docked in Kampong Cham, via the provincial capital of Kampong Thom. 

A glass partition prevented a clear photo of the interior of Ho Chi Minh’s first home on the property.
Ho Chi Minh never had children or married.  As a result, he was referred to as Uncle Ho.  From History Channel: “Ho Chi Minh first emerged as an outspoken voice for Vietnamese independence while living as a young man in France during World War I. Inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, he joined the Communist Party and traveled to the Soviet Union. He helped found the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930 and the League for the Independence of Vietnam, or Viet Minh, in 1941. At World War II’s end, Viet Minh forces seized the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi and declared a Democratic State of Vietnam (or North Vietnam) with Ho as president. Known as “Uncle Ho,” he would serve in that position for the next 25 years, becoming a symbol of Vietnam’s struggle for unification during a long and costly conflict with the strongly anti-Communist regime in South Vietnam and its powerful ally, the United States.”

Barring any unforeseen delays, it’s expected we’ll arrive at the boat on the Mekong River at 4:30 pm to begin the actual cruise portion of the cruise/tour. With such a small group, boarding should be as fast and easy as other processes have been on this cruise thus far. 

Peaceful lake scene in the center of the park.

Once boarded and settled in our cabin, we’ll continue to travel through Cambodia for a few more days. It’s during this time we’ll have an opportunity to share the beauty of the small villages and points of interest as we travel along the Mekong River and eventually the Mekong Delta.

Although it was a Saturday, it wasn’t overly crowded at the park.

Although we’ll have missed out on a few temple tours, we’re no longer disappointed. How else would we have weathered this unanticipated injury to my spine? We had no where to stay for two months while I healed nor were we ever able to find a heating pad. We made the best of it. 

This newer house was built for Ho Chi Minh by his beloved people, referred to as “Khmer” and completed on May 17, 1958.
The house stands today as it was built including the furnishing, a contemporary Asian influenced architectural style. It isn’t a huge house but is well built and functional.

And, for Tom and I, the patience and compassion we have for one another has kept the situation from ever feeling like a burden or inconvenience. Wherever we find ourselves our love and fortitude drives us to continue this exquisite journey that we pray can continue for many years to come.

We all walked on this footbridge over a Koi pond.
Roots grow like weeds in many areas of Vietnam.

At the end of this month, we’ll reach our 45th month since the day Tom retired and we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012. At this juncture that seems like it was a “world away.”

This is referred to as “One Pillar Pagoda” as described from this site: The One Pillar Pagoda (Vietnamese:Chùa Một Cột, formally Diên Hựu tự , which means “long lasting happiness and good luck”) is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. As you visit Hanoi, you may come to various other monuments, parks and historical places. Yet, the One-Pillar Pagoda reflects the architectural splendour that the country has grown.
Where is it located? The unique pagoda is located in the western part of the city, near Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ong Ich Khiem St., Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. The Legendary story: According to legend, ageing Emperor Ly Thai To of the Ly dynasty, who had no children, used to go to pagodas to pray to Buddha for a son. One night, he dreamt that he was granted a private audience to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who was seated on a great lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of Thang Long Citadel, gave the King a baby boy. Months later, when the Queen gave birth to a male child, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream in the honour of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. According to a theory, the pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water.”


Be well and be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2015:

We fell in love with pelicans for their beauty, grace and movement in Trinity Beach, Australia. For more details, please click here.