Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Off To Soi Bukaow Market,

Diana just does not have a thing to wear for this evening!
a general view along the stalls as you go into the market,
this is the place for garlic,
and almost before I could press the shutter again another transaction takes place,
freshly chopped what ever it is,
another mobile garlic stall,
not that I have been looking for them, but I have not seen marbles since I was a kid, but here they are used as decoration in aquariums,
and then on to the plant section,
these are hydrangeas, my grand mother used to have a huge bush of them in the front garden, but we kids could not play around it as grandpa put all of his old razor blades there, the iron in the blades was supposed to make the colour of the flowers change, but it appears it is more to do with the p.h. of the soil or of the lack or abundance of aluminum,
3 dresses purchased and a very happy stall owner,
although I have a pen in my glasses case some times I need a pen but I just can not find one quickly and when I do it does not work, the problem is I keep it anyway just in case it will work again, but not any more! here at the pen stall I bought 5 new pens,the ones on the right at the front of the picture 40 baht each, all I have to do now is find the bag they are in when we get home,
Diana is looking longingly at the dress stalls, not knowing I have bought her 3, she is at the same time buying me 2 pairs of shorts,
after we returned from the market Jay and Precil called round, for a cup of tea and a chat,
whilst upstairs Mark also called in,
tea was served,
ten it was glad rags time, this is one of Diana's new dresses,
we were off to meet Mick and Mass at Cherry's on Third Road, first a complementary starter, then the full to overflowing salad bar,
"Cheers!" from all of us,
Mick and Mass, as you can see Mick had certainly caught the sun on the island the day before,
Diana and myself, chicken stuffed with spinach for Diana, braised steak for me,
Mass had the lamb special,
followed by fresh fruit and ice cream,
Diana had tiramisu,
as did a wide awake Mick, 3 of us had the eat all you can eat menu, Mick finished his fish dish, it was so nice he ordered another one, all for 295 baht!
I had the banana split desert, and very nice it was to! the total bill for the 4 of us was a very reasonable 1,800 baht,
the day before whilst on the island Diana was reading a book about Jack The Ripper, The Simple Truth, Mick mentioned that he had not seen a film called
From Hell, which was about the murders so we watched it after the meal, but in the film the chief of police Sir Charles Warren had a very unfavorable review, to see how accomplished he was look here, Mick and Mass then left for home whilst we watched a little more of I, Claudius, then off to bed.

Now This Is Great News,

well for me anyway, and the Ganges River Dolphin, near the ancient village of Raja Karna in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh one of the world’s most endangered species may have a better chance of survival, a century ago the Ganges Dolphin was found across Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, from the river’s run through the Himalayan foothills down to the Bay of Bengal, by 1982 the dolphin population in India had fallen to between 4,000 and 5,000, today it is estimated to be less than 2,000, at Raja Karna, however, the tide might just be turning, in recent years locals have been encouraged to stop fishing and to use home-made organic compost instead of chemical fertilisers and they have been taught how to build small, basic sewage treatment facilities, the results have been striking: since the early 1980s the dolphin population has more than doubled from 20 to about 55 animals, everywhere else along the Ganges the population has fallen, a few years ago I, Neil Hardy and Anil from The Ministry Of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India went fishing for new species of fish, taking pictures as we went, the search took us to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, we travelled the Brahmaputra and some of it's tributaries, the good news is that here the use of all outboard engines on the river have been banned, normally we start looking for new species in the markets then down to the river looking at the local fishermen/women, we travelled in this truck, as you might guess you have to be pretty quick on the brakes in this manoeuvre!
whilst there we went to see some of the rare one-horned rhinos, (Rhinoceros unicornis) brought back from the edge of extinction just a couple of hundred or so in the early1900's now over 2,800, it looks so easy doing this!
yours truly at the wettest place in the world Chennapunji, trouble is when we were there it was as dry as a bone! but to give you an example of how wet it can be, receives an annual rainfall of 1270 cms, once it rained 2290 cms in one season!
myself and Anil, a great trip with loads of pictures and the good news the area is safe for dolphins.

Fresh From The Cullinan Mine, Well Last Thursday,

this white diamond, weighs in at 507.55 carats (101.5 grams), is probably the 19th biggest ever discovered, and the price I hear you ask, well delighted CEO Johan Dippenaar of Petra Diamonds (above) said that a slightly smaller rough diamond sold for $18.4m last year, the Cullinan mines owned by Petra have a history of producing large stones, some of which form part of Britain's crown jewels, not bad for a days work, so ticket to Africa, shovel, a bit of luck and a pocket full of dreams, here I come!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Up Early and Off To Koh Larn,

which is the largest of the islands just off Pattaya,
we arrived at the Bali Hai pier about 8.45,
to dark rain looking clouds, a fair landward wind was blowing as well,
two of the typical Koh Larn ferries, just a point before getting on make sure it is going to Koh Larn, unless you want one of the other islands, all aboard for the sky lark!
Mick and Mass, all smiles as usual,
I am OK but Diana is not so sure, we are still tied to the jetty and Diana is already saying she is dizzy, I must admit the boat was rocking a bit due to the wind and waves, it did not bode well for the journey out,
after a wait of ten minuets or so we were off, the last line off the bollard,
another view of the ferries as we leave Pattaya,
the good news was that although the skies still looked heavy with rain the seas started to smooth a little as we left the pier, much to Diana's relief,
out past the city sign almost being escorted by one of the many dive boats that operate out of Pattaya,
you can also hire speed boats to take you to the islands, the advantage is that you arrive there much quicker and also the chances are if you arrange it before hand you can go to the far islands and have a beach to yourselves, I do not know the cost, but Mick and Mass said they would find out in the next week or so, on the other hand the ferry is slower, but wait for this, only 40 baht per person return!
on the way out there are boats of all shape and sizes to be seen, this is a typical in shore net boat, (as opposed to squid boat with lighting booms),
we went past lots of different beaches, the last time Mick and Mass came here the boat landed at the main beach and they took motorbike taxis to another beach,
but this ferry took to us to a beach on the side of the island, where a new jetty had been built,
walking along the jetty there were beaches to the left and right of it, this one to the right took our fancy,
to get to it a walk way over the rocks had been installed,
also the good news was that in the 45 minutes it had taken to get there the clouds had started to be burnt away by the sun, still not strong but it made everything look much better,
there were a few people there but it turned out that they were locals, we were the first tourists of the day, it was just like being on holiday!
by now a few more people from our ferry arrived, a view to the left,
and to the right with the new jetty,
Diana dont swim and did not want to get brown, so a quick paddle and back under the umbrellas,
then time for breakfast, tom-yam-gong and a shared chicken salad with rice, at first things looked a bit expensive, but when the food arrived the number of shrimps was more than generous,
followed of course by a cold fresh coconut,
so we settled back, read a book, had a snooze, then food time again! this time for the girls a spicy Thai salad,
and a liquid lunch for Mick and myself,
by now the beach was starting to fill up as the late rousers were starting to arrive, down the beach a bit a photo shoot was going on,
I have to say the tourists here from what I could hear as they went past or we went past them, was manly Russian, I think we were the only Brits on the breach,
the photo shoot coming on nicely,
and drawing to a close now,
and the models pass us by,
by now the sun had really come out, so Mick was soaking up the rays,
and a little oil to help,
all to soon it seemed, it was time to go, this is a view of the beaches on the other side of the jetty,
our ferry awaits, now this is important, on this beach the last ferry leaves at 4 in the afternoon, if you miss it to get back to Pattaya you have 2 choices, swim, well not really a choice, or pay 2,500 for a speed boat to get you back, do not be late for the ferry!
again the crossing was 45 minutes and thankfully for the girls no big waves,
except when a speed boat decides to 'buzz' the ferry!
getting close to Pattaya, Roayal Clif residents on the right and Pattaya's new light house on the left,
a long time ago you may remember we went here with Jeff and very nice it was to, as for the cost for today, 40 baht each return, hire of deck chairs, beer, 2 coconuts and food just over 800 baht per couple, what a great day out,
then home shower and out for the evening meal,
we decided on the chicken soup, with bugs for Diana,
the place was very empty, with some stalls not even opening up, even the bug stall was not there,
I was a bit behind Diana taking a couple of pictures, so when I got to the soup stall she was not there, she was hidding and jumped out at me from behind the telephone box saying 'bulaga' which I guess is the Tagalog for surprise, which I was!
luckly the soup stall was there, 60 baht for two take home soups,
as the bug cart was not there it was to another market, bugs first,
then some boiled sweet corn for latter, with fresh pineapple for desert,
then feet up to watch I, Claudius, a great BBC series from 1967, over 10 hours long in all, we watching it till just past midnight so just on to the end of disc 2 epiosode 4, 12 epiosodes in all, a great way to end a perfect day!