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Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

#22 of Blogging with Friends

One of my happy places is the south of Thailand. I’ve long had this picture of myself (and The Husband) in an airy house on the side of a hill, high enough to get beautiful views of the Andaman Sea or perhaps Phang Nga Bay, with lots of little islands off in the distance, and facing west for sunsets. Being on a hill, we’ll get to see raging electrical storms too, which would thrill The Husband, and weather of all sorts, which I love to observe. But we’ll be close enough to clamber down some steps to the beach when we want some sea swimming or to feel sand between our toes. The house will be open and airy with lots of windows and covered decks for outdoor life, but well air-conditioned, because hey, this is in the tropics and the humidity can be crazy. There’s a swimming pool, obviously, and lush gardens full of bougainvillea and frangipane flowers, and the scent of jasmine (mali), of course too, wafted on gentle breezes.

There’s room for guests – maybe a separate guesthouse? – for friends and family. The perfect place for bloggers to come and write. It’s Thailand, so I’ll have someone to help cook, and they will make the most amazing Thai food, which I could live on forever. (Though given its location near a major tourist area, I know there’ll be plenty of international restaurants if I feel like a change, occasionally).

There’s an international airport nearby, to whisk me away (post-pandemic) to other exotic locales too, as the thought of staying anywhere forever without moving brings on severe claustrophobia. Maybe I could just keep it as a holiday home? Because I need to travel other places too, and there are many places in New Zealand where I could happily live. I have become accustomed to having a view, as since 1986 I’ve only lived for a few months in houses or apartments/hotels with no real view, so would find that hard to give up. There are so many choices. This question may come up in real life, thinking ahead to our retirement, and there are so many choices that I can’t face it right now. So I’ll just go back to my imaginary happy place, high on a hill with tropical sea breezes and gorgeous sunsets and a cocktail or two. Join me there?

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We were there (Vietnam) last June, in the middle of summer. I had been six or seven times before, but never in June, when we (and the local populace) wilted from the heat. One thing that wasn’t wilting though was this resplendent flame tree on the banks of the Perfume River in the old imperial capital of Hue. Wikipedia tells me that the flame tree is royal poinciana or Delonix regiaand is the official tree of Vietnam.  I just loved the bright splashes of red – perhaps they reminded me of our own pohutukawa – and the lush green leaves providing welcome shade.

Another Thursday Treelove post.

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At the beach

By the time you read this, we’ll be at the beach. Precisely which beach, I might divulge later. The last time I was at the beach was over four years ago, at Byron Bay in Australia. We’d been at a family wedding in southern Queensland, and headed just an hour or so south to this relaxed spot. When we arrived, we grabbed some lunch near the beach, and sat at the table outside eating and having a beer, as a bunch of nude cyclists biked past. We took just a few days to explore the region, to relax, and to swim at the beach. It wasn’t a relaxing beach though – the waves prevented too much real swimming, and the beach didn’t have trees where I could hide from the fierce southern sun.

I came to love beach holidays when we lived in Thailand. There’s something about lying under palm trees and hearing the gentle lapping of waves at the beach. We’ve been to quite a few beaches – in the Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, Spain and Italy. We have very definite preferences. I don’t want wild or choppy seas. It must not be too crowded or noisy. A pool is always good. The accommodation needs to be comfortable. Our favourite beach was probably Krabi in southern Thailand, but Bedarra in Queensland comes a close second, mainly for the bottomless Bolly we got at the time. Although at one stage we did come to question whether we had outgrown beach holidays, as I struggled with the heat, and began to yearn for cold temperatures and cosy hotels. That didn’t last though.

This year, after such a long break between warm beach interludes, I have big plans for our holiday at a beach. They might be a little aspirational. After all, I have been known to ambitious with my time in the past. (Or rather, to find I procrastinate writing a blog post when I should be doing something else!) So this is what is on my to-do list for my time at the beach.

  • Swim daily.
  • Take an afternoon nap.
  • Read a book, or preferably more than one. Finish said book.
  • Get, in this order, a massage, a mani/pedi, a facial, another massage. Throw in a dedicated foot massage too.
  • Set Beer O’clock at 11 am.
  • Indulge in happy hour cocktails.
  • Eat good food.

Yes, I know. Life’s a (cliched) beach!

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