Travelogue: Rooftop ride in Thailand

Travelogue: Rooftop ride in Thailand

It’s day 4, and I’m reporting on our outings for day 3. Can’t really believe it’s been that many days already but, we are making the most of it. It’s funny that I think the two of us make for terrible tourists. Sure, we have a huge camera that hangs around his neck, and I have my bag full of ‘items’ we may need, like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, lip balm, and sunnies, and my iPhone handy so I can take quick snaps of the surrounds for my ‘blog’ as I tell him. But other than this, we are the quiet travelers, not getting involved in party scene and funky bars. As much as I’d like to go sit in a pub with a nice ambience and have my one cocktail and pub food while he drinks coke (since he doesn’t do alcohol), we don’t. Like I said, the quiet tourists who would much rather look at the surrounds and enjoy the breeze than try and get it all in the lens, which sometimes means you’ve missed everything cause you were too busy looking through the lens.   

Alas, what did we do yesterday in the island we are calling home for the week, Koh Samui. It’s beautiful, it’s tropical, it has beaches dotted with resorts spilling onto them at every cove and bay, but it’s only so small and we have booked ourselves into most of the tours the travel lady could think up for the ‘quiet tourists’. We went on a safari on the island, visiting landmarks that are the main sights and must see places.

 
Our day started up with a cruise around the islands edges as our guide and driver drove us to the first stop on our list, Grandma and Grandpa rocks, that were miracles of nature and carved by wind and water. Don’t let the name fool you ladies and gentlemen, there was not much grandpa and grandma about them. As naive as I was, I was expecting a rock that looked like little old man and woman, but instead what we saw was a little on the graphic side. Funny thing is, I was so mesmerized by the coincidence of both rock formation being in around each other that I forgot to take photos for you. Instead, I took photo of the info board as we whisked away to our next location, Elephant safari. 
  
When we agreed to go see the elephants we had no idea that it included a ride on the elephants. I still feel terribly about that, but the beautiful, 15-year-old Namphoon who gave us a kind ride on her back eagerly took the bunch of bananas we gave her. My husband and I couldn’t help but give a generous tip to the Hatt of who said ‘you don’t have to but it helps us look after them’. Even if we hadn’t been told this, we would have given anyway for the gorgeous animal. 

   

    
 I’ve seen elephants before, in Nepal we also have some in the wild, and when you go to Sauraha almost every resort has one. After that we were taken to an Elephant and a Monkey Show. I really enjoyed the three baby elephants who showed us how clever they are. There was a 4 year old who was absolutely adorable. She stole the whole bunch of bananas I had for her and the others, as she wasn’t having none of the one-banana-at-a-time nonsense. M said ‘good on her’. 
What I didn’t enjoy nor liked was the Monkey Show. The poor thing was on a lease the whole time. And again, coming from Nepal, we know how clever monkeys are, so the tricks people were getting thrills out of were what they do in life. 

  

Next stop, we were taken to a waterfall, and lining the street to the waterfall were all these little eateries and souvenir shops. Really reminded me of how strips prior to going to temples in Nepal are all lined up with veneration materials and souvenir shops. When we had read the brochure for the tour it had said bring a towel, so here we were, the only two ‘newbie’ tourists who had trudged along with us a complimentary straw bag from our hotel with two towels. There was no need for that as we later found out. A 20-minute stop wasn’t going to be enough for us to take photos and then go for a swim. So instead we made use of our heavy basket and gathered few souvenirs. 
Lunch was a drive through to the top of some mountain at a mountain restaurant, with its bamboo hits and tables set on side of the cliff. Beautiful. The food was delicious as well, though I doubt our companions on the ride enjoyed it as much. They barely touched it and had almost dry rice alone. Perhaps they found it spicy as the green chicken curry did have quiet a punch to it, which we both enjoyed. Lucky for M I’ve slowly trained him over the years to tolerating a bit of chilly in his food. Nowadays he eats more Asian food than I do while at work, but that’s another story. 
Oh, we went to a truly magical place after that, called the Magic Garden. One thing I’m going to say about the trip was, though it was beautiful in many ways, it was incomplete because our guide didn’t truly give us the stories behind each place and its significance. Anyway, I’m diverting. The Magic Garden. I won’t be able to say much about it other than the fact that it was whimsical, it was a fairytale, and it had a sense of lost in time about it. 

  
Something that truly captured both our imagination, seeing how we are both storytellers in our own ways. I looked at the place from a writer-director point of view, thinking how wonderful a place to shoot a film. And M was thinking of it from his 3D- artist point of view, how he could build a place like this in his 3D format for animations. It simply was, captivating. 

     

After this, despite the sun high in the sky, our guide gave us an opportunity to ride on top of the jeep as we flew down the mountain through 15 kilometers of jungle. Though most of the road was paved, there were parts that were truly bumpy, and being on top of the jeep, we had to grip the side bars and duck down every now and then so we do not get thrashed by tree branches that brushed past us. 

  
 
Thank god for the seat belt. We stopped at the top to look at the bay and swapped with another couple who had ridden up there prior to us. We had enjoyed it so much but M and I thought it wouldn’t be fair for us to sit up there all the way. So here we thought, yay, though the scene isn’t the same we were feeling all the bumps, our guide stopped us once more and we swapped seat. There was another couple with us but because they had kids, they declined. So here we were, once more on top of the jeep, flying through the air. It was both exhilarating and exciting. If my mum had been there, she Wouk have had a panic attack. But it was fun, and something we may never do again. 

   
   
Next two stops from here were two temples, the Big Buddha and the Lady Monk. By the time we got to her, I ran out of space in my iPhone to snap any photos for you. I’ll show you these when we get back to Sydney. 

  
By the time we got back, we were tired and sweaty and to my delight a little tanned, which is hard for my legs to achieve. We fought and discussed where we should go for dinner and being tired opted for a not so lazy option of walking 200 meters up the hill to a highly recommended (by a eating guide), a bar and grill called Dr Frogs. We had our first none Thai food since our arrival. The ambience was great, the lighting perfect, the live music invigorating and the breeze welcomed. We enjoyed our meal, and I enjoyed my first ever Singapore Sling, all the way here in Thailand. We closed the day off having purchased the CD of the musician, Oliver Jones, who also happened to be Aussie. 
We came back to our hotel and while M watched magic show on TV, I fell blissfully asleep. Not a bad day at all if I say so myself. 

And again, I couldn’t help but take a shot of these cables on the main road through the town. I thought Nepal was bad. This just made M very nervous. 

  
Well, that’s a such adventure we could handle. 

The End.

 
And on the next day, rumor has it I went for a shopping spree and bought goddies. Holiday is such a hard thing! 
P.s. You will not be live how long it took me to write this post and upload all the photos I wanted to show. Alas, 8 hours later, here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Travelogue: Thailand

Travelogue: Thailand

I guess that’s what this is. I’m not an amateur traveller by any means, but mostly, all my travels overseas has mainly been to visit family in Nepal. The variety of locations on the way there has been to say the least, very limited. When my husband and I decided to take our first overseas travel, it’s not surprising I loved the idea. 

Here’s the thing, I love traveling. I always have. What little irrational fears about traveling, such as location, flights, food that might spell a trip to the hospital, have all paled in comparison with the whole idea of seeing new things, sights that are normally not available to me. Despite my love of travel, or rather extensive daydreaming of jet setting around the world, I do hate one thing – being tormented by ear aches and sinus pains. But, we get over hurdles don’t we? 

  
So here we are, after months of planning and waiting, we flew out to a little island in Thailand. First time for both of us here. We’re here for a fleetingly short stay. The drive from the airport to our hotel was so disorienting for me to the say the least. My tired sleep deprived mind kept searching for landmarks I recognize, and that sounds crazy doesn’t it, the fact that I’ve never been in Thailand before, yet it looked so familiar, the roads, the shops lining the narrow street, the ads of various kinds, the shopkeepers and the people around. The familiarity was so huge that I kept thinking we’ve somehow landed in an alternate version of Nepal. Yeah, sure the language is different, and the landscape lacks snow-dipped peaks that soar into the high skies, but everything else ‘feels’ like Nepal, just a more quiet version of it. I couldn’t help but take photos of things that looked familiar just so I could show my family and say ‘hey, look at this’. 

  
(A temple/shrine dotting the street; so similar to Nepal)

Today, we went to the town in the island we are staying, and it’s small. We walked down the whole strip, and I felt odd that I couldn’t read the writings nor speak the language. It really felt like I should know all this. The stalls that sold salads reminded me of ‘bhaja’ stalls or panipuri stalls in Nepal. The shops with their wares spilling out onto the narrow pedestrian walkway reminded me of Asan and Thamel, just missing people, lots of people. For those who have travelled Nepal, you will know what I mean. Like I said, disorienting to say the least. 

Tomorrow, we go for a tour around the island, sightsee its landmarks. We have our camera ready, and I’m sure tomorrow, I’ll have a harder day of telling my mind it’s not home. How bizarre. It made me wonder how many other Nepali have travelled to Thailand and felt this familiarity, this strange otherworldly déjà vu with the country. 

  
(Apparently I was quite a happy shopper according to him. Lol. Was definitely tired to say the least by dinner time.)

…to be continued…

Epilogue: for those who requested

Epilogue: for those who requested

I don’t normally go back to a novel and muddle with it once published. But this time, I don’t see know I thought why not, an epilogue may be added, perhaps. 
Recently published, Charming Mr Stewart is already getting reviews from around the world from readers and I’ve had a one or two request, or express curiosity of ‘what happened next’.  So for those who have read the book and weren’t ready for it to end, here is a slice, or glimpse into the ever after. If your enjoy it, let me know, so I may be able to add this to the online version available on Kindle. 
Here we go. 
CHARMING MR STEWART

Epilogue: A Quiet Word

Elle stared at the pile of folders waiting for her attention. It grew inches taller every day she swore. Clients and potential clients applying for her to fit them into her busy schedule. Who would have thought that a year and half ago, as she covered one of the biggest weddings of her tiny career, that she would find herself amongst the elites. Whatever happened to Dean wanting to keep a low profile and family privacy? Guess he didn’t care anymore, and frankly neither did she.  


It had been close to a year and a half since her spontaneous trip to Paris to woo the man she kind of loved. After hours of restlessness and extended nausea, a handful of false reading on expired pregnancy tests later, Elle had managed to get in a room alone with Dean in one of the poshest hotels she’d ever seen, and what did she do? She stood there like a silly little girl who had no idea what she was even thinking. 


Fast forward to the present, and she’d moved back to her home town for now, living in her old room with Maya, who had wonderful grandparents to watch over her while mummy dearest was busy transitioning her business into a tiny empire, boutique that attracted all of Dean’s own circle and clients. 


‘You have got to centralize yourself, El. You’re only gonna burn out this way.’ Dean had frowned at the state of her ‘office’, a tiny room at the back of another shop front. ‘Move to Sydney. That’s where all the clients are. Get a bigger office, I can help you with that, and set up a proper studio.’


‘No.’ 


‘No?’


‘No.’ Elle had stood on her tip toes and kissed those gorgeous lips playfully before strutting away in an outfit she was already not comfortable wearing, a pencil skirt with heels. ‘You keep your money and your charms, Mr Stewart, and I shall keep my pride.’


Dean chuckled. ‘Is this about all those bloody awards pumping your head big? Chloe warned me.’


Utterly scandalous, Elle turned around and lowered her voice, for fear her newly hired secretary would hear. ‘I’m making something of myself ok. Do you know how hard I’ve worked for this? I don’t want to be that trophy thing that hangs around your arms. I’m not a trophy.’


Dean laughed his heart melting laugh. ‘Great, and now you get feisty.’ He leaned in and kissed her cheek. ‘You know I love you, but seriously, you pack up like a grandma.’


Elle returned his kiss. ‘So I’ll see you there then?’ He nodded, walking away. ‘Tell them I won’t be too long.’


Dean waved vaguely as he went. ‘Just makes sure you come before you miss everything.’


‘Of course, I’m the bloody photographer!’ Elle yelled off, watching his figure disappear through the front of the shop. ‘Right, Maureen, where’s my camera case?’



‘What a milf,’ Dean whispered into her ears as she cheerfully snapped away at the family. 


‘Excuse me,’ she turned around with a smile. ‘That’s my cousin you’re talking about.’ Elle spied Chloe and Peter from the corner of her eyes, little baby Symphony held loving in Peter’s arms, mingling with their guests in the garden.


‘I wasn’t talking about her, was I?’ He winked, eyeing her head to toe. ‘How about it?’


‘How about what?’


Dean pulled something out of his pocket in that moment and Elle’s heart began to ran. In the hubbub of people, no one seemed to be noticing and no one cared as Dean quietly slipped a ring on Elle’s finger. He leaned in with the sweetest smile on his face. ‘Can I have you for a wife? Say yes.’ 


The ring felt odd in her finger, somewhat home too though. It fit. They fit. 


‘Maya already said yes, in case you are wondering.’ He squeezed her hand in his, nervous as ever. Elle looked around the gathering, people in their own worlds. Her gaze skimmed over how happy a Chloe looked. 


Elle turned to him, and nodded before Dean leaned in for their first kiss that day. ‘I almost thought you were about to get down on your knee.’ Elle laughed. They had talked about it before, perhaps once or twice, and she had been adamant no one should go down on their knee in public. It puts pressure on the whole thing. She wanted quiet. Quiet meant no noise could interfere with the biggest decision in your life. 


She kissed him once more, and squeezed his hand with her newly adorned hand. ‘We’ll tell them once the guests leave.’


Dean nodded and slipped out to mingle with the guests and let Elle get back to her photography.  



The Keeper (19)

Three whole days and nights had passed since Mona retuned home from her father’s funeral. Three whole days and nights had passed since she stayed in her bedroom, barely coming out to do chores her siblings demanded of her. They cursed her and called her lazy, everything they could do to get her to do the chores they’d rather not do, which was pretty much all the chores really. Mona didn’t care, not anymore. Her father had been right. They didn’t care about anyone other than themselves. No wonder he had wanted her to leave, to get away from the ‘leeches’ as he often referred to them in their absence.  It so happened one afternoon, Mona was called a ‘disgusting and selfish being’ for not attending to their every whim. She could barely believe they even realized or cared that their father was dead. From the moment they had come back from the funeral, they were far too busy dividing, fighting and bickering over who gets what. Belle had simply just grabbed her father’s favorite cap and walked in to her room, closing the door behind her and shutting out the hurt. 
Three days later, sitting there on the floor, she caught a glimpse of light skimming on something below the bed and fetched it, cutting her finger sharply on the broken glass of the mirror she’d missed when cleaning up her room. She stared at the sliver and broke down crying. Why had she even left the castle? Why had she left the Beast? Her father was happy and healthy when she was away, knowing she was finally free. Her coming back had caused him illness. 
She cried, gently stroking the reflection on the piece. ‘I wish I had never come back here. I wish I had never come back here!’ 
‘Belle,’ she heard the gentle, yet deep rumble of the voice she’d learned to love, though it now was filled with an unknown pain. ‘My dear, Belle.’
She looked up, half expecting that he were standing in front of her in her tiny room. In stead, she found herself in a dark, barely lit hall of some sort, all but a small candelabra on the mantle. She could feel a draft of cold icy wind sneaking in, and could barely see his outline against the dark. ‘Oh Beast, how I missed you!’ 
She pushed herself off the floor and ran to him. ‘Truly missed you, despite myself!’ She threw herself at him as if he were the closest thing she had. He winched as she did. ‘You’re hurt?’
He shook his head. ‘Just tired.’
‘I don’t believe you.’ She glared through the dark, unable to judge. She reached for the candelabra and brought it to closer to him, and watched him slink away. ‘Come into the light. Let me see you.’ And as he did, a gasp escaped her. ‘What have you done? You look different.’
‘He is dying.’ A voice beside her said, catching her with fright. She turned, suddenly to see the candelabra come to life in her hands. ‘But master is too proud to say this to you.’
Belle let out a squeak. She had heard that voice before, always thinking it belonged to ghosts that haunted the castle. ‘You speak?’

‘We all do.’ Lumiere said, wriggling out of her hands, and within his lights reach, more tools and ordinary objects began to come to life.

‘You must save our master, Belle. You must save our master.’
Belle could only stare in disbelief. 

Download for free EBook

Omg! Do I have good news for you?
Charming Mr Stewart, is one month old today, and to celebrate my little moment of happiness, I’m running a free kindle promotion for the next 48 hours.
If you love a good read, not too short, not overtly long, but just right, with a blend of drama, romance, and it’s own voice, why not download a complimentary Cooy for yourself and have a read.
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Go to Amazon and get downloading. Of course, as alwaysc I’d love to hear what you thought of it, but obviously, no strings attached. 

This little gal needs a bit of sunshine right now. Sunshine!

Xoxo

The Keeper (18)

The silent of the room only stretched. Mona half expected him to hover behind her and speak as if he were part of darkness itself. Almost a month it had been now, and restless she tossed and turned half the night, unable to shake the feeling. Something was going on. If only she knew what. She tossed one last time before flinging herself off the bed and edging towards the giant ornate trunk that stood at the foot of the bed. It had simply appeared in her room and inside, her belongings from the enchanting place were neatly placed. 
She dug through it aimlessly. Half its content had already been plundered by her sisters. What remained were the odd pieces of material, dresses that would only fit Mona’s petite frame and a few brash trinkets. Her hand brushed an ornate handle of something and she fished it out from the bottom of the chest; a small vintage hand mirror with a chip or two in the oddly pewter tinged mirror. She had never seen it before. It was not something from her room. 

Something about its enamel inlay captured her and she took it back to bed with her, flipping it absentmindedly in her hands till sometime in the morning she fell asleep with it laid across her chest. Her hand still clutching the handle.

‘Mona? Get up. We have to get to the hospital and visit dad.’ Estella, her eldest sister’s nasal voice woke Mona up and she found herself holding the mirror up, something flashing across its surface. She pulled the mirror closer and glanced into it. Curious. It was showing her a room she’d once been in, Lucifer’s room. 
‘What are you showing me?’ She questioned, sitting up in bed, the mirror clutched in both hands. ‘What do you want me to see?’

The image suddenly became sharp, as if she were in the room itself. There was a figure huddled over the edge of the bed. It was Beast. He looked odd, something about the way he held the bed post for support. 

‘Master, you need to get out of this room. Some fresh air might help you.’ A familiar but body-less voice came from behind and Mona instinctively looked over her shoulder only to see her wall. 
Beast grunted somewhat of an agreement and ambled along on a cane, struggling to reach the door. 
‘Would you like your dinner brought out to the garden?’
He stood at the doorframe, and through struggling breaths managed to say ‘No.’ His voice gruffer than before and full of pain. He turned directly to the mirror as if he could see Mona through it. ‘Fetch me only if the lady returns.’

‘Wait,’ she whispered, silly as it was. ‘What is wrong with you?’ She traced his retrieving form on the smooth surface. 

‘Mona Belle!’ She heard the shrieking of her sisters and the door burst open only to startle her awake in bed, the handle of the mirror still in hand. She couldn’t help but turn the mirror to face her in the hope that the she could see the Beast through it, but nothing.
‘It’s dad. He’s gone.’

The last thing Mona remembered hearing was the shattering of the mirror as it fell to the floor in her rush to leap out of bed. 
‘No. No. Daddy!’

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Get reading. You won’t regret it in the end! (Who regrets a free book anyway?!) lol.

Happy Saturday, and happy birthday to my cutie pie neice.  

Charming Mr. Stewart