The very entertaining part of travelling to non-English speaking countries is the funny translations that you come across along the way. Here are my favourites for your giggling pleasure…
Today was a day in the fields, cutting corn stalks for the elephants evening snacks at the Elephant Nature Park.
We were taken out to the farmlands and spent the morning cutting off corn stalks and loading them onto the truck.
A mad work day. Hot, sweaty, dirty, heavy work, but a really great day out in the fields with the local Thai workers.
We then piled on to the top of the loaded truck and flew through the village streets, dodging low-hanging power lines and trees for fear of decapitation.
This is the real Thailand.
I’m currently staying at the Elephant Nature Park (which will receive its’ own dedicated post) and part of the volunteer schedule here was to make a quick visit to the school of the village nearby.
It was a humbling experience and made me really see how Thailand is almost completely dependent on the tourist trade for survival.
The school is at primary level and the kids are eager to learn English and skills that will help them to make money if they don’t make it to high school (the closest high school is in Chiang Mai city and most don’t get the opportunity to get a high school education).
They had prepared activities for us where they can practice their skills, like craft and jewellery making, music, English and Maths knowledge sharing, Thai foot massage and iced coffee bar. Whilst giving foot massages, the young girls have their English books out and practising their phrases with us, like ‘Where are you from’, ‘How long have you been in Thailand’, ‘Have you enjoyed your stay so far’… All the general tourist questions.
In the classroom, the kids were crazy to show us what they knew and show us their books and ask questions. If you pulled out your camera, it was quickly snatched up and photos taken of everyone.
I’ll leave you with some of those shots…
Koh Lanta offers some really good diving and I thought it would be a good place to revive my diving ‘skills’.
An old friend from school is a videographer for a dive centre there (Scuba Fish – I would highly recommend them) and I left him in charge of my dive schedule.
First up was Koh Haa, an easy and beautiful dive site about an hour from Kantiang Bay. A fantastic place for me to get comfortable in the water again and see some pretty fishies.
Being out on the boat is a pure love in my life and the diving comes at a bonus 😉 If you’ve ever taken a nap on a boat, rocking you to sleep with the sound of light waves, you’ll know what I mean….
Next up was Koh Phi Phi on Christmas Day. The most fun I have had on Christmas day, I must say! Being Thailand, Christmas is not a big deal in their lives, but they do make some effort to get a bit of Christmas spirit going on the island.
My dive instructor, Paul, decorated our tanks with tinsel (I was hoping that it would attract some sharks, but alas…) and we had Christmas hats and reindeer antlers to dive with. Shenanigans, diving and sunshine….aaaahhhhh!
Next up – Hin Daeng. Apparently one of the best dive sites in Thailand. Amazing! You should definitely try that dive site if you are on the Western islands…most colourful dives with loads of schools of brightly coloured fish – everywhere. spotted two Manta Rays as well which was a nice surprise!
After a night out with the diving guys, filled with beer and Sang Som sets (ouch), the crazy Canadian I met at a sunset bar woke me up knocking at my door with aspirin and water and the promise of an adventure. Sure. Okay.
Most of the day spent travelling to Koh Lanta from Krabi, I was not quite sure what to expect and just hoping to get away from all the goddamn tourists!
Friendly and welcoming, Kantiang Bay is just what I was hoping for. None of the tourist hype, very laid back and relaxed and just plain simple chilling.
The first thing that I did was strip down into my bikini and swim in the sea. Now you must know that I am not a sea swimmer. Ever. This water is so calm and warm that it would be stupid not to! I’ve also hired a scooter for the next few days and will be exploring the island on my trusty zoot… because why not.
It’s been raining and overcast most of the time since I got here – the Candice curse, but nonethless there are plenty of little coffee shops and restaurants to just sit and take it all in.
Top View restaurant at the top of a steep hill has panoramic views of the bay that are breath-taking, literally! And the best part is that after a few beers, you just need to roll back down with little effort 😉 The evenings boast a band of locals singing all-time old Western favourites (Oasis and Nirvana are a must, of course) and our very own fire poi show…not bad at all…
I think that I will be staying here a while… and have a feeling that my posts are going to stop being named by day number as I am already starting to lose count of the days… Aaahhhhh…. sweet Thailand, how I have missed you!
Follow me on Twitter @PopcornCandi or hashtag #GoThai for snippets along the way.
After a long and tiring trip from deep dark Africa, I finally arrived in Ao Nang, Krabi.
Following warnings that it is somewhat of a shithole, I did not expect much, but having spent 5 hours in Addis Ababa airport, I have a true benchmark for what a shithole really is. Krabi is not that.
Ao Nang is a cute little touristy beach that serves as more of a transit zone to other islands than anything else. Nonetheless, it has its quirks and my day here has been awesome.
I started with a cocktail at a dodgy beach bar when I arrived last night that I paid horrendously too much for. I did have a good giggle though…
Woke up stupid-late this morning and headed to the beach. Towards the end of the beach are rows and rows of massage huts, with sun chairs under the trees. This is a cool place to hang out all day and they feed you loads of fresh fruit as long as you use their services, which is not a terribly bad deal at all. A foot massage is actually a foot, leg, head, neck, face massage in one hour of heavenly madness for a ridiculously cheap price. Only in Thailand!
Steer clear of the monkeys at the bottom of the cliff – they’re everywhere – like cute little furry flies. They steal everything.
Day one = success and I am madly in love with Thailand again.
Off to Koh Lanta tomorrow for some more…
When my sister’s friends in freaking Australia told her that she has to try The Barefoot Cafe in Cintsa East, we thought that it is definitely something that we had to see!
We dragged the whole family there for breakfast and loved it. It’s totally hippy and very very chilled out. Owned by surfers, the food’s good, with a range of breakfasts (definitely a hangover breakfast menu), burgers and pizzas. Interesting menu, I must say…’chicken is a vegetable’??? No chance of a decaf soy latte, but that’s okay, we’re all pretty chilled!
It’s all about the vibe and I can imagine having some decent parties in that bar – especially with ‘Surfers on Acid’ on the menu…hmmmm…
If you’re in the Cintsa area this December, go check it out and join their Facebook Group if you’re interested in keeping up with them.
I recently went on a very special family holiday to Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa on the Wild Coast of Transkei. The Transkei is one of my favourite places in our gorgeous country. It’s untouched paradise on our doorstep – screw Mauritius, hit Transkei, baby – it’s far more real (okay I wouldn’t say no to Mauritius, but you know what I’m saying).
Umngazi really is the perfect family resort and provides the easiest, most comfortable family holiday I have ever experienced. The kids have an absolute blast, with organised activities every day…bug-hunting, beach snail feeding, crab-hunting, fishing competitions, marshmallow braais etc. etc. absolutely divine. Nannies are also available to look after the kids while the adults sip cocktails at the poolside. It’s just decadent. It’s not my usual kind of holiday, but for the kind of family time we were needing, it was just perfect.
Us grown-ups also have plenty to keep us busy. Every morning is an organised walk or hike. I did the Sugar Loaf hike one morning, which is a walk along the hills on the coastline, with the most magnificent scenery. We did some whale-watching along the way from the cliff-edges – it was just breath-taking!
Gillies are around for hire and will help you organise a boat and bait and take you to the best fishing spots.
The sunset cruise is also a must – Kevin the skipper is a pro at attracting the fish eagles to swoop down and catch some fish and will also entertain you with his ‘fat mama’ dance…was a good giggle 🙂
All meals are included as well, with the amount of food at each meal phenomenal. If you enjoy fresh seafood, Seafood Saturday will have you at your knees – platters and platters of crayfish, prawns, mussels, calamari…ridiculous! There were vegetarian options, but they’re not the best. I may just be fussy in terms of the kind of food that I enjoy, but the vegetarian meals did not seem too thought out in terms of health and nutrition…if you want to see the rant (take it with a pinch of salt), see it here.
All in all it was an absolutely phenomenal holiday with the family and I’d recommend it to anyone needing to take some time out in luxury. If you want to rough it a little bit, check out Swell Tours Guest Lodge – a bit of rough and rural paradise in the Transkei.
Spoilt, spoilt, spoilt, I heart South Africa.
This weekend the manimal took us away to Riverman Cabins in the Tonteldoos Valley, just outside of Dullstroom for a much-needed escape from the crazy of the city. An old farm with tranquil guesthouses, complete with lambs, cows, two trusty greyhounds and some fishing dams did the trick.
I’ve said it plenty of times before and I’ll say it again here…are you listening carefully…we live in the most beautiful country in the world!
I could spend the rest of my life exploring South Africa and the diverse surroundings and nature that most of us take for granted. Around every corner is something new and delicious to explore and enjoy. This last little holiday reinforced that for me.
Dullstroom is a quaint little town just outside of Middelberg with small arty shops, pubs, chocolatier, trout shops etc. Oh and of course a cheese shop! I would never miss that. The actual cheese farm, Bergen Cheese, is in Tonteldoos – about 10 minutes from Dullstroom and is also a restaurant (with cheese mentioned a lot of the menu, of course!). The cheese farm offers tours where they show you how the cheese is made, but the cheese maker was away and I didn’t get to experience it 🙁
Tonteldoos is really tiny and there’s not much to mention about it, but there are plenty of trout farms for fishing if that’s what you’re into, otherwise some serious chilling is on the cards in a beautiful landscape.
There are also plenty of interesting farm roads for mountain-biking, which I tried my hand (poor aching legs) at…I think I nearly died! Spinning is a walk in the park, but actual mountain biking…that’s another freaking story!
I also tried my hand at pulling a fish hook out of the manimal’s head…it appears that I’m not so good at that either.
Okay, enough babbling…the point is that it was such a nice getaway, not that far out of Jozi – only about 3 hours max, and…yes you guessed it… I Heart South Africa!
Go and explore!