Five Star Float

December 12, 2013

Have to swim if there is an opportunity.  A bit chilly but warmer than Seacliff Beach.  Our boat, the Prince II in the back ground

Have to swim if there is an opportunity. A bit chilly but warmer than Seacliff Beach. Our boat, the Prince II in the back ground

Our three days on Ha Long Bay was not what I expected in a cruise.  The reason:  8 passengers and 7 crew.  What were these gracious Vietnamese men going to do all day but make sure we ate too much, kayaked too much, swam too much and relaxed too much.  The unknown:  the other 4 people sharing the space.  How about four cool new friends from Pasadena?  Sounds like a plan.


Barbecue on the beach.

Just one of the many delicacies.  Clams prepared with herbs and garlic and a little chili.

Just one of the many delicacies. Clams prepared with herbs and garlic and a little chili.

And the scenery for floating and cruising and kayaking.  It was very quiet out there.

And the scenery for floating and cruising and kayaking. It was very quiet out there.

School is out in the floating village.  1st, 2nd and 3rd graders jump in boats and head home.

School is out in the floating village. 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders jump in boats and head home.


This IPad is disabled

December 2, 2013

So, technical difficulties.  For all my techie friends, just skip this blog post.  You have probably been there before.  And you survived. 

I am in Luang Prabang, Laos, in a lovely guest house, Chitdara 2.  There is a soft conversation in French at a table near me in the lobby of terracotta colored tile and rich wood ceiling.  WWF is on the television.  Yes, WWF and they do have the volume so low that I can’t hear the racket.  The waiter says “Yes” in a quiet Lao accent when I ask, “You love that?”  Across the street is a river flowing.  

I am typing on my husband’s laptop and posting from the laptop is actually much easier than posting from the iPad where I had to use a mixture of browser and app to get the results that I wanted. 

I was up until midnight last night trying to get the disabled pad to work.  No go.  Downloading iTunes onto this laptop, a PC, was a challenge.  Somewhere around 10:15 pm the guests and staff must have gone to bed because the download speed doubled and I saw light at the end of the technological tunnel.  Oooops.  It was the train.  Permanent disability seems to be the state of the Pad.  Maybe it got a little fried in Chiang Mai?  I still have not found a surge protector.  I didn’t forget my passcode.

So, this is bloggers life, I suppose.  I am in Luang Prabang.  What do I have to complain about? 

Don’t let the Nagas get you down!  Photo by Chris McLane




Start out with bike rental


Stop for an iced coffee.


Visit the old palace sight. Sukothai was a capital before Bangkok




These elephants represent “beasts of burden” to carry Buddhism in Thailand for 5000 years.



Go see the temples outside the city walls.


And climb to a forest temple.


The climb in the heat and humidity worth the view.


And there was still remnants of the historic gold.


Enjoy the countryside after days in Bangkok bustle.


Trees and offerings.


Great to cycle off the yesterday’s 7 hour bus ride. Restore my inner Buddha grin.


And return to the old city where we started.


And back to our lovely room for a cool shower and some air conditioning.

We are staying just three full days in a city of 10 million people.  At the Ibrik Resort we can watch River commerce, commuter traffic and tourist recreation.  It is quiet here in the evenings.  It is 3 bhat (30bhat to the dollar) ride over to the Grand Palace.  In other words, Chris did it again.  He finds the coolest places to stay. 

On our first day after the 26 hour trip, strolling one of the Thai National Museums was a serene start to our trip.  

Being a fan of fairy tales and birds, I had to know more about this Thai creature, Kinnaree.  The story goes something like this:  7 royal sisters each half woman half swan.  The most beautiful, Manorah, caught for a prince with a special dragon rope that the dragon wasn’t all that interested in giving up, but did. The captor was richly compensated AND the prince and princess live happily ever after.  With legends like this, no wonder the Thai people have such free and easy smiles.





And I was intrigued by the details and colors.


Temple fan

Temple fan



Off we go.

November 22, 2013

I could just imagine the panic of leaving the hotel near the airport by van after a lousy night’s sleep and instead of entering the highway, moving along a deeply, very deeply potholed unlit dirt road into the dark morning. If we had not lived in Mexico, I could imagine that cold dread of “this is it… this is the kidnapping everyone is worried about…”

But we have lived in Mexico for half our lives over the last 9 years and I was just a little surprised when the hotel lost power. CFE, national electric company, restored power to the corner of businesses that had been blacked out by a car hitting a pole in less than the 30 minutes anticipated by the smiling hotel staff. I was only a little surprised when the disco music came pounding in from somewhere. I had my earplugs ready. The gods thrilled us with a lightening storm that flashed through the night sky.

So when we pulled onto the dirt road we knew that it was simply the most efficient way to get to the airport. Better than getting on the freeway and driving away from our destination to some distant retorno. It was a private frontage road. Our only concern: some of those potholes were pretty darn deep!

At least for the Mexico to LA leg.

At least for the Mexico to LA leg.

From our breast balcony

From our breakfast balcony

On the breakfast balcony

On the breakfast balcony

Oil independence. Why? Because oil is strategic. That is what I learned on Saturday listening to NPR. “If Oil were Like Salt, Could the US Kick the Habit.” Scott Simon interviewed a former CIA director. I have read posts by my liberal brothers and sisters who would not believe a word that a former CIA director had to say. I was intrigued by the article. Oil is strategic for the US long-term military advantage.

Long-term military advantage is not one of my goals. My goals are more along the lines of long-term co-existence of humanity on our planet. I can see, if I am willing to look, how eliminating our need for oil could meet both goals.

In the US, we use most of our oil for transportation. And the US military uses more oil for transportation than the rest of us drivers, boaters, pilots put together. We need transportation that is oil-free.

Oil independence because, I learned today, auto emissions are 25% of our carbon footprint.

So who is talking about it?

Nissan-Renault Companies that recognize the change are positioning themselves as government allies in the struggle for oil dependence. “We are not only a carmaker. We are a sustainable mobility system provider,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault.

Sweden – “A Sweden free of fossil fuels would give us enormous advantages, not least by reducing the impact from fluctuations in oil prices,” Mona Sahlin, their minister of sustainable development, said. “The price of oil has tripled since 1996.”

Shai Agassi, my new hero, who tells me that we CAN create the infrastructure for the electric car that is affordable and reliable, with my government’s commitment.

Now, how to get my government on board?


June 24, 2010

There are days, summer days, when the sun is out and the smell of the pines is enough. There are days when a small act to help a friend in need is enough. There are days when laundry is washed and groceries are purchased and for those extremely fortunate, like me, there are rows and rows of sun-ripened strawberries to pick and share. Prayer for those who suffer must be enough, some days.

I apologize.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you.
A prayer for the Gulf by Dr. Masaru Emoto

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