April 9, 2016

Springing into.....A Grand Adventure!

 Thailand, January 2016 - Part 1

I have written this posting a dozen times in my head - and then something would come along to change my focus! Late winter -before the weather breaks- is my "punky" time of year when I have a hard time being motivated to get much of anything done...including writing this blog.

Here's to making a change in attitude!
Sunrise over the airplane wing
Partway into our 24 hour journey...flying North over Canada and Alaska
I was lucky enough to travel with some friends to Thailand in January, which was a fabulous way to break up the winter and get some R&R after a hectic holiday season. We were invited by some great friends who live there, Alexx and Vyada Cheng, who took us around and treated us royally during our trip...a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience...that I would love to do again! 

Yes, this is a real sign! We spotted it on the highway between Bangkok and Chanthaburi, in southern Thailand; we had to get our driver to stop so we could take a photo! One of the main things I had hoped to do while there was to see elephants, and this was a good omen....more on that later.

On our way to the coast, we stopped at a beautiful national park that boasts a huge waterfall, old moss-covered stuppas, lush greenery and pools of sacred fish...who share their pools with the locals cooling off.

After reaching the coast, our first side trip was to Koh Kood, an island off the coast of Thailand and Cambodia....we stayed at a lovely rustic resort enjoying the slow-paced lifestyle. What a way to get over our jet lag!

Crystal clear water, sparkling white sand and millions of little tropical fish
sharing their ocean with us

Sunset on Koh Kood

...and then the new moon!
Our little friend who seemingly lived in that light globe,
outside our hut; he was there every time we walked by 
After two days and nights on this quiet, breathtakingly beautiful island, we headed back to the mainland to fly up to ChaingMai, which was to be our home base for the next ten days. Out of 2000 photos, here are just a few of some of the amazing sights we were lucky enough to experience.
Fishing boat outside our seafood restaurant, on the way back to Bangkok from Koh Kood

Crown of Thorns....so many varieties of huge plants!

Silk lanterns at the ChiangMai Night Market

Not only did we see the "Elephant Crossing" signs but later trekked up to the Happy Valley Elephant Sanctuary in the mountains north of ChaingMai, where their elephants are so well-cared for - like members of the keepers' families. There are no enclosures, no tricks that they have to do, no riding or working...they are simply ambassadors for this beautiful part of Thailand. We got to feed and play with them and then escort them over some trails to a little waterfall-filled pool...where they played in the water, bathed and then ate some more! It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip...

Baby Auang, 2 years old, enjoying her sugar cane

Group shot with Ni-na, 4 years old

            At the watering hole - the waterfall is on the left

Such wisdom and connection in those eyes; 
you felt like she was reaching into your heart.

A few inspiration shots of other scenes from the trip....enjoy!

Entering the Umbrella Festival area in ChaingMai

So much color, everywhere!

One of the "altars" set up along the festival route

At the Umbrella Factory

With much gratitude to our fabulous hosts, Alexx and Vy....
of Hell Fire Glass Company, ChaingMai, Thailand

Vy and Alexx

Heather doing a demo at/in (?) Hell Fire Company

More to come, stay tuned... 
(especially if you like photos of colorful plants, wonderful food and exotic locales!)
Such inspiration for new work....it's only a matter of time!!