A Travellerspoint blog

Just as I'm getting into the groove. BUT

...it's time to move on

Well, my original plan was to do a couple of day trips while I was in Bangkok. I had originally thought I'd do a day trip to the old capital or spend a couple days in Hua Hin. Hua Hin I found out was 6 hours away from Bangkok by bus...so that was not an option. The truth is, I decided I just wanted to hang out in the area where I was staying because other than the odd day here and there I had not taken a vacation since December 2012. Working full time and organizing this venture was tiring and I really needed to give myself the opportunity to adjust to the time difference and relax. Closely to where I was staying in Bangkok were two markets which were within walking distance. On my Second day I spent most of the afternoon at the larger market which was next to the temple. Since it was so close to New Year's the market was very lively and busy. The aroma of the various spices made my mouth water even though I knew I was not hungry. However, I did eventually have a roasted corn on the cob..there's just something about having a cob of corn in Thailand that appeals to me most likely because I equate corn on the cob with summer, my favourite time of year..and now I will be experiencing summer all year. Although I did not plan to buy any clothing (keeping in mind that I had brought over an extra piece of luggage) I bought several cotton, tunic style cotton blouses and a sweater and rationalized that a couple of them were going to gifts for my daughter - which they will be and I will ship them off to her once I accumulate more clothing for her.

On my third day, as I was strolling down the street around dinner hour I bumped into a family who were staying at Sanawan Palace and they asked if I would care to join them for a Mongolian styled meal. Now I had heard of this type of my meal from my sister. Mongolian style meals are cooked at your able by you and you select what it is you want to cook. So off we went. The place as packed and the selection of food available for cooking was incredible, from seafood to meat, vegetables. Fruits and desserts were also available. I don't really think I ate a lot, but it was fun to create and cook your own special dinner. The cost of this food extravaganza was about $4.00 Canadian which included soft drinks. My hosts who were from Alaska told me that they had been to another market just up the street very early in the morning...as in 4:00 a.m. I decided that I would like to check out that market one morning as the thought of fresh fruit first thing in the morning really appealed to me. After a very enjoyable conversation with my hosts, we were all very ready to head back to our rooms. We all commented on how tired we felt (and it wasn't just us older folks saying we were tired either) and proceeded walking back to our rooms at the very late time of 7:00 p.m. I would like to add, some of the youngsters chose to take the local transport home.

Posted by Rhondalee 08:32 Comments (0)

YES I am in Vietnam

..but first more about my time in Bangkok

YES, I have arrived in Vietnam….approximately one month ago and when I arrived in Quang Ngai City it was overcast and had been raining. In fact, Mrs. Thao, my employer was not sure if the flight would still take place due to the weather conditions but here I am.

I really can’t believe all that has happened in the last month… nothing bad but, honestly I can’t believe we are already into early February!! Wasn’t it New Year’s Eve yesterday? Before I give an update on the Vietnam adventure, I have to step back and tell you more about the extra luggage I brought with me from Canada to Thailand. Well, after calling Air Asia (which was a lot easier than trying to contact them back in Canada – 12 hours time difference and all that) I found out that to ship my luggage to Vietnam from Bangkok would cost me about $600.00. So, I investigated the option of having a company such as Purolator ship the luggage – we are talking 15 kgs. here not a major amount. Well, that would have cost me a bit more. The staff at Sanawan Palace (in Bangkok) were kind enough to contact the local post office. Guess what, it cost me under $100.00 to have the luggage shipped to Vietnam and it would be in Vietnam around the time I arrived . I was sort of suspicious about the quick delivery timelines I was being quoted due to the fact that it took just over a month for my employment contract to make it’s way to Canada via registered mail from Vietnam, but hey, I’m going to be in Vietnam for a year, so at some point I think I will get my luggage. After some major sorting out of what would be shipped and what was coming with me, off I went down the street pulling my luggage behind me and then grabbed a taxi to the post office (which by the way had already been written down for me in Thai….so getting there would not be a problem). Ummm, of course, the section of the post office where I needed to be was on the second floor and without an elevator I began my trek up to the second floor..up two flights of steps. Thankfully, a kind young man offered to take the luggage up for me. Now the next question was, where can I get that little ticket that everyone is holding in their hand with a number on it…where was that little machine that sputtered out that number? Through some sign language with the staff at the post office, I was able to get my number. First, we tried putting the luggage inside a big box, but I really needed my luggage bag to pack my remaining stuff, so through some more pantomime, we dumped the luggage, well, I dumped my luggage into the box. So much for the excess luggage issue! Of course, since I wasn’t near a major tourist attraction there were not too many taxis around, so off I go walking down the street pulling a medium size empty luggage bag behind me. Thankfully, a taxi driver saw me, and assuming that I had luggage full of clothes he turned around and picked me up and I arrived safely at my hotel. Now, the next step was to figure out where I could stay in Bangkok which was near the old international airport. But let’s be realistic, priorities first….it’s time for a beer!
During my time in Bangkok I have met some nice people..fellow travellers. Rosemarie is travelling Asia for 6 months before leaving to teach for one month in China. Rosemarie hopes to hook up with me in Vietnam and share a beer together. Right now she is in Cambodia. Then I met two teachers and their husbands from England. We had some interesting conversations about the school systems in England and the similarities between the population of persons I work with in my job back in Hamilton.

During the day of New Year’s Eve I took a walk to the nearby market and pass a man with his boat in amongst a sea of water hyacinths (I think) and I took a couple of pictures. The market was packed but with a very good energy to it.. Yummy, wow, it looked so good! I see ice cream in a coconut shell drizzled with chocolate, but I do not buy any as I imagine the line-up is long. I see young girls dancing and there is a donation box in which I put money into and grab a couple of pictures of the girls. Although it is New Years Eve, I find I cannot stay awake until midnight, but as I am drifting on and off to sleep I hear the odd fireworks go off…and when I wake up, it will be 2013…how cool is that.

Posted by Rhondalee 08:00 Comments (0)

The Christmas Eve flight -

Landing in Bangkok

sunny 30 °C

A couple of hours after getting home from work, it was time to head out to Pearson International Airport (Toronto Ontario, Canada). I had checked in an extra bag which cost an additional $70.00 but I was aware that I would incur that cost. That's the first time I had ever done that. It was a very difficult good-bye at the airport and then before I knew it, it was take-off time. The flight started as an Air Canada flight and I thought for sure that I would fall asleep but that was not the case even though I was tired before I got to the airport . The young couple beside me were venturing out on their first ever trip to Thailand. They had 35 days and other than having booked their accommodations in Bangkok, they were winging it. I couldn't help thinking about my first trip to Thailand, what an adventure it was and little did I know at the time, but that first trip laid the foundation for this trip seven years later. The plane landed in Frankfurt and the layover was 2.5 hours. The connecting airline was Thai Airways. Definitely a notch or two better than Air Canada. And anyways, I couldn't help but feel excited when the flight attendants welcomed each passenger with a warm Thai welcome.
I did manage to get some sleep during the last leg of the flight. The arrival time in Bangkok was actually an hour earlier than originally anticipated due to the high tail winds (or something like that). But regardless of the time I arrived, the Immigration booths were back logged (nothing unusual about that) Once clearing immigration I got a taxi and it wasn't long before I arrived at Sanawan Palace (www.bangpli.com or www.sanawan.com) I arrived at 7:00 a.m and my room wasn't ready yet, (not surprising)so I hung out by the pool for a bit until my room was ready. My first order of business was to get a massage after I had settled in. What an amazing massage it was! While walking about I took a couple of snapshots of the scenery surrounding me me, and of course I had to take a picture of the pool.

Posted by Rhondalee 02:39 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)



The last 5 weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, but not primarily in a negative way. The well wishes, cards of thanks, luncheons and support from many people was at times overwhelming and caused me to think “what a lucky person am I to have this". I’ve been asked are you nervous, scared – my answer is no I am not. Do I second guess myself, no I don’t and that’s because I believe this is meant to be, I will deal with whatever comes my way. I know all too well that things can change suddenly and without warning. Learning of one death, and experiencing the death of a longtime companion of mine and then learning of someone’s poor health, (that has since been rectified) in less than a month is a constant reminder to me, that my life is not a dress rehearsal….this is it. I know that some of my co-workers may be retired when I come back, and as- a- matter- of- fact, the nature of my job could change. But this is what I believe; it is important to have a dream in life. To me it is not important if the dream is not achieved, what’s important is that you have a dream. Too often I see people who are downtrodden, and just surviving…barely making ends meet and I think to myself, I am sure that this is not where they planned to be at this stage in their lives…what were their dreams? And to others I say “why can’t this or why can’t that be a dream to strive for….it’s about choices. When I was younger my only dream when it came to seeing the world was to go to Greece….I did that when the Olympics were in Athens several years ago. I thought teaching and travelling would be fun, so I took a course….landed a job in Vietnam. So maybe in Vietnam I can help make some adult, some youth, or child ignite their own dream. I can tell you it was very difficult at the airport and saying good-bye to my better half, who will be joining me soon….he’s supported this dream of mine, we as a couple have grown through this process. Me leaving and his staying behind for a few months and a weekend get away allowed us to take stock of our relationship. We needed to take this time as we had both been busy ...it was the best thing we did.

My girlfriend once explained to me that her version of getting older is to compare aging to the flushing of the toliet: see how quickly the water funnels down the bowl.... it twirls down the toilet bowl, faster and then even more quickly.That's where I am in life now. There so much to do in this world and as I get older I want to do more. I rember thinking as a young mother if life could get any more busier. And I can tell you for me it has ....so much to do and so little time!. I am now experiencing the toilet bowl syndrome!

So what do I hope for over the next year? I hope to help people, I hope that I will grow emotionally and in particular spiritually, I know I will be on a long learning curve, and the adjustment might take a couple of months but I can tell you, it will take quite an adjustment to be back In Canada in 2014, because I believe I will be much more grounded spiritually, the reverse culture shock I think will be difficult……but maybe not so. .So when inclined check out the blog and see how that journey is going……..if you have any comments or questions, pass them along
As a New Year is just around the corner, maybe just take a second and think of some dreams you had or have or plan to have. It’s always easier to say why, but it’s much more liberating to say why not and then just do it...you will find a way...

The picure posted in this blog was taken of me 11 DAYS Before I left for my journey...umm, do I look worried? Stressed out? Nope...I'm not!,

Posted by Rhondalee 06:44 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

I'm leaving on a jet plane (soon)

All my bags are packed (well nearly) I'm ready to go (mentally yes)...I'm leaving on a jet plane (December 24)

sunny 17 °C

In the Spring of this year, I was successful in securing a teaching position in Central Vietnam..start date ..early January 2013. Fortunately for me, my current employer has granted me a leave of absence for a year. Sounds pretty sweet to be able to say to my co-workers "see you all the end of 2014". So a couple of months ago we started a countdown calendar at my place of work. On the weekend I bought a cheap, bright purple piece of luggage to pack my "work clothes" in. This turned out to be a very efficient way of packing my summer clothes away to make room for the Fall clothes. I must admit though it did feel weird to pack the summer clothes in a suitcase while knowing that the Fall/ Winter clothes now in my closet are only going to be worn for a couple of months and then I won't set my eyes on them until mid January 2014!

Posted by Rhondalee 18:19 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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