Thailand!

Joyann invited me out to visit her in Thailand, so I scrimped and saved all my vacation time and had a wonderful adventure with her!

Friday-Sunday, Jan 23rd-Feb 1st, 2009

1: Wares on offer in Khao Lak, near a currency-exchange window

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2: An orchid on the balcony of the Everday Kitchen in Khao Lak

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3: Lantern on the balcony of the Everday Kitchen in Khao Lak

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4: My first taste of authentic Thai food—a delicious green curry!

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5: Joyann enjoys a delicious club sandwich at the Everyday Kitchen

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6: A small lizard, seen from our lunch table at the Everyday Kitchen

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7: Walking to the beach, we passed a tree that seemed to have a disease

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8: Rubber plantations were all over the place

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9: Hibiscus were not uncommon

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10: Another hibiscus, on the way to the beach

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11: Final shot of the hibiscus

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12: A statue overlooking the Khao Lak beach

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13: An unfortunately smelly canal leading down to the ocean at Khao Lak

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14: A shell rests in the sand at Khao Lak

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15: Joyann

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16: A longtail boat rests at anchor, just off the beach

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17: View of the Khao Lak beach

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18: Can you tell why these are called ghost crabs?

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19: These little guys were almost impossible to see, unless they moved

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20: But when they moved, they were FAST!

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21: Another shot of a ghost crab

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22: Rocks at the beach

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23: The surf comes in

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24: Longtail boat at anchor off the Khao Lak beach

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25: Joyann holds a seashell for inspection.

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26: There were many shells on the beach

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27: Getting all macro on this shell

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28: Another longtail boat at anchor off the Khao Lak beach

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29: Joyann wades in the water

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30: Can you see me? (You might want to view the large version of this image.)

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31: Detail shot of a ghost crab

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32: Yet another longtail boat at anchor

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33: Place setting at a beachfront restaurant where we had breakfast

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34: View back up towards the town from the restaurant

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35: Detail shot of the thatch roof of the restaurant

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36: A gated hotel on the way to the beach

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37: Orchid in Khao Lak

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38: Tropical fronds bordering the Family Seafood House in Khao Lak

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39: The Family Seafood House had delicious fruit shakes

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40: Detail of the Family Seafood House roof

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41: Thai keyboard in Khao Sok

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42: Awesome place to stay—highly recommended!

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43: A bamboo stalk sheds its hull

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44: Slightly wider shot

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45: Bird-of-paradise flower

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46: The sitting room in our suite at Art's Riverfront Lodge

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47: Paging Piet Mondrian. Herr Mondrian, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

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48: A neat little bridge at Art's Riverfront Lodge

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49: The morning light kisses a tree stump

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50: Ivy around a tree

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51: Bird-of-paradise flower

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52: Large leaf

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53: Ground floor (literally!) of Art's Riverfront Lodge

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54: The lower level of Art's Riverfront Lodge

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55: The view from the dining area at Art's Riverfront Lodge

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56: A mother macaque and her baby, across the river

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57: A troupe of macaques entertained us through dinner

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58: Lantern on the deck of Art's Riverfront Lodge

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59: The next morning

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60: View across the river

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61: Detail of the bamboo bridge

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62: A mist rolls along the river at Khao Sok

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63: A bamboo bridge at Khao Sok

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64: Decorative kiosk at Art's Riverfront Lodge, in Khao Sok

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65: Decorative kiosk at Art's Riverfront Lodge, in Khao Sok (Detail)

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66: Tree by the river, blended with HDR

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67: Another shot of the tree, no HDR

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68: Over the course of the night, the macaques crossed the river and were now playing in the trees outside our neighbor's house

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69: That's our door!

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70: Macaque on our neighbor's roof

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71: Bird-of-paradise flower, maybe?

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72: Another shot of the flower

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73: The bamboo bridge across the river

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74: We really were in the jungle. Lots of greenery surrounded our cabin!

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75: I glanced out our rear window and saw this little guy!

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76: Hard to photograph; he blends right in!

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77: View across the river

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78: Joyann at breakfast

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79: Totally not posed at all (taken by Joyann)

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80: Decorative lantern in the dining area (taken by Joyann)

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81: Would you believe that when I started editing this shot, I thought it was just a dramatic image of a tree with string around it? Turns out there's a little guy in the frame too! I didn't see him until I started messing around with the exposures in Gimp!

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82: We chatted with this awfully nice couple from Belgium who were kind enough to take our picture.

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83: Joyann on our balcony

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84: A building on the grounds of the Khao Sok National Park visitor's centre

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85: Detail of a statue in the park (taken by Joyann)

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86: Nice Thai calligraphy in the visitor's centre

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87: A statue in the visitor's centre at Khao Sok National Park

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88: Joyann poses next to a replica of one of the largest flowers in the world at the Khao Sok visitor centre. This flower was blooming while we were there, but we didn't have the time (or, quite frankly, the desire) to see it.

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89: So we went for a hike. Not too much further up the trail, Joyann said 'look, there's a snake!' and pointed ahead. I saw a gray line stretching across the trail. I looked away, then looked back—and it was gone!

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90: Lots of bamboo everywhere!

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91: Is this a butterfly, or a beetle?

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92: There was some fairly serious barbed wire lining the path. Was it for keeping tourists in, or keeping other things out?

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93: Lizard!

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94: Bamboo apparently molts?

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95: Butterfly!

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96: Artistic bamboo shot

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97: The path went over a broken culvert. I looked down into it as we passed, and saw a cool beetle.

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98: Another group (with a guide) came along a few minutes later. The guide calmly reached in and pulled the beetle out of the culvert so everyone could all get a good look at it.

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99: More bamboo

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100: Ok, so by now you've probably figured out that I like bamboo

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101: Backlit bamboo!

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102: The jungle was so lush (photo taken by Joyann)

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103: Chameleon!

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104: This guy was really patient. Definitely of the 'if I don't move, they won't see me' school of thought.

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105: He's spikey!

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106: His eyes could move independently. We didn't get to see him change colour, though we did try to change his background.

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107: The trail pretty much looked like this most of the time. Except when it didn't.

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108: Apparently, you can find morning glory just about everywhere in the world.

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109: Cool sign in a money-changer's shop, in Khao Sok (photo taken by Joyann)

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110: A plumeria outside a decent German bakery in Khao Lak (no photos from the previous day, because we went diving in the Similan islands!)

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111: We stayed here two nights, but were unable to locate the hamster. Mr. Chenling was quite friendly!

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112: Tiny flower outside the hamster residence

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113: Another shot of the flower

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114: Just before Fiona picked us up

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115: An orchid on Fiona's back porch

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116: A very pleasant couple invited us over for the evening. This is what it's like to be retired in Thailand! (Complete with cobras—one was in a firepit off to the right!)

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117: Sunset over the ocean

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118: We took the night bus to Bangkok, and went to see the Royal Palace the next day

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119: Plaques described the various buildings and murals—but I couldn't read any of them!

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120: Me posing in the royal palace (taken by Joyann)

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121: Old palace, new skyscrapers

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122: San-chin! (taken by Joyann)

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123: One of the many statues in the palace (taken by Joyann)

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124: A tower, seen through the palace

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125: Joyann bought a parasol from a street vendor

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126: Detail of a railing

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127: Hmm, this was probably slightly irreverant (taken by Joyann)

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128: Definitely very irreverant

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129: A scale model of part of the palace? Done in stone? This must have taken someone a very long time to finish.

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130: A passing tour guide was kind enough to take our picture

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131: Very crowded

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132: Candles on an altar (taken by Joyann)

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133: There were occasional spots of green inside the palace

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134: Umbrellas and obelisks

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135: Joyann, candid

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136: Joyann, posed

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137: I have no idea what that says

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138: Joyann and me in a small cafe in Rickmansworth Bangkok. Delicious (and spicy!) food. I found that I had to eat my papaya salad very carefully—and even then, I had to order a second drink!

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139: Passing quickly through a street market, we encountered these colourful confections. While quite pleasing to the eye, they turned out to be marzipan (yuck!).

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140: The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok (HDR)

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141: If you give the monks a donation, they hand you a small tin cup filled with similans (a very small coin, no longer used, but worth about a third of a cent). You then walk down a row of small iron cauldrons, and drop coins in each one. There are lots of people doing this, which fills the room with a peaceful, water-like sound. (taken by Joyann)

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142: One of the rooflines in Wat Pho

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143: Joyann relaxes on a stone bench

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144: Roofline again, slightly different focus

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145: There were many different rooms with many different Buddhas

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146: I'm not sure what this one represented (photo taken by Joyann)

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147: Detail of the dragons behind him (photo taken by Joyann)

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148: Statue in Wat Pho (photo taken by Joyann)

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149: Large statue in Wat Pho

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150: Detail of large statue

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151: White tower in Wat Pho

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152: Another roofline in Wat Pho

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153: Belfry in Wat Pho (taken by Joyann)

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154: Outside the room with the Reclining Buddha was a large gong (taken by Joyann)

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