Archive | July 2012

Luang Prabang

Our travels continue…

The last few days we’ve been in Luang Prabang, which is the former royal capital of Laos. It’s a very laid back, relaxed place. The old town is on a peninsula between the Mekong River and the Nam Khan. We spent lots of time relaxing, eating and drinking beside the Mekong. It is stunning!

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We took a boat trip one day which took us on both rivers. Photos don’t do the Mekong justice – it moves incredibly fast and carries all sorts (e.g. tree trunks with roots still attached!) downstream.

It is currently the monsoon season, so every day it rains. Some showers are short and sweet, whereas others go on for a long time and limit what you can see in a day. We carried umbrellas everywhere after the first full day when we got drenched!

Luang Prabang has a lot of Wats and we visited quite a few!

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We also saw the former Royal Palace, which is now a museum.

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Some parts are meant to be the same as they were when the Royal family left in 1975. After seeing nothing about them post 1975 I did a bit of reading after this visit!

The street in the middle of the peninsula is now full of tour agencies and cafes. It is a relaxing place to people watch if you pick your spot well!

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One end of this street closes around 5pm for a night market. It is quite relaxed for a night market with no pressure selling and some lovely products. I treated myself to a silver bracelet and bought a lovely mobile for friends who have just had a baby. I would have spent hours exploring, but Mr M isn’t such a fan and he had to keep ducking to walk through. To be honest the rain didn’t help and sometimes you need to be nice to your other half!

We had three whole days and an evening in Luang Prabang. We probably could have fitted more into our time, but we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves, which is of course one of the aims of a holiday! I would have happily spent more time there, doing nothing. It is so peaceful. Our hotel room faced onto the main road going round the edge of the peninsula, yet we could sit outside, virtually beside the road, and just listen to noises made crickets and other creatures we couldn’t identify. One night we were sat outside just after the midnight curfew and heard a big vehicle drive slowly along the road towards us. Dare I say we soon retreated into our hotel room!

I’d like to return to Luang Prabang one day. I hope it doesn’t change too much!

Thai Crafts

As you’ll have seen by my previous post we were in Thailand for a few days. You can buy all sorts of things there and a lot of purses and bags all claim to be handmade, but I’m not convinced as virtually every stall sells the same ones. Some of the goods however I’ve never seen elsewhere…

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Now admittedly this is not the best photo, but as I haven’t bought any it was difficult to take a picture! These necklaces and earrings are made from real orchids coated in 24-carat gold. As you can imagine they are not cheap, but they are beautiful. They seem to then enamel them or something as they are all different colours. I almost wish I’d bought some, but I’d be scared to wear them and they deserve showing off and shouldn’t be relegated to a drawer as mine would be.

Tuk-tuks go by many names in Asia and are not just a Thai idea. We only used one in Chiang Mai, but that was because we could walk virtually everywhere and if we went a long distance other transport was better. Now the next product I’m showing you is probably not only available here, but it is the best upcycling I’ve seen in a while!

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What a great use of old cans! I can tell these are made in Thailand as Leo is a Thai beer that I’ve never seen out of Thailand.

I wonder what I’ll find on our next leg of the trip…

Chiang Mai

No crafty post today as we’re still on holiday! I haven’t forgotten you all in blogland, so I thought I’d give you a peak at a few snaps (I have lots of photos on my camera – the ones I’m uploading are from my phone as usual).

Our hotel in Chiang Mai is my new favourite hotel ever! It knocks the Bellagio in Vegas off the pedestal it’s been on for a couple of years. We stayed in the old town in the Sirilanna. It’s a boutique hotel with only 15 rooms and whilst not the cheapest in town it had big rooms, free wifi and free breakfast whilst being in walking distance to virtually everything. I’d recommend staying there!

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The photo above shows the door to our room! Look at how big it is:

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It had two seating areas!!! The tv was much bigger than the one in our lounge at home, but the real highlight was is shown below, which alone was 2/3rd the size of our bathroom at home!

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Anyway, whilst in Chiang Mai we saw lots of Wats…

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And even ventured out of the town and to the highest point in Thailand (literally in the clouds!) and saw this on our way down:

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I didn’t do much shopping whilst in Chiang Mai, but did treat myself to a tiny handbag so I can just take out a little wallet, camera and phone when out in the evening. It cost me the equivalent of £1.60. I love the prices in Thailand!

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I’m writing this blog post in Chiang Mai airport waiting to fly to Laos. Our adventures are continuing…

Crafty Shopping in Chinatown, Singapore

The other night we went to chinatown in Singapore and found a nightmarket.

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Apparently it also runs through the day, so can’t be strictly called a night market anymore, but never mind!

I found these necklaces for only 1SGD (which is roughly 50p in GBP and 80c in USD).

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The normal problem I have of not having matching earrings occurred, but after my relatively recent jewellery class I feel quite confident in being able to make some. At such a bargain price I bought two of each necklace, intending to destroy one of each to make earrings and probably another necklace too. If I owned the beads I’d be able to make the necklaces as they are. I primarily bought the second necklace of each type for the beads and even for that it seems like a good price!

Here are some closer up pictures of the beads;

Grey and black (although mainly grey):

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And light blue and white:

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I’m now a bit more excited by the purchases above than my first purchase in chinatown. I bought these, obviously fake, coins:

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The two big ones were 1 SGD for the pair and the five small ones were five for 1 SGD. I was thinking one dangley necklace with a big coin as a pendant and obviously some matching earrings. How I’ll actually put these together I’ll figure out when back in the UK.

Amazingly Mr M let me buy something slightly crafty without too much moaning. Admittedly the cheap price of my purchases probably helped!

Singapore!

We’re now in Singapore. I had no elbow space what so ever on our flight over, so I couldn’t crochet, so I watched films and tried to sleep.
It’s all worth it though for heat and views like this…

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So long, farewell…

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!

Can you tell the school production was The Sound of Music this year?

I’m going to say farewell for four weeks as Mr M and I are off to Southeast Asia tomorrow. We saw Bangkok and parts of Vietnam last year on our honeymoon and want to see more. We’ll be in Siem Reap on our actual wedding anniversary.

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This crochet is going in my hand luggage. I have seven flights (excluding connections!) so wanted something to do on the planes. I’ve bought a bamboo hook especially! This is what I achieved after two nights behind the scenes at the production last week.

In the words of Rolf Harris “Can you guess what it is yet?”

Bargain Buttons

This is really just a heads up for UK based button fans…

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All the 60 buttons above only cost 85p at Wilkinsons! They are quite small, but are perfect for many crafts.

I thought I had a lot of buttons until I started storing them in a big jar at the weekend. It’s not even half full! So I have lots of space I can fill without feeling too guilty for buying more.