Our elephant trekking experience in Phuket.

We had our own dedicated taxi to take us to go elephant riding and to experience the 9D images at the Trickeye museum. We met our taxi driver in Bangla road, who also waved his laminated brochures to passing Bangla road crowds. After agreeing on the cost of our trip the next day and giving our hotel details, we parted ways. The next morning, at exactly 11h00, our soft-spoken taxi driver was there to chauffeur us to our planned attractions. Our driver lives about five hours from Patong, where he works. He would go home some weekends or his family would join him in Patong.  The day we met him in Bangla road, his young son was with him but since we were three passengers, the little one had to stay at home. Our first stop was to do the elephant rides. Here again, you will experience the ingenuity of the Thai people. Once you had paid for your ride, you are invited to buy food for your elephant. The food is a tiny plastic bowl of small overripe bananas that will set you back 100 baht.

Local transport in Phuket is fun and educational.

Tourism is big business in Thailand. Even the Tuk-tuk drivers and the taxi drivers are informal tour guides and tour operators. They have tourism brochures and A3 laminated brochures that display restaurants, island boat trip companies, elephant trekking, go-karting, clubbing and all other sightseeing trips and experiences tourists want to explore. But, there is no mention of the .almost obligatory gem or jewellery shops that these drivers will inevitably weave into your trip. Our tuk-tuk driver and us posing in front of the Clock Tower in Phuket City. Such was our 'gem" experience when we decided to go to old Phuket Town to do a walking tour of the old city. I had worked out our 2-3 hour walking tour based on the research I had done. We boarded the Baht blue bus near Patong beach and for 30 baht each,we were taken to Phuket City. When passengers get off at various points en route to Phuket City, the driver stops the bus, gets out and then collects the fare. At a stop

Packing for our Thailand trip

I think I am getting better with packing for holidays - whether it is for local breakaways, camping or most recently, for our holiday in Thailand. I still overpacked ( rolling eyes) by putting in all my light lacy throw-overs because I prefer my "Sauls" arms to have a wee bit of covering. Believe me, those lacy tops stayed put in the luggage bag for the duration of our trip!   We use Jiffy self-locking  bags as our packing cubes, a cheaper version of the material cubes you can buy. The Jiffy bags are transparent and vacuum seal as well, creating more space in  your luggage bag. Our travel wardrobe I  think we worry unnecessarily about what to wear when going on holiday. All the clothes you usually wear when you run errands or when you go out, would be just perfect for Thailand as well. If you intend dining at an upmarket restaurant or want to visit a smart club, you can pack in dressy shoes and a fancy outfit. We however,were just going to do regular activities t

Planning our Thailand, Phuket-Bangkok trip of seven days.

We are posing here with fellow South Africans, Erica and Warren.   We decided to visit Phuket in Thailand as a 60th birthday gift for Basil, my husband and as a 21st birthday celebration for Sasha,our daughter. We were super excited about our Phuket Island trip but we also needed to consider our shoestring budget. Another factor was that we only had ten days because of both my and Basil's work commitments and Sasha's university programme.  Two of those days had to be reserved for our roundtrip flight Phuket-Cape Town.  It is vital that you do your research so that your holiday is fabulous and financially stress-free. Here are a few pointers that guided us. You must know what your budget is for your flight and accommodation.  Given that we only had seven days for the actual holiday, I did a lot of research to ensure that we maximised our visit to Phuket. Many travel agencies offer competitive holiday packages to Phuket. Despite the advertised holiday packaged deals, yo

Ni hao (Hello) China Travelogue Landing Page

Here are  the links to all the posts about my experiences in China. How not to pack for overseas travel. Time for Guanzhou morning tea and savoring dim sim at Nan Yuan restaurant. Our visits to Flower City and the Guangzhou Public library Cruising on the Pearl River in Guangzhou on a starry night.

It's been a year since I had breast cancer and life is good.

Ayesha (far right), my past student and now wonderful radiologist, posing with me after the mammogram and ultrasound moments.   On 18 May, it was a year after I had a lumpectomy.  As you will recall, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and the option my surgeon, Dr Edge, recommended was a lumpectomy. Fortunately, there was no evidence of spreading after the binodal biopsy and thus I had to only go for radiation after the operation. The year had flown past. Just the other day, my family and I were dealing with all the visits to the hospital for the lumpectomy, the 30 daily sessions of radiation and then the recovery period. In fact, our lives went back to normal pretty soon after this trauma and life has been good. Sometimes when certain well-meaning folk enquire about my health whenever they see me, my mischievous streak hovers below the surface. When they ask , "And how is your health  now?" their voices drop, their mouths contort  and I get that " I hope I lo

Tess, a gut-wrenching film about violence against women, should be seen by all South Africans.

Meg Rickards (film director, Tess) and Christia Visser ( lead actress, Tess) at the premiere of Tess at the Durban International Film Festival   The film, Tess ,  is based on the book, Whiplash by South African novelist, Tracey Farren. Tess  is a gut-wrenching film that grapples with the abuse of women within the soul-destroying context of drug addiction, prostitution, violence and poverty. We see the brutality against women through the eyes of Tess , the main character. Tess , the prostitute and drug addict, lives recklessly by selling her body to men who violently abuse her as they see her as a sex object worthy of their lust and disgust. It is only when Tess becomes pregnant that she starts her own painful journey of healing. Reluctant at first, she confronts her dark, horrifying past of being sexually-abused as a child and then becomes more determined to transform her life.  Although there are glimpses of hope for Tess and her child whom she carries full term, this film ha