Annie and Jon left corporate America to do some world traveling. This blog chronicles their unconventional path and hopefully provides a little inspiration along the way.

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Entries in Thailand (7)


photo of the week - akha silver

The northern region of Thailand is full of several nomadic tribes that inhabit the hill region to cultivate the land. The tribes have a notorious history in the Golden Triangle region for growing poppies to make opium. They aren't actual residents of Thailand and are not entitled to the benefits of the Thai people. There are several different tribes and each is known for their distinctive traditional dress. Much of the clothing is very elaborate and can take an entire year to craft. This photo was taken at a roadside stall in Mae Salong where this Akha woman sold us sunflower seeds. We asked for a photo as we were told to do because it is said that the tribespeople believe that when you take their photo, you are taking a part of their soul. I think there is truth to this because she allowed me to take it but when I showed her, she got upset. It was beautiful clothing especially the intricate headpiece. Check out the recap in the daily details.


computer love

We have been traveling for over five months on buses, slow boats, long tailed boats, water taxi's, trains, planes, tuk tuks, rickshaws, and by foot. We have visited seven countries and countless cities, towns, and villages. It has added up to a lot of wear and tear on both Annie and I as well as our belongings. I have pushed my computer hard working on photos and video and it finally gave out. My hard drive crashed last night. We were fortunate to be in Chiang Mai that has a Apple service center and I was up to speed within a few hours with a new hard drive but unfortunately the data on my old drive was lost. 

The good thing is I backed up my computer last week. The frustrating thing is the back up is on a slow boat from Thailand that will arrive in the US in two months. What this means for the blog is that I won't be able to post pictures from Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand for at least two months. Laos will be the first update upon departure. When I have access to the backup, I will post the remaining photos. We lost our photos from Chiang Mai and won't have any photos for a few daily details updates. Video updates are on hold until I can get a back up of my software shipped from the US. I currently have no editing software on my computer. This is a little unfortunate because I am 95% done with the New Zealand recap and it turned out great. Hopefully I should be up and running by next week.

The positive from this is that we will lose very little. It will also be nice to catch my breath for a short time as management of the photos and video is a lot of work. The blog post will keep coming and we have some travel tips postings in the pipeline as we begin the home stretch of our trip. As always thanks for the kind messages and support.


lonely planet travel mosiac

Our friend, Lisa, emailed Jon about a competition hosted by Lonely Planet. To celebrate their 100 millionth guidebook they asked travelers to submit their favorite photos. The grand prize is a trip around the world. 200 finalists will be announced on Aug. 18th and the grand prize winner on Aug 26th.

We had taken loads of pictures over the last five months. Jon decided to submit a picture for each of us just to see what would happen. I didn't even know anything about the competition until I got an email from Lonely Planet saying my photo had been added to the travel mosaic. Regardless if we are a finalist we are just excited to part of the millions of pictures on LP. Jon says I can now honestly claim I'm a published photographer.

Click here to check out our photo.


kindness without boundaries

The Principles of Thai Cookery from Jon Carr on Vimeo.

Chef McDang and I first met at the California Culinary Academy (CCA) two years ago. The Royal Thai Consulate General in Los Angeles contacted CCA about an opportunity to have a Thai chef come for a week to conduct lectures and demos about Thai cookery. At the end of the week, the students participated in a competition cooking Pad Thai where the winners won a one-week all expenses paid culinary trip hosted by the Thai chef compliments of the Royal Thai Consulate General office. How can any school turn down that kind of an offer?!

I didn’t know what to expect of the Thai chef and just hoped he spoke English well enough for our students to understand him. He showed up promptly at 9am on the first day with his entourage of four sous chefs and said with a British-American twang something along the lines of, “show me my kitchen and I’ll take care of everything else.” From that moment I knew he was going to be a lot of fun.

Click to read more ...


small world

I just posted this over at the Daily Details section but I thought I would post a portion on the main page. This turned out to be one of our best days of travel yet and I thought it was worthy of the main page. 

This day turned out to be a pretty epic day. We had taken an overnight bus from Krabi the prior night after having expected a more luxurious train ride. We arrived at a downtown Bangkok drop off point and unloaded from the bus at roughly 5:45am. The local cabbies engulfed us like hungry seagulls. While I was rounding up our luggage, Annie appeared with a driver she had been negotiating a fare with. They settled on 300 Baht (roughly $10 US) for transport to Chef McDang’s home. We had made it a policy to ask before getting in the cab after having been burned in Malaysia. The driver spoke limited English and we needed to provide him with our destination. We reluctantly called Chef McDang for an early wake up call and he spoke to the driver for five minutes before informing us that we should ask the driver to use a meter for the trip.  Before getting in the cab, we instructed the driver about the meter and he quickly grew agitated. We were insistent on the meter and he abruptly assigned a younger driver to take us instead. The new driver spent a moment with the original driver detailing our destination and then we were on our way. I have to admit everything happened pretty fast and both of us were disoriented due to the overnight transport. 

Bangkok was much larger than I originally anticipated. The skyline was lined with giant high rise towers. At street level we saw pockets of poverty being forcibly dragged along into modern Asian society. The cab driver was very chatty and quickly developed some rapport with us. We drove for about ten minutes through Bangkok and arrived at a one way intersection. The cabbie told us down the the one way road was the condominium complex that Chef McDang resided in. It would be easier for us to walk down the one way then have the cabbie loop around and drop us off. He then told us the fee would be $302 Baht. I was busy collecting the luggage from the trunk while Annie handled the fare. Both of us were feeling a little wary about this situation and a little off our game due to lack of sleep. We crossed the busy intersection and realized this was unlikely our planned final destination. We had been taken!

With a little humility, we called Chef McDang who had confirmed our suspicions. I rounded up a second driver and the Chef went through his directions another time. The new driver took us to the outskirts of Bangkok to a large high rise condominium complex along the Nonthaburi river. The ride took twenty minutes and cost 150 Baht. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Nan. Nan is from northern Thailand from the Chang Rie region and was Chef McDang’s assistant. Nan guided us to the third floor of the building. We greeted the Chef briefly who gave us a warm welcome and then were escorted to our room. The room turned out to be roughly as large as our apartment in San Francisco with a beautiful view of the river leading to downtown on the horizon from our balcony. It was cool and comfortable and we quickly agreed we were never going to leave. We got some rest before our lunch date with Chef McDang. 

Chef McDang owned the entire third floor of the complex and had knocked down a wall to create an adjoining production kitchen that is utilized for his weekly Thai cooking show. It is by far the nicest place we have stayed at in our travels and began to give us a sense of our adventures over the next few days. After settling in, we met the Chef and were escorted to his private limo. We went to a local restaurant along the river. The walls were lined with photos of the Princess of Thailand who had eaten here a few years ago as well as many with Chef McDang. The staff was excited to see him and swiftly brought out a large procession of Thai platters. I am very particular about my food and this meal began what would be a common theme of our time with the Chef. “Shut up and eat it,” was the affectionate phrase the Chef consistently used with me. This led to me stepping way out of my culinary comfort zone and also a few midnight runs to the toilet. The meal proved to be an adventure and allowed us to spend some time with the gregarious and chatty Chef. After the meal we visited the local markets and Chef McDang was causing quite a stir amongst the locals. We were starting to get a sense of just how popular he was in Thailand. I knew he was quite popular but didn’t realize he came from royal blood and his father was one of Thailand’s most famous figures. Chef McDang didn’t fall far from the tree and had become a Thai celebrity of his own right.

For the rest of the story, please check our our Daily Details page.


photo of the week - (koh chang)

Annie and I took an elephant ride while visiting Koh Chang Island in Thailand. Chang means Elephant in Thai and we had a very enthusiastic Burmese driver who was happy to take this photo. The elephant's name was Sunshine and she was always looking to stop for a snack. Annie eventually got a chance to ride on her head and drive the elephant. The farm we visited had 12 elephants and they were all females because they tend to be easier to control.


photo of the week - (krabi)

We were MIA of late enjoying our vacation but have had the request for more photos and so Annie and I decided to try something new. We are calling it the photo of the week. Each week we will pick our favorite photo to share with everyone and also tell the story behind the photo. This will keep people up to date a little more as to what is going on and also allow us to post a little more regularly to our main blog.

This week's photo was taken by Annie during our snorkel trip from Krabi in southern Thailand. One of the staff on the boat was snorkeling and was feeding the fish near the boat. Annie happened to be near and snapped a photo of the fish. The feeding caused quite a frenzy among the fish. There were so many fish around that you were able to catch a fish with your bare hands. 

I also posted new photos from Malaysia in the photo section and if all goes according to plan, I will have the Malaysia recap video up very soon. Keep reading and sending comments, it makes us feel good.