Thursday, February 10, 2011

We interrupted vacation pix

To bring you some yarny delights!
This is just a quick post to recap my January spinning and knitting. It was a very good knitting month. I knitted a handspun multidirectional diagonal scarf for Carl and a pair of watermelon socks for me on the trip to Thailand. The scarf matches his Thorpe hat I made earlier.
Yeah. Basic brown. Quick spin and quick knit. The hat was three-ply heavy worsted and the scarf was two-ply worsted Merino roving from Fiberphile.
I also finished a long-promised sweater for my friend Khun Nittaya. I promised her a sweater two years ago but just got down to knitting it. It actually took just over two weeks to make. I really like it. The pattern is Basic Chic Hoodie from Chic Knits. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in Chinatown Apple. I opted for zipper instead of buttons.

I had not sat down at the wheel for almost two months and it took a while to get back in the zone. The first attemp was not too cool. I set out to spin a two-ply, worsted weight yarn for a shawl. The initial result was way too thin and uneven. After fuzzing about for a while I decided to cable it. The result was a four-ply, cable yarn, heavy-worsted. almost bulky weight. I quite like it.

This is my first cabled yarn.

I then embarked on a very ambitious project. This is a Blue-faced leicester/silk fiber from Bee Mice Elf (pronounced: Be Myself). I spun it two-ply worsted. I am going to kit a Fair Isle sweater strading this with Jared Flood Shelter yarn. This should be very pretty!
We'll see how it turns out.
Next: Vacation pix part III.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

What a memorable vacation part two

The hot springs of Krabi

Geographically Thailand is siuated on the outermost of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire -- the chain of active and dormant land and underseas volcanoes ringing the Pacific Ocean coastline. Even though there is not any active volcano in Thailand, there are still seismic activities from time to time. One of the indicators of this active underground activities is the stream of hot underground water running along the west coast of southern Thailand. Old Faithful it is not, but the Hot Springs of Krabi are a very popular tourist desination.

About an hour's drive north of Phra Nang Inn Hotel where we were staying lies the Waree Raksa Hot Springs Day Spa, also run by the hotel.

It was one of the most beautiful, peaceful sites I have visited.

The hot springs run through the property. The place was delevoped into a traditional Thai day spa. Shallow tiled hot and cold pools were built to blend in with the landscape. In essense you have an outdoors Jacuzzi.

Thatch-roofed huts and traditional Thai style houses are interspesred throughout. That was where we later had our Thai massage.

But first, the hot tub!

We soaked in 100+ degree crystal clear mineral water.

Learned basic Yoga:

And got a massage:
A good time was had by all.

The place is expanding. Right now it is only a day spa but they are building accommodation so guests can stay overnight if they choose to. And who would not. And an inherent foreman in Carl just needed to check out the construction underway:

What can I say? The man has not met a construction project he could keep his hands off.

We also checked out the palm oil field near by.

Palm Oil has replace rubber as the cash crop of choice in southern Thailand. There is an ever growing market for the oil in the food industry and expecially more in the cosmetic and beauty product industries. It is more lucrative, less labor intensive than maintaining a rubber plantation.

But that is not to say there is no more rubber plantation in Thailand. There are still plenty.

Considering you have to get up every day at 3:00 a.m. to collect the rubber sap from tree to tree, I think I would go with the palm oil any day. At least with the palm oil, you collect the fruit once every three months. And each cluster of fruits weighs in over 20 pounds.

We also stopped by a pineapple field on the way back to the beach.

That guy in the bottom left picture is about ready to be picked.

Back at the hotel I went back to my socks.


Moving right along.

Our stay in Krabi was drawing to an end. One farewaell dinner though:

I'll have the one in the middle please.


We had three more days in Bangkok before heading back home.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Truly Memorable Vacation

A wonderful trip indeed.

Both Carl and I had a bit of anxiety as we set out for our trip to Thailand in January. We have been together for over two years now and this was the first time he was going to meet my family. I wasn't all that worried to tell the truth. I know he would be well received.

It was beyond expectation.

We went to a memorial service for my late grandmother at a Buddhist temple where her ashes were interred the Sunday after we arrived. This is my family's annual pilgrimage so to speak. It is almost a command performance. When my grandmother was alive relatives would gather at my parents house (She lived with my mother who was the only daughter.) on her birthday. It became an annual tradition, a family reunion to speak.

Now that she is gone, the family gathers at the temple to remember her and then go to my oldest uncle's house (who is now the patriach of the family) for a luncheon.

I had not been to one of these gatherings in years. The timing was never right. This time not only did I show up, but with a new family member in tow.

Needless to say, more relatives showed up to meet "the new guy."

The surprise was this cake. Sorry I didn't ge the picture before it was cut, the it says "welcome to our family."

That's my mom:

We had a lot of fun. Here is my sister, me, my niece and my sister-in-law.

The day before we went out to dinner. I have not seen my dad smile like this in a long time!

We were in Bangkok for only a couple of days before heading south the the resort town of Krabi. One of my cousins has a hotel right on the beach and she graciously gave us a room with a great view.

Krabi is a small resort town on the Andaman Sea coast on the west coast of southern Thailand. It is a sleepy little town compared to the world-renown island resort of Phuket, which is right off the coast. We are glad we chose to go to Krabi instead of Phuket. What it lacks in glitz and glamor is more than made up with beautiful beaches and all the charms of a small town.

Here is our Phra Nang Inn Hotel

That's my room in the bottom left picture. Here is the view from the balcony:

Those boats are "long-tail speed boat" - water taxis that will take you out to the outlining islands for a day trip. You can also charter one out for a day.

We took a day trip to Phi Phi Islands, about a 45 -minute boat ride out in the Andaman Ocean. This is Maya Beach, where the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in 2000.

Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi Islands all were hit badly in the New Year tsunami of 2004. Now there are evacuation route signs posted all along the beachfront.

And this is the "Chicken Island."

The islands off the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea are predominently lime stone, hence a lot of interesting rock formations. This so-called "Viking Island" is so-named because of pre-historic cave paintings resembling those found in Viking caves in Europe.

The island itself is more economically valueable because of the concession to the gathering of the nest of the swiftlets for the infamous bird nest soup - an extremely expensive Chinese delicacy that is allegedly highly aphrodisiac. How anybody gets amorous from eating bird barf is beyond me.

I was so fascinated with the rock formation.

From the one in the middle of the sea:

This one is at the end of the beach in front of our hotel:

But this is my favorite rock:

In fact we climbed over one rock to get a better picture of it.

Me an my rock!

Carl, of course, couldn't care less for the rocks.
He'd rather be with his Kindle.

So I started to knit socks, naturally.

But Krabi doesn't just have only sand and sea to offer. Next: the Hot Springs of Krabi.

Stay tuned.