Monday, March 31, 2014

Juan de Pareja

There was a time when I owned scores of books filled with art reproductions and biographies of the artists who created them. I didn’t care for many of these artists but I wanted to learn as much as I could about their creative philosophies. Eventually, I returned to those artists who time and again made my spirit soar by touching my heart instead of my brain. I’ve written many posts about art but now I’ll reveal my absolute favorite painting—Velasquez’ Portrait of Juan de Pareja. Although my personal favorite, it’s my belief that this is only the second greatest portrait ever painted. Why am I discussing the second greatest instead of the first? I'll explain (here).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Writer's Blog Hop

Val the Victorian at Unbagging the Cats is one of my favorite bloggers. She is an excellent writer with a penchant for Jerry Seinfeld and the ability to endlessly amuse me with stories about her high-energy family. Val claims nobody wants to read about hillbillies going about their wacky lives in backroads U.S.A., but she couldn’t be more wrong. She recently participated in a blog hop where she singled me out (along with a few others) and said some very nice things about me. Even if she hadn’t I would encourage you to check out her blog. This blog hop requires me to answer four questions. Read my answers (here).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Phuket Island

Mrs. Chatterbox and I planned our trip to conclude back in Thailand on Phuket Island. We looked forward to unwinding and relaxing on sunny beaches before the grueling trek home. Of course we couldn’t have imagined the entire world would soon be focused on this part of the world due to missing Malaysian flight MH 370. Read about the final excursion of our trip (here).


Monday, March 24, 2014


Mrs. Chatterbox and I have toured with busloads of people, but we were surprised when we discovered our trip to Thailand and Cambodia would be different. At three of our destinations (Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Siem Reap)  we would have our own private guides. At first we were hesitant but it worked out wonderfully; our guides were knowledgeable and personalized our excursions. Kong, our Cambodian guide, was exceptional and surprisingly pro America, although we did learned something unsettling about his past. Read about it (here).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tonle Sap Lake

 Since I hadn’t given our excursion to Cambodia much thought before departing, I was surprised when Kong, our guide, told us he was taking us on a tour of TonlĂ© Sap Lake to visit a floating village. I didn’t know what to expect but a boat ride seemed a pleasant way to spend time after a day of scorching heat climbing temples at Angkor Wat. Read (here) about our adventure on the lake.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Angkor Wat

After forty years of marriage Mrs. Chatterbox continues to surprise me. While planning our trip to Thailand she informed me she wanted to make an excursion to Cambodia. I had no idea she wanted to cross Angkor Wat off her bucket list. Read about our adventure (here).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Thai Contraband

On my first post after returning from vacation I tried to entice you with these words: Had the massive outdoor statue of Buddha spoken he might have warned me that another Buddha would figure more prominently on this trip, forcing a confrontation between me, Mrs. Chatterbox and security in another country, prompting a situation that would send us to a guarded room for a bevy of questions designed to see if we were antiques smugglers, but I’m getting ahead of my story. 

The time has come (as Paul Harvey often said) for the rest of the story. Check it out (here.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

D & D

I’m taking a break from my travel posts to share a disturbing occurrence with you. This might compromise the opinion many of you have of me but it’s said honesty is the best policy and…and…I just can’t believe I did it. I’ve heard of people doing this intentionally; back in my salad days lots of teens and college students bragged about doing it, but I figured it was just bluster. I never imagined I’d be guilty of such a thing. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where's the Peanut Sauce?

 I enjoy Thai food and looked forward to wonderful meals on our recent trip, but Mrs. C. took her enthusiasm for cooking to a higher level by signing us up for a day at the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School. Had I studied the brochure I’d have known what I was getting into, but of course I didn’t. Read about it (here).


Monday, March 10, 2014

An Eden for Elephants

One of the reasons for selecting Thailand as a vacation destination was my desire to interact with elephants. I’d hoped to experience them in India last year but saw very few. Later, I was told that Thailand was the place to experience pachyderms. I even joked that I was looking forward to experiencing an animal I wasn’t too fat to ride. Read (here) about our visit to the Elephant Nature Park.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Read (here) about our visit to Bangkok's Temple of Dawn, and our trip to the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Tale of Two Buddhas

In spite of the fact that Buddha didn’t want anyone worshipping his image, there are too many images of Buddha to count, especially in Thailand. Two of the most famous are in Bangkok. Read about them (here).

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Kingdom

His name is Bhumibol Adulyadej and his face greeted us minutes after our plane landed in Bangkok. I had no idea he’d be following us throughout our stay in Thailand but on the car ride to our hotel after clearing customs I saw him on virtually every street corner. It would be hard to imagine Queen Elizabeth’s face greeting me on every street corner in the UK. Read more about our trip to Thailand (here).