Denise and I left Australia on 16 January and returned on 7 March 2017. We stayed in Chiang Mai from 24 February to 5 March (10 days) a much shorter time than usual. We’d previously spent four weeks in Burma, attended a family wedding in Bangkok, and spent a few days at a resort in Hua Hin (not my favourite style or place, but family).
It is always nice to come back to Chiang Mai. It is one of my favourite places in Thailand — much cheaper than Bangkok, but more manageable also.
Chiang Mai has been changing rapidly over the past five years with continuing development. Chinese tourism is having a major impact (especially at Chinese New year) and will continue to expand. As in many places, the provincial government is not always making sensible decisions with regard to development.
In planning our trip we used personal recommendations from friends who had been to Morocco twice and an acquaintance we stayed with in far Western NSW who all loved Morocco, and also from some well travelled budget accommodation friends who’d visited Morocco last summer and were equivocal about it. All were right in their own ways.
Another friend put us in contact with Kate who was involved in the management of a Riad in Marrakech. Kate was endlessly patient in answering my questions and we stayed with her in Marrakech.
Trekking in the Everest Region in Spring 2013: Phortse to Lukla via Dingboche
April 16 to Macchermo to Phortse
In Everest Region Trekking 1 we finished on the way back from Gokyo at Macchermo halted by bad weather. Teresa in her Trek Report (see below) says of that night: we danced our buns off last night and went to bed at the unthinkable time of 9.30. Great to see the totally unselfconscious way our boys dance with us and with each other.
In consequence next day — a long day — became longer but it was very interesting, quite different to coming the other way and much quicker downhill. Dhole was full of yaks getting ready to move up the trail. Phortse Denga where we’d stayed before on the river was again a lovely place for a brief stop. I never find retracing one’s steps in Nepal is a bother because it is always different.
Trekking in the Everest Region in Spring 2013: Lukla to Gokyo
Most people who go trekking above Namche Bazaar (3440 m) want to go to Everest Base Camp (5380 m). This is despite base camp not being the most welcoming or lovely spot and that strings of trekkers are behind and in front of the whole way you, day-in-day-out. Teresa decided to take us to Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri or Peak (5357 m) on a left hand zig instead. Two of the fittest of the party went with three guide porters over the Cho La Pass (5420 m) from Gokyo, to base camp via Gorak Shep and also to Kala Patthar (5643 m above base camp). While the rest of us retraced our steps part way and then zigged right. We were going Dingboche (4410 m) the start of the walk to the Island Peak (6189 m) climb — the easiest small peak in Nepal. The weather was very windy and it was quite cold so a small group of us only made it to the teahouse at Bibre (close to 5000 m), which was sheltered and didn’t continue on to Chukkhung (4730 m) beyond Dingboche.
The two 500th year Bosch Exhibitions in the Netherlands and Spain
Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius, Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch, Netherlands from 13 February to 8 May 2016. Bosch: The 5th Centenary Exhibition, Museo del Prado, Madrid from 31 May to 11 September 2016.
Introduction, controversy and a little spite
We’ve got to take the rivalry of the Dutch and the Spanish exhibitions with a grain of salt. Both were masterly. The Prado had three more important pictures loaned by other galleries, plus its two disputed attribution pictures. The Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch (colloquial name for ’s-Hertogenbosch) did an amazing tour de force for a small galley. As the Guardian Review says: From all accounts the The Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch has put on one of the most important exhibitions of our century.
Denise and I only visited the Prado and managed to do that that just two days before the exhibition closed. Both exhibitions celebrated the 500th year since Hieronymus Bosch’s death and I suspect that we’ll never see the like again for a generation and perhaps forever. You will know of my interest as an artist in Bosch from the article Hieronymus Bosch painter, 1450-1516.
The Chiltern Hills form a chalk escarpment in South East England. We were house-sitters in two locations here in Buckinghamshire during the summer of 2014. The first place we spent one week, had a short break, and then looked after the house for another two weeks. The property was in a relatively isolated location in the hills, above and not that far from the Thames River — a drive.
The house was large and modern with a solar heated swimming pool outside. The grounds were about two acres, a large garden and two horse paddocks bounded on one side by woods. Our task was to look after three dogs and three miniature ponies. The dogs Jack, Maggie and Henry (names changed to protect the innocent) could look after themselves during the day, but needed to be nurtured in the morning and at night.