This beast was as big as my hand and although i didnt see it, its wing span i am told is pretty impressive. His name was Eric and we became firm friends until he had to go back up north to attend a family crisis. I wish him well.
During my weeks stay i was shown a local crop being harvested. They actually waited for me to arrive before starting work. It was like being some big rich tycoon....ha ha ha.
There wasn't much health and safety in evidence!
Stayed up north in a small village for a week visiting Ning's grandparents. This is their house! I was stared at endlessly being the only foreigner there. It was very hard for me as apart from Ning no one spoke any English. It was also one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I will never forget it.
This 'St Andrews cross' spider was living in my tree until the winds wrecked his web and he called it a day. Leg tip to leg tip he is about the size of a packet of playing cards.
Two young Thai street boys play at 'Muay Thai'. There are many children like these some as young as three, selling flowers ( the young lad on the left has some roses in his hand he will be hoping to sell) in the girlie bar streets. The monies are collected by their respective parents for food and alcohol! Don't be taken in, these street kids are very wise in the ways of parting a foreigner from his or her money.
A night out in Nat bar with the 'Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse' Always a bit of of a hazy affair the next day.
Left to right - Steve, Kevin and Brian (Brian being my mountain bike trainer!!!) boy can he climb those hills.
The Beasts! Honda 125's. More than enough to negotiate the streets of Hua Hin. Thai driving is a sight to behold...... Thousands of people hell bent on killing themselves their bikes held together with a mixture of spit and buddha string.
Mines the blue one by the way.
My current abode which i have rented for a year. 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms - that should suffice for the two of us. There is a large garden area to the left but i couldn't stand far enough back to fit it in the cameras range.
Local lady boy show...hmmm. Actually good fun and entertaining. Thailand's full of them and believe you me sometimes its hard to tell!
Chiang Mai again and elephant washing, later we were taken through the jungle on one of these wonderful beasts. I could see ours eye me up before i got aboard and brace for impact.
On a visit to Chiang Mai we went to watch this crazy dude, he was doing this with various brands of snake and very nearly got bitten several times.
Believe it or not this is not an unusual meal. Cooked fresh and only costing about 3 pounds.
Its no wonder there are no fat Thais and virtually no heart disease.
Ning on Hua Hin beach. There are miles and miles of deserted beach here and its wonderful. Whats not to like? The weather is hot the food is cheap and life is good.
Ning my girlfriend of over 18 months now.
This is one of my favourite pictures of her.
No she cant play a single note.
This beastie flew into my apartment window one day. I thought someone was throwing stones the bang was so hard. You can see the dent it gave itself (just behind the head area on the right)
It recovered after about an hour and flew off.
I spent the first couple of months in Thailand shouting 'what the f**k is that' every time i saw a strange creature, now I've pretty much seen them all. Big spiders, lizards and snakes are all around, few are actually dangerous to us.
Fried insects for sale in the grand market Hua Hin and yes i have tried them, they taste peanuty. Supposedly there full of nutrition.
Downtown Hua Hin. I came here to see a friend for a few days and have now been here for over a year and a half! What can i say Ive found my paradise. The rest of the world will have to wait.....
Fishing boats in Ko Samui. A really beautiful place. I spent 3 weeks here. There is something really special about Thailand.
The outline is done therefore there's no turning back. It took the young Thai chap three hours to fill the dammed thing in using just one needle and a piece of bamboo. His arm was a blur and he actually became wild of hair and eye. Think what you like but i wanted it done and I'm happy with it so that's it!
Ive always wanted a tattoo and at 43 feel ready to make the decision so when i found a tattooist using the traditional bamboo method i decided to take the plunge.
View from my rented bungalow in Ko Tao southern Thailand. I spent 5 days here scuba diving and was lucky enough to see some sharks. I'm actually a qualified rescue diver but ask me to rescue anyone these days......hmmm.
View forward from the back seat of a tuk tuk. These things are human missiles. They drive like crazed lunatics.
One of the many million Buddha images around Thailand. Covered head to foot in hundreds of tiny squares of gold leaf by local devotees.
You would not believe the significance of this photo! If you look top middle you can see a man /lady toilet sign. Believe you me when i saw this it was a moment of pure bliss for i was about to go to the toilet anywhere i was so ill. There was a catch though upon entering the establishment i was confronted by 10 Chinese gentlemen looking at me, no walls or doors! have you ever been toilet with 10 other people looking at you?
The main reason i endured three days on a boat full of Chinese people - The 'three Gorges' dam. Magnificent and mind blowing. We saw it at night but what the heck.....Its absolutely gigantic, what a sight.
All this will be gone soon for progress. Sure the Chinese need fresh water but at what cost? most of the people i spoke to said that the new dam project would be the biggest mosquito ridden sewer in China.
One of many thousand tributaries running off the Yangtze. The water is a greenish colour as opposed to dysentery brown, much more pleasing on the eye.
Our craft (or floating hotel) there are many such vessels purveying their trade up and down the Yangtze.
Candid picture taken of our guide who god bless her had the patience of a saint dealing with me. She spoke no English and i speak no Chinese. But it all seemed to work out in the end. I must have been the thorn in her side.
One of many boats travelling up and down the river. These people like many others live on their boat. How this particular craft is still floating is a mystery to me.
Some of the climbs to the temples were very hard but so worth it. the blue roofs below came into being because of the tourists. The trail from the boat to the base of the temple can be easily traced by following the blue market sellers roofs!
I really like this picture as its so atmospheric. In truth the Yangtze is a giant toilet and very polluted! On my trip i saw many Chinese people throw used babies nappies and food overboard...ugh I think if you fell in you would not drown but die from some horrible disease.
One of the temples we visited and used for praying. It seems such a shame it will be gone around 2007.
One of the reasons i wanted to do a Yangtze river cruise was because the new (as was) three gorges dam would cause the flooding of several thousand villages along its banks, I wanted to see them before they disappeared for good. On one such landings these lovely girls danced for us in the middle of nowhere. It was magical.
One of our first stops on the Yangtze river. Note the pollution in the air. Being the only foreigner on the boat was soooooo hard, I didn't understand any of the comments made by the crew as to where we were going? my fellow cabin mates were all Chinese and god love them so nice but only one new any English and all he could say was 'we go' but go where and for how long?
Leaving Wuhan on my Yangtze cruise at night. Little did i know i was the only foreigner on the boat.
Still going through my fat stage (although lost a lot) This is a guy called Mike who is a teacher in Japan we met on the great wall tour and got on really well. I don't remember this night at all. We (i) got so drunk this picture is the only memory i have. I remember the next day i was leaving for Wuhan and had a hangover to end all hangovers (those of you that now me now how rare that is) How strong was that Chinese larger?
oh the pain of it all.....!
A few more of the stout buggers. Apparently they constitute the 8th wonder of the world and quite rightly so.
Terracotta army in Xian (pronounced she an)
Accidentally discovered by a farmer whilst digging in his field would you believe! There are 2 other buildings the same as this one.
The figures are all full size and each one is modeled on a different soldier.
Another shot of the wall taken from inside one of the towers whilst trying to hide from my assigned beggar.