Emails from our trip in 2007 - 2008 to Thailand

November 28, 2007 - Winter in SE Asia
December 5, 2007 - The King's Birthday
December 13, 2007 - Siboya Bungalows
December 20, 2007 - Siboya Bungalows
December 27th, 2007 - Ko Siboya
January 28th, 2008 - Victoria BC

November 28, 2007 - Winter in SE Asia

Sawasdee ka,

The trek doesn't get any easier. It took a long 44 hours getting home to Thailand. So nice to be back. Spent 8 hours catching a power nap in Bangkok at the Sananwan Palace. This is a new find only a 20 minute taxi ride from the new airport. Clean, nice and the right price. In the morning we ate a delicious breakfast of famous super sweet pineapple with yogurt and muesli at the edge of a delightful swimming pool and marveled at being back in the land of a thousand smiles. The room was adequate with air conditioning and all for the sum of 350 baht or $10.60. Just before noon we taxied back to the airport for the 1 hour flight south to Krabi, there we were met and driven in the back of a songtaew (pickup-taxi) to the ferry. On the north Ko Siboya beach, yet another pickup-taxi was waiting and voila back home to Siboya Bungalows. Nice to see everyone looking well and happy.

I am writing this from Paul's new bungalow, looking out over a beautiful green garden. Dragon flies circling and butterflies drifting by with the breeze off the ocean rattling the giant palm fronds. Our first night here was so perfect with a big yellow full moon. Woke up in the middle of the night (still jet lagged) and enjoyed the full moon's light and all the cacophony of the incredibly noisy insects. Fell back to sleep and woke again to all the chattering birds saying "Hey, it's a beautiful day, time to wake up!". Gazing up through our robins egg blue mosquito net there was a wee little baby gecko walking across the top, like an acrobat who had fallen after missing the trapeze! I lay and listened to the call to prayer (Siboya is a Muslim island), then walked into the village for breakfast and hung out with the locals. It was fun to commune with lots of familiar faces and watch all the scooter motorcycles delivering up to 6 kids clinging to the bike. Saw a prehistoric monitor lizard this morning in front of our house and a slithery metre long cobra crossing the road to the village. He couldn't get away from me fast enough, I'm sure he was scared of me! Also saw a water monitor lizard in the stream next to our house... what a lucky creature to live in such an idyllic spot. I was on the beach and encountered about 20 water buffalo. They sure kept their eye on me as they formed circles around their calves and faced outward with staring eyes. So I was careful. So many fantastic bird and insects too! That's one of the aspects of living here that is so attractive, mother nature is so awesome. We had faeries coming home tonight on our dark path... little fireflies. I had better stop now as I could go on and on.

We are renting a fabulous brand new house belonging to our friend Paul from Edmonton. Really amazing how well the house designed has been executed. The builders on Siboya just keep getting better. The huge front veranda creates lots of shade so that even at the height of the afternoon you can lay in the hammock and read or siesta. There is also a small rear balcony to give a total different aspect. The many windows provide for delicious sea breezes. The bathroom has blue and white tiles with flowers that are reminiscent of the 60's. The designer toilet even has an eco dual-flush, maybe a Siboya first! A very nice king size bed dressed in blue gingham sheets and comfy fluffy pillows. We have our small fan inside the net with a great little reading light. The front porch lights are on a dimmer and we have hung our lemon lights string, so in the evening it looks quite magical. Have already had sunset drinks with some long time friends, Lou and Lupsi while listening to some sweet music on our super little music system.

Siboya Bungalows is quite quiet now but people are arriving everyday. My two nephews are coming for Christmas (presently they are travelling in Australia). We are in Krabi town today to get my bicycle tuned up and pick up a few things like orchids and mangos and to do a little business. Bob manages the Siboya website and wants to see Tanu who works out of Krabi organising reservations and such. Maybe they can set up a PayPal account now as it wasn't available last year. It'll just make everything much easier.

Chung says a big hello to you dad (my father was here in 98).

Times up...
Love from Jellybean and Cowboy Bob.

December 5, 2007 - The King's Birthday

Today is the king's 80th birthday. Everywhere there are Thai flags and yellow flags with the royal insignia fluttering in the breeze. The king was born on a Monday which is a yellow day; I haven't discovered what Friday's colour is (my day of birth). So we will toast the king tonight at dinner.

Arose at 6:30 and zoomed out on my L.A. bicycle to the village of Siboya. I sat at one of the tiny verandas that serve breakfast. Choices are noodles with fish sauces or yellow rice with chicken or sweet little packages of rice and coconut wrapped in banana leaves... One of the cafes (and I use that word loosely) has a place for people to bring their bird cages. Evidently if you bring several birds together to sing then they learn and become sweeter singers and that helps you win the bird song competitions. We have named the cafes the Myna Bird cafe (great talking Myna that can imitate the honking of a motorcycle and squeaky brakes), the Grotto which is good but looks like a cavern, and the Bird Cage cafe.

Thais put Siamese Fighting fish in separate bowls near each other so they can spar and become fiercer competitors. You will also find there is a lot of interest on the mainland in Bull fighting Thai style (the bulls fight each other). I haven't been as I've heard it's quite bloody.

We continue to enjoy Paul's new house immensely, such a spacious home with great vistas. You can look out over the sea to the island of Ko Jum. The rear deck looks out over a garden of hibiscus with HUGE midnight blue butterflies landing on each flower for a drink. Each hibiscus flower only lasts one day. The side windows look over a little brook home to a small water monitor lizard. Actually we have several smaller (3feet/1metre) monitor lizards. They are so cool and prehistoric. They eat bugs and flowers along with a few small creatures. Yesterday we saw one with a really big bullfrog in its mouth. It was having great difficulty swallowing it (gagging). We were happy to see it eating so well as it's back leg was broken. The biggest one we've seen was about 5 feet long (just under 2 metres). Now that monitor would look like a dragon if it had wings!!

Saw an amazing Common Kingfisher with the most brilliant turquoise blue back you can possibly imagine. We have such fantastic birds here. The insects are from outer space. You can be standing around and suddenly an alien will fly by (seriously). Our usual assortment of Macaques (monkeys) is still hanging around (pardon the pun). They usually feed on the beach at sunset, or wreck havoc in the rubber tree plantations by turning over the cups that collect the liquid latex.

Our Thai friends here are so attentive and wonderful. We are blessed. We all feel so welcomed and pampered.

A Thai lady who has recently moved to Siboya and married a Siboya man is our new masseuse. Bob and I had a 1 hour lavender oil massage yesterday CA$7.50 each. Boy are we the lucky ones.

Our sweet friend Peung (our waitress) told us about her birthday so we are treating her to a massage (her first). She is 24 and has worked for Chung for several years and is just delightful. We have a new little 13 year old working in the kitchen, she is Noi's sister. She is the shyest creature and we are having fun teasing her and talking to her. I am sure she views us as creatures from Mars.

It's quite quiet here at the moment for some reason with only about 20 people, hold on for Christmas and New Years where there can be up to a 100 people. We love the quiet peaceful times here and equally love the party scene.

Have met some great new friends from around the world and are super happy to meet our Siboya regulars.

So having fun swimming, cycling, walking, reading in hammocks, visiting the cafes, canasta, eating the most fabulous food you can imagine, marvelling at the night time sky, boat trips, markets and just having the time of our lives in the countryside.

So my friends, please keep us in the loop, would love to hear from y'all.

Jellybean and Sponge Bob No Pants (only a sarong)

PS the weather is great…28 degrees in the daytime and blankets at night! Cool for Thailand.
Tea time... Cha Lipton!

December 13, 2007 - Siboya Bungalows

Peaceful paradise.

Hello everybody!

Just came in from collecting some gorgeous tropical flowers... I love to have floral arrangements and it's so easy to just wander around and pick tons of flowers that are growing everywhere. Lots of Bird of Paradise, Bougainvillea, hibiscus and many that shall remain unknown. As I was thrashing about I almost stumbled on "Lefty" (the monitor lizard with the broken rear left leg) who was scratching away eating all sorts of insects. You may remember him with the toad sticking out of his mouth, he was jamming the toad against the palm tree trying to force it down his throat... amusing. As I followed him, out would come the long blue tongue testing the air, very cool to watch. We have several that live very nearby. The Butterfly lizards are everywhere and we love them too. As Paul's house is so new there are hardly any geckos yet... but wait, they will show up! We have found a bee's nest in one of the posts, we are trying to coax them out without killing them as they are so important in nature. These guys are extremely small and hardly every sting. In past years when it was very hot and dry these little guys would circle around you when you were taking a shower. They would drink in the sprays of water and as long as you didn't bring your arm down and trap them against your body then everyone was happy.

Saw a great 1 metre(3 foot) Indo-Chinese rat snake with huge round eyes. They look similar to a Cobra... snakes move so effortlessly. Imagine only having a mouth and being able to move so quickly. I have a snake book here along with a bird book so it's nice to read about these reptiles and birds. We just had a loud thunder and rain storm so now the greenery looks bright yellow/green and the birds are just singing their hearts out! I guess the frogs and toads will be moaning and singing sweet nothings to their girlfriends tonight. Cooled off nicely, too!

New friends Elizabeth and Travis from Wyoming called me over late the other night to check out their resident monster spider. I assured them every house has them and they will not hurt you. I must admit they are pretty big especially if this is your first encounter with them. (Tarantula size) When we creep out of our mosquito net in the night time to visit the "hong nam" (toilet) we have our torch with us to make sure we don't step on one or something else. (we have electricity only till midnight). For those of you who are faint of heart be assured that after awhile you can handle anything from spiders to bats in your house (although I have only heard of one bat that slept every night in one of the houses and that was when friends Joyce and Ross visited). Every night before dinner just after sunset as we sit on the veranda listening to music, we have a huge brave bat who circles the lamp post lights catching tasty bugs. As he zooms round and round his flight path is invariably right in front our noses or ears. We trust his radar... at times he looks like he's going to crash into your face. So far he's behaved himself.

There is a new pregnant cat who actually (amazingly) looks Siamese and has blue eyes. So we will help her out whilst we are here and get her healthy. We put cat food on our shopping list. Last night we gave her the fish head leftover front dinner and she was most appreciative. Ever year we seem to befriend some poor little female cat and we know we will never see them again, but it's lovely to have a cat even for a short time.

Just put up my small selection of Christmas decorations including some plastic mistletoe! I will be hand delivering my Christmas cards soon. I brought them from Canada. They have a snowy scene with Frosty the Snowman... seems weird to see a picture of snow when it's 30 degrees.

It was lovely to swim this morning. I usually do 30 minutes of laps each high tide. Then a few minutes on my air mattress, except today my new floaty toy has a leak. (singing can be heard... "a 4 hour cruise"). Bob is hanging around in his hammock reading "The kite runner".

We have been invited for gin and tonics on Peter and Janet's veranda tomorrow evening to watch the sunset... how civilized. Life is quite refined here; perhaps I will wear my rhinestone bracelet that I brought for New Year's Eve???

We have two delightful twins here now from England, they came with their parents. They are about 10 months old and are gurgling and smiling all the time. Our Thai friends from the kitchen usually swoop down and carry Liv and Stella off, to be later returned bathed and powdered. Their faces, solid white from the powder so they look like little Thai babies. Our Thai friends adore children and are ever so happy to play with them. The parents are very relaxed and happy too. The twins had a water birth which sounds great. Their hospital in London had a darkly lit room where you can give birth with your midwife's assistance. They also had doctors nearby in case of emergency. Just like the Polynesians did way back when, giving birth in shallow waters. Ann said said it was great to be able to move so freely to cope with the pain.

We are off to Krabi town on Friday to buy a few Christmas goodies for the staff and pick up a supplies... and of course the internet cafe. We are curious to see when our nephews Kris and Seann will come. They expect to be here just before Christmas but we don't have any dates yet. It will be great to see them. If you are flying into the Krabi airport guys we will come to meet you and guide you back to our little oasis in space. My nephew Seann has just graduated and is now an Registered Nurse... congratulations!!!!!! We are so happy for you Seann.

Siboya Bungalows news:
Pa (daughter of Sala) and Et's two toddlers are so cute. They are both about 2 years old. Pa's baby had quite the manners, when we said hello in Thai, he immediately brought his palms together and waied, Sawasdee krup. We saw Et's little girl standing in her birthday suit with a little gold chain around her neck while she was getting a shower in bucket of water... babies and bath times!

Peung, we will miss as she has gone to Krabi to look for work and follow her boyfriend. She is such a lovely person and I can't believe we will not see her bright smile around here anymore.

Law (son of Son) has learned a lot more English and is quite the comedian. He really shines.



Mr A of course with his long hair is simply divine! His family is well.



Noi is so sweet and now she has her little 13 year old sister helping out. She is so shy!
Her name is Nit Neung (nit means little like nit noi and neung means 1 so it's little one)

Mr Son has a new wife and he actually looks like he has gained a little weight.

Ya Ya is still chatting up the tourists and every sunset still goes into the ocean for a swim. He is often seen silhouetted in the fiery glow of every spectacular sunset.

Kaew says she is healthy and she looks great. She is so generous, lending us her storage cabinet for my clothes... I couldn't talk her out of it.

Haven't seen Isla much as he is working on "the mountain" for Cheung.

Sow is coming back to cook in a few days... she spent the off season cooking at the Siboya Guest House in Krabi.

Tuahm (Pa's husband) is working in the restaurant now, his English is steadily improving, and his smile tells it all.

Owan is here. She is so petite and unbelievable strong for an elderly woman of 70. She is quite something else. Do you remember when she collected fish heads to attract the big monitor lizards and we actually saw a 5 foot lizard (just short of 2 metres). Prehistoric. She is our "little old lady from Pasadena"


Cheung is still teaching Takraw each evening and is the perfect host. He is such a wonderful friend to us all. Speaking of Takraw, we have a great lady from Switzerland (Sevrine) who is really showing the guys that "girls can do it for themselves".

Johnny has a gig in Phuket 3 nights a week (Dusit Laguna) and is quite thrilled about that.

We christened Paul's deck with Johnny's music (we were his practice audience along with Peter and Janet).

There is a new resort that used to be Racha Resort, it's now called Siboya Sunset Resort (close to Siboya Bungalows name wouldn't you say?) It's a Thai and farang partnership. They had a grand opening with a band called the "Jimmy Hendrix Band" ...are you experienced? They imported lots of farangs from Ao Nang and the place was full and really reminded us of Tonsai beach's 60's/reggae scene. Bizarre, with lots of drunks and open smoking even with some of the Muslim elders in their midst. Hmmmmm.... The following night the place was deserted.

Ban Siboya is becoming a big time village of late... a new concrete roadway has been laid from the pier all the way through the village almost to the cement bridge. It's nice to bicycle on but the writing is on the wall with more and more speeders.

There is lots more news but y'all will have to come here to catch up!

So I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

Thanks to those of you who are keeping us in the loop, the emails are so appreciated!

Jellybean and Sponge Bob no pants

PS: Bob is not reading after all, he is sleeping in the hammock!

December 20, 2007 - Siboya Bungalows

Gearing up for the rush.

I went up to the front desk last night to arrange transport to Krabi... Mr A said it might be difficult to get a ferry to the mainland because of some Muslim event/religious day, unless I was willing to charter one... that means 100 baht (CA$2.90) for the whole boat instead of 20 baht (CA$0.65) per person for the regular schedule. So that's what I'm doing and sharing with another couple going into Krabi for a shopping day. After all this arranging I realize that it's going to be Thursday, not Friday... duh!!

Seann and Kris phoned at dinner time last night from somewhere in Bangkok... so if they're lucky they can get a flight, train or bus down to Krabi and meet me for the trip back to Siboya. Or maybe not!

Things are starting to ramp up for the mad rush to Christmas week... people are arriving every day and there's only 4 shopping days till Christmas.!

We heard that Ko Phangan is expecting somewhere around 50,000 people for the full moon/Christmas eve rave at Had Rin Beach this year... I think I'm glad I'm on the west coast on little old quiet Siboya.

I went to breakfast in the village yesterday with Joann... I borrowed Chung's moto and Joann road her mountain bike. Had a great time communing with the locals and getting some great photos.

Thanks for all the replies or just news... it's like running down to the post box of old, to check for mail.

We have adopted Miss Kitty and will get her healthy before we leave in January

Hugs and Kisses
Bob and Jo

December 27th, 2007 - Ko Siboya Thailand

Seasons Greetings to all... today it's 30C.

Here's Miss Kitty... she's doing just fine.

Kris and Seann did in fact fly into the Krabi airport on the 20th after one night in Bangkok and a flight from Sydney Australia. They weren't expecting to see me standing there. They were in good form. We waited for the regular songtaew out on the hi-way at the entrance to the airport. Then I proceeded to take them back to Siboya via the local transport. This was great to see the 1.5 hour trip through the rural back roads to Laem Hin to board the local ferry. You could see in their eyes that they might have turned back if they'd come on their own. Then the truck ride to the bungalows through even smaller dirt roads, further widened the eyes... where are we going? being 4 days early meant a bit of juggling for accommodation but mai mee pen ha... no problem! Kris and Seann have both heard about Siboya for many years and said that the reality was quite a bit less rustic than they had imagined... a little like assisted living if the true be known. I think their not far off actually.

They have settled into daily life on Siboya quite well. Decompressing after flights from alternate lifestyles along with jetlag and culture shock takes a few days. They are lovin' the food... pass the chilli please!

Over the last week the staff activity has been building to a frenzy heading for the Christmas feast. The decorations finally went up in the restaurant on the 24th with the help of the German crew. Chung's vision was for one of the columns inside the restaurant to be made into a large Christmas tree. Lights were strung out to the garden and a sound system appeared from who knows where. This is always such a high stress time for the staff to coordinate everything. This year Chung planned for about 60 people for the buffet. More guests arrived daily for the Christmas/New Years week.

The Christmas buffet was a gastronomic extravaganza... lots of new comers... way too much liquid refreshment... Chung was a dancing machine... a great time was had by all.

On the 26th there were a lot of very slow people... at 10:30... 20 or so piled into Bow's pickup and we went to the Siboya village to watch the bird singing competition... each bird is timed for random 45 seconds and the number of chirps is counted... after 4 rounds they come up with a short list of 10 finalists for the sing off... the winner gets 300 baht (CA$9.50). I was a great cultural experience.

Wishing you all the best in 2008.

Bob and Jo

January 28th, 2008 - Victoria BC

Well we're home early... I (Bob) developed a bad blister on my left foot which became infected. After visiting the Phuket International Hospital for treatment and advice, we decided that we would head for home ASAP and live to travel another day.

We were luck to get stand-by flights from Krabi to Bangkok and then purchase a new one-way ticket on China Air flight to Vancouver on Jan 4th.

Since our return, my doctor has given me the OK to walk around as it is healing quite well out of the humidity of SE Asia. So that's good news... but it sure is cold here. I think our blood has thinned over the many winters we've spent in warmer climes and to add insult to injury we both picked-up bad chest colds that put us in bed for about a week... this is NOT fun!

Finally we are getting our disjointed lives back together and buying winter clothes.

Here's a Miss Kitty update from Janet...

Dear friends, Thought you would love to hear of the good luck missy has had. After you left of course Kris took over cat duty for a while and then right after he left, a Swedish couple moved into Paul's house. I talked to Yenny and Mr X (Swedish) about Miss Kitty and it turns out that they love cats AND Yenny is a vet nurse. They took her into Krabi and had her spayed... only 600Bt. They brought back a "huge" bag of kitty food, a litter box, shampoo, a cat carrier, a cat bed, and cat treats. Talk about a cat going to heaven!! What luxury. I had to perfect my skills at antibiotic pill giving and after a while she took to taking her medicine without complaint. The couple have now left and Mysan, "new" Swedish name meaning cuddly, is happily residing at my house. David helped me take out the stitches yesterday and she looks really good.

Happy Mysan... lucky too!



Bob and Jo