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The Temples

So here we are back in Siem Reap and the wonderful Angor Wat. This is our second visit here and I still find it mystical and intriguing.

Water the source of life is honoured here
Nature always wins… but this is a wonderful illustration of that fact
the King and God’s face smiling at you from every angle
the ability to carve this detail in stone is astonishing to me
I can’t help but wonder at how marvelous it must have been

Floating Village

Travel is all about discovering other peoples and different ways of live. This floating village just outside of Siem Reap on the Tonle Sap lake was and is fascinating for me. Beautiful, delightful and really a hard life just the same

look at her beautiful clean school uniform
looks little tricky for me but the children seem oblivious
day is done
imagine trying to bathe like this everyday

A Travel Day – on to Cambodia

After much searching, we found the place where we pick up a van to go to the Thai border – we had to pay extra for our packs because they took up 2 seats and every seat was full!!!

Then, we were off- and the driver went hell- bent- for- leather to the border!! – weaving through the traffic. On my side of the Van, the window had been broken and a piece of plastic cardboard placed on top of the broken glass,  so I couldn’t see out the window, which I suppose was just as well- the little I did see was frightening!!!

The good part was that it really didn’t take him long to get to the border. Then on thru the Thai Border – they require an exit permit.Walk the bridge of “no man’s land” and then through the Cambodian border – it was so hot I thought I would die. At the Cambodia Border they even took our finger prints.

on the other side we found a car and driver and we were off again. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see our hotel and have a little dip in the pool -it really is  just a little piece of paradise.

this is a wild border crossing
We clearly did not have the biggest load

The Grand Palace In Bangkok

I love the think of the film ” the King and I” about the King of Siam when I visit the royal palace, the wealth  of the culture in that era is awe inspiring – this time when we visited there were more people than we were expecting I think December is just a busier month overall here in Asia

Entering the Grand Palace with all the opulence of that era
just a little gold leaf to make it shine
this Buddha made of Jade was fought over by Kings of both Thailand and Laos

First Days in Bangkok

I have a love /hate relationship with Bangkok, I keep coming back this is my 6th or 7th trip but each time at some point I swear to myself that I will never come back. the pollution, the traffic and the unceasing scam artists simply over whelm me when I first arrive.

Then…… the beauty and the  history of the place quietly start to leach into my bones and I remember why I love it here in Asia.

just another day with 13 million people

Recovery Breakfast first morning in Bangkok

Well after 20 hours of flight time and a 3 hour layover in Beijing, we finally arrived in Bangkok at 1 am last night. We were happy to see our bed last night and this morning we are ready for our first adventure in the city. We hope to spend a little time exploring and getting a few little last minute items like a local SIM card so that we can phone and communicate with each other

David and Mary Jo on the Move

So we are counting the days for our departure. I have removed items from my pack to try and reduce the weight… only to add other really necessary items(ha) that increase the overall weight again. So be it, I don’t think I can take anymore out of the bag


Richmond News: Educating the palate in the capital of Canada’s rich wine country


With perfect row upon row of leafy vines sweeping towards a shimmering pool and flanked on either side by soft, decadent cabanas, a double take is needed to realize you’re in one of the hottest, driest slices of Canada.


Located on the mineral-rich Black Sage Bench, the Black Hills winery is in the heart of the “Golden Mile” between Osoyoos and Oliver.


Now widely regarded as the “wine capital of Canada,” the region boasts an embarrassing wealth of legendary labels, not least Black Hills, known best for its Nota Bene, which sold out within three hours of being released.


Black Hills was the first stop on our afternoon wine tour, led by experienced Mary Jo O’Keefe of MJO Tours, who picked us up from our hotel in her leather-seated tour bus.

Educating the palate in the capital of Canada’s rich wine country.

Educating the palate in the capital of Canada’s rich wine country….Richmond News Article

I admit that, although I enjoy and recognize a quality glass of wine, my palate, in education terms, would not have made it out of grade school.


So when we were seated on the Black Hills patio with a small army of empty glasses on our table, I was a little intimidated.


However, Mary Jo had armed us with a cheat sheet of sorts, giving us a nudge in the direction of faking our way through the experience.


To be fair, our sommelier, recognizing connoisseurs we were not, broke down the tastings to a level we could appreciate.


And, honestly, after the third of our fifth taste, we were sinking a little lower into our chairs and basking in the glorious Black Hills vineyard views before us.


The vineyard enjoys deep desert sand, intense heat and cool nights which, apparently, yield “intensely fla-vorful grapes.” After sampling a few of Black Hills best, it’s hard to disagree.


After the tastings, we slid, a little lighter on our feet, through the vineyard store, picking the favourite from the experience and it was back on the bus.


Next up was the Stoneboat winery a few minutes away, which has, wait for it, a stoneboat nestled in the gardens outside.


A more down-to-earth experience than Black Hills, Stoneboat was your garden variety stand-up tasting. Many of their wines are easy on the eye, with crisp, clean colours and also easy on the wallet.


Most of Stoneboat’s offerings cater to a wider palate without sacrificing the quality or character.


After three, or was it four, more tastings, the world was, indeed, a beautiful place with more “prizes” tucked under our arms on departure.


Back on the bus and winding through a seemingly endless array of familiar wineries, we nipped up the hill to another household name, Hester Creek, where we were set up with an appetizer and wine pairing.


Perched on bar stools this time, at a yawning marbletop “kitchen” table, our chef chatted us and another equally “relaxed” couple through the pairing of goats cheese and artichoke dip with a golden, crisp 2011 Pinot Blanc.


The 2011 Character white, however, with a sundried tomato tapenade was a winner for us, as was the unpretentious, homey and sociable ambience created by Hester Creek in its kitchen.


MJO Tours: www.mjotours.com;

1 877 726 6548;

Tours can be booked up to 24 hours notice, but best to check ahead of time.


© Copyright (c) Richmond News

Read more: http://www.richmond-news.com/life/Educating+palate+capital+canada+rich+wine+country/7348643/story.html#ixzz29OHEbfg4

Okanagan Stagette Wine Tour

What a grand fall day ….. perfect for a Wine Tour!

Okanagan Stagette Wine Tour

Okanagan Stagette Wine Tour

17 ladies helped celebrate their friends upcoming wedding in style with a Stagette Wine Tour.  We visited Poplar Grove, Tinhorn Creek and Ruby Tuesday Wineries then finished the day with a wine and cheese platters at Bench 1775.

Okanagan Stagette Wine Tours

Okanagan Stagette Wine Tours