above the clouds

International Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Trip to Budapest for VinCE Wine Show

budapest-corinthia-hotel (4)

With upcoming excitement about a pending trip to Budapest, it seemed like George Ezra's song of the same name was always playing on the radio. The movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel was showing on a recent flight so I watched it yet again. In reality, both the song and the movie seem to have little to do with Budapest but both seem like appropriate entertainment considering my trip to this historical city. In any case it is nice to be back - … [Read more...]

What is Food like in a Thai Village?

thai-village-food (5)

Our property is located next to a tiny village about 2.5 hours east of Bangkok. In recent years there have been plenty of changes here. We now have running water, Internet access and most of the wooden homes in the village have been taken down and many of the villagers have moved nearby into western style buildings (especially as the nearby industrial park continues to experience rapid growth and starts to further exert its influence over this … [Read more...]

A Busy Day Exploring Phang Nga & Vicinity #thailand

phang-nga (4)

Panyi Village is sizable community along the edges of the Andaman Sea near the town of Phang Nga. A stop here is well worthwhile to see and experience to some extent the daily life of these villagers. Some of the village is built on wooden supports above the water - other homes are supported by reinforced concrete pillars. A walk here is an experience in senses - smells, tastes and exotic surroundings. Wooden walkways are surrounded by tiny homes … [Read more...]

Takua What? Takua Pa, #Thailand


Less than 10 minutes from where we are staying is the self titled "Amazon of Thailand" a waterway that winds through a rats nest maze of tangled roots dangling from giant trees. We hired a long tail boat driver who loudly drove us into this "wilderness". He was quicker than us to spot large snakes sleeping on branches overhanging the waterway. He explained they sleep on these overhanging branches to quickly feel any movement of predators crawling … [Read more...]

Island Hopping, Andaman Sea – Thailand

Author on Koh Tah Chai

This week we have been exploring the warm clear waters of Southern Thailand. Our first stop was Ko Tah Chai - dubbed the "Maldives of Thailand" for its azure surrounding waters and the satin-like white sand beaches - which are so silky underfoot. Activities include: A Nature Hike - where you can spot a green pointy snail that lives and eats in certain trees and the pretty "chicken crab" which tends to hide during the heat of the day. The … [Read more...]

Playing with a new Drone

drone-flying (1)

I had been researching various drones for the past few months and finally decided on the DJI Phantom I. I made a quick test in our house before we left for Thailand. That did not go very well at all. The drone took off by itself as I was unable to get it calibrated - it repeatedly banged into the ceiling and then got tangled in some wires. These soon snapped and shot across the room into the blinds and fell to the ground. Lucky it landed upside … [Read more...]

Bang Khla Floating Market and Giant Fruit Bats, Thailand

Bang-Khla-Floating-Market (1)

Today we headed to the Bang Khla Floating Market - which is located on the outskirts of Chachaongsao (about an hour and 10 minutes from Bangkok). Last year we made the mistake of driving all the way out here on the weekday - for a market that is only open on the weekends and holidays. This market comes alive around the lunch time hour - with hundreds of families sitting around enjoying the variety of foods that makes the Thai cuisine so … [Read more...]

Back to Rural Eastern Thailand


After a few days in Bangkok we took a van to our village and our niece immediately ran up to us and gave us big hugs around the legs (she is only 6 years old). She proudly showed us her Thai/English language book she has been studying in school. One chapter quickly caught my eye, chapter 8 - "Language for Nightclubs". I spotted phrases such as "you have a nice dall face" - presumably supposed to say "doll face" and "can I have a cigarette", … [Read more...]

Travel Meetup Bangkok, In Search of Sanuk


Sitting in an apartment in some random location in Bangkok surrounded by a diversity of travelers listening to a Congolese refugee tell his riveting story and sad struggles of how he came to be in Thailand, I realized how an event such as this one can help enrich one's time on the road. The diversity of experiences in a single room from those who cumulatively spend some significant time traveling was certainly inspiring. It also felt very good to … [Read more...]

Layers of History, Jerusalem

There is a plethora  of spices for sale in the old city

We spent several days here exploring as there is something significant to see around seemingly every step; today was entirely spent in the confines of the walled old city. Tensions felt high at times as there were some recent isolated incidents of violence - enough to plummet tourism 70% in the last few weeks according to one shop owner we talked with. As a corollary to this, lines that would normally form around major attractions were completely … [Read more...]