Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Zealand

 New Zealand was a country on my travel "bucket list".  After seeing the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and knowing the filming was done in NZ my desire to visit NZ increased.  When we moved to Singapore we made a list of where we wanted to go while living on the other side of the world, NZ came up high on the list.  Now, if you look at the globe or an atlas you will realize NZ is not really close to anywhere, even Australia.  Our direct flight from Singapore was a shocking 9 1/2 hour flight!

We left on December 20th and returned to Singapore on January 5th, allowing 17 days.  Our travel agent convinced us that 17 days was really only enough to see one island, so we concentrated on the South island.  Our trip began in Queenstown. 

Day 1 - was a visit to the Walter Peak Farm across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown.  This was one of the things I wanted to do, visit a working sheep farm.  Everyone enjoyed the demonstrations of the border collie herding the sheep and the sheep shearing. 

Day 2 - 4 - We headed to Te Anau for a 3 day hike on the Hollyford Track.  This was a hike through a rain forest in the Fiordlands.  Eric and I had never hiked with a pack so I knew this trip would be a challenge, the first day was a 17 k hike, with pack and it rained ALL day.  I'm sure the rain forest was lovely but my head was down most of the day watching where I stepped so I did not see much of it.  Days 2 and 3 saw bits and moments with no rain but as Peter said "It is a rain forest and they measure annual rainfall here in meters!".  Enough said. The highlight of this trip was the flight at the end over beautiful Milford Sound and the food.

Milford Sound from a small plane.
Day 5 - Christmas Day we boarded a ship to spend a day on Doubtful Sound, touring the Fiordlands.  We overnighted on the ship.  More rain dampened our spirits.  The plus of all the rain meant instead of 6 waterfalls there were hundreds! 

View of the Fiordlands, typical for us it was raining.
Day 6-9 - Sunshine, yea!  We headed out of the Fiordlands, picked up a car in Queenstown and headed to Lake Wanaka.  Wanaka is a lovely little town on the lake, we stayed in our favorite place of the trip.  BUT on our 2nd morning we woke to more rain!  We managed to find ways to entertain ourselves indoors- movies, winery visits, a visit to Puzzling World. 

Day 10 - We headed up the West coast to see Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.  Our hike on Fox Glacier was canceled due to avalanches caused by - the rain!  The scenery along the west coast was gorgeous and the drive incredible and we had sunshine from this point on.  They don't have straight roads in NZ, the roads are super winding. 

Day 11 - We headed up farther north along the West coast to Hokitika.  Hokitika is a neat little town, full of good food and lots of stores that sell Green Stone (NZ Jade).  Our lodging had the most incredible view over the Hokitika valley.  While in Hokitika we visited the National Kiwi Centre, seeing a Kiwi in the wild is nearly impossible.  They are nocturnal and endangered and a very odd looking bird! While wandering around the town we found a sock museum, full of many old sock knitting machines.  The lady who owns the shop is the only person who still makes sock knitting machines and she hosts sock knitting machine conferences every summer in the US, who knew?
West Coat near Cape Foulwind.

Pancake Rocks
Day 12-14 - We drove to Nelson, stopping at Punakaki to see the world renowned Pancake Rocks and went to Cape Foulwind for lunch. Nelson is on the Northern end of the South Island and is home to many wineries and most of the fruit production on the south island (think Gala apples).  There are 5 National Parks in the area, we kayaked in Abel Tasman and did a one day tour of the Golden Bay area.  We stayed at a winery about 20 minutes west of Nelson so we did not get to the town till our last day.  We really liked Nelson, lots of neat shops. It was a Sunday so the local weaving shop was closed, bummer.

Day 15-16 - As we left Nelson and headed to the East coast of the island the scenery began to change dramatically.  It was still spectacular but the mountains were more rounded and there were fewer trees less vegetation overall.  We headed to Kaikoura, the bay off of Kaikoura is home to thousands of dusky dolphins and sperm whales year round, due to an abundance of nutrients in the deep underwater caverns and few predators for the dolphins.  We did a dolphin encounter, Peter and Katy donned wet suits and actually swam with the dolphins and Eric and I happily watched from the boat and took pictures.  We went whale watching in the afternoon, after seeing hundreds of dolphins a couple lazy sperm whale coming up for a breath then going back underwater was not very exciting!  The dolphin encounter was by far the highlight of the trip for all 4 of us!

Day 17 - Our last day in NZ and we are all pretty well pooped.  We headed to Christchurch, we stayed at a hotel across the street from Christchurch Cathedral.  We walked around the downtown area wandering in and out of shops and stopped to listen to street musicians, a low key end to the trip. We did see some buildings closed due to the earthquake there in the fall of 2010.

So, this was not a weaving or textile trip but I could not resist sharing the trip on the blog.  The biggest surprise for us was the lack of mammals in NZ.  We learned a lot on the Hollyford hike about the vegetation and lack of mamals and more on our Golden Bay tour.  Basically the only indigneous mammal in NZ is a bat!  Because of the lack of mammals there were no predators for the birds thus the evolution of the odd flightless birds found in NZ.  Due to the introduction of mammals by man NZ has had some problems, everytime they introduce an animal it quickly overpopulates due to the lack of natural predators.  My reason for explaining this is to share about their current problem, the Australian possum.  Now, this possum does not look like the US possum, it has fur.  The possum eats one ton of vegetation each night, I swear this is what we were told numerous times.  So, now they catch and kill the possums then pluck their fur.  The fur is then mixed with merino wool and sometimes silk for an incredibly soft, lightweight fiber.  I never saw yarn for sale just the finished items.

Lots and lots of sheep but not millions....
Sheep, of course we saw lots and lots of sheep, but not as many as I expected.  The numbers we were told is there are 1 million people on the South Island and over 30 million sheep.  The wool industry is down so many of the sheep are being used for their meat.  One thing we saw a lot of was really lovely fine gauge woolens, really, really lovely things.  Both Peter and I wanted something but just could not bring ourselves to buy something we could not wear any time soon!  Okay so we both have a pair of socks, his all merino and mine a blend of wool and possum! 

We had a wonderful trip, New Zealand has incredible natural beauty and is an intersting place to visit.  Oh, did I mention the food was yummy!

Now to get my looms threaded and get back to weaving!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Rene and Tracy in Bali

Bali is probably the best known of the 17,500 islands in the Indonesian archipelago to Westerners. Bali is known for its beautiful beaches, wonderful climate, friendly people AND to fiber people for its lovely textiles. Rene Derewetzky (Tall Pines guild member) has been living in Jakarta for the last 3 ½ years, during that time she has accumulated both a lovely collection and knowledge of Indonesian textiles. Unfortunately for me Rene and her family are being repatriated back to Houston in December. As a last hurrah Rene offered to go with me to Bali and take me around to see Balinese textiles. I jumped at the offer and met Rene in late October in Bali. It was lovely to go on a trip where you just show up and everything is arranged.

From the airport we went straight to a nearby shop in Denpassar that had Balinese batik yardage in cotton and rayon for $2.00 a meter! Balinese batik is very tropical, bright colors, large motifs, not nearly as intricate as other Indonesian batiks, but fun stuff! Upstairs they had a nice collection of older Javanese textiles, mostly large pieces (Hinggi) that were warp ikat and supplementary weft. It was a great way to start the trip.

Wall of brightly colored cotton batik
Our next stop was Sanur, a town that was much quieter, less kitchy touristy shops, more for the middle-aged tourist. We stopped at a shop called Nogo. Nogo specializes in weft ikat fine cotton clothing, be still my heart! You can buy off the rack or custom order pieces. I got a dress, top and skirt custom made for $150 (out of weft ikat!). We picked my items up 3 days later and they fit perfectly!

Our first night we stayed in Kuta and enjoyed a lovely fresh fish dinner on the beach. Kuta is where tourism in Bali got started, there is a lot of traffic, lots of shops with touristy stuff for sale, it is where the younger tourists looking for night life stay.

The next morning we headed toward Ubud. Ubud is a town where a lot of artisans have settled, it too has a large tourism industry but it still maintains a more low keyed feeling, like I expect Bali was years ago. Our first stop in Ubud was at Threads of Life Indonesian Textile Center. WOW, what a neat place. From their brochure: “Threads of Life commissions textile weavers, basket makers and other traditional artists across Indonesia to recover the skills of their ancestors, working to an exquisite standard usually only seen in museums. Since 1998 we have sponsored the weaving of traditional, handmade, natural-dyed textiles, baskets and crafts that often take years to complete. We work directly with the artists, helping them establish cooperatives that build their financial security.” The shop is small but it is packed with beautiful work for sale and displays demonstrating the different techniques used to create the textiles. When you buy a piece you receive a photo of the artisan who made the piece and a DVD with a PowerPoint slide show of that area’s people and their work. It was wonderful to see how much Threads of Life is doing to educate people about the wonderful textiles of Indonesia.

Threads of Life, display of tied warps for ikat. Notice the naturally dyed
 skeins hanging in the background.
On day 3 we headed out to visit a couple of villages to see weavers in action. Driving east out of Ubud we saw the beautiful countryside with lovely terraced rice fields. Our first stop was in the village of Tenganan where the famous double-ikat cloth called geringsing is produced. Each step of the process is done by a different person; spinning the yarn, winding the warp/weft, tying the resist ties and weaving the cloth. It is a very time consuming process, the finished fabric is used for rituals and only worn and produced by the people of Tenganan. While there a tour guide came through with 2 Singaporean ladies who work for the Singapore Heritage Conservation Centre, turns out the guide (Lolet) is one of the owners of Threads of Life and gives tours (I got his card) throughout Bali and Indonesia.

Selection of finished double-ikat (geringsing).  I purchased one of the smaller pieces. The colors are traditional and are all naturally dyed. 

Winding the weft for double-ikat
Our next stop was the mountain village of Seraya. The ladies at Threads of Life suggested we go there when I asked about the black and white checked fabric I saw on the statues all over Bali. Seraya is the only place that still produces this fabric as it was originally made; handspun cotton, hand-dyed with indigo and over-dyed with brown to get black, then handwoven. The fabric now used on the statues is a printed check and the handwoven fabric is worn by the men for ceremonies. We went to the “Natural Dyers’ & Weavers’ Cooperative of Seraya Traditional Textile Artisan”. We were greeted by Wayan Karya head of the cooperative. Wayan was a delightful guide, he showed us the dye plants, demonstrated how they dyes work, showed us where they grow their cotton, his mother demonstrated spinning the cotton and then we saw a weaving demonstration. There were a group of ladies working in the cotton field, they grinned and giggled when they saw us. Turns out they don’t get a lot of Western visitors and they were amazed by our whiteness! As we climbed the mountain on narrow dirt roads I questioned whether we should have made this trip, in the end it was the highlight of my trip to Bali. AND I added a couple of pieces from the Cooperative to my ever growing collection!
Wayan demonstrating how the root of the Mengkudo reacts with the mordant (macadamia nut)  to give a nice red dye. Other colors they dye are Indigo/blue, Tumeric/yellow and then a leaf  which gives then brown which they use to over-dye their  indigo dyed yarn  to get the lovely black they use in their checked pieces. 

Indigo pots, aren't they lovely. Notice skeined yarn hanging from the rafters.

Wayan's mother demonstrating spinning their homegrown cotton. 
Interesting wheel. 

On returning to Ubud we finished up our trip with one more visit to Threads of Life, thanking them for their excellent recommendations on places to visit and purchasing a few more pieces for our collections. Next time I’ll add the village where they produce Songket (supplementary weft with metallic thread) to my itinerary!

Tracy and Wayan modeling the different textiles his cooperative produces. The black and white check is the only fabric they make using their handspun cotton.  All of the cloth is dyed using their own natural dye plants.  Pretty amazing! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quick trip to KL

Malaysia National Textile Museum
I've been meaning to blog about my trip to Bali but haven't quite found the time, there is so much to share.  Meanwhile we made a quick trip to Kuala Lumpur yesterday.  Titan the company my husband, Peter works for had a closing ceremony this morning.  In July an agreement was signed for Honam (Korean conglomerate) to acquire Titan.  It's taken 4 months to get all the details worked out but today was the big day.  Peter asked me to accompany him so we flew up yesterday afternoon.  Now you know there has to be a textile link or I wouldn't be mentioning this trip here. Well.... as we are driving to the hotel yesterday afternoon Peter points out a sign - National Textile Museum.  No kidding he just looks out the window and sees a small sign.  He won lots and lots of bonus points when he asked if I wanted to go.  This trip was supposed to be all about him and business I truly was not looking for a chance to see textiles.

So, we headed to the hotel, checked in and then rushed over to the museum not knowing when it closed for the day.  The building itself was an interesting old building, used for the railway intially.  There were 4 rooms, 3 of textiles one of mostly jewlery.

Malaysia is an interesting country with a wide diversity of people.  Malaysia has a large population of Chinese Malaysians and Indians, these two groups have influenced their textiles. The Malaysia National Textile Museum had done a good job of showing not just traditional Malaysian textiles but also those textiles influenced by both the Chinese and the Indians. 

Traditional Malay costume, notice the interesting
fabric wrapped headpiece the man is wearing.
Malaysia is predominantly muslim, you see many women wearing headscarfs.  The difference between Malaysian and  Middle Eastern muslims (I'm only talking textiles here) is that the Malays are all about color, pattern and lovely fabrics.  I enjoy people watching, to see the beautiful outfits the ladies wear.  Many of the fabrics are very large prints and very colorful.  Many wear a loose tunic over a long skirt or loose pants.  I have also seen some stunning suits that are very fitted but the skirt is full length.  Many of the outfits are made of fabrics I would consider only for evening wear. 

Example of display, mannequins looked Malaysian.  This was batik using a block or chop.

The first room downstairs showed the different types of textiles found in Malaysia - batik, warp ikat, weft ikat, songket (supplementary weft patterned with metallic thread), printed and gilded (Indian influence), embrodiered and beaded (Chinese Influence) and bark fabric.  There were some nice examples of textiles, mannequins wearing the traditional costumes and large historical photos showing the same style of textile worn by real people.  The second room downstairs went through each process with displays showing mannequins doing the process, step by step diagrams and touch screen multi media displays of the actual process.  Something unique I've never seen, at each display there was a case that showed everything used in the process; the dyes in each dyeing process, everything to make the beaded shoes etc....

Kebaya, traditional blouse worn in SE Asia with traditional embroidery.

close up of embroidery
Upstairs there was a room with more lovely examples with lengthy text about how the textile was made, where it was made, who wore the textile, interesting historical information etc... The last room was where we spent the least time - cases of jewelry and more mannequins wearing full costumes, including jewelry.

costume of bark cloth (top)
All in all it was a lovely musuem, very educational.  We were the only people there!  Our only complaint was the lighting could be better, Peter found some of the signs were hard to read because of the lighting (he of course filled out a suggestion card).  When we met Peter's boss and wife (Warren and Liz) for drinks we told them where we had been.  Liz became very animated and explained the Malaysia National Textile Museum has not offcially opened.  It is brand new and has been having it's "soft opening" for the last 4 months.  Liz has already been 3 times and was thrilled to hear we'd found it. I just looked it up on the web and found out that once it opens there will be an admission fee of 1 ringgit (about 32 cents)!  Weren't we lucky to happen upon this new gem in KL!

More pictures:
Warp beam of songket floor loom.  Notice the warp beam is suspended
from the top of the loom's frame.  That piece is then tied to a rod that is tied to the back of the loom's frame.  An interesting set up.

Floor loom used for weaving songket.  Notice the board style warp beam, when you advance your warp it is by this full amount, about 8". The  fabric hanging in the back of the photo is songket. Songket was primarily worn by royalty and dignataries, I'm guessing due to cost.  Until the 1950's it was worn as a rectangle, sarong style usually.  In the 50's they began to cut and sew it into fitted garments.  Our hotel staff wore a variety of garments made from allover songket and some with bands. 

Peranakan beaded shoes.  Embroidery hoop shows how the beaded portion is made.  These handmade shoes are still custom made for about $1,000 ringgit, about $300 USD. Peranken refer to the descendants of Chinese immigrants to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singpore.
The warp ikat display.  This woven on a backstrap loom.  At
the far right in the photo you can see that the loom is attached
to a wooden frame. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010



Trekking around Montana Ausungate.

Okay, so you may be wondering why I visited Peru if we are living in SE Asia, well I did'nt!  My 16 year old adventurous daughter, Katy went on a 6 week trekking trip to Peru.  She took bunches of pictures and picked up a few textiles while there.  I thought I would share a few of her pics and a little bit about her trip.

Llama in Machu Picchu
 When Katy decided she wanted to go on a trip with Where There Be Dragons she choose Peru for a couple of reasons, mainly she figured if she told us she wanted to increase her Spanish fluency (academic reason) we would be more likely to say yes.  The choices in Latin America were Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia  and Brazil.  What she most wanted to do was trek and Peru had the most trekking of any of the Latin American trips.  I remember she specifically said she did not want to go to Guatemala because they mentioned weaving in the description and she already knew about that - ha!  I did not tell her at that time that if she went to Peru she would most definitely see a lot of weaving and handwoven things! 

Boys in traditional dress.
Girls in traditional dress.

Katy in traditional dress,  in  Parque de la Papa.

One of the neat things about Katy's trip was they had stayed in the homes of local people, over the course of the trip they stayed in 3 different homes in different parts of Peru.  This was a great way to really learn about the indigenous people of Peru.  On Katy's first home stay in Parque de la Papa  her "mother" made her wear traditional clothing the entire time (5 days).  Guess what - it was handwoven!  When Katy told me this I think even she saw the humor in the situation .

Katy learning how to weave on a back strap loom,  in Nacionq'uieros.
The kids were also exposed to back strap weaving and given the opportunity to weave.  There were many opportunities to buy handspun, hand-knitted hats (orange with alpaca/ llama) and traditional back strap woven pieces. Katy picked out two very nice pieces to bring home to her loving madre!

The orange hat is handspun and handknit, but not colorfast.  The hat on the right is more traditional patterning.
Katy in cute orange hat.

An assortment of textiles, the balls are for the dog, a back strap belt (center top) alpaca twill scarf that got lots of wear and a "cell phone case" that Katy wove.
Traditional back strap woven textiles in wool. 

Katy had a great trip and learned that there is indeed a lot of weaving in Peru! 

Just in case it sounds like I'm not weaving... here is the yarn for my next towel warp!

We are traveling to Bangkok this weekend for a volleyball tournament and to Bali at the end of October.  Hopefully I'll have some new textile stories to share.

Happy Weaving,


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Angkor Wat

Well, I have to admit I'm pretty much a failure at timely blogging.  I know it's been ages and I haven't written due to a lack of stuff to write about but more lack of time for blogging.  I'm going to try and get caught up:  

In June we traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  This was definitely my favorite trip so far.  Siem Reap is where the temples from the Khmer reign are located.  Angkor Wat is one of the 7 wonders of the world and Ta Prohm claims fame as the location where Lara Croft - Tomb Raider was filmed.  I booked the trip as a package through an airline travel agent.  When I got the itinerary it listed a craft workshop and silk farm, both of which sounded promising.
Ta Prohm, photo op from Tomb Raider
The main focus of our trip was to see the temples; this was not a textile trip.  We had an excellent guide and driver both of whom spoke English well.  The temples of Angkor were built from the 7th – 12th centuries.  It is amazing to think of buildings of this size and architectural complexity being built that long ago and surviving today.  The sheer size of the buildings and number of carvings is mind boggling.  

 We could not help but notice the extreme poverty in Cambodia.  Everywhere we went there were small children begging and selling trinkets. The country is still recovering from the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s.  We saw quite a few land mine victims, some of whom were recent victims. The main goal of organizations helping Cambodians is to teach them ways to help themselves.  One local organizations motto is “Help up, not hand out”. 

Half way through our second day of temple touring our guide said we were going to visit the Artisans d’Angkor workshop.  The Artisans d’Angkor is an amazing workshop where people from villages around Cambodia are brought to learn a trade.  Their options are silk weaving, silk painting, wood or stone carving, silver plating, and lacquer work.    There are 15 workshops around Cambodia where after training in the main workshop in Siem Reap they can work.  At the Siem Reap workshop you can watch all of the crafts being done except weaving.  The Silk Farm is outside of town and houses the weaving and sewing workshops.

Artisans d'Angkor Show room

I was blown away by the quality of the work and the marketing effort by the Artisans d’Angkor.  It was all very professionally done from the products produced, labeling, pricing and display.  The showroom at both the Siem Reap workshop and the Silk Farm were beautiful.  I wanted one of everything! 

Feeding silk worms, cocoons in back
different stages in the silk process

Artisans d’Angkor produce all of their own silk, they grow the mulberry leaves, raise the silk worms, reel the silk, dye the yarn and weave it.  They have done a good job of illustrating each step of the process for the layman.  Peter was sure he had been set up when we arrived at the Silk Farm.  He said it was the highlight of the trip for him, but he had a hard time believing that it was part of our “package”. 

reeling silk

Natural Dye materials

Naturally dyed silk 

winding bobbins

The silk weavers do several types of weaving; beginners work on full width all white warps (I saw several women mending broken threads), the white fabric is woven for the silk painting workshop.  More advanced weavers work with colors, some solid, some stripes, all gorgeous.  The most advanced weavers weave weft Ikat.  I was amazed at the number of bobbins they were using at one time for weft but the end product had a perfect selvedge. How can that be? 

Weft Ikat in process
Signs in English are often humorous 

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cambodia; the wonderful temples, delicious food, friendly people and beautiful cloth.  

In the market the ornate "Songket" fabrics (supplementary weft with metallic thread) look gaudy.  Once I saw the traditional dancers I got the need for the glitz.  
Now off to do some weaving of my own.....


Monday, June 28, 2010

Thailand Trip

It's been a long time since the last post.  I know many people blog daily but I really feel like I should only post when I've got something worthy of sharing.... I actually wrote this on June 1st then saved to post till I added photos.

I have wanted to visit Thailand for most of my life, in fact I credit Thai silk with my love of textiles.  My Dad was stationed in Thailand in the late 60's early 70's.  I don't know the exact date, but I know at the time I was still playing with barbies and I was sewing their clothes so that puts me between 8-12 years of age.  My Dad brought the girls back dolls from the countries he visited and I got a Thai dancer, she was so exotic!  When he visited Thailand he brought all of the females in the family yardage, they were supposedly dress lengths (for little Thai women).  I received a gaudy green cotton print and a beatuiful, irridescent piece of Thai silk.  My barbies had an outift out of the green print :)  I still have the piece of Thai silk, I've used small bits for things but not the whole piece.  Even at a young age I treasured beautiful fabric. 

Peter and I traveled to Phuket, Thailand on May 20th.  The 21st was Peter's 50th birthday and our 27th wedding anniversary.  Some Canadian friends were vacationing in Phuket and invited us to join them, it seemed like the perfect way to celebrate.  Phuket is an island, off of penisular Thailand, the part shared with Malaysia. It is a vacation destination for Europeans, particularly Scandanavians and of course for those living in SE Asia.  It is knowns for it's beautiful beaches and great diving. Many in the US had not heard of Phuket until the tsunami of 2004, when pictures of the tsunami's devastation were broadcast around the world. 

I was surprised at how big the island is, we stayed at a Marriott resort on the northern end of the island on Mai Khao beach.  Mai Khao beach is protected because it's where the green sea turtles come to lay their eggs.  Apparently quite a large number of tourists come to watch the turtles!

Day One - (celebration day) we went on a sea cave tour.  The tour started in the afternoon and as soon as the boat left the dock they fed us, just a light lunch but it was yummy.  Thai food is one of my all time favorites so I was a happy camper! The scenery on the way was stupendous.  One of the islands the locals refer to as "James Bond Island", it's where "Man With Golden Gun" was filmed. We stopped 5 times and got on small inflatable kayaks. There was one guide per kayak and two guests.  The guides did all the work.  The guides have to watch the tides to determine which caves are accessible on any given day.  All of the caves we entered had such low entrances that we had to lay down in the boats to get in.  I being the big weenie was rather proud that I did not squeal or embarrass myself in anyway!  After 3 caves we were fed dinner, yummmy!  We then had craft time and made offerings out of bannana leaves and flowers.  In the last cave (after dark) we lit the offerings and put them in the water.  This cave was inhabited by bats (again no squealing) and the water had luminescent plankton in it, very cool indeed!

Day Two we hired a cab for the day and went to Phuket town.  We first went to see the Big Buddha (really, that's what it is called).  Then we went and visited a Buddhist temple.  The temple was beautiful but what intrigued me was the quantity of dogs on the property that apparently live there.  There were several people filling bowls of food and water and several dogs were sleeping on benches.  Interesting. 

Our next stop was to find a textile shop I'd read about, Ban Boran.  The guidebooks said they have the best selection of Thai textiles on Phuket island.  It was a lovely little shop with a good selection of Thai textiles, scarves, shawls, ready made garments, ethnic costume and some lovely Laotian supplementary weft pieces.  I did manage to pick up a few lovelies to add to my growing collection.  We ended our day at the "Night Market", think of a flea market full of all sorts of interesting food and not so interesting other stuff.  We went back to the hotel and had a lovely, yummy Thai dinner at one of the restaurants at our hotel. 

Day Three we decided to bum around the resort.  We put on swimsuits (we had not been to the beach yet!) and walked down to the beach to get a massage.  They have small huts where you can get an hour long full body massage for about $12 US.  After being totally relaxed we headed down to the beach.  The currents are strong on Mai Khao so it's not the best beach for swimming.  We stood on the beach and let the waves crash around our feet.  During monsoon season it's supposed to be good for surfing.  We did a little shopping at the local shopping center.  There is a small Jim Thompson outlet there.  I honestly could have had one of everything, really lovely high quality work.  Back to the hotel to swim in the pool and more eating and then back to Singapore.

Visiting Phuket was a great  way to celebrate Peter's birthday and our anniversary.  The last picture is to demonstrate that Peter will try anything, once!  He is eating grilled shrimp at the Night Market.