Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Human Ride"

A crew from the Thai TV programme "Human Ride" came over a few months ago for eight hours of interviews about our cycling life on the island and for a sweet ride. It's mostly in Thai, but well worth the watch for a glimpse of our favorite paths. Click on the image above or watch here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Apartment Therapy

We love hosting visitors for a bike ride around our island. After our friends Dave, Ann and Dabney recently came over from the states, we were pleasantly surprised a few weeks later to see that Dabney had documented our commute in Apartment Therapy, with some pictures of the island, our house and video of parts of our daily rides. She also did a piece about our little cabin.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thai channel Voice TV

On Christmas day, the hosts and video crew of Voice TV came to interview us about how we chose to live on this little riverine island and why. Watch here. It's in Thai, but one day maybe I'll muster the energy to type up a translation.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jungle trekking and our new mini pool

Preparing for the big trek with a milk boost.

In addition to the large park on the island, there are smalller community parks and walking paths on the island, including this little jungle jaunt that connects to a sidewalk just next to our house. Parts of the new jungle jaunt are paved, but you can also trail blaze.

 This large ball above comes from a "jak" tree, and each little pod has a white edible fruit inside.

On a separate note, we've upgraded our murky pond, which had a nasty tendency to turn bad in the dry season. We plan to put in a lot of plants as a natural cleaning system, and fish for mosquito control. It will also serve as a nice little dipping pool for us in the hot season.

We have one visitor who seems to like the new pond.

Aaaah, the cycling life.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Jungle wildlife tours for Luce

Neighbors visit.

Helping during garden clean-up.

Martin the kingfisher, named after its French name martin-pĂȘcheur.

Little fish from the canals.

Big turtle.

Playground summit.

Little turtle.

The island park.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Island life 2013

Some wildlife.

Some flying insects that like to swarm near holes in wood fences and such. We're not sure what its Thai name is (or English for that matter), but it sounds something like "shamallow," which is French for marshmallow.

The overly confident monitor lizard (this species is normally very, very shy and runs for cover at the sound of our approach) lives in the park on the island and often faces off against dogs.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Green snakes

The snakes come out in the rainy season, and though we struggled initially to tell the various green snakes apart, we're now herpetologically schooled, having had our fair share of visitors at home. This guy, hanging out on the sculpture on our tamarind tree, is a pit viper, the green snake we don't want hanging around in our yard and with our daughter Luciole.
The pit viper, known in Thai as the "ngu khiew haang mai" - or the green snake with the tail of fire (or fire tail) - is bluish-green, with a deep red tail. His eyes are beady and bright yellow.

If we reach out to get rid of him, he coils and prepares to strike, unlike the harmless snakes, like the one below, who is shy and quickly runs away if we approach.


This one above was one of two pit vipers that were coiled around each other in some trees in our backyard. They were among the five that we found in one week in our yard. The venomous bite, though not mortal, hurts and causes massive swelling, say neighbors who have been bitten.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Baan Baan

We were invited by the Thai magazine Baan lae Suan to be a part of their latest Baan Baan book series. They set up an appointment a month in advance, but then didn't confirm, so we weren't sure if they were coming. Then they showed up about 7 am. Our house was a complete mess, with newborn Luciole in the house only a few months, but as they drove to find us, we raced around to clean up and managed to look like relatively kempt house!


This little guy wasn't in the book. He's a common character helping to keep Thai windmills turning, and we found him in a trash dump near home. Finders keepers!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Jungle life and then some

Here are a jumble of photos of life lately, on no particular theme.

These plants are called "bua bok," which translates to something like the lily on the shore. I got a few from a coffee shop near our old house in Bangkok, and have transplanted them to our kitchen sink greywater system and here, in a vase on our front balcony.  

We spotted this guy sunbathing while we were biking home. He lives all over the island, and his color ranges from a nice warm red to green.

Luce and I on the pier, waiting to cross into Bangkok.

On the other side, passing through the port to get to the Logos Hope, a (Christian) bookstore-ship that sails around the world to sell books. Most of the several hundred crew members are Christian volunteers. The piped-in music is pop songs about Jesus. The first book on display is a children's book about Noah's Ark. We bought a vegetarian cookbook and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.

Taking a stroll just around home. Luce is naked most of the time because it is so hot. The neighbors worry that she will catch a cold because she's not wearing clothes, while my (Thai-American) parents and their friends back in the U.S. worry that she will become too habituated to being naked and therefore refuse to wear clothes when she's older! Hee hee.

Our Thai neighbors also worry when we take her out in the evening that we don't put a hat on her because - little did you know - they say the tropical dew causes colds!

It has been very, very hot lately, as we enter the hottest month of the year - April. Like other kids in our little village neighborhood, Luce is spending a lot of time these days in her wash basin to cool off.

Another Thai factoid - they all compliment the shape of Luce's head. Thais - educated/less educated, rich/poor, city/rural - all compliment the roundness of her head. They say it is a "tui" head, which means something like round and nicely shaped. They say we are raising her so well because her head is "tui." We don't understand the significance of this obsession with the round head.

The older ladies often look at Luciole with admiration, and then say, "Oh, she is... ugly!" As in other Asian countries (or at least in Afghanistan), people don't like to compliment babies too much for fear something bad will happen, or the spirits will take them away.

 Night falls on Bangkok's main port, Klong Toei, across the river from our island.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cloth diapers

In the interest of keeping our green life as free of waste as possible, we wanted to use cloth diapers. We visited a gigantic landfill outside Jakarta last year, and found that a) it was hell on earth, and b) hell is filled with plastic bags and diapers. We already keep our plastic bag usage to a minimum by carrying around shopping bags and food storage boxes (to get takeaway without the bags), but the diapers were going to be an issue. Most friends and family said we wouldn't last more than a few days or weeks on cloth diapers, but we're almost five months and going... thanks to gDiapers!

That's Luce, above, in her first gDiaper.

We were using thin white cotton cloth when she had just arrived in our lives, but we were washing about 15 to 20 cloths per day, including the one she was wearing, the one she was sleeping on, etc.

We ordered one gDiaper and had my younger brother bring it from the US, and we were hooked, so we my brother and my sister-in-law bring a few more.

The gDiapers come apart into three layers: the stretchy outer colored shell, the water-resistant snap-in liner, and the innermost absorbent fleece and hemp cloths. We now have a total of four colored shells (which come with the snap-in liners) and 18 fleece/hemp cloths -- which we've found is a good number for full-time cloth diapering. We wash each fleece/hemp cloth immediately after it's dirtied, to keep the stink and mess to a minimum. Because the gDiapers are three separate layers, they dry quickly on the clothesline, which is an issue because we live in the tropics... though we've yet to test them during the thick of the monsoon season, which is several months away.

She normally goes through three outer liners and eight fleece/hemp cloths per day. We've been to London twice for work, and each time, we take the diapering set with us. When we're out about town, we take an extra outer shell + water-resistant liner, and two to four fleece/hemp cloths, depending on how many hours we're out. We wash the dirtied cloths as soon as we get home.

That's enough chat of gDiapers. We don't want to be an ad for them (note: we've had no contact with the company, but I have put a review on Amazon), but to let others interested in cloth diapering know of a good option for tropical weather because many cloth diapers come as one piece -- which would be impossible to line dry here.