Hello from Krabi, Thailand

 Sunday morning  – July 9 , 2017   (Third post of this travelogue)

Oh my gosh, I will never catch up.

Let’s start with our trip from Singapore to Krabi.  We had two flights connecting in Samui, Thailand.  I panicked after we checked in since our luggage was only checked to Samui.  Turns out that is normal.  However, we had less than an hour (our flight was running late) to clear customs, claim our luggage and transfer it, go to the ticket counter to get boarding passes and then to gate.  Not at all possible under normal circumstances.  However, a person met us at the plane with a sign with our names on it and escorted us thru the process and we made it. 

The Sumi airport is very small (taxi way and run way are the same)

.  All of the buildings are open air and the whole place is a mass of beautiful shrubbery and flowers (see photos).

 

Our escort in SamuiOur escort in Samui 2

Our open air gate in SamuiPlane on runway in Samui

The resort (Dusit Thani) is a beautiful place (Link to Google map location of resort).   

Here are some pictures of our room.

Krabi hotel room 5 Krabi hotel room 4 Krabi hotel room 3 Krabi hotel room 2 Krabi hotel room 1

We were met at the Krabi airport by our tour guide and driven to the resort – about 30 minute trip.  Again, the right hand driving is a bit strange, especially with the driver dodging a ton of scooters and driving fairly fast on roads that have nothing but curves.

Friday we went on our first tour and what a great tour it was.  We started off with a kayak tour of one of the many “islands”.  Indeed, I am not sure what to call them.  They are huge rock outcroppings, some of which are perhaps 30 stories tall (see photos).  Because we are the “old folks” (not sure why I put that in quotes {grin})  they paired Pat and I with the guides so they could do most of the paddling.  It was a tour of about 1-2 miles and we stopped in a great opening in the one of the rocks that had a small beach and unbelievably lush rain forest (including tree roots that hung down like ropes).

Pat in Kayak Kayaking in canyon Island in Kayak tour

We had lunch at the place that furnished the kayaks and then headed out in what is called a “long-tail boat”.  These boats have to be seen to be believed.  They look very home built with an automotive engine driving directly to a prop that is on a long arm in the back (link to info).  There are hundreds of them in this area and, apparently all over Southeast Asia.  They are unbelievable primitive including using a string for the throttle.  The boat took us out to an island with a wonderful beach.  Some of the folks snorkeled – we just relaxed.

Long-tail boat 1 Long-tail boat 2

After the long-tail boat ride we all went to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  The variety of food is huge and varies quite a bit from restaurant to restaurant. 

This is a pre-planned trip (by Stampin’ Up!) that is an optional, extra cost additional three days.  We will do the same at the end of next week.  There are 17 folks on this pre-trip which is a great size group.

I will catch up on yesterday’s tour in the next blog.  Today we transfer to Phuket via small bus type vans.

For sure we are not having any fun {grin}

Jim and Pat in Krabi

That is all for this trip. 

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Hello from Singapore

Hello from Singapore

Thursday morning  – July 6 , 2017   (Second post of this travelogue)

Well, we survived a total of 27 ½ hours from DIA to our hotel in Singapore.  We flew to Los Angeles, then to Hong Kong and then here.  Most everything went smoothly.  Our last flight was about an hour late, but that was not a big deal.  However, it did put us at the hotel at 3:04 AM!

It was a strange day of travel and meals.  As we noted in the last post, we had a nice sit-down breakfast at DIA.  We then ate lunch in the International terminal at LAX food court.  Then on the flight to Hong Kong they served us both lunch and dinner.  To end the day, they served dinner on the flight to Singapore!

I had loaded an Uber app on my phone when we were in Europe last year.  It worked like a charm here.  The driver was prompt, spoke pretty good English and the car was very modern and clean.  It took a minute to get used to the right hand drive system here, but the ride was great and the cost was less than $10 (charged to your card when you are picked up – fixed charge by Uber for the route.

Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Express Katong (Link to hotel Google Map locaton in Singapore).  It is a beautiful new facility.  In order to check in, you have to take an elevator to the seventh floor.  It is located between the airport and the main downtown area.  Our room is very unique, but quite pleasant (see pictures).  One picture shows the bed area, while the second shows the unique wall next to the bed that has the shower glass as part of the wall.

 

Singapore Hotel 1Singapore Hotel 2

 

We tried to sleep in Wednesday morning until 9:30 but woke up about 8:00 and just relaxed for a time.  The breakfast (included as is typical with HI Express) was different but very good.

I made the observation about Uber and our phone.  We chose an international phone plan for AT&T that makes our use the same as in the State.  It is a bit costly, but we have unlimited text and calling and access to the data in our plan – that is important with all the stuff going on back home.  It makes me recall our trips to Europe where I had to walk to a computer café and pay for very slow connection speeds.  Now we get everything we want on our phones and can even tether the computer to our phones if we are not in the hotel.  I guess if you go far enough back (not all that many years) we did not even have the internet or had to beg to get on the hotel fax line to do a quick dial up.  The young folks of today have no horror stories to tell {grin}.

Yesterday we decided to take an Uber to roughly downtown (not too far) and then buy passes to hop on –hop off to see some of the sights of the city.  We had planned to make two of the loops (yellow and red), but traffic was terrible and it took over two hours to make one loop.  On top of that, it rained hard and the lower enclosed area became very crowded.  We decided to only do the one loop.

Singapore architecture is very modern and there are hundreds of high rise apartment buildings – each with very distinct building designs.  The business towers are also very designed with amazing architecture variations.  We were disappointed that we did not see any historic buildings.

We are at the airport as I finish this post up.   We are heading to Krabi Thailand for our pre-trip (arranged by Stampin’ Up! but not included in the paid part of the trip).

It just dawned on me that I had not explained why we are taking this trip.  Pat earned the trip through her sales at Stampin’ Up!.  They pay all expenses for both of us for the planned week long trip.  Thailand would not have been high on our bucket list, but we are excited to make this trip.

That is all of now.

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Hello from Denver International Airport

Hello from Denver International Airport

Monday morning  – July 3 , 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

I had hoped to write a bit more about our stay in Dillon, but ran out of time.  I will add a couple of notes here and then slide into our current trip.

When we left off, we celebrated Madison’s birthday with lots of fun activities.  The rest of our stay was fairly typical for our Dillon vacation:  shopping, eating, and taking walks. 

However, we had one event that was not so good.  Damon and I, together with the girls, were loading the canoe in the water from the camping area, when both Damon and I slipped on the steep slope and fell down.  I was OK since I had my knee braces on, but not so for Damon.  He really tore up his shoulder.  Tuesday they went to an orthopedic surgeon where he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff.  He has surgery scheduled next week.

Other than that, the stay was amazing.  The mountains were beautiful with some snow still on the slopes and the weather was great.  Even though we did not have the bus, the combination of their trailer and tent made it possible for all of us to have a great time.

We returned to Evergreen on Wednesday the 28th.  This was a bit early, but we wanted to have sufficient time to prepare for this trip (no small task).

Now for this trip.  We are heading to Thailand!!!!  Today we travel to Los Angles, then to Hong Kong and finally to Singapore.  We arrive in Singapore at 12:15 AM on the fifth.   We will spend two nights in Singapore before flying to Thailand.

Because of the date change, we really do not experience the fourth of July!   In total, that is more than 20 hours of flying.  I did purchase seat upgrades on the first two flights and that should help a bit.  For the long flight (LAX to Hong Kong) we have bulkhead seats, so we should not feel too cramped.

Our flight leaves in a few minutes, so I will end this post now

Well, best laid plans……..  my document went crazy and I had to do a bunch of editing to get it back together.  Obviously I did not get to post it before we left.  I am now doing some more drafting on the plane.  Hopefully I will have time to post it in LA.

We left the house a bit after 4:00 AM for our 8:36 flight.  As some of you know, I always prefer a relaxed seat in the airport to rushing.  Besides, we did not know how complicated our check in would be since we could not check in prior to arriving at the airport – reportedly because we were travelling to China.  Turns out  that it was a piece of cake and our bags are checked all the way to Singapore. 

We had a leisure sit down breakfast in a neat restaurant.  Our seats on this plane are in the exit row with lots of leg room (because of the upgrade).  The center seat is empty, so we have plenty of room.

We made it to LAX early and my fear of making connections turned out to be unfounded.  We did not need to go through security again and were able to walk to the International terminal.  The whole flight schedule seems so seamless. 

We were able to  have a leisurely lunch in the food court (Panda Express) and I am able to finish this blog.

That is all for this post.

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Hello from Dillon, CO

Hello from Dillon, CO

Saturday evening  – June 24, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

As some of you are aware, we spend two weeks at the Heaton Bay Campground each year with one or more of our girls and their families.  This year started out a bit strange, since we normally schedule the two weeks so that we spend the fourth of July in Dillon.  However, we will be leaving for Thailand on July 3.  As a result our reservation is for a week earlier than our daughter Kelly’s family.  That said, they wanted to spend the past weekend in our camp spot (tenting)  so that we could have some family time.

Obviously our plans were to drive the bus to the campground on Saturday (6/17).  Unfortunately that did not happen.  I had done some work on the engine (valve adjustment) and the engine seemed to be down on power and was smoking a bit.  My test drive was short and I laid the problems off to a cold engine and my imagination about engine power.  However, with the Durango hooked up and the bus loaded it became apparent that the engine was not happy.  I turned around and drove it home.

After a lot of anguished discussion we decided that Damon (Kelly’s husband) would get their camp trailer and we would stay in it for at least part of the stay.  We felt terrible about all the trauma, but they were so accommodating and we will still be able to spend some time together.

Kelly and Damon and one of the granddaughters (Madison) spent Saturday night in a tent while Pat and I and Molly spent the night in the trailer.  We all had a great time that night.  They then had to travel back home (Littleton) and we have enjoyed the trailer all of this week (with the exception of Monday night).

Monday we drove down to Denver to be at the hospital when our oldest Daughter, Lisa, had 5 ½ hours of surgery (double mastectomy).  She did not get out of surgery until about 7:00 PM, so we stayed at the house that night and came back up here Tuesday morning.

Molly, our youngest granddaughter has stayed with us the whole week.  It has been great.  We watched 5 DVD movies, played card games, did a bit of shopping, and just had a great time.

Late yesterday Kelly and the family returned and will be here for two weeks.  They have been nice enough to stay in the tent, while we enjoyed sleeping in the trailer.

Today was Madison’s birthday.  Madison is our second youngest granddaughter.  She had the day planned out and we had a ton of fun.  She did some paddle boarding on her new board (she is paying for the board herself), and the rest of us took turns riding in their canoe.  They went to a concert tonight – Pat and I are relaxing in the trailer.

That is all for now.

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Hello from Sumner, WA

 

Wednesday evening – May 24, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

As you can probably guess, I am back in the Seattle area teaching another Boeing class.  This class is a 5 day class called 3 Axis/Machine Tool Alignment Concepts.  The class involves learning about and performing all of the test necessary to completely align a massive machining center.  It has not been one of my favorite classes in the past, but I put a lot of work into “taking my presentation to the next level”.  That has helped me feel much more comfortable teaching the class.  It probably helps that I have some great students.

Part of the class involves touring the huge manufacturing plant in Auburn, WA where I am teaching.  The plant machines many of the parts for the planes that Boeing makes.  Without question their equipment is mind boggling (both in terms of numbers, but more importantly – variety).  They have a lot of huge equipment that is specially designed for their needs.  Those of you who know me, know that I hate that kind of tour – yeah right!!   I probably embarrass the students because of my jaw dragging on the floor {grin}.

For the past several posts, I have noted the terrible weather and the huge amount of rain that western Washington has experienced over the past several months.  Well, the weather this week has been pretty good.  One of the benefits of good weather out here is the beautiful view of Mt Rainer.  With all the snow cover, it is magnificent.  The attached photo does not begin to do it justice.

20170523 Mt Rainer

 

The class this week is on day shift, which means we begin class at 6:00 AM.  That makes for a strange day for me.  Plus I have to be careful to make sure I get a reasonable amount of sleep.  I save a bit of time by eating dinner in the room most of the time.  I stop by Trader Joe’s and pick up salads for lunch and some sort of meal that I can microwave for dinner.  That works out pretty well.  I can come back to the motel and relax and do not have to leave again for dinner.  The food is pretty good and easy to fix.

That is all for this post

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Hello from Seattle, WA

Hello from Seattle, WA

Wednesday evening – May 3, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

I am drafting this post in the Seattle airport.  I flew in to Seattle on Sunday and have been teaching at Boeing for the past three days.  The classes were bearings and lubrication.

Pat and I had planned to make this trip together in a rented car.  Part of the plan was to visit our grandson Thomas and his girl friend Klara in Pullman Washington.  Thomas is working on his Masters degree in geology at the University of Idaho. 

On April 7 our oldest daughter Lisa was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and we quickly made to decision to stay home to be close to her and her family.  She had surgery on April 28 and has a good preliminary prognosis. 

The weather in Seattle continues to be quite wet and rainy.  Seattle has received a staggering 45 inches of precipitation since Oct. 1, 2016.  That is an all time record.  Normal rainfall for that period is about 31 inches.  That said, it was actually sunny today and around 80 degrees.

This set of classes was conducted on the first shift which starts at 6:00 AM.  That puts me up before the roosters even think of waking {grin}.  I can handle the early shift for three days, but I have a five day assignment later this month and I suspect I will be half dead at the end of that class.  To make matters worse, my flight is scheduled for 7:45 tonight and that puts me in Denver about a bit after 11:00 PM!!  Long day!!

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Centennial,  CO

Hello from Centennial,  CO

Wednesday evening – April 5, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

Posted Saturday April 8, 2017

I am in Centennial CO (Denver Area) staying at the Staybridge Suites.  I am teaching a Mechanical Drives class for  NTT in their offices which is about a mile from here. 

So far this has been a great class.  I have 7 students and one NTT instructor auditing the class.  6 of the students work at the Denver mint.  The other student works for a water treatment plant.

We have been having a lot of fun in the class.  Almost all of the students are “motorheads” and that gives us a lot in common.  In addition, their personalities are such that we can have good exchanges and do a bit joking.  They all seem to want to learn even though most have a lot of experience.

After I drafted this blog Wednesday night, we had one more day of class.  One of the students drove his beautiful 65 Chevelle SS to class (see photo).

Chevelle at class

I taught my first Mechanical Drives class in February of 2000.  While I have a big split in service with NTT, I have taught a lot of MD classes.  I think this was the best (and most fun) one so far. 

I have folks ask why I continue to teach at my age.  First of all, I enjoy it.  Secondly, the income funds my car hobbies and some travel.  Yes, it has gotten a bit more “difficult” on knees and feet (and I am very tired at the end of the day), but it is worth it to me.

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Sumner, WA (Belated)

Hello from Sumner, WA (Belated)

Trip 3/12-15/2017

I am writing this quick travelogue on 4/5/17 to maintain documentation of my travel. 

I was in the Seattle for the second week in a row a couple of weeks ago.  Again, to teach a couple of classes at Boeing.  These are the same two classes that were taught the week before. 

I have mentioned that teaching at Boeing can be quite an experience.  Most classes are great, but some just seem to deteriorate into less than stellar experience.  Fortunately those don’t occur  too often.

However, Pat and I experienced a situation where I will have to say that Boeing classes are a piece of cake {big grin}.  The day after I got home, we went to spend the morning at our daughters’ (Kelly) second grade class (see photo).  If you have heard the term “like herding cats”, it sure applies here.  These are great kids and Kelly does a great job of making sure the classroom is under reasonable control, but sometimes the kid’s energy just seems to overwhelm the situation.  Don’t misunderstand, they are really neat kids, but at that age they can be a handful.

Kelly's class

As I say, the next time I think about complaining about my classes, I will recall our visit to Kelly’s class.

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Sumner, WA

Hello from Sumner, WA

Wednesday afternoon – March 8, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

I am in the Seattle area to teach a couple of classes at Boeing.  The Holiday Inn that I am staying at is here (Google Maps Link):

The Boeing Auburn plant where we teach classes is here Google Maps Link

It has been almost a year since I last taught at Boeing.  That is good and bad.  Boeing is a huge customer of our services.  As such, they are quite demanding and very strict about the class content.  We have agreed to do several new classes for them.  The two we are working on this trip are lubrication and bearings.  NTT classes cover both of these subjects, but Boeing wants us to duplicate their existing classes.  That is not a huge issue, but we have to learn their approach to the subjects. 

These classes are being conducted on the second shift (2:30 – 11:00).  I really don’t mind that shift.  It gives me a full morning to work on computer projects that I have been trying to get to.  Better yet, that is a time where my poor old tired brain is somewhat rested.

The weather here is terrible.  It is quite cold (high in the 40s) with very rainy conditions.  It even snowed a bit Monday evening.  Because it is so humid, the cold is really “bone chilling”.  The Boeing training rooms are located in an old warehouse building that is not well heated.  Monday night I about froze to death – even with my fleece hoody.

I will be back at Boeing next week to teach the same classes.

That is all for this trip.

 

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Hello from Centennial, CO

Hello from Centennial,  CO

Saturday Morning – January 28, 2017   (First post of this travelogue)

We are in Centennial CO (Denver Area) staying at the Staybridge Suites.  I taught a class for  NTT in their offices which is about a mile from here.  Pat stayed with me this time since she is recovering from her second knee replacement (this time, the right knee).

Stepping back a bit, it has been several  months since I last posted.  As I have noted many times this blog is really a travelogue and we have not traveled since September 2016.

As noted above, since our last trip in September, Pat had her left knee replaced on Sept. 28, 2016 and her right knee on Jan. 4, 2017.  Both recoveries involved a lot of “discomfort” (flat out terrible pain) for the first few days, but her recovery has gone well for both surgeries.  She has been careful to follow a good physical therapy routine and she has been graded by the PT folks as a “rockstar”.

This was an interesting class.  It was considered a “public” class which usually draws folk from several companies.  In this case, all 10 students work at the US Mint in Denver.  The class was lubrication, bearings, and shaft alignment.  Some classes just never seem to get to the “fun” level  of interaction – not this one.   The students were great and we had some great exchanges.

I would normally check out of the hotel on Friday, but that would have been a problem for Pat, so we stayed over and are relaxing this morning.

We don’t have any trips scheduled for the next couple of months.  I have a couple of classes scheduled in March that may or may not take place (depends on signing up a minimum number of students).  If those classes hold, I will be travelling on my own. 

However, we have some really exciting travel planned for this year.  One trip is to Thailand (Pat earned that trip).  Stay tuned.

That is all for this trip.

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