On the bridge at Punta Pirulil - Chiloe Island, Chile.

Saturday, January 14, 2017



When in Thailand, you are guaranteed to find some unique souvenirs, and possibly some items banned in Western countries.  Besides this key chain and paperweight, we also bought an insect display, butterfly display and a tarantula (dead!) encased in a box.  I will add them to this post a bit later.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Thai Sweets

The detail is pretty amazing.  I happen to love traditional Thai desserts. 

Here's an iced dessert stand we bought - the front side and back.

Click here to check out images and videos of the real thing.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wall Art


We purchased this in Bangkok a few years ago (around the corner from Khao San Road), and just recently gifted it to a friend who's having some major health problems.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuk Tuk Handicraft

If you have been Thailand, you have at least seen a tuk tuk, and more than likely ridden in one.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monk Piggy Banks

We purchased these monk piggy banks in Bangkok on our last trip



If you have been to Thailand, you ought to recognize the other objects.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Floating Market

Kade and I purchased this art in Bangkok, just near Khao San Road.  
Click here for some of Thailand's best floating markets.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Late Night Reading

Trying to finish up the Bali pictorial and the two books on Thailand before I donate them to the library or sell them.  I bought the Bali pictorial on a trip there, and gave it to my mom.  The big Bangkok book I bought in Asheville, NC at a second-hand bookstore..  And the final one I bought in the early 2000s during my time in Bangkok.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dad's Journeys

This is a photo of my dad (Mark C. Espy, Sr.) as a boy, standing in front of a world map in his bedroom in Headland, Alabama (circa 1951).  During his lifetime he did a significant bit of traveling, both in the U.S. and internationally.  He saw virtually every US state, including Alaska and Hawaii. Countries he visited: Canada (3), Honduras, Brazil (2), Argentina, Chile, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Haiti, England, France (2), Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Finland.  And I am probably missing two or three.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Asheville, NC

If you love fruits, Sri Lanka is a fabulous country.  I made this video on a visit there.  Be sure to see me drinking a coconut.
And click here for my experiences with coconuts in Thailand.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Christmas in Bangkok

Dec 2000

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kade & Sibs on Vacation

Kade, Nan, Oba
circa 1983

Kade in back

Caring for elephants in Thailand

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Briton killings in Thailand recreated

I vividly recall being at Kade's that first couple of years I was in Thailand and watching the news one particular night.  They were reporting on a big murder, and the police had taken the assailant back out to the crime scene to walk through a reenactment (like in the above video).  Perhaps this was a part of the state's building of a case and was a common legal procedure.  Not exactly sure.  But I remember thinking how bizarre it was that a reenactment was part of the process.  What disturbed me the most, though, was that the people in the community where the crime took place, and perhaps some of the family of the victim, were out there too.  And they were angry and hysterical, of course.  They themselves wanted blood!   It was like the investigators and police were given them a chance to lash out at the murderer.  I just thought it was so unnecessary - the reenactment, the tipping off of the reenactment so a mob could turn out, etc..  Just weird.  And I'm pretty sure I said to Kade, "Gosh, couldn't imagine this playing out like this in the USA."  But the more I lived in Thailand, and the more I reflected back on my year in Tashkent and summer in Alberta, there were many moments like this when I make quick criticisms of the strange land I was in without always having the full picture in front of me.  Travelers and tourists do this.  And you might even learn later that what you'd seen was taken out of context or there indeed was something akin to it or worse in your own country.  Just proved to me how blind we could be, I could be. 

"When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable."   - Clifton Fadiman

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rajabhakti Park - Hua Hin, Thailand

This is a newly-constructed park in a relaxing beach town about three hours south of Bangkok.  It was built to honor seven great kings of Siam.  See if you are impressed as I am.  Truly, what human beings can conceive of and put into action, when there's the effort, the money and the will, is truly awe-inspiring.  This coming year, when I encounter an individual, family, community or business that seems "stuck in a rut," I am just going to tell them about Rajabhakti Park.

To discover a bit more about the Thai beach town Hua Hin and some experiences Kade and I had there, click here

Thursday, September 15, 2016

MJ Wear

my Michael Jackson t-shirt 

To see how I made this MJ shirt purchase, just see the video below.  Start at the 7:30 mark, when I buy an iced coffee.  At outdoor markets in Bangkok, you must know how to haggle. 

wearing my shirt in Hendersonville, NC

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We Want Beer

You thought only Ashevillians loved beer?!??   Thais love beer too!  And so do Americans and Israelis!  Several years ago Mosh and I joined Kade and her friends/colleagues at Bangkok's& German beer hall!  You'd think you were in Bavaria! Established almost 15 years ago, Tawandang Microbrewery was named by Time Magazine as "the world's greatest Thai-German bar and restaurant."  Of course, you can't have a good beer without delicious food.  And since you're in Thailand, would you expect this beer hall to go solely with German cuisine?!?  Oh, no.  It's East meets West in Bangkok.  Just take a look at their recommended dishes.  Tawadang seats 1500 rebel rousers accommodates 2000. That's about all of Headland coming in to dine every night!  Although Thailand produces one of the best beers around, Singha Beer, let's see if Bangkok made it into Zane Lamprey's 25 Best Beer Cities In The World.  See any surprises?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vineyards in Thailand

Thailand wine tours: Where to spend a weekend in the vineyards
About 20 years ago Thailand took to wine producing with its characteristic defiance of international norms, rejecting the age-old traditions that say wine grapes can't be grown further south than Cairo or Lhasa. Breaking those rules, vineyards across Thailand's three distinguished winemaking regions now produce quality wine 1,770 kilometers further south than old school thinking dictates.

For a more comprehensive look at Siam Winery, click here.  And for an inspiring look at a wine tasting at a wheelchair-friendly bistro at the Hua Hin Vineyards (Thailand), go here.   If this man's pursuit of living does not move you and motivate you to overcome your own circumstances, perhaps it's time to check your pulse.  When you finish with these winery videos, I'd encourage you to go to his YouTube channel just to see how he - and he's a foreigner there - enjoys beaches in Thailand, and how he maneuvers his wheelchair in markets, and around the city of Bangkok and at tourist sights all around the country.

To learn more about Khao Yai Winery, click here.

Without question, getting out of your little town (like Headland, AL) or out of your big city (like NewYork) and going to new and different places exposes you to a broader range of ideas and ways of living that you can incorporate into your own life, and into your own community, when you return back to it.  I think of the Asheville family that owns several properties downtown.  One huge benefit the city has received is that members of this family live in Vancouver, BC (Canada) part of the year, and they have been active in enlivening Asheville's downtown with concepts they see working in Vancouver.  Anyone who knows Vancouver, knows that besides being considered the most beautiful city in all of North America, it has a vibe and quality of life that wows people.  I don't think it's a coincidence that Asheville, a city with a downtown that just thirty years ago was bleak in many respects, has experienced an incredible renaissance.  This family has played a big part, as have  other visionaries who saw great potential here and made things happen.  So when I see the vineyards in Thailand, I wonder what more Asheville can learn from this, and I wonder what Headland (my hometown) and Alabama can learn from this.  And if we're not able to dream big like this and we're not able to act on those dreams, what are the roadblocks?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Great Escapes

Where do you go if you're looking to escape the city?  Why not an English country farm (actually, commonly referred to as "the New Zealand of Thailand") just a little over two hours from Bangkok.  If you don't want to fly to New Zealand or if you can't fly there, create it in your own backyard. The owners of this property had a vision, and it's been a popular hit, especially for Thai tourists.

This is a helicopter ride above the property.

Bow, a Bangkok friend of mine, decided to visit The Scenery with her friends.

Here's a good write-up (w/ pictures) of a visit an American made to The Scenery Farm in Thailand.   Adjacent to The Scenery is a property whose theme/design is a Swiss valley.  Here's their resort site.  And to further show you the popularity of exotic themed resorts in Thailand, scroll down for a look.

w/ Bow on a visit to Bangkok

Friday, September 9, 2016

If You Build It

 If you suddenly were dropped down into the middle of this scene, where would you think you are?
Would you think, here???

This promotional video was shot shortly after it opened; shows the inside and out of the village.  Quite unique!

Here's an aerial shot of Palio Khao Yai, they say.  Although, to me it looks like the village in miniature.  Or could this be Instagram?  Here's their Facebook page showing more images.

And the Italian theme doesn't stop here.  In the Thai beach town Hua Hin, this has just opened.  Here's another look.  Geared heavily towards shopping.