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Showing posts from 2017

Moving on in Vietnam.

I've never liked Vietnam as a holiday destination.  This puts me at odds with most people who go there and love it.  They love the culture, the food, the cities, the shopping and the beaches...
For sure it is as interesting as the rest of Asia, but for me, I could never escape the weight of history. I found the constant setting the scene in terms of the Vietnam war as quite frankly so horrific, that it would impact on my holiday. 


I won't repeat what we already know about the Vietnam war, described as one of the US's most controversial military campaigns. Australia's involvement included nearly 60,000 Australian military personnel on the ground. Mental and physical scars run deep across the world.
I found that on previous holidays the average Vietnamese tour guide was so concerned to set everything we saw in terms of its context if any, to the Vietnam war that it always impacted on my mood. At one point it was so bad  we would say 'No, we're British, we weren't …

Life at Embassy Place.

We're on the move again, just call me Gypsy Wren!
We took a decision when we arrived in Bangkok to take a short-term lease at Embassy Place Apartments. We couldn’t stay longer because the place will be bulldozed to make way for a new high rise development. This week we said goodbye!


But as moving is what we do, and it seemed like half a plan to take this bigger, better and cheaper apartment, even with the hassle of moving out...
In the dizzy excitement of Bangkok apartment hunting, we knew the moment we walked up the drive, that this was the one we could happily call home. 
Come visit with me and see what you think...

I have been blessed to have lived in some of the world's most wonderful cities; Hong Kong, Brussels, and Melbourne but I'm a country girl at heart, I can’t live feeling hemmed in. 
I like the frenetic pace of life in these big cities, but I do need a retreat, a place of Zen calm.

I need to see light, have space and hear a decent dawn chorus. If I don't wake up t…

Shanghai Shenanigans!

Thirty years ago Mr Wren and I took two weeks off work to backpack around China. We ended up in Shanghai and ever since then, anyone who knows me will tell, I have always wanted to live in Shanghai.
Last week we were back in Shanghai, and as I watched the masses of people out enjoying a Sunday stroll on the Bund it was hard not to be impressed at how far China has come, since those days.


Back in 1987, we stood in Tiananmen Square, before Beijing Tank Man and the uprising. We endured several slow & tedious trains around the country before Shanghai's Bullet train became the fastest train in the world. We even called into Hong Kong on the way home and admired the skyline. Little thinking that we'd end up calling Hong Kong home or that sleepy Shanghai would give Hong Kong a run for its money as a World Financial Centre and become the world's fastest-growing Skyscraper City.

Back in the Eighties, us lovebirds stayed at the Seagull Hotel on the Bund. It seemed quite flash in th…

From Russia with love ... well sort of!

Crazy Soccer Mum is off to Russia to watch the World Cup in 2018. Try breaking that news gently to your football-mad son.


It was quite a week Down Under as Australia made worldwide news  and is rather chuffed with herself for two reasons:
Firstly Australia voted a huge rainbow yes in the same-sex marriage equality vote. When, hardly had the hugging finished, when everyone (well mostly grown men) were back hugging each other with delight when the Socceroos finally won a last-ditch place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 
Yes, whilst President Trump was tweeting about Elephants and banning (or not) the Ivory trade into the US, our Prime Minister was proudly tweeting
'The Socceroos ... are on the road to Moscow...' 


We should go we said! I've never been to Russia, Moscow would be amazing...
My son and my husband had been talking about a boys trip to the World Cup for months but missed the first ballot in a leave-anything-to-the-men and fat chance it will get done sort of a way.
But the Socc…

Ni Hao from China!

Gotta love the Chinese Immigration!
The first time I arrived in Shanghai was exactly thirty years ago and I just loved this city. In fact, I have always wanted to live in Shanghai. I love its cosmopolitan feel, its energy, its architecture, its vibe. 
I remember once saying OK four years in Melbourne and then Shanghai... well that idea never flew, the global financial crisis hit, the kids had important exams and life moved on!

So here I am ten years after my last visit to China, to get eat, drink and get married, a whole other story, standing in front of a Bangkok Chinese Immigration official, who wants to know why in 2007 I had a double entry visa to China and only went once?
Ummmmm well... Oh gosh, do you remember what you were doing ten years ago? I'm sensing this unintentional blot on my copybook could be stopping me from getting my visa to Shanghai. Or maybe it was something else?
I thought I'd been careful with all my paperwork... I’m here to apply for a tourist visa. I read…

WTA Hua Hin, is this the best kept secret on the Women’s tour?

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are huge fans of Women’s tennis and indeed we are just about ready to call this year done before heading back to Australia for a family Christmas and the delights of the Australian Open.

So with a weekend to spare we thought we’d head out of Bangkok to Hua Hin to watch one of the last WTA tournaments of the year. It is a 200km drive about a 2 1/2 hour drive (on a good run) to Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. 
Can it get any better we thought, combining tennis with a beach break? This 6km stretch of beach has been popular with Thai royalty since the 1920's and although it's not my favourite beach in Thailand, we are always drawn to its easy proximity to Bangkok.  

We had a few problems finding out about the tournament and so we set off without a hotel booked, hoping that we’d be able to buy tickets once we were there. On the way down we rang a few hotels and got ourselves sorted with somewhere close to stay. We found a cute beachfront…

Inviting you to a Loi Krathong party!

Hello everyone, sorry I've been away from Blogland for a while. I disappeared into an amazing month where we had over thirty of our family and friends come from Australia, Asia, and Europe to visit us in Bangkok to help celebrate our Wedding Anniversary. 

We offered a weekend of fun and festivities and ended up with a glorious month-long celebration, with friends dropping in before and after their extended holidays all over Asia.
During this period Thailand was at the culmination of a year's mourning for the late King Bhumibol Abdoulaye. It was not the easiest time to organise a party weekend as basically all celebrations across the country were put on hold. Private events could continue, however, we were all concerned to ensure these were respectful given the circumstances. 
I could well find that as event planning goes, our Friday night, complete with a Ladyboy finale, may well be up there as one of my all-time greatest life achievements, but I'll save that story for anothe…