Songkran! Worship in Water

Songkran (the Thai New Year Celebration) is celebrated over three days. This is an ancient Buddhist holiday marked by the bathing of Buddha statues, pouring out of water blessings on loved ones and strangers and other ancient religious rites. Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand and in many other countries in Southeast Asia.

This year we were honored to be invited by our friend, Wanvisa, to celebrate the first day of Songkran (yesterday) with her. We started the day with a visit to ancient Wat Chang Khum. It was lovely to start the day with quiet prayers, meditation and Buddha bathing. I took this photo of Wanvisa standing in front of this Spirit Tree. These other photos were the last I was able to take because…

Chiang Mai is home to the “world’s largest water fight” for Songkran and I put my camera away!

Video of Songkran Water Fun

Our friend, Monique, was able to take the above video of the craziness that ensued for the rest of our day.

We loaded into the truck with a large vat of icy water, lots of buckets and water guns. It was so much fun to experience with Sally, Wanvisa’s daughter. It is truly a wonderful holiday for children. We returned home exhausted, throughly soaked but delighted.

For the next 2 days there will be water and dousing everywhere. If I’m brave enough to venture out, I may put up more pictures. I hope you enjoy these. Sawadee Pee Mai Ka! (Happy New Year! )

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Finding Our “Perfect Home” in Chiang Mai

Kathy and I are so happy to be back in Chiang Mai and I’ll be writing much more about why in the coming weeks. We’ve been here a week, and girl!, it’s been a busy one. First on our agenda was finding a place to live. Last time we were here we just walked around and found one on our own. This time we used a wonderful service, Perfect Homes. A lovely young woman, Kwang, took us around town to several places. She truly helped us to find exactly what we wanted!

We are right in the heart of the city, close to malls, movies, restaurants and museums. That’s our building peeking out between the trees.

This is the view from our rooftop.

There are two pools, at least one pool was a big must have for me.

It’s a large building with lots of common areas for visiting.

Our actual apartment is a studio, big enough for the two of us. We have really embraced a minimalist life style.

I love having a kitchen, something we didn’t have in our last Chiang Mai apartment.

There’s even a gym! (A little pricy though.)

I love an apartment that comes with a built-in altar!

We even have a balcony, which looks out upon this community.

There are several restaurants, massage spots and even a mini mart in our building. Very convenient!

A desire for Kathy was a bathtub, very rare in Chiang Mai apartments. We have a lovely one!

This is our hall, there’s lots of security to enter.

I love walking past these grazing cows on my way home. They are right next door!

We are truly grateful for our new home! We would love to have you come visit! If you have questions about travel to or life in Chiang Mai, we’d love to share our experience. Contact us here or at boltraveling@gmail.com.

♡Hasta Luego Mexico♡

Tomorrow morning Kathy and I will be leaving Mexico. We will also be leaving Winnie, our well loved RV, and Kahlo, our beloved dog. We have really enjoyed our year and a half of RV life. We visited 22 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. We found and fell in love with Kahlo, met lots of wonderful people and have so seen much beauty.

However Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, has been calling our names and we’ve decided to return for a year. Winnie will remain here in the safe keeping of the Mona Lisa RV Park.

Kahlo will also remain here for the year. We believe she will be happier here than in an apartment in Thailand. She has a best friend, Lucky, and Lucky’s owner, Javier, will take good care of her while we are gone.

We will miss her very much and probably miss RV life too. However this is the life we have chosen to live…a life of “home-free” travel, and sometimes sad good byes.

Turistas Por un Día

Yesterday BOLT had lots of fun being Ensenada tourists for a day. While Kathy and I are enjoying the simple life here at the Mona Lisa RV Park, there is not much excitement. So, along with our neighbor we set out to have some fun. We caught the mini-bus just outside our gate and within thirty minutes we were in the center of town. From there we had a great day! Let me show you in pictures. Our first stop was lunch. We ha a delicious and inexpensive meal at Antojitos Lula. Three meals, including soup, appetizers and beverages was 300 pesos ($15) total! Definitely a place where we will return. We worked off our lunch by strolling through the busy streets of downtown Ensenada, window shopping and just taking in the sights, sounds and colors. We visited this really cool museum. The Museo Histórico Regional is a small museum set on the site of a former prison. You can visit the former cells and there are exhibits about early life in Baja. I especially enjoyed practicing my Spanish with one of the curators. We both agreed that: “En todo el mundo la mayoria de los prisioners son inocentes.” That most are imprisoned for lack of money. Our walk continued to the cruise ship harbor. A big ship was in port so there were lots of vendors out. We are savy enough to know not to buy anything, it was all overpriced but fun to see. Our last stop was the beautiful Instituto Nacional de Antropologia y Historia. This is a fairly large museum and we didn’t have time to explore it all. The part we visited replicated a cave and had anthropological finds exhibited throughout. Another place we will definitely return to. We most definitely had the perfect day of tourism and we were happy to return to our peaceful Mona Lisa home.

!Es una vida maravillosa de perro!

It is truly a wonderful life for a dog here in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico!  In the U.S. Kahlo was almost always on a leash when outdoors and she spent a lot more time with us in the R.V. 

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Here at the Monalisa R.V. Park Kahlo has found a new way of life and we have too.  There are a lot of dogs living here (at least 9, including Kahlo). As there is no traffic here, they all run free during the day.  At first, I was very cautious about letting Kahlo join in the fun but now she runs with the pack for hours out of each day. 

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All of the dogs and their owners are very friendly.  It is interesting to see dogs playing together in this way. Nikko, the alpha male, keeps everyone in line. Kahlo is very submissive towards him and he is very gentle but firm with her.

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Another big difference from the states is that dogs run freely on the beach here. Kahlo absolutely loves this!  She is a really fast runner and loves to chase and be chased by her buddies.

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I love all the dogs here but I think Lucky is one of my favorites. He was a stray, in terrible shape, until Javier took him in.  Javier is the groundskeeper here and a lovely man.  Thanks to him Lucky is in great shape now!

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We are really happy to have found this puppy paradise and I am pretty sure Kahlo is too!

 

 

 

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa! We adore you!

The Mona Lisa RV Park and Motel is far from the fanciest or most modern place in Ensenada but we find it absolutely perfect for BOLT! 

We are right next to the Pacific Ocean, separated by a rocky breakwater. There is a stone stairway that leads down to a clean, shell strewn beach. When the tide is out you can walk along the ocean for miles.

Of course, the ocean is beautiful, but the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is all the art work here. There are murals and sculptures all over, many of them depicting Mexican history and Toltec and Aztec sacred figures.
All the necessities of life (groceries, laundry, drinking water) are within walking distance. Plus there is a sweet little mini bus that comes practically to our door and takes you right into Ensenada Centro.

Things are a little run down but the staff is wonderful and very helpful. We have a great spot for our Winnie. It looks out onto the crashing waves and has a little table, outdoor kitchen and a palapa  (thatched shade). There is really good wifi and our spot has electric, sewer and non-potable water hook ups. A spot like this in California would be at least  $65 a day.  Here at the Mona Lisa it is  $20 a day and a month is a huge discount down  to $330 a month. 

We are really enjoying the mild weather, relaxing lifestyle and affordable prices. We will probably be here for a couple of months. Ensenada is a less than 6 hour car trip for our So Cal friends and there’s an airport for everyone else. We sure would love to see you! 

RVing on a Budget: Resorts of Distinction 

Our journey began in Montgomery, Alabama

It’s December, and Kathy and I have been traveling North America for over a year now. We’ve been to Canada, Mexico and 24 of the United States in our Minnie Winnie RV.  As full time RVers on a budget we are always looking for great accommodations at affordable prices. 

The day we bought Winnie!

We’ve stayed in Walmart parking lots, state and national parks, casino parking lots, on city streets and in private RV parks.  Right now we are staying at one of our favorite places: Mountain Lakes RV Resort.  This is a private, members only park. I joined over 20 years ago when I was tent camping with my sons. This membership is really paying off now that we have the Winnie. One reason for this is that our Mountain Lakes membership entitles us to membership with nation wide Resorts of Distinction

Mountain Lakes Resorts, Lytle Creek, California

For $140 a year our Resorts of Distinction membership allows us 2 weeks of free camping at over 50 RV parks in the U.S. and Canada.  We were pleasantly surprised at the ease in using this product. A simple phone call or visit to the website creates a reservation within minutes. We kept expecting to see hidden costs or catches but have found none. We visited the  one park in Canada and several in the U.S.  All have full electric, water and sanitation hook up which are included at no charge. 

Rock Glen Family Resort, Arkona, Ontario, Canada
Roaring Run Resort, Champion, Pennsylvania

Each park we visited had its on unique character, amenities and community. We were welcomed warmly at each park and every stay was a positive, hassle-free experience. 

Eagles Landing, Grove, Oklahoma

All of the parks we visited had some sort of body of water. Our favorite was the one in Oklahoma, situated on beautiful Grand Lake. 

Allegany Mountain Resort, East Otto, New York

Some of the parks had very distinct communities, some with options for permanent residence.

Allegany Mountain Resort, East Otto, New York
Niagara Lazy Lakes, Lockport, New York

Use of recreational facilities, like miniature golf, swimming pools and basketball courts, is also included in our free stays.

Niagara Falls, New York

Many of the parks were very close to sightseeing attractions. Niagara Lazy Lakes RV Park was less than 30 minutes away from the falls. 

Roaring Run Resort, Champion, Pennsylvania 

Kathy and I both enjoy our daily walks. All of the parks we visited were great for walking!

Allegany Mountain Resort, East Otto, New York

We look forward to visiting more parks in the Resorts of Distinction system as we continue our travels.  Perhaps we will visit one in a place near you. Please let us know!