It's time to escape the Toronto winter for warmer climes and an opportunity to replenish my stock of semi-precious stones and silver beads so I am off to Thailand on the 9th of January for a couple of months. I will be stopping in Singapore for a couple of days en route. Singapore is a place I have not yet visited and I am looking forward to it immensely. I will be taking a direct flight from Singapore to Chaing Mai, with no stops in Bangkok yet. After a few weeks in Chaing Mai and probably a number of side trips, I will have a week's beach vacation in Phuket, then 5 days in Bangkok for some serious shopping. Then it's home to WORK and creates some more wonderful one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for your shopping pleasure! If there is something special you would like me to look at while I am away, please email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I go to the internet cafe almost every day to catch up with the news and in particular the activities of my two newly minted grandchildren Emily and Liam. I will also be working in the silver studio and also expect to spend some time at the Batik studio plus I never know what the wonderful artists from the northern hill tribes will have and of course the antique shops!!!! Check in again soon, I will be updating this frequently.

I am not much of a tourist, particularly when it's on an organized bus tour but as the elephant farm was a couple of miles in the bush off the bus route with no tuk-tuk or taxi, I chose a small group tour in a mini-bus and I am glad that I did.

We first went to a small paper-making facility where they make very nice paper out of elephant dung!

Then to see the beasts. They were amazing and performed lots of great tricks, even doing "handstands" and walking upright. They played soccer, had a band, and painted pictures with watercolor. Following this we rode on their backs through the river and through the jungle for about an hour, stopping at tree-high stalls to buy bunches of bananas and cane sticks. The long trunks came searching over their backs, until they located the food, which was then gently taken from us and, curving through the air in a graceful ark, found its target and into their mouths, bananas a whole bunch at a time!

A long lazy bamboo raft rides down the river, then a bumpy ride in an ox cart led to a huge buffet lunch in a lovely building on the river's edge.

Following lunch, we went to the Monkey School which was fun and amusing, the highlight for me being a tiny baby monkey who contentedly sat on my hand and played with my necklace.

The day ended with a visit to the butterfly and orchid farm.

It was a fun day and I can understand why it's one of the main attractions for tourists coming to Chaing Mai.