Our Site is Moving!

By Alexis

Roses on the Road Text URL

A new adventure deserves a new website, don’t you think? We thought so! After today, you can find us sharing content over at:

rosesontheroad.com

We’ll be sharing our photos/stories/random thoughts from our “monthly country” travels over at the shiny new site. In the next few days, we will be transferring our e-mail subscribers to the new site and will make this site hidden, so update your bookmarks today!

Thanks for following along with us 🙂

P.S. Please bear with us if there are any broken links or technical errors (and let us know if you see a glaring one!)…we’re figuring out all this new fangled website stuff as we go.

Photo Friday: Hawaiian Sunset

By Alexis

Palm trees at sunset on the Big Island, Hawaii

The first night I met David, I remember thinking he was sooo cool for being from Hawaii. Now I’m married to him and can honestly say that, even after years of being together, I still gush over the fact that he grew up somewhere so magical (I particularly love when he speaks a little pidgin, haha). Makes me feel like I somehow snagged an exotic prince!

The summer after I graduated college, I moved out to Hawaii’s Big Island to be with David while he finished his last semester. If you haven’t been before, I can vouch for the fact that the Big Island has a little something for everybody: hiking through lush jungles, white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, decent surfing spots, stunning mountain views, and sometimes even snow to play in!

The photo above was taken at one of the beautiful sandy beaches on the dry, Kona side of the island. Since we lived in Hilo (on the wet side of the island known for it’s black sand beaches) we’d often make the hour long trip over to the Kona side and spend the day lounging on the soft sand, waiting for sunset views like this.

I really can’t imagine a place more heavenly.

Photo Friday: Child Monk Crossing

By Alexis

A child monk walks across the street in Luang Prabang, Laos

A child monk crosses the road in Luang Prabang, Laos

I’m back! Sorry for the delay in doing these Photo Friday posts the last couple weeks. I had a family emergency and had to take a last-minute flight back to the States, but luckily David was able to keep the blog going while I was away. For those curious, everything turned out okay back home and now I’m back in Thailand, worry-free 🙂

Since I took a little hiatus, I wanted to make sure my first post back was a good one, so today I’m sharing one of my favorite pictures from our time in Asia so far.

Back in the summer, David and I made a quick trip to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic so that I could get my work visa from the Thai embassy in Vientiane, the capital city on the south. We decided to make a vacation out of it and also visited the pretty little town of Luang Prabang for a couple days. I took this shot on Luang Prabang’s main tourist street, just as I was hopping into the back of a taxi truck.

I don’t know what it is about this picture, but I just love it.

The boy didn’t seem too excited to have me taking his photo, but…I mean, he just looks so cool. In my most flattering fantasies, his expression reminds me of this amazing photo by Roger Stonehouse which depicts two perfectly opposite boys.

I’m usually pretty nervous about doing street photography, but I’m so glad I had the guts to snap this shot before the moment passed.

So “Parahawking” Is a Thing in Nepal

By Alexis

Well, I didn’t want to give away our full “monthly country” itinerary just yet, but I found this video while researching activities near one of our future home in Nepal (ah!), and I just had to share it.

Did you know parahawking is a thing?

Cause I sure didn’t and it might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s apparently a mix between paragliding and falconry, and it’s just plain badass. I’m not even that adventurous of a person, but if it’s not super expesive, I’m really really tempted to give it a try.

Would you do it??

Photo Friday: Cloud Catcher in Switzerland

By Alexis

Clouds caught on a mountain near Interlaken, Switzerland

If I could afford to spend the rest of my days in Switzerland, I would move there tomorrow without hestiation. It’s such a spectacularly beautiful country. The landscape ranges from gorgeous green fields to snow-capped mountains, making it feel like heaven pretty much anytime of the year.

This photo was snapped in the mountains near Interlaken while David was off being brave (i.e. bungee-jumping into a canyon) while I was off being an introvert, quietly taking pictures of the scenery. That’s pretty much how our relationship goes: David does something awesome, and I document it.

And I’m okay with that 🙂

ALSO, today just so happens to be that same gorgeous, brave, amazing guy’s birthday! Exactly one year ago today, we were exploring the tiny town of Martigny, Switzerland. Wish we were there again today, but a sunny day in Thailand will have to suffice for now.

Happy birthday, darling David ❤

P.S. For more Photo Friday images, check out the archives here.

“I Want to Play With Fire!”

By Alexis

Fire Department in Thailand 7

One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn as a ESL teacher in Thailand is flexibility. Here, plans change by the minute and you’re expected to just go with the flow, being perpetually ready at a moment’s notice (traits that don’t come naturally to a Type-A overthinker like me).

One day this week, I had just handed out worksheets to a 2nd grade class and was having them write their names up top, when the classroom’s Thai teacher says, “Teacher, the students go outside now.”

Umm, okay?

“Pass back your papers!” I announced and gathered up the worksheets as the students ran outside. When I finished cleaning things up, I wandered around trying to find my class. After a few minutes of searching, I found them watching a presentation from the fire department.

Fire Department in Thailand 14

Fire Department in Thailand 13

Instead of miming what you should do during a fire (e.g. stop, drop, and roll), the firemen stayed true to the craziness that is Thailand and lit a real fire then let the kids come up and put it out with an extinguisher.

Somehow, I got chosen to go up first and put one out, which was actually quite terrifying. The kids loved my overdramatic screaming, haha.

Fire Department in Thailand 12

This student wasn’t scared at all! Judging from her head bandage, she’s no stranger to battle wounds.

Fire Department in Thailand 11

After that, the kids went wild as they got to try on all the uniforms (so cute) and even ride a makeshift zipline that had been set up between two trees nearby.

Fire Department in Thailand 9

There was some kind of gas mask that shot freezing cold air at the kids faces, and they made a long line to try it out one-by-one.

Fire Department in Thailand 6

Fire Department in Thailand 8

And of course they got to play around with a fire hose.

Fire Department in Thailand 5

Fire Department in Thailand 4

I’m not sure how much safety the lesson really taught because, at the end of it all, one of my second graders ran up to me and breathlessly exclaimed, “Teacher! I want to play with fire!”

Just your average Tuesday in Thailand…

Photo Friday: Monaco From Above

By Alexis

Monaco Grand Prix 2013

David and I took a trip to Europe in May 2013, and we crammed a whole lot of activities into that two week vacation. We timed it perfectly so that we were along the Mediterranean coast for both the Cannes Film Festival in France as well as the Grand Prix Formula One race in Monaco.

On the day we were in Monaco, they were having a F1 practice race, which (to my uninitiated eyes) felt just like the real deal! The city was electrified by bustling crowds and race cars screaming down the streets…

Ritzy millionaires were everywhere, cruising the streets in their Lamborghinis (I had never seen so many in my life!), kids wearing those huge headphones to protect their hearing from the roar of the race cars whizzing by, women dressed to the nines and toddling down the road in their stilletos.

I felt like a peasant in my jeans and t-shirt. But hey, I slapped on some lipstick that day, so I was at least a little fancy.

Essentially everything was shut down or blocked off in preparation for the race. We couldn’t even visit the famous Monte Carlo casino! We’re budget travellers and didn’t have official tickets for the race, so we entertained ourselves by simply walking around, people watching, and peeking through the gates they’d put up around the city to keep poor people like us from actually seeing the race.

Luckily, we knew a secret view point.

We headed up a hill to the city’s old palace, Place du Palais. From there, we had a spectacular bird’s eye view of the race as well as the gorgeous city and coastline, which allowed me to snap the photo featured above.

If you ever get the chance, definitely make a trip to Monaco during the Grand Prix in the spring, and unless you’re a die-hard F1 fan, don’t bother with buying tickets! Even on a budget, it’s a crazy, bucket-list worthy thing to see!

Funny Mistakes Happen When You Don’t Speak Thai

By Alexis

Ponds Sunscreen Thailand

I have been using Clean & Clear facewash for nearly a decade, but when we moved to Thailand I knew that I’d run out of it eventually. When that day finally came recently, I was desperate for a replacement. I couldn’t find my exact wash anywhere in Chiang Mai, and decided to look for a different brand at this random beauty shop that’s on my way home from work.

Since I am completely indecisive, I went back multiple times and sat there, staring at the dozens of options, trying to decide which one I should go with. I was wondering:

A) Which of these won’t make me break out?
B) Which ones can I find back in the States if I like it?
C) Which ones don’t cost an arm and a leg?

All of these questions were compounded by the fact that I do not speak Thai and therefore couldn’t read anything about the items in the store. The store employees also don’t speak English, so I just had to make a blind decision.

Finally, I settled on a little, yellow, trial-size package of Pond’s cream. I took it home, tried it out, and liked the way it made my skin feel. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, but when I started looking around for a full-size version, I couldn’t find it in the facewash section of any store. I looked around online and still couldn’t find it.

Then, a couple days ago, I took a closer look at the packaging and noticed something strange.

There is a picture of a tanned face turning into a white face, which I attributed to the whitening agents that are in a lot of Thai beauty products. And then on the side, I noticed there’s a little “10” followed by three Thai symbols. Could that be…SPF?

Suddenly, it clicked…

I went back to Google and instead of searching for “facewash” as I had been, I typed “Pond’s yellow sunscreen Thailand.” And there it was, confirming my suspicions.

I had been washing my face with sunscreen for weeks.

Luckily, it actually has been an okay facewash! It really has made my skin soft, haha! But, um, I don’t think I should continue using sunscreen for facewash for very long. So now I’m on the hunt again for a new facewash.

Oh, the silly things you deal with when you’re an expat…

Update: Air Asia ASEAN Pass

By Alexis

UPDATE Feb. 14, 2015: The AirAsia ASEAN Pass is live! Check here for the details.

A few months ago, I wrote about Air Asia’s plan to sell an ASEAN Pass, which would allow you to travel to 10 countries for a single, minimal cost. Well, as you know, the recent plane crash of flight QZ8501 took the lives of everyone on board and immediately (and rightfully) became the company’s top priority. The news is so sad, and I’m not sure if I would still even be interested in buying the pass if it were available, but I did want to share any potential updates. Would they be putting the ASEAN Pass on hold? Or scrapping it altogether?

I did a quick search for an update and found a post by Points With a Crew, a blogger who reached out to Air Asia directly about the ASEAN Pass release. They told him:

Hi, Thank you for your query and interest on the AirAsia Asean Pass. The product is currently not available for purchase yet and is expected to be made available within the first quarter of this year. We look forward to launch this highly anticipated product commercially and will keep the public posted via our social media platforms. Thank you.

So, for those of you still interested in the pass, it sounds like the release is currently on hold. But given the vague “is expected to be made available” phrasing, I’m not holding my breath.

Photo Friday: Monks + Lanterns

By Alexis

Young monks hang lanterns in a tree in Chiang Mai, Thailand

For this Photo Friday post, I’m sharing what I think are the best 3 photos that I shot in the past year of traveling.  Here you’ll find part 3 of 3.

The other day after dinner, David and I were walking home when we wandered by a beautiful Buddhist temple. We had nowhere else to be, so we decided to pop inside and check it out. The inside of the temple was pretty, but outside is what really caught my attention. A group of young monks were busy decorating the temple’s trees with lanterns to celebrate the new year.

The trees were surrounded by a small water feature, which made for some incredible reflections, and the sun was low enough in the sky to make some gorgeous evening light. Luckily, I had my camera with me and I was able to snap some photos. Even though my camera isn’t great with low light shots (dying to upgrade to the new Sony a7ii!), I couldn’t stop taking photos! The scene was gorgeous.

The photo above shows two of the monks holding a ladder while another monk scrambles upward to hang lanterns in the tree branches. It’s one of my favorite shots from that evening. I just love their reflection.

I don’t always like living in Thailand and I’m usually looking forward to our future, but stumbling on scenes like this definitely feels uniquely Thai and is an awesome perk of being here.

And that’s that! My 3 favorite travel photos from 2014! 🙂 Here’s to a new year of travel and photography!

(find part 1 here, part 2 here)

P.S. Check out all the previous Photo Fridays here.