A Visit to Corsica — Part One

We used the Villa Ndio visit of my daughter Kristina and her husband Julian as a ready excuse to spend a few days, for the first time, in Corsica.  We planned a three-day trip to include sailing on a car ferry leaving Nice and arriving in Bastia at the northern end of the island, but returning from Ajaccio to the south, over to Toulon.  We stayed two nights at a bed and breakfast not far from Bastia. The third night was aboard the ferry to Toulon. Here is part one of a short description of our experience.  A gallery of photographs is included at the end. Continue reading “A Visit to Corsica — Part One”

Shopping for the Shack

I serve on the Board of Directors for the International School of Bangkok (ISB) Network Foundation, an organization comprised of members who are devoted to serving the International School of Bangkok, its alumni and students, and the Kingdom of Thailand. We are dedicated to bringing ISB alumni together to maintain and support the unique relationships and experiences that tie us together and keep us connected to our time at ISB and in the beautiful Kingdom of Thailand. Visit the ISB Network website here. I went to this school from 1965 to 1968, and graduated there in 1968.  On the network board  I currently have  two titles — President, and Director of Technology. For the latter, my main function is to maintain the ISB Network website.  For the former I preside over board meetings and assist other board members in outreach, communications, and administrative tasks. I also participate in a variety of activities related to the bi-annual all class reunion, and to raise funds for the Network’s charitable programs. Much of the revenue for those programs comes from sales by the ISB Network “Shack” store.  The name for the store comes from the small beverage shop at the far end of the lane that our school was on, that served as a hangout for ISB students before and after school.  The “shack” also served as a landing for “long-tail” outboard motor boats that plied the “khlongs” or canals, of Bangkok. I myself rode these long-tail boats to and from school, as my house was on the same khlong, about three kilometers away.  The ISB Network Shack Store sells clothing items and accessories and merchandise from Thailand. This brings me to the subject of this blog post.

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Rose Expo Grasse 2018

Image may contain: flower, plant and natureAfter marvelling at the roses blooming as if overnight in our own Villa Ndio garden we went to the much anticipated annual Rose Expo in Grasse, which occurs each year in mid-May. The event features beautiful flowers mostly roses of course, and lots of lovely people. Highlights included photo ops with the past and current Miss Grasse (the latter crowned a week before the Expo), and their entourage of Rose Expo princesses. We also met up with the mayor.

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Exploring the Charms of Old Grasse

Not far from Villa Ndio sits the old City of Grasse: The Perfume Capital of the World! One can visit three major perfumeries for guided tours that run you through historical and modern methods of perfume making and lead you to boutiques where you can buy their scents and soaps. Or, you can explore the twisting turning rising falling narrow passageways throughout the pedestrian sections of the old town. Every time I go there I find a new path to explore. Each has its own blend of color, shape and light.  Windows and doors, shutters, balconies, stoops, cobblestones, shops, homes.  Some buildings are run down but most are not, looking all spruced up.  The lanes are narrow giving the sense that the buildings on either side are towering tall.  Take a look at the photos in the gallery below, and plan a visit to see for yourself!

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My Old School

While visiting Bangkok Thailand in October I took a trip down memory lane to My Old School — The International School of Bangkok.  When I went to this school for my high school years — 1965 to 1968, it was located on Soi Ruam Chai, number 15 Sukhumvit.  Sukhumvit is the name of a major thoroughfare that originates in central Bangkok and then run east and south over 60 kilometers.  The sois, or lanes that run perpendicular from Sukhumvit to the left and right have names but they are also numbered, with odd numbers on the outbound side (motorists drive on the left in Thailand) and even numbers on the inbound side.

Long ago the school moved out of town, to a new campus in Nonthaburi, Thailand, about 30 kilometers to the north.  I wanted to see the old ISB campus which was taken over by the New International School of Thailand (NIST), now celebrating its 25th anniversary.
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A Visit to Accra

May 2014 Kathy and I went to Accra, Ghana, on a work-related trip.  For details on that part of the visit see www.gsogeneva.ch  regarding  contributions to the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition initiative.  We were able to find some free time, not much, before heading back to Geneva, our home base at the time.  In Accra we were driven to the  downtown market for a brief visit there, and later strolled around the neighborhood surrounding our hotel.  These photos depict some scenes we saw there.

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Eze — Village Perché Extrordinaire

It had been years since I had last visited Eze. A recent visitor to Villa Ndio passed through there and reminded me of the incredible views from its sky high jardin exotique. So early in September Kathy and I took some old friends there.  It was less than a hour’s drive in two cars for the eight of us.  We exited the autoroute ramp shared by Eze and Monaco and found the public parking lot at the base of Eze Village some 3 kilometres later. Continue reading “Eze — Village Perché Extrordinaire”

Huilerie Sainte Anne

A stone’s throw from Villa Ndio, the Huilerie Sainte Anne is a picture of technology in transition.  There you will find the relics of ancient methods of extracting oil from olives; the mix of old and new technology and methods currently in use; and a brand new building full of shiny new machines and control panels for modern techniques. Tucked in off the Route de Draguignan, the main road running west out of Grasse, this milling operation is housed partly in buildings hundreds of years old, and one brand new one.

Many visitors head straight for the boutique, with its wide variety of olive oil blends, soaps, tapenade, and products made from the wood of olive trees.  But on request, visitors can enjoy a tour of the facilities, and then end the visit with an informed stop at the boutique.

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Red Crowned Cranes of Wellington


I was delighted to meet up with a family of red crowned cranes in the backyard of my brother’s and his wife’s new house in Wellington, Florida.  The poppa crane appeared to have a broken wing but seemed to not let it bother him much.  The mother and young crane paraded along with him as if they owned the place.  I was glad to get a few great photos of the three of them foraging for food and preening themselves.

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The Art of Nguyễn Hinh at Villa Ndio

Nguyen Hinh is a Vietnamese artist that was supported through purchases by Clint and Trudy Doggett while the Doggett family resided in Saigon, Viet Nam, 1963-1965. These works now hang on the walls of Villa Ndio. Several others can be found in the homes of Peppy’s siblings. An internet search has found no trace of Mr. Nguyen.  The paintings at Villa Ndio are wonderful reminders of our time in Saigon, before the Doggett family was evacuated to Bangkok in 1965. Photos of the paintings shown below were taken by Peppy Doggett. Click on any image to enlarge it.  You can then enlarge it further to full screen and/or start a slide show featuring all nine paintings.

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