Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Phase II

Today we left the beautiful beaches of the south and headed north...ish....I think.  I really need to look at a map! We are in Nong Khai.  We're going to spend a few days here before we head to India. Tomorrow we're headed to Laos, to do what you ask? Beats me, but enough of the future events. So today..... We woke up early and caught our taxi the airport.  Took a couple short flights and taxi ride and here we are.  A friend of Jordan's that he knew on his mission picked us up.  Riding side saddle on the back of a scooter in a dress, now there's something I've actually never done in another country.  It was kind of fun though.  We dropped off our bags and had some lunch. I was becoming more comfortable with the food....until tonight, but more on that in a minute. Then we went to a statue garden.  It's this huge garden, filled with Buddhist and Hindu statues.  They're beautiful, and intricate.  I wish that I had more knowledge of these cultures so that I understood the scenes and symbols that I was seeing.

You could spend hours there. Next, it was off to the market.  The only way I can even think to describe this, is like a huge swap meet.  I remember when my Grandma Holgate lived in California.  Whenever we'd go visit her we'd go to the swap meets on the weekend.  Rows upon rows upon rows of people selling things.  Anything from underwear to food.  A bit of overstimulation for this quiet Wyoming girl.  I didn't buy a single thing. I'm a very poor shopper. I've been told I have the opposite of buyers remorse. Instead of buying and later feeling bad about it, I DON'T buy, and then later feel bad about it. I'm trying to overcome this horrible problem :D

So tonight, I had my first "food scare." Some members of the church invited us out to dinner.  It sort of in the form of a melting pot type dinner.  Bunch of raw ingredients thrown into a pot, simmered and stirred.  Other dishes were served as well that were already cooked.  One of the dishes brought out was a fish carcass with squid and other types of sea food and lots of vegetables.  It actually looked quite delicious. One of the women dished me up a nice big spoonful of it. I was in the process of trying to eat something else.  Just as I was headed for this particular food, Jordan stops me with, "Umm...there's cashews on top of that." There weren't any in the portion that I'd been served but Jordan had seen them. So then he had to proceed to explain why I wouldn't/couldn't eat this particular dish.  They felt horrible, I felt horrible that they felt horrible. But, everything else was good :D Someone up there's lookin out for me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Paradise, thy name is Thailand.

The last couple of days have been magnificent in here in Thailand.  We're in the southern part of Thailand called Krabi.  On Saturday we took a boat tour of some of the islands. The sun, the sand, the beautiful blue-green water, it truly is picturesque, and my pictures in no way do it justice. And words, well words just are not sufficient to be able to describe it.  We did a little bit of snorkeling, a little bit of exploring, and a whole lot of soaking up the magnificent sun.  I've never actually done any serious snorkeling, nor have I been anywhere where the snorkeling  is considered good.  And while we may not have been in any prime spots, it was very much amazing.  The colors are so bright! I never knew the colors contained within my crayon box could become so alive. I woke up the next morning with a fist-sized bruise on my left shin.  I honestly have no idea what happened, but I'm maintaining that a fish punched me in the leg.

One of the many views from the boat
 Sunday we took things easy.  Jordan had several assignments he needed to finish for school so we slept in a bit and I watched a movie or two while he worked on school.  We went and had lunch, another food success.  Sweet and sour chicken this time.  And then I went and had a Thai hot oil massage.  It was very good.  I could have used a bit more pressure but I didn't want to press my luck.  At first, I'll be honest, I was just a bit uncomfortable.  Let's just say that with these massages you aren't as covered up as you are with a traditional massage you may get in the states. And then some tiny Thai lady is crawling all over you twisting things this way and that, massaging here and there.  After the initial shock of it all, I ended up liking it quite a lot.  And where an hour massage in the states will run you somewhere between $50-$70, I paid less than $10, so can't really complain much!

Today has been my favorite day so far.  Today we went kayaking/canoeing.  It wasn't really a kayak and it wasn't really a canoe, it was hybrid of the two.  But the same concept of both.  We maneuvered through a mangrove forrest into a small and peaceful lagoon.  We saw small caves and beautiful greenery. I was attacked by a monkey.  I'm 0 for 2 with the animal life in this country. People have been feeding these monkeys for years and now they expect it and just come and take things.  We had a plastic bag with out water in it, which just happened to be in between my feet in the boat.  One of the monkeys scrambled down and tree, jumped in, tossed aside Jordan's snorkeling gear and took it.  I may have had screamed a bit, okay a lot....  We're both lucky I didn't flip our little boat!  The whole journey took about 2 1/2 hours.  It was beautiful.  I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. The views and the peacefulness was simply breathtaking.  I wanted to just stay and float for hours. Soaking up the sun.  Listening to the water ripple and the wind rustle the trees.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Well I survived my first day of authentic Thai food and nothing bad has happened yet, as in, I haven't had to use an epi pen!  A great accomplishment I believe!  Although 24 hours down and I'm pretty sure I'm just a tad dehydrated.  Need to push that water.  The heat, or more precisely the humidity, isn't quite as bad as I anticipated, but it's definitely not great either.  Now I know why I don't live in the southeastern US.  No thank you.  Today I'm exhausted, to say the least.  Of course between "jet lag" and my own insomniac issues I did not sleep well last night.  We arrived at our hotel around 3am and I think I feel asleep around 4 and woke around 6:30. Even after over 36 hours of traveling, my body resisted.  So I should be able to sleep tonight, I hope.  Right now we are in Krabi, which is in the souther part of Thailand.  One word, beaches! Gonna take some boat tours tomorrow, hang out in the sun.  Looking pretty forward to it.

Today we just walked around Bangkok a bit.  Really it's just like any other big city.  Noisy, lots of traffic, lots of people.  Stinky.  I don't know that it's really sank in that I'm actually in Thailand.  Hopefully tomorrow will change my mind!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Here We Go.......

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” 
 J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's good for the soul. At least it's good for mine!  My thoughts are you can find adventure in any form, all you must do is simply look.  Just a couple of weeks ago my 4-year-old niece, after a full fun-filled day at the water park, remarked, "This is the best day ever!" And so it was.  Well, if there IS any kind of consensus on what an adventure looks like, I suppose I'm about to embark on the quintessential adventure.  Thailand and India, a full 3ish weeks.  Wow.... This is, actually, the longest trip I've ever taken.  Most of excursions last at most 10 days.  But here I am, sitting in the San Francisco airport, thinking about the next 24 hours....all of which includes airports and airplanes and cramped spaces.  But after that's all said and done....there you have it. Adventure. With all the traveling I do, I actually haven't been anywhere new in quite some time.  To say this place is new, is a bit of an understatement. But I'm excited, and a bit nervous of course.  But that good nervous, when you know it's going to be fabulous, even the not-so-fabulous stuff will still be fun and exciting. 

It's painfully obvious I'm not so fantastic at this whole blogging thing, as evidenced by the two posts out of 10 posts from my Guatemala trip.  But I'll do my best, as I've promised my grandma that I would :D So stay tuned!