Friday, September 30, 2011

The Hongs

Yesterday Stan, Beth, Michael and I went on an excursion to the islands known as the Hongs. A hong is basically a hollow island of old limestone cliffs with a lagoon inside. It took an hour and a half to get there and then we got to swim a little while we waited for the tide to be right. Swimming was challenging with the current but Michael and I tried it so we can now say that we have been in the Andaman Sea. When the water had dropped a little we got in the canoes and paddled into the first sea cave. We saw a little monitor lizard right off but it was the stone structures that were jaw dropping. I am posting a few photos here but the connection speed at our resort is slow so not too many. Anyway the second cave that we went into went on through to the interior lagoon. You had to lay back in the canoe to get through without hitting your head. But spectacular just doesn't even describe how awesome it was when we came into the lagoon.

The boat relocated to another island and off we went again in the canoes, into a long, dark cave filled with little bats. When we emerged into the inside lagoon there were other big fruit bats flying from the trees at the top of the wall. It was a very special place. Later back on the boat we made krathongs, a type of offering to respect the water is how our guides described it. Usually this is part of the Loy Krathong festival which happens in the first week of November. We had a great dinner while we waited for it to get dark for the floating of the krathongs. It included chicken curry, prawns, two grilled fishes, and kebabs. I guarantee that we have been eating very well. Just before it got dark we could see monkeys on the shore. A troop of about a dozen or more. We had also seen sea eagles and brahminy kites earlier. Finally at dark we got back into the canoes and released our decorated krathongs. Just beautiful!

So that was yesterday. Today we parted ways with Stan and Beth for a little while. They went to Bangkok to meet up with the interns and we flew up to Chiang Mai to a small resort, Kao Mai Lanna, south of the city. This is a very peaceful spot where they have furnished old tobacco barns as guest rooms. Quite a bit nicer than it sounds. Looking forward to a little more R&R before the ECHO conference gets rolling on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Phuket Fun

Well we have had plenty of fun so far here in Phuket. The weather hasn't been the best but we have worked around it. I am including a photo of Stan and Beth on our walk into town. Yesterday we took a walk on the flats after the tide went out and saw lots of cool creatures from a giant clam to a puffer fish who was stuck in a small pool (we rescued him, see pic) to brittle stars to a small moray eel. I am looking forward to a similar walk this afternoon.

Today we had scheduled to go diving but had to cancel as the weather wasn't going to make for enjoyable boating to get to the dive sites. Instead we headed to the Aquarium where we saw lots of interesting fish and invertebrates. The displays were really well done.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go kayaking in a protected area called the Hongs. Look for more pics later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday with Cherry in Bangkok

Hi ya'll

Michael and I spent Sunday after church with our sweet friend Cherry. We covered a lot of ground. First we enjoyed a bowl of noodles from a vendor on the street (see pics)and then we met Mr. Wiboon Tungyuenyong an optometrist who as a hobby makes bamboo saxophones. Michael had seen an article about him on the internet and we mentioned it to Cherry who before we even arrived had an appointment with him so that we could see the process and his instruments. I really enjoyed meeting him and learning how he makes the saxophones. Very cool.

Next we visited Loh Prasat the Metal Temple, so called because of the metal rather than tile roof (see pics). We visited a Thai cultural museum and learned all sorts of interesting stuff about Thai dance and the Royal Family and Thai history. Then at Michael's request we went to a supermarket, Tesco Lotus in this case, and learned much more by walking around looking at groceries and produce, meats and fish! It was great but made me want to be able to cook with those ingredients. Finally we went on a boat for a dinner cruise along the river (see pic of bridge at night). The dinner was wonderful. We had sea bass and river prawns along with Thai vegetable soup which was spicy and yummy, a kale,carrot and pork dish and then mango and sticky rice for dessert. Love the food. After dinner we went up on the upper deck to see the temples and palaces all lighted up along the riverfront. It was lovely.

Today we shifted south to Phuket to meet up with friends Stan and Beth from ECHO. We will be here until Friday enjoying the sea and kayaking and diving. Stay tuned for more updates.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bangkok September 23 & 24

We got in last night to the Eugenia Hotel right about midnight. Settled in after a nice shower and tried to sleep. That didn't work so well with the jet lag. Still we were up early and had a lovely breakfast before meeting Cherry and Dew, two of the International Reps from Disney's Animal Kingdom, for a day at the floating market outside of Bangkok. We had a great time trying lots of different and pretty spicy food for lunch while we sat alongside the canal and watched the vendors in boats ply their wares.

On the way back we stopped at a temple that has been covered by a large banyan fig tree. It was amazing to see how the tree has taken over the structure. What a fun first day in Thailand!

Blessings to all of you,

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This time it will be Michael and Wendy's Adventure!

Michael and I are headed to Thailand in a couple of weeks to travel around and attend the ECHO Asia conference in Chiang Mai. Stay tuned for updates from Thailand as I will of course be blogging while we are there.

We ask for your prayers for safe travel and good interactions with folks along the way. We love you all.

Wendy and Michael