Sunday, October 9, 2011

Part way back

Here I am sitting in the Tokyo Narita airport while Michael explores a bit. We are waiting for our connection to San Francisco in about 2 hours. So far so good.

Yesterday Cherry picked us up from the airport and off we went to Siam Paragon, the premier shopping mall in Bangkok. Michael wanted to see it and it is one of the wonders of the modern world. We had lunch in the food court which was impressively busy but extraordinarily organized as well. Then we got to visit one of my favorite stores, Jim Thompson to shop for silk and fine cloth. Michael seemed to think it was all worth it when we saw the Lotus, Porsche and Lamborghini dealerships on the 5th floor of the mall (8 floors all together). We drooled over (but did not touch) some of the cars for sale. They really do look like works of art.

Then we had a lovely dinner at the Eugenia Hotel with Cherry. It was a meal full of laughter and elegant dishes. A great way to end our trip.

See you soon!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On the road again

Hi everyone!

We are hitting the road today, flying down to Bangkok. We get to spend a little more time with Cherry and then head home early on Monday. It has been a great trip. The places we have seen and the food we have eaten has been amazing. But far and away the best thing has been the time we have spent with wonderful friends both new and old. Here in C. Mai we spent precious time with Rocha and Ratch and so enjoyed getting to know them better. Of course I have already talked about the great time we had with Cherry and Dew in Bangkok and the fun in Phuket with Stan and Beth. We have also met some lovely people with the conference, like Rick and Ellen Burnette who did a herculean job putting everything together. We loved getting to chat with the interns and new friends like Jitu from Delhi.

Still we are ready to head home so will see you all soon.



Friday, October 7, 2011

Market in Chiang Mai

While I was in conference workshops over the last few days Michael was exploring the city markets. I am going to let his photos do the talking for this post. In the shot of the butcher's stall note the hogshead in the corner. The fish are catfish. Again it seems I am just sending photos of food. This time it isn't cooked.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

ECHO Asia Conference

I realized that I haven't told you about the meat of the ECHO conference. That is just wrong. This has been an amazing three days.The mornings are filled with worship and devotions followed by plenary sessions that have been fascinating. This morning we heard from a medical missionary who has been working in the rural areas of Papua New Guinea for decades. She shared with us some of the efforts she has been involved with to increase the protein and energy consumption in the village diets particularly for women and children. It was illuminating how difficult development can be and yet how important the work is.

Tuesday we heard from a fellow who has been working on returning trees into impacted landscapes around the world. He started working in Niger (Sahel zone) where trees had been eliminated for decades. Standard forestry practices didn't make a dent in returning the trees. Then he realized the trees were still there just as shrubs because they had been cut down and were suckering from the roots. When the suckers were trimmed to either one or a few leaders and protected from livestock browsing the trees were able to grow. That allowed for wind breaks and shading of the ground to allow for more moisture content and it improved the crop production. Just from pruning and protecting areas that had been wastelands now look park like.

There are about a 150 delegates attending this conference many working in difficult areas or countries and yet doing amazing things with great faith. It is truly humbling.

Please pray for the attendees as they return to the places and peoples where they work, that the networking and ideas exchanged at this conference will help them as they work to assist and learn from the world's poor.


you can learn more about the conference at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Banana Rotee

Last night we had the great pleasure of dining with Rocha in Chiang Mai. It was a wonderful meal of northern thai dishes that Michael and I really enjoyed. My favorite at dinner was the pomelo salad. Then later on the way back to the hotel Rocha stopped and bought us banana rotee to try. Think bananas foster without the ice cream, YUM!
I am adding pictures from the best rotee cart in C. Mai.

Blessings to all,


Monday, October 3, 2011

Where to start? Well yesterday, Sunday, we met Ratch, one of the International Representatives at Disney's Animal Kingdom last year and his sister and brother in law and spent the day touring around Chiang Mai and eating of course. First we went to an area of traditional wood carvers. Saw some beautiful wood furniture. Oh for a cargo container to send some of this stuff home! We walked around this area where there were a number of other artisans as well, potters and musicians.

After a yummy lunch of fish balls in clear soup with fish skin crackers, see the pic, and I did enjoy it very much, we headed up to the Mae Rim area and went to an orchid farm, this green orchid with the funny black fringe was my favorite. We returned to the C. Mai to go to the old walled part of the city to have some refreshment and wait for the Sunday walking market to get set up. You could pretty much find anything there. There were also street performers and I am including a shot of a young girl from the hill tribes who was dancing.

We left the market and went back up into the hills to a restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking the city lights. It was situated right next to a waterfall. Ratch and his sister ordered for us an absolute feast. My favorite was the deep fried shrimp with taro salad in a basket of deep fried noodles. Oh and the fried mushrooms!

So now to today, we moved up to the ECHO conference hotel The Empress Chiang Mai. Everyone is coming in today so we were able to greet Stan and Beth again and a bunch of the interns from ECHO in Ft. Myers. It is always a joy to get to chat with these young and passionate individuals. Those of you at Southwest Church who have met Katie Johnson know what I am saying. The rest of the day Michael and I have been walking through Chiang Mai and he wants to point out that I shop every where I go. Well they wouldn't set up all these markets if you weren't supposed to shop, right?

Hope all is well with all of you,


Sunday and Monday

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday morning livestock market

This morning Michael and I walked into Sanpatong to the Saturday morning livestock market. It is reputed to be the largest cattle and water buffalo market in northern Thailand. We just set out in the morning and after about a 5 K walk found the market. Actually the walk itself was pretty cool as we got to see more of the area. It only took a single wrong turn before we found what we were looking for and along the way we found a white water buffalo grazing beside the road. The market was big. All kinds of cattle, buffalo, chickens and fighting cocks, geese and these big beetles on a string. Not sure what they do with the beetles. I will have to ask tomorrow when we see Ratch and Rocha.

And of course it wasn't just for livestock it was a huge flea market. I liked the fishing gear that included some hand made cast nets and little fish trap baskets. And near the livestock there were halters and things for the cattle. I can never resist a good cow bell! We wandered around for a while and then headed back to the main road where there was more market. We have seen lots of durian and I have to give Michael credit for trying it. I can never get past the smell.

So about noon we headed back to our resort, thinking we could get a taxi along the way. A good number of them past us but never stopped even when Michael waved. It worked out okay though because right about lunch time we were at this great little noodle shop near the Kaomai Lanna. So we had noodles with chicken and pigs blood in curry soup. It was very good although I didn't finish my pigs blood.

This afternoon I went for a swim in the big and beautiful pool here at the resort and then spoiled myself with a foot massage at the spa. An hour foot massage for about $15, you just can't beat it.

Hope you are all well and enjoying the blog. I can't tell because no one ever leaves comments. If you want more information about items I have mentioned or just more photos or food descriptions let me know.

Blessings to all,