Thailand July 1-11 2011
Long layover in SLC overlooking the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains, excited and weary for the long flight ahead. Watching movies together on plane, pretty good airplane food. Layover in Tokyo - it is surreal being in my ancestors homeland. Another long flight to Bangkok. So excited to see Todd's parents in the middle on the night in Thailand. Our first view of Thailand is in the pitch black, it looks like a metropolis, not a jungle. Their home is large and nice, our bedroom is nice and cool. I read until 4am, can't sleep, Todd can. We have church at 9am. Met Noi, very nice. We went to church and got the first real view of Thailand. It is wet and green. A city in the jungle. Our glasses automatically fog up when we exit an air-conditioned building or car. The church is in a small building where sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society all taking place in the same room. The families are all so cute. We had missionaries translate for us and then members for the other meetings. The lessons were great and the same lessons being taught back home. I felt the spirit. I also felt how much Janis loves the people there and how much they love her. We got home and snacked on cheese, crackers, and delicious Thai fruit. I needed a nap and while I napped it poured heavily. Todd woke me up for a yummy dinner with the whole family. I am jet lagged.
The next morning we went to the Floating Market, the Snake Farm, and the Rose Garden. The sun in Thailand is much closer to the Earth than in Arizona. It is warm and humid! We met Italian tourists at the Rose Garden and it was fun to see Todd talk with them. We rode and fed an elephant, held and kissed a snake, and watched an elephant and Thai cultural show. The people here seem so nice. The snake performer - you pay with your money, we pay with our lives.
We went to an enormous mall where we bought some souvenirs. It is amazing how huge this mall is, Bangkok is swarming with people, cars, traffic. We went to the beautiful Jim Thompson home. The gardens and his home are beautiful. The restaurant was delicious, but Noi's is just as good! Noi showed me how to make Coconut Soup. We went to workout at the gym, went on walks with Noi and Janis. We got manicures and pedicures at a nice salon. It was so relaxing, a nice treat. Went to the Big C, like Wal-Mart, which has a food court in the bottom floor. The street food trucks serve drinks in plastic bags, and they eat a ton of pork. We went to Que Pasa's for "Mexican" food.
We went up to the mountains, road trip!! We saw wild deer and a wild monkey at the state park, although no wild elephants. Thai girl took a picture with us, I guess Americans are a rare picture opportunity. The country has beautiful green, rolling hills with giant, golden Buddhas sitting atop of the mountains, or fields. It is eerie looking to me. We went to a meeting house, which is similar in size to our seminary buildings. We spoke to missionaries there. Their enthusiasm is inspiring. Janis knitted a blanket, Todd snoozed on and off. We went to chok-tai - hamburgers. These were delicious. It was funny how American West it looked. We heard there was a "haboob" back home, it made the Thai news!
We went to the Grand Palace with Mike, it is overwhelming, so intricate and beautiful, but it is a lot of information to take in. We went to the reclining budda, huge and again, eerie, not my favorite thing. There was a grade school on site, and I loved seeing the students in their adorable school uniforms. I love school! We went on a boat across a muddy river to the Temple of the Dawn and climbed the stairs to the top. It offered a beautiful view of Bangkok. The weirdest thing about Bangkok, to me, is how flat it is. We could see out forever it seemed. (It was a really long road trip to the mountains the day before).
We went to a park in downtown Bangkok where President Hinckley dedicated Thailand for missionary service back in the 1960s. The park was beautiful, very similar to what we have at home, except for the free exercise equipment! It is like gyms in the middle of the park, free to the public. There aren't heavy people here in Thailand.
The traffic is crazy and the drivers are defensive, Janis doesn't drive here. Being in a taxi is like an amusement park ride at times.
We went to Ayyutia, which has ancient ruins. It is cool to look at, but also sad, because they are in ruins due to war. It was extremely hot this day and we stayed anyway to watch an Elephant show. The best part happened before the show though, an elephant kissed Janis on the cheek and then grabbed her chest! They have cute personalities, yet I can't forget that they are huge animals, some with sharp tusks, and they are roaming right next to us. How can that be safe at all? One tourist, Australian I think, asked Todd to video her dancing with an elephant. She fed it bananas, soda, and kept hugging and kissing it - this massive animal. Yet, a bee was swarming around her and she got so scared of that bee that she dropped her drink and ran away from it. I couldn't hold back my laughter. Sure, I wouldn't want to get stung by a bee, but being trampled by an elephant is way more scary to me! The show was great, elephants make great dancers. They have better rhythm than I do, that is for sure.
After we sweated almost to death and were dirty and smelled like elephants, we left Ayyutia to go to a shopping mall. Getting to the mall was fine, no real traffic, but finding a parking space was another story. It seemed like there were at least 20 levels in the mall parking garage. It was worth it though. When we got to the mall, Mike treated us to ovaltine and a pastry. It doesn't sound good, but it was great! First, watching them making the ovaltine was a great show, second, it was absolutely delicious. We came home and started packing up to get ready to go home to our kids in Arizona. I was sad to leave, but ready to see my kids again! We had pizza for dinner and we tried to get some sleep before leaving in the middle of the night for the airport.
We left Thailand the way we came, in the dark. It is a beautiful country, with even more beautiful, gracious people. I can see why Mike and Janis love it so much. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I will be forever grateful to Todd's parents for treating us to a fabulous time. Most of this country flooded shortly after we left and that makes me so sad. I often wonder what beautiful sites I visited are now ruined.