Friday, October 31, 2014

Chang Mai on Foot

Once Tanner got here we flew from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai for 5 days.  It was the first time we had flown together in a commercial plane.  Our flight was in the afternoon, so once we got there we checked in to our hotel and took it easy.  We got Mexican food that night.

Out first day in Chiang Mai we didn't have any plans.  We walked the streets and explored.  We got fruit from a small fruit cart and ate as we walked and enjoyed the city. 

We walked around a temple we found.  The details on their buildings is amazing!  Everything is so intricate. 

(This made me think of the phrase "modest is hottest" but Thai style)

The plaque by this statue was so amusing to us.   It said something along these lines: There was this monk who was incredibly beyond handsome.  He was so good looking that he was a temptation to all the women and men he encountered.  He felt bad about that so he asked to be turned into a less desirable person.  This was the result.

After the temple we walked around more and found a tourist shop.  We set booked zip lining and a day tour for the next couple days.

As we continued exploring the city we found some fun shops.  We bought a sturdy, wooden connect four game.  We have already played it a lot and feel like it's going to be a practical souvenir that we will use for years.

We also found a shop that had wooden postcards.  We picked a couple and send them to our families. 

We found a really incredible italian restaurant!  

We ate a divine lunch, got massages, and enjoyed waling around the city until dinner.  I usually like to have things planned out and know what I am going to do while on vacation, but it was really nice to wander and experience the city that way.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Rest of Bangkok and a Glorious Reunion

After a long day adventuring in Bangkok, we met up with our van and they dropped us off near a restaurant we wanted to try.  We had heard that the restaurant Sunrise Tacos was good.  There were TEN DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALSA!  We were in heaven!  I ordered cowboy tacos.  I didn’t read the description well enough.  I thought it was just 3 hard tacos (which I adore), but the meat was like sloppy joe meat.  Not so good.  I ate 2 of the 3 and had a few bites of Karly’s burrito which was really good.  

The restaurant was close to a mall called Terminal 21.  We walked around and window shopped.  We got some ice cream and Abby and I had a good chat.  They had MOVIES IN ENGLISH at the theater!  So half of us saw “The Fault in our Stars” and the other half saw something else.  We didn't realize how much we had been missing carpet until we saw it at the theater

The movie didn’t start until 10:45 and I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the night before so I was worried that I would fall asleep but I didn’t.  It was a treat to be in the theater and enjoy a show in English.  It got done around 12:30 and I was SOOOO tired.  I don’t do tired well.  I am usually really quiet and grumpy.  Occasionally I get to the point where I am really loopy.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it happens I usually find things SO funny and cry from laughing.  I hit that point on the taxi ride home.  We were on our way back to the hostel and I was looking out the window.  I saw a construction worker working in a hole and he was wearing black and white.  The way he was bend over and the clothes he was wearing (and the extreme tiredness I was feeling) registered him as a panda bear!  I was so thrown off and so tired that I started laughing really hard.  I could hardly breathe and started crying.  None of the girls knew what was going on!  I tried to tell them what I had seen (or more like what I had thought I had seen), but every time I tried to tell them it was funny all over again.  I was a mess!  

Once we got home it was close to 1 and I Skyped Tanner.  He was finishing up the closing on our house and thought he’d know within the next few hours if he could buy a plane ticket and join me in a couple days.  I sent him the best flight options I had found and dropped off to sleep around 2am.  The next morning I was up at 7:30 to get ready for church.  When I got up I saw an email from Tanner that he’d bought his plane ticket and would be in Thailand about 48 hours later!!!!!  

We got to go to an international ward.  Once again it was nice to enjoy something in English!  After church the volunteers headed to the airport to go to Cambodia.  I had talked to Tang and she had offered to let me stay at her house for a couple night while I waited for Tanner.  She hadn’t gotten back to me about the address so I was all alone in the big city with all my luggage.  I walked around for a little while and ate lunch at a cute French bakery.  They had wifi so I used that and hung out there for a while. 

 I still hadn’t heard back from Tang and I was REALLY tired.  I decided that I’d go back to the movie theater and go to a movie.  That way I could have somewhere cool to sit and take a nap.  I caught a taxi to the theater.  I ended up staying awake and enjoying the movie.  It was a romantic comedy in Hindi with English subtitles and was about 2 ½ hours long.  

When the movie ended I saw that I had just missed a call from Tang.  I got in touch with her and got the address to her house.  I grabbed some food and then took a taxi to her house.  The taxi ride was close to half an hour.  It was dark and I was alone in the taxi.  He was taking a lot of back roads through empty neighborhoods.  I was glad I had a cell phone and kept it in my hand the whole time.  He got a bit lost so I called Tang and she told him where to go.  By the time I got there and got settled it was around 8 and I was exhausted.  I was also feeling a little like it was Christmas eve since Tanner was going to be there in about 36 hours.  I went to bed at 8:30 and slept for 14 hours!  I passed the day by FaceTiming with my parents and watching the Simpsons.  Tanner’s plane was scheduled to land at 11:40.  

I headed to the airport at 9:00 and ate at Burger King and read while I waited.  At 11:45 I went to the area where Tanner would exit customs.  I had butterflies and it felt like an eternity waiting for him.  Finally around 12:30 I saw him!  He gave me a great big, long hug and it was wonderful!  We caught a taxi back to Tang’s and I was so so happy to hold his hand as he told me about his flight.  

Here we are the next day with birthday doughnuts at the airport.  Tanner has his birthday while he was traveling, so we got doughnuts instead of having birthday cake.  That's way better in my opinion--I don't care for cake myself.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Grand Palace, Phra Nakon and the reclining Buddah

After the rose garden our van drove us to the grand palace.  Once again it cost about $40 to get in and get a tour guide.  We didn’t care to have a tour guide, but the van drivers set it all up. He was going to take us a couple other places too so we decided it was fine and just went with it.  Our guide took us around the grand palace and shared bits of history and information.  We saw the famous Jade Buddha.  A heavy down pour hit right about then so we stayed near the Jade Buddha for a few minutes then got walked over to a large mural on the wall.  We listened as our guide told us the history of Thailand through the painting.   We spent about an hour walking around learning about the history.  Abby was really hoping that we could catch a glimpse of the king, but he wasn't anywhere to be found.  Turns out he doesn't even live at the grand palace any more.

You aren't permitted to take pictures in the room with the jade Buddah, but this is from outside.  I was surprised by the size.  I though that it would be bigger.

Palace guard 

Our tour guide

Next we headed by boat to Phra Nakon.  There is a replica of Cambodian Angkor Wat.

We didn’t stay there long as we told our guide that we’d like to see the reclining Buddha and it was close to closing time.  As we were heading to the reclining Buddha the driver said, “Look! An alligator!”  He then pulled over and we watched.  It was NOT an alligator, but a monitor lizard.  That is basically a non-venomous Komodo dragon (which happen to be one of my least favorite things on this planet).  It was swimming through the water then we watched as he climbed out of the water and onto the rocky shore with this his nasty, sharp, long claws.  It was really horrible.  The good news is that he wasn't a Komodo dragon.  We headed on our way and got to Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha.  Our guide paid the entrance fee with the money we’d paid him earlier.  We also each got a free bottle of water with our ticket!  The reclining Buddha was inside a building and took up basically all the room inside.  It was close to the length of a swimming pool!  We couldn't even get a picture with the whole thing because it was so big!  He was laying on his side.  The bottoms of his feet were made of mother of pearl. 

Rose Garden

After the floating market we went to the Rose Garden.  It was pretty, but nothing too exciting.  We paid $2 to walk around the grounds.  

There was a little farmers market that we walked around.  We ate lunch there and took some pictures.   

Lindsie wanted to take a picture with this scare crow, but she was having a hard time.  I decided to show her how to pose with him.

Floating Market

We rented a van for the day.  It drove us around the whole day and was roomy and nice.  We started by driving about 1 1/2 hours outside of Bangkok to the floating market.  It was more expensive than we expected but I’m glad I did it.  It was about $40.  That got us a boat ride that took us through the floating market for an hour, a small shop by a coconut plantation, and to a temple up the river. 

While we were in the market they rode slowly and gently.  When we were traveling between places they would take the boat up to full speed.  The front of the boat would tip out of the water, drops of water would splash our skin, and we’d occasionally be bumped off our seats a few inches.  That was almost as fun as the market!  At the market I got some mango and sticky rice (I love that stuff) and saw a lot of overpriced goods.

Pants that we bought up in Chang Mai were starting at 650 baht (we paid 120 baht in Chang Mai)!  So we looked, enjoyed and took pictures.