Hi, readers. You have hopefully not abandoned me in the last week and a halfish. I've been on vacation. We went to Bangkok for an education conference, and stayed in a very nice hotel that the conference was held at. I walked some around Bangkok, taxied some, rode a tuk-tuk, went to a night market, and oh yeah, really did learn some stuff there. Bangkok was fine, I'm glad to have gone, I had ice cream three times a day every day (three) that we were there for the conference.
Then afterwards, three friends of mine (incidentally, all female since none of the other male teachers wanted to go out.) and I headed out to Hua Hin, a nice little beach spot we had found about 200 kilometers out from Bangkok. We started out on the train (44 Baht [that's a dollar and a half]), but then when that was behind schedule and slow, we hopped off early and hired a covered pickup to take us the rest of the way. Dad, yes, we rode in the back of a pickup on the freeway in Thailand. Sorry, might have broken a few safety guidelines there. The guest house/bungalow that we stayed in was on the beach. Like, when the tide came in, it lapped at the bungalow foundation on the beach. It was amazing. Anyway, then, day one, we swam some in the ocean, went to town to get some cream for our friend that got stung by a small jellyfish, ate at a local restaurant, walked back on the beach, got soaked, sat our and watched the tide, then to bed.
The next day, I woke up before sunrise and awoke my fellow vacationers for the sight of an ocean sunrise. It was incredible.
I don't really need to say more than this picture already says, do I?
Then, one of the girls and I headed up the small mountain nearby to see some shrines and visit the monkey colony. That was pretty neat, the monkeys just run around the little tourist-y shop area. There were cute little baby monkeys.
We spent a good chunk of the rest of that day in the water, swimming, looking for animals in the ocean. Then we went into town, had a late lunch, went to a mall and got some ice cream, school supplies, and a movie. Next, we went to two night markets, and I held bags while the girls shopped. We went back to the bungalow, ordered pizza, and watched a movie. Just relaxed, no pressure to go do something on some schedule, fluidity. It was really amazing.
The next day, we woke up early and watched the sunrise again. I don't know if it was the fact of the ocean being a straight, defined line, or what, but I just sat and watched the sun rise. You could do that, see it move. As you watch the sun break through the clouds, hear the ocean lapping on the beach, you can feel the quiet power. For our guys' group, we're going to go through some Triple-A soothsayers, and the next one is the one with the vine. I read it the night before in the dark and then that morning with the tide. He makes everything, do we do well to be angry when things don't go our way? Lots of reasons make this a timely reading for me.
So after the sunrise, we went back up the monkey mountain with cameras this time.
One of the girls was sitting on a bench nearby this fountain with algae-infested water when a swimming monkey leapt out of the fountain into her lap. It was pretty funny, and I had unfortunately just turned my video camera off. :( After the monkeys, we lazed around the rest of the morning before taking a mini-bus back to Bangkok and flying back to Kabul. The flight experience was OK, we missed one flight but then made it to our next destination just fine. The downside is that our final flight over was overbooked and one of our teachers didn't make it back. Guess who's subbing tomorrow?
All in all, Bangkok was one of the most amazing vacations that I have ever taken. I hope some of these pictures help you see how neat it was. Back to school, six short weeks before the semester and the year is done. I'm so thankful that our Dad has made so much in this wonderful world that I can share with you.
P.S. - Ms. Creer, I was talking the same thing I always talk about. Being a hostage to my own humanity, and that I have been liberated by just one thing.
Friday, April 11, 2008