Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We're Home!

Now that we are back home after our 1o months in Thailand,

we realized that we miss more than we thought we would...or do we?

10 Things we miss about Thailand!

the fresh fruit, Thai iced tea, and 60 cent Pad Thai
our friends/ co-workers

cheap massages and movie theaters

our foldable bikes for transportation

climbing down in Krabi

the affordable shopping

being able to travel to so many surrounding countries

some of the Thai culture; wais

being called "Ma'am Rebekah" and "Sir Daniel"

public transportation

10 Things we don't miss about Thailand!

the smells

the traffic

the heat and humidity

some of the Thai culture; mai pen rai

the difficult language

the bartering

the daily torrential downpours

being away from our friends and family

the time difference

being a tourist

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cambodia makes it 7!

Our travels around Southeast Asia had come to a close. We've made it to a total of 7 countries and only scratched the surface of each one of them (except Thailand). Siem Reap, Camboida is home to one of the 7 Wonders of the World...Angkor Wat! Only being a 35 min flight away, we thought we should check it out! Only having a weekend to explore these wonders was going to be rushed, but we did it! We arrived late Friday evening and checked into our hotel to notice instantly that Camboida has an extremely strange way of living. An extremely rich government with an extremely poor population. It was instantly sad to see all the poverty and begging going on. Early Saturday, we planned on hitting the temples early and getting them all in on one day...around 11 o'clock we had enough...we needed a break! There was so much to see and the heat had us soaked with sweat by 8 o'clock that morning! We ended up seeing about 7 out of the hundreds, but the most popluar ones were checked off! Next we headed out to see the largest lake in all of Asia; Tonle Sap Lake. There we saw many floating villages and fish farms. It was amazing and depressing for us to see the way these people live out there. At sunset, we hiked up to the top of a moutain to see the sunset at one of the Phnom Bakahn temple. Hundreds of people filled the walls and stairs of this temple to watch the sunset over the Tonle Sap Lake. Super tired from the long day we got ourselves geared up to see the city life of Khmer people. You can see the need Camboida has everywhere you go. The beggers, the workers, you can smell the need. It was an good way for us to see all that we have and are so blessed with.

The world famous Angkor Wat

Ever see the moive Tomb Radier?

roots like long snaking fingers

Tonle Sap Lake, people commuting, fishing, working, playing...

a floating school...

a floating house...

a floating church...

and a floating basketball court.
Relaxing after a long day of temples.

The streets of Siem Reap, Camboida.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Southeast Asia's Best Kept Secret...

Laos! Just north of Thailand, we had to check it out! Annet, Terra, Daniel and I loaded the over night train, 13 hours, to the border. Unfortunately, we weren't quick enough to get a sleeper train, so we slept sitting up (it’s amazing the kind of sleeping pill they sell in Thailand). Once we arrived to the border, we had the very long process of border crossing. Not only do you meet the most interesting people from around the world, but you just have this weird feeling that something bad is going to happen and you play every scenario in your head about what possibly could be wrong with you or your passport. Still extremely tired from the night of sitting-up we arrived to the capital city of Vientiane. It is known as the most laid back capital city in the world. And….it is! There really isn’t much going on there, but I think that’s what makes it so great! We instantly rented bikes for about a dollar a day for two days so that we could have some transportation. Once we got a hotel and started to experience what’s so great about Laos…..their food! Since Laos was occupied by the French, they have some of the best cafes, bakeries, and restaurants. Asia’s cuisine isn’t into 'good tasting' baked goods much, so it had been a while since we had good breads and sugary treats! Renting the bikes were a great and cheap way to get around the city and see the French style buildings, the Mekong River, and famous landmarks like the “Ac de Triumph”. My morning runs always took me up there to run around and feel like I was in Paris! The bikes also took us to get wonderful massages, to eat and to visit some temples (it wouldn’t be a trip in Southeast Asia if you didn’t see a few). One day, we thought we would be very adventurous and ride our bikes out to a famous landmark, Buddha Park. It was about 25 Km away so we knew it would take awhile especially since our bikes weren't built for long distances. The baskets on the front, the high handle bars, and the unajustable seats…but we needed to work off those baked goods! So, we headed out. The first hour wasn’t bad. We were riding though rice fields, small towns and had lots of people yelling and honking at us along the way. The remaining 4 km felt the farthest. Once we arrived to Buddha Park, we were so sweaty and happy to be off the bikes! Buddha Park was pretty much like it sounds. It was a very small park with tons of Buddha-esque sculptures. All of them representing some sort of …..I don’t know! We were all dreading the fact that we had 25 Km to ride back! Trying to think of a way to avoid it, we saw a random Laotian get into his truck. SO, we ran over to him and somehow convinced him to take us and our bikes back (we got over 1/2 of the way back, the rest was doable). Of course, he thought we were completely crazy and had no clue what we were saying, but I think our hand motions helped! After that adventure, we all deserved an afternoon of hanging out in cafes and relaxing. The next day, we had to start our journey back home. We soaked up the last of Laos and started back on our border process again. When we got to the train station, we were very excited that we had a sleeper train for our overnight ride. We arrived back in Bangkok early the next morning feeling great! It was a great way to experience Laos with friends and food!

Friday, April 24, 2009

North then South

Our ‘Songkran’ holiday was first spent up in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai and then the second half down in the southern area of Thailand on Railay Beach. In our opinion, Railay is one of the most beautiful areas of Thailand because if it’s white sand, rock formations, and clear blue water. Although, Chiang Mai’s is so enjoyable because of the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful countryside. We’ve enjoyed our selves every time we’ve gone either places, and knowing this was going to possibly be our last visit to both places, we tried to enjoy them as much as possible. We were excited to show Brian, David and Terra around to all our favorite places like waterfalls, elephant camps, villages, restaurants, and markets. The boys did a lot of climbing while Terra and I tried to lay by the pool and beach as much as possible. We had some great food and good laughs.

Chiang Mai

Railey Beach, Krabi

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's so GOLDEN about this TRIANGLE?

Golden Triangle: don’t let the name mislead you like it did us! David McNeill and Brian Rouch came to visit us for our Songkran week off. We (Terra, Daniel and I) wanted to show them all around Thailand including the glorious Northern tip of Thailand where Laos, Burma, and Thailand meet; The Golden Triangle. So, the trip was planned and since the guys wanted it to be an “epic” adventure, they decided that making the 300 mile (round trip) venture on mopeds would be fun…it was for the first hour! Day one: we rented our mopeds, packed up our backpacks, strapped on our lovely helmets and hit the road. Stopping several times along the road to look at the map, we found our way up through hills, small towns, villages, and windy roads to the town of Chiang Saen. Here is where we all had great hopes of seeing this triangle-esque area with us being able to stand in all three countries at once…NOT! Instead it was a very sleepy town (except for the few that were out splashing everyone with water, celebrating Songkran) with the Mekong River flowing through. After asking locals where the actual point where the three countries come together, we found out (through translation) that it’s in the middle of the river and there really isn’t an exact location. Everyone would kind-of just point in one direction and say, “It’s over there” and excuse it. Disappointed, we got some food and found some cozy bungalows for the night since we weren’t heading back until the next morning. Day two: we were done with the not so “Golden Triangle”, and loaded up the HOGS to head home. All was going well until Daniel and I took a spill going through a small town looking for somewhere to eat lunch. Road rash and a pretty bruised up knee was all I got, but the shaking nerves where the worst! The rest of the trip home was slower as the temps got hotter and hotter. All the locals were still out celebrating Songkran and water continued to get poured on us! Was it “epic”? That only depends upon one’s opinion of what “epic” means. Needless to say, I don’t know when Daniel and I will be on a moped again and I don’t think the “Golden Triangle” is a must see in Thailand!


Songkran is a Thai traditional New Year which starts on April 13 every year and lasts for 3 days. Songkran is a Thai word which means "move" or "change place" as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is also known as the "Water Festival" as people believe that water will wash away bad luck. Therefore, the entire three days are spent with your families, splashing water on one another. We spent these three days up in Chiang Mai with David, Brian & Terra where a lot of water throwing was happening! Since the temps were high, it was nice getting splashed every once in a while, but after a few soakings it got old. After day 3, it was irritating! Locals lined the street with water guns, buckets and hoses. Most of the water used was luke warm but some people liked to ice their water and others liked to get theirs from local canals and rivers...DIRTY! The worst of it was going 80KPH (50 MPH) on our rented mopeds and the water slapping you while the locals just laughed and laughed! I guess you have to be Thai to fully appreciate being "Songkraned"!