Thailand is so beautiful and friendly. I can't say enough how friendly the people are here. The folks at our guesthouse love our kids and it's so peaceful in the sitting and garden area. They have two gentle rabbits that hop around the garden that the kids play with constantly when we are here. Except for one day when we stayed here all day, we have been sight seeing during the afternoon and at our guest house in the late afternoon. We stayed here all day one day because of the "red shirt" demonstrations (an anti-govt group wanting to change the ruling party. We all took a Thai cooking class and it was so cool because the kids were as involved, if not more involved than we were- grating coconuts, cutting veggies, making coconut milk for the curry.... They dressed Mae and Charlie and Sam up in traditional Thai clothes for fun that day too. (Aidan would have none of it.) So cute.
..... (About a week later....) Since the above was written, we have moved on to a few more places- Lopburi, Sukathai and Chiang Mai in the north. Lopburi is a regular,not particularly touristy Thai town that has monkeys EVERYWHERE- all over the telephone polls,in the middle of the road, all over the sidewalk, sitting in wait on top of a phone booth outside a little store ready to steal your bag of food...
We next went to amazing Buddhist and some old Hindu ruins, biking around them one day. We have met and got to talk with a Buddhist monk at a temple and today we saw elephants, beautiful waterfalls and poisonous snakes. (We all held a python!)
Next week we have signed on to volunteer at an elephant protection center for the week. We will stay there and all help take care of the elephants. As I understand it, about 2000 elephants in Thailand have been "domesticated" having worked in the logging industry. But now because less forests are being deforested (: the elephants and their handlers don't have work and some animals go to these rescue centers.
After the elephant preserve it's back to Bangkok and April 10th we fly to Beijing!!!!
Sorry for the long note. I am trying to be a better emailer.
I hope spring is beautifully green in Durham (and elsewhere!)
Sa wa di kaa, Wendy
Just a quick update from the "bald is beautiful" side of the family. (Actually, I'm not as bald as I'd like to be. The 3rd day in Thailand, I plugged in my hair clippers, and shaved half my head before the clippers decided that they really were designed for 120 volts of electricity instead of the 220 volt stuff they use here. I then tried to find a replacement, but only managed to find a guy that re-wound the coil in the center of the clippers, so that I could continue to use them. However, in the absence of a voltage converter, I've been afraid to try again.)
I should mention the food, seeing as that was one of the main reasons for coming. The Thai food here is quite good, but they make it a bit spicy for my taste. Green curry seems to be the spiciest, with red curry and Panang curry being more palatable (with sugar). The pad thai is consistently good, and tom kha gai has been inconsistent, but I've had some of the best I've ever eaten.
Chiang Mai -- where we currently are -- has a wonderful variety of food, which is particularly convenient because after 10 days of nothing but Thai food, I have gotten a wee bit -- err -- sick of it. We found a great tex-mex place (eaten there twice) and an excellent Mediterranean place as well. Lest you think we do nothing but eat, we have also managed to stay pretty faithful to working / homeschooling twice a week.
We haven't met many Americans here -- which seems surprising. There are lots of Japanese and European tourists around. We haven't really met many friendly tourists though, not sure if that's because many of them are here for "illicit" activities and the kids make them feel guilty, or if the friendly folks just hang out in the South of Thailand. We shall see!
That's it for now. I hope Spring is treating you well, and we'll talk with you soon!
And now, I've gotten lazy about embedding images, so I'm just going to import the rest of them here.