Thailand

In May my husband and I went to Thailand to help teach English with our friends who serve as full time missionaries. We were there for two weeks and I loved every day. After 24 hours of travel from Lexington to Chicago, across the world with a short stop in Japan before going on to Bangkok, we were exhausted but excited to finally arrive in Thailand. We started our trip staying in Bangkok for the first week spending time with our friends Chris and Dora. They just had a baby two months before we arrived and we were very excited to love on beautiful Natalie for the first time.

I was really worried about the food. I’m kind of a picky eater and I’m not big on international foods. For instance, my husband loves Mexican food. I did not when first started dating. We’ve been married three years now and I’m just now starting to enjoy some Mexican foods. So you can see how Thailand was going to be a challenge for me. The first day out we went to a food court in a shopping center. They had plate of food on display so you could see what it looked like before ordering (which was really helpful). I went on the safe side and ordered Pad Thai. It was really good. I ordered Pad Thai a couple other times and it was different every time. The picture above is Pad Thai #1 and the picture below is Pad Thai #2 from another time.

Thailand has really beautiful flowers and gardens. We visited one of the gardens and spent almost all day there. It was amazing to see all the work that had to be done to keep the gardens looking beautiful. I have so many pictures I could show but this post would be forever long. If you want to see more go HERE.

One thing that we wanted to do while in Thailand was to go on an elephant ride. We rode an elephant through the jungle (kind of) for an hour. This momma and baby welcomed us as we arrived at the elephant camp.

They were both very gentle and very sweet.

It was awesome! The scenery was so beautiful and there was a peace among the jungle.

One of the elephants didn’t like another elephant and started trotting towards the front of the line passing all the other elephants. This was really comical since our friend Dora was on the elephant who wanted to be away from the other elephant. Chris stayed back to keep Natalie, so Dora had to ride by herself.

This was our elephant. She must have liked me because as you can tell she was leaning towards me and away from Justin. As you can tell by the look on my face, I was a bit worried about what was happening.

Of course we had to eat again. So we went to another shopping center near by to get some lunch. Justin is holding Natalie, Chris and Dora’s daughter. She wasn’t as excited as we were about the food.

This time we were starting to get more adventurous in ordering. We got Basil Chicken, the best part was you can order how hot you wanted it. Justin likes it hot and I like it with just a little kick. It was really good, but what wasn’t so good was…

…the fish sauce that came with the Basil Chicken. It gives me the shivers even thinking about it. I didn’t know what it was and I wanted to be adventurous, so I dipped my fork in the sauce just to get a taste. YUCK! It was not pleasing at all. I probably made the worse face anyone could have made when tasting something this bad.

On Thursday we went and visited the temples. We rode the skytran south for about 20 minutes, got off the skytran walked over to the river and wrote the water taxi north to the temples. There wasn’t a stop off the skytran to the temples so we decided to take the water taxi instead of walking a few miles.

 

We stopped at a little restaurant next the the river to eat lunch. We drank a lot of coke and sprite while in Thailand. It was so hot and humid that we wanted something refreshing and water didn’t always cut it. The Coke also tasted better in Thailand (it’s made with real sugar, not corn syrup). We couldn’t get enough of it.

Chris and Dora took us to a lot of places around Bangkok. One of my top places we went was visiting the buddhas and the temples. It made me realize how lost the Thai people really are and it made me want to pray for them even more. My husband blogged about our trip every day, he’s a much better blogger than me. You can read his blog here.

This Buddha is the largest Reclining Buddha. This buddha was so huge. It is probably 50 yards in length and at least three stories high. The whole statue is plated in gold, with the bottoms of it’s feet covered in mother of pearl. The temples were pretty amazing but what wasn’t’ so amazing was the dried fish which was right outside the temple.

We had to walk through the fish market to get to the temples and I had to run. I held my breath and took off through the market as fast as I could. Dried fish and squid was everywhere in Thailand. On the streets of Bangkok were tons of food venders and they had everything from boil duck/chicken hanging from a hook through its neck to fried foods, but no other smell was as bad as dried fish. {shiver} ugh!

We had to walk back through the market to get to the water taxi but I was prepared!

One night we went to a Korean restaurant and again I was unsure about it. I was getting use to using chopstick but still was a little shaky with them. After about 30 minutes I had to ask for a fork, my hand was killing me. Needless to say I’m no expert with chopsticks! Good thing Thai only uses chopsticks for noodle soup, which I could do!

The restaurant was really cool. They brought you raw meat out and you cooked it on the grill that was in the middle of your table. I think we ate so much meat that night that we all were getting the meat sweats! Ha!

This is Chris and Dora Barbee and their friend who teaches at their home school. She was so sweet. She didn’t speak very much English but with Chris and Dora’s help translating, we communicated the best we could. She loved Natalie and she has two girls of her own which I’m sure Natalie will become friends with when she gets older. I loved meeting all of Chris and Dora’s Thai friends. They were all so nice and so sweet.

When we went up into the county of Thailand to Roi Et. The first night there we went to a local restaurant. (Don’t ask me what it was called, I was good to remember how to say hello and thank you in Thai.) First you go up to a buffet type bar to collect all your raw meat you think you can eat. I don’t believe I would have eaten here if it wasn’t for Chris and Dora who promised that it was good and clean because it didn’t look very sanitary. After you fill your bowl with raw meat you come back to your table to cook and eat. To cook the food we had a cast iron bucket holding hot coals, a grill pan sitting on top of the bucket to grill all our meats. We poured chicken stock/broth around the edge of the pan to cook the veggies. I think I had more fun cooking than eating.

Here is a Thai food cart. Those are meatballs on a stick. This is a regular thing you see around Thailand. The meatballs are made out of everything: Beef, chicken, pork and probably some other meats that I don’t even want to know about. I had one (not from this lady) and it was pork. The meatballs are dipped into a sauce, spicy or extra spicy and then dropped down into a small plastic bag to eat out of.  That’s the Thai version of fast food.

I told you we were there to teach English and I promise we did. This was one of the classes I taught with Dora. Thai kids can’t say their r’s well so Dora’s name becomes Dola. Its cute. My name was easy to say but with a long ‘A’ at the end. I loved every class we taught. Thai people are so happy and a joy to be around.

This is Dora (Dola) teaching English to a different class.

My friend Kat was wonderful to be around and to work with for the week. She helps Chris and Dora teach English. She was a student at the English Center when she was younger. Her English is slightly broken and heavily accented but she speaks well enough to have a conversation.

My friend Lucy (Mot is her Thai nickname. Lucy is her English name) was crazy!! She was so much fun to be around and to have her help with the sports day event that we did for the kids. She made that horse out of bamboo, string, and balloons.

Thailand was beautiful!! I loved watching the sun set when we were out in the country in Roi Et. So beautiful! That’s our trip in a nutshell. If you want to read more and see more pictures, visit my hubby’s BLOG.