Wednesday, 27 June 2012

From Bangkok to weeding a rice paddy

First, I just want to say how wonderful it was to hear from you.  It warms my heart to think that you are actually reading AND enjoying my blog.  It is such a pleasure for me as every time I do one, it gives me an avenue to "chat" with friends and family. I do miss you and it must be heart is growing fonder. I do so cherish my connections.  Thank you for being there for me.

Now...on to my weekend: Thailand from the Cambodian border to Bangkok and back.

Cambodian side

Thai side
Crossing the border was pretty painless.  The Cambodians finger print everyone in and out. and coming back, the tuktuk driver tried to scam us into a "visa" stop.  But we savvy non- tourists didn't fall for his tricks!

The most notable difference was the cars! Traffic and going f-a-s-t!  Everything seemed neat and orderly and for me, now, seemed pretty  boring.  Did I really say that?  The language sounds the same to my accustomed ears however, not a word was decipherable.  It was confusing for this ole brain as the expressions and sounds made me feel I should be understanding at least some of the language.  Oh no.  So, finding where to catch the bus was a challenge as they have it rigged so you take a van to Bangkok.  After some meanderings, we flagged down a bus which took us to the depot so we could load the "milk bus" to Bangkok.  Very interesting to see Thailand from a "seasoned" Cambodian perspective.

Let's just say that taking a tuktuk from the bus depot to our B&B just wasn't at all charming in the freeway traffic of the metropolis of 10 million people.  They drive really fast in Bangkok! and the 8 lanes of traffic in a tuktuk...!! We did arrive safely to our charming B&B.  Then with our priorities straight, we walked to the nearest mall and found a lovely place to eat.  First the salad...wrap...then the dessert.  You'll know which is which.

We shared the desserts

Next morning, we ventured by taxi to the Royal Palace.  Deciding we didn't want to pay a "king's ransom"  (hahaha) to be tourists, we wandered around, let Thai school girls practice their English with us, and discussed how to get out of the tourist mob.

The school children were so excited to practice their English questioning skills and were so impressed that I was a teacher.  They giggled and awed at everything I said.

Finally escaped the mobs and wandered the streets of Bangkok.  We were headed into a seedy area of the city when we were stopped by a helpful chap who warned that tourists shouldn't walk down "there" as they get their belongings slashed.  He hailed a tuktuk and gave the driver instructions to take us to the sights for the city.  As it turns out it was our lucky day.  We were taken to temples that tourists don't usually get to.  

What is a temple visit without a shot of a rare Buddha.

After the pleading to visit a "tailor" shop and a "gem" shop, so our poor tuktuk driver could get free gas, our tour was over and we hailed a taxi to take us home.  Hum easier said than done.

It seems taxi drivers don't really know their way around the city.  That is our driver, who deserted us in his taxi with the meter running to get directions from another taxi a few cars ahead in the traffic jam.

On Sunday morning, we were off to find the "floating" market which had eluded us the previous day. As we wondered along the river, we came across this restaurant.  Someone is cooking by the water and delivering the food to the people sitting on the mats.  "May I escort you to your mat on the concrete slab?"

While waiting for our boat taxi to take us to the island market, people would purchase a bag full of bread to feed the fish. Now these ugly fish grossed me out a lot more that some of the things I have seen.  They were U G L Y.  No way I wanted to end of in the drink with these creature a plenty.  Still grosses me out!

Oh thank goodness! Here comes our boat taxi.

We're there!

This is for you Liz and Terry!

Gotta love the wood carving.

Just loook at dat fash!

She is a nutritionist after all.

Heading back to the hotel for my 2 HOUR Thai massage!  Yoopi!  AH well, it was deeper into the muscles than I'm used to.  Not exactly a "relaxing" 2 hours.  You know, it felt good when it was over.  Really.

A view from the "Stanley Park" of Bangkok.  (Can't remember the name and too lazy to get the map!)

That was it.  Short but sweet visit to Bangkok.  Would I go back?  Not really my cut of tea but will use it for flying in and out of as I venture around more of SE Asia.  

Up at 4:45 am to get our 6 am train to the border.  Third class only and great to catch a glimpse of the countryside and the locals getting on and off at various places along the way. 

Showing off her live baby frogs.

Also showing off her live adult frogs.  Guess what is for dinner!

Guess it isn't fair to compare so I will reserve my judgement until I see more of Thailand.  The thing I missed the most were the smiling faces of the Khmer people.  I think I am hooked by how easily and warmly they smile.   So, crossing back felt like home.  I think I'm biased though.

Hiho Hiho, it is back to work I go.

Below is a community event where the school weeds the rice field of the commune chief.  It was the school director's effort to teach the children to support their community and to get the community to be interested in the school. I didn't do any weeding because it was hard to distinguish the grass weed from the grass rice!  The students had no problem...lots of experience at it I suspect.  I think the pictures are self-explanatory. And, if you don't fall in love with these smiling faces, then you just can't have a heart!

This is the drinking water too!!!!

Kymberley...look at the Angry Birds shirt!  They have no idea what angry birds is though. 

The concession

first there is one in the picture...

...then there's 15

Look at the size of the bike! 

And there you have it folks.  Not too much new and exciting.  No holidays until Sept. 24th so it is 5 days a week until then.  This life is starting to feel normal, my house is feeling more like home and people here are saying the rice crops are drying up because there hasn't been the rain there is supposed to be.  Sure sounds like the monsoons have moved north.  My worry is that the rain gods will make up for lost time soon enough.  Feel more comfortable on my moto although I am cautious around puddles and when on the slick muck we get around here.  I am still stumbling along with my Khmer and all the subtle sounds that I certainly can't hear!

Three Dutch friends and I are planning a motorcycle trip in North Vietnam.  Anyone out there game to join us in October?  Just let me know as others are welcome.   Needless to say we are (I am) novice riders but we're keen.  Others are in their 20's and 30's...except yours truly.

I hope this finds you healthy and happy in your lives.  Big hugs to you all and thanks for staying in touch.  Catch ya next time...