Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bangkok/Chon Buri

     I have been so busy!  This post is just going to briefly highlight the things I have been doing this past couple of weeks.  After Laos, I was in Bangkok for a few days and then I left for Chon Buri where I have more uncles, aunts, and cousins.  I stayed there for a week and had a wonderful time catching up with family.  Still can't believe how fast 10 years fly by.  All I know is I certainly won't be letting that many years past by before I see all of them again.

Working on my hula hooping skills in Bangkok!

Helping my cousin deliver hundreds of pounds of palm sugar.

 Caught in a rainstorm in Bangkok.

     Spent a few hours one day in Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, the biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia.  I absolutely loved it.  It is very well made and has beautiful displays.  I enjoyed looking at all the sea creatures.  Luckily for me, being a Thai citizen, it cost me a fraction of what a foreigner would have been charged!

     Spent the first 5 years of my life living in Bang Saen, Chon Buri, Thailand.  Great to see all the family that still currently lives there.  Had a wonderful time catching up, laughing and wandering around nearby provinces.

 Sea Turtle Conservation Center

My cousin's daughter, 7 months

Bang Saen Beach

     I'm sure I have told many people that my aunt and uncle bake the best cakes in this world.  So lucky that my aunt made me so many cakes while I was visiting them.  I am not huge on sweets, but eating these cakes are like eating a little peace of heaven!


The Bakers!
 Cousins, cousins, and more cousins!

Thais don't joke about football!  My cousin's motorcycle supporting Liverpool F.C.

     My uncle Lec drove me back to Bangkok at the end of the week, but we spent the day together driving around, going to a waterfall and Lam Phra Phloeng Dam.  It was an incredibly hot day.  I really enjoyed spending time with my uncle and am going to miss him a lot after I leave Thailand.


     As for what is to come!  I am leaving for Vietnam in 2 days.  I am really looking forward to this experience as my dad spent a year of his life in Vietnam fighting in the war.  I am planning to be there for about 12 days and then will be returning back to Thailand for a week before I fly to London on April 17th!  I am so excited to see the United Kingdom as it has always been a dream of mine.  I love English history!  So many more adventures to come, I can't wait!

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls". -Anais Nin

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hello from Laos! Vientiane

     After our friend Chin graduated high school, we came back to his house in Sukhothai.  The three of us packed our bags and headed for the bus station.  After an incredibly long bus ride 6 hours turned into 8 and a half due to bus issues, we made it to Udon Thani.  From there, we took a Tuk Tuk to another bus that took us to Nong Khai, which was another hour away.  Man traveling...  It can wear a girl out, but the best thing to do is take long bus rides late at night so you can sleep and not waste paying for a night at a hotel as soon as you arrive.

Ready for the long overnight bus ride.

     Unfortunately Chin's passport did not come in time, so we were only granted 3 days and 2 nights in Laos.  This is called a border pass.  We went to the Capital of Laos, Vientiane.  What a beautiful city!  It is not very big, so I definitely felt that 3 full days and 2 nights was plenty for this mini trip.  We saw all that was famous in this city.  I absolutely fell in love with this city, the experiences, and this trip.  Unforgettable!

 At the Nong Khai Customs Boundary Post.

 On the bus to cross over to Laos.

Thai flag on the bridge crossing the Mae Khong River.

 The flags turn into Laos flags.

 In Laos!

 The Lao Kip.

 Tuk Tuk

 Best dessert ever!  Similar to a crepe.

 Night market

 Vientiane at night.

 Trying Beer Laos, a favorite to many people around the world.

Big screen football watching, life made easy!

After a good night's rest, we woke up pretty early in order to rent bikes and explore the city.  The weather was great and it was a total blast.

Introducing Chin to some Mexican food because I missed it so much.  

 Able to see the French influence that is here even in the name of the streets.

 The President's residence.

 Patuxai Gate

 View from the top of the Patuxai Gate.

 Communist flag

 Laos flag

 Me on a bike in front of the gate.

 Very cool!

 Haw Phra Kaew

     I discovered an amazing organization called Make Bracelets, Not War, while wandering through the night market.  These items are made from bombs that used to kill so many Laos people during the Secret War.  Please read about it in the picture below.  I have also attached a link to a website with more information.  I personally purchased a bottle opener because it said Laos on it and I thought it was a great souvenir as well as representing a great cause.

     This is me joking around with Bow, a new friend who was so kind to drive us around and show us different parts of Vientiane at night.  I am going to miss him as his only form of communication is a Laos cell phone and international calls are not cheap.  I do admire him and think how lucky it is to be so disconnected from the world in terms of internet.  If only I didn't grow up in the world of technology and just lived a simpler life.  Who am I kidding though, I love my computer.

On our last day we rode bikes around the city again and saw Pha That Luang.  This monument has a tiny bit of Buddha's ashes.

My Laotian prayer bracelets. 

     After this, we checked out and Bow again was kind enough to drive us to the bus station.  Back to Thailand we went.  I certainly will be coming back to Laos at some point in life because it is such a great place.  I loved everything about Vientiane and I can only imagine the rest of the country is just as amazing!  Laos, until next time!

Back on the Thai side of the Mae Khong River.

      I always knew I had some Chinese in me, but I never knew I had Laos in me.  My grandmother was apparently half Chinese and half Laos and my grandfather was full Thai.  This makes me 4/8th mixed Euro American (still tracing my American roots, but I know I am some part English, some part Scottish), 2/8th Thai, 1/8th Chinese and 1/8th Laos, but who really knows.  Borders are all so close and the world is turning into a huge melting pot, so could be more parts of who knows what.  HAHA

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin or culture is like a tree without roots". 
-Marcus Garvey