Home Sweet Home

What an adventure the last couple weeks were for us in Thailand. We only hit a couple of the major spots but it was all the more exciting as our friends Juli and Mike joined us for about 12 days.

Meeting up in Phuket we enjoyed the beach a bit and got to see a few rehabilitated gibbons at the National Park nearby. After Phuket we hopped on a minibus to Ao Nang, a small little beach town that is the jumping off point to Phi Phi and the multitude of other islands nearby. We booked a last minute dive trip with Raya divers, a Finnish company, out to a few spots near Phi Phi Don. New to diving, I asked the woman at the shop about the equipment and why should we dive with them. Her explanation: “We are Finnish, we trust anyone other than ourselves.” Interesting way to put it, but it worked for us. It was a bit choppy and it was different jumping off the big boat, but it was awesome. Our first dive we saw three black tipped reef sharks, a green sea turtle and a multitude of other little fishies. Some cool starfish, the crown of thorns in particular, and two giant moray eels greeted us on the second dive. Amazing to watch the eel so smoothly cut the water, graceful and mesmerizing in fact. Thanks to the large lungs of yours truly we came up and got onto the boat to go back to Ao Nang a few minutes earlier than most. Melissa’s little lady lungs could have kept her down twice as long!

Longtail Boat at the beach on Koh Phi Phi Don

Longtail Boat at the beach on Koh Phi Phi Don

After our day of diving we headed back on a ferry to spend a night on Ko Phi Phi Don. This is the way Thailand used to be, no cars and lots of palm trees lining the crystal clear water! The four of us and two other Americans went with Ibex climbing to do a half day of rock climbing on the Tonsai wall. That massive sheer face of rock you see as we are pulling out of the Phi Phi pier. I realize every time I climb how out of shape I truly am. Muscles ache that I never knew I had. The view at the top was well worth all of the effort!

Climbing the Tonsai Wall on Phi Phi

Climbing the Tonsai Wall on Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi Don as seen from atop the Tonsai Wall Climb

Koh Phi Phi Don as seen from atop the Tonsai Wall Climb

A quick flight up to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand for the famous Festival of Lights, Yi Peng or Loy Krathong as the locals know it. The festival is known for its floating lanterns and floating candles. Originally meant for good luck, you make a wish as you send your lantern soaring into the dotted night sky. An amazing sight as thousands of the balloons are floating through the air and candles down the river, while fireworks and sparklers were being lit off in the background. These new constellations of lights floated and morphed in size for two days.

Floating Lanterns above Chiang Mai

Floating Lanterns above Chiang Mai

Unfortunately, Mike got a little food poisoning and was down for a few days. After recuperating we had two days left together and we packed it with fun. Learning to become honorary mahouts for a day was an amazing experience! We got to feed the elephants sugar cane and a heap of bananas. We were taught a little about the care of the elephants and the program that they have at the park. Then within minutes we were hopping on an elephants back guiding him around with a few taps to the ear. We each got a few turns and then we were ready to Mahout our elepant through the jungle! After our elephant got some exercise we let them grab a little snack before heading off to the tub. Time for a good scrubbing, one of the three daily baths the elephants get. A bucket, a scrub brush, and a pachyderm. Most interesting bath I have ever had. The baby elephant in the group thought it was really funny to walk around and fill his trunk with water and spray it in your face!

elephant bath

elephant bath

The next day we got to experience a little Thai culture. A full day cooking class gave us a greater appreciation for the food we had been consuming for the last weeks. Curries, stir fries, and soups were a few of the things that we made. We even got a lesson in carving carrots into flowers! I left looking pregnant and feeling lethargic. Not even a chance of eating dinner that night. After a great day we had to say goodbye to Juli and Mike as we had a few more days in Chiang Mai before heading home.

Things are getting hot in the kitchen!

Things are getting hot in the kitchen!

Three days in Chiang Mai visiting some friends and two more in Bangkok brought us to the end of our 14 month journey.

 

What a trip it was, almost a fairy tale, as I am sitting here at home writing it. Amazing stories and amazing friends that we met along the way are a only a few of the many blessings that God bestowed on us while we were gone. I know it is cliché to say it, but it was truly life changing. I am sure there are ways yet that God will use it to His glory and I look forward to that. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to spend virtually every waking and sleeping second with my beautiful wife and only wish that it could continue day in and day out like that!

I am excited to have some good internet and hopefully a bit of time to really go through and get photos up on the website from our trip and from lots of previous work. I will put our contact details up when we get phones and things like that as we get settled back into this beautiful land!

The Final Days

Wanted to post a little update as its been a little while. Our friends Juli and Mike are here visiting us and we have a full lineup for the next weeks and won’t have so much time on the computer. We enjoyed our really relaxing weeks in Bali and a few days in Khao Sok National Park in Thailand. A few days in Phuket and now we are in Ao Nang. Tomorrow get to hit the water this time going diving, followed by some rock climbing the next day. Up to Chiang Mai for the week and then we are on the way home. So in a couple weeks I will put some pics up from the upcoming fun. Please pray for our safety as we are constantly on the move and as we all fly home soon.

A couple pics from Khao Sok:

Baby White-handed Gibbon

Swimming at Ton Kloi Waterfall, Khao Sok National Park

Swimming at Ton Kloi Waterfall, Khao Sok National Park