Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We're coming to America


My country tis of thee!


Sweet land of liberty!


Of thee I siiing,


Of thee I siiiiiiiiiing!

So, it's kind of today...but first we fly back to CM, then to Korea, then to Japan, then America, then home. Maybe in two days we'll be home? Or three? But we've definitely started our journey home already. We've had a great time with Andrew's mom, and now our bags are packed and we're ready to go. I have a few more weekend trips and adventures to blog about, but we've had tricky internet situations the last week, so I haven't even attempted to get caught up.

Anyway, goodbye Thailand! See everyone soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Andrewism #18

"If you give a mouse a crumb, uh, he will beat you up in an alley."
Translation: If you give a mouse a cookie...
Best Part: The mice (or rats) here are really big enough that they COULD beat you up in an alley. Andrew's mom saw one today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I whip my hair back and forth

I can't wait to let my hair go free when we get home. It's getting pretty crazy. Also, the new conditioner I bought here is sticky, so that can't be helping matters.

Our second to last weekend together was spent at a boat house on a lake. In Thai, it turns out "boat house" just means "floating house." Thailand always surprises me. Like, when we visited this waterfall:

Nang (remember him from the trek?) told me I could climb the waterfall. Yeah, right, that thing's wet. I was wrong! You can climb up the waterfall. The rocks were almost sticky even! I loved it.

We only got mostly wet. Our camera survived, which was good.

This is us looking down from the top of the waterfall. Such a beautiful spot!

We needed more group photos, so we took a few.

This is us playing "never have I ever" in the lake at night. We look like we just floated the whole time, but actually, we played tons of fun games. The best was nighttime spoons. We put glowsticks in water bottles and threw them in the lake. Then the first person to get four of a kind in cards grabbed the bottle in the middle, and the rest of us had to jump in the lake and grab a bottle. The last person didn't get a bottle, so they were out. It was all fun and games. Also, someone got hurt. But she's ok now.

This is the view from our little inlet. It was a gorgeous lake. All of those houses are like the one we stayed in.

It was another successful weekend with some really awesome people. We got to relax a bit and catch up on our reading for school :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RIP, Neck Pillows

*For Andrew and Laura combined; when colors disappear from chart, that means that pillow died along the way. As in, we lost it.

That one was a little complicated. In sum, we have no more neck pillows, and plenty of traveling left.

We had to renew our visas a few weeks ago, so we set up a trip to Laos via Udon, a city where one of Andrew's best mission buddies lives. Wongsagorn and his wife tagged along with us to the Laotian capital, and we had a blast together. I was so glad to finally meet this mission friend Andrew loves so much. He is the branch president of the little LDS congregation on the border, a tough job that he performs very well! It was great to spend time with them, and we are already planning their trip to visit us in America!

We went to a beautiful statue garden. Each statue represented a story from Buddhism teachings. I was so impressed--"How old is this place?!" I asked. Wongsagorn said it was nearly 25 years old. Oh. Cool, I guess.

We got to eat at an Indian restaurant Andrew frequented on his mission. Ali, the owner, moved his restaurant to Udon recently. Andrew: "Do you remember me?" Ali: "Sure, why not?" He was a funny guy, and his food was delicious.

Andrew and Wongsagorn on an abandoned ship. They had fun playing together on the trip.

Walking on the friendship bridge between Thailand and Laos. We could only walk halfway, but we drove across the next day.

We went out for Vietnamese food on the border. Really good. These two are besties.

Dinner was right on the river, and we got to watch the sunset. Of course pictures don't do it justice, but I wanted to remember that we got to see it in real life!

A temple in Vientiane. It was really really hot in Vientiane. We rode bikes around the city, which made transportation easier and comfort nil.

There were some kittens inside one temple, and Wongsagorn started meowing. He was really good at it. All the kittens ran to him, more came out from behind chairs and pillars, and they followed him around everywhere! So funny!

Of course we had to get Swensen's ice cream together.

Here's all four of us. Wongsagorn's wife was really nice, and I could tell we would be friends if either of us spoke the other's language.

We also got to visit the LDS church in Vientiane! It's a converted French house in the city. Beautiful. The church isn't officially recognized in Laos, and the government doesn't allow the name of the church to be on the building, so it is called Deseret International Charities. We got to speak to the branch president there, and he showed us around the whole building. I loved this part of our trip!

This is us and Tippetok, our guide (also a mission buddy of Andrew's), on the lawn of the church.

View from Victory Monument, a mediocre replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is unfinished and made of concrete.

Laotian Pepsi.

All four of us in front of Victory Monument.

Saying goodbye at the bus station! We had such a great trip. And we got our visas and got back across the border safely!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You'll find a god in every golden cloister

We loved our sightseeing in Bangkok. There are some truly beautiful temples there! I don't want to overwhelm you with pictures (we took billions, and those are lost, but luckily we got trillions of pictures from other peoples' cameras), so this post is just collages (I am really in love with those right now).

From far away, the temples were impressive and old, but up close, they were overwhemingly detailed. They used plates and tea cups to decorate parts of the walls, and it made me think of the Kirtland temple!

We also visited the Teak Palace, where Rama V and his family lived for a brief time. It was such a beautiful home, built completely of teak wood! Each section of the house was color-coded so you wouldn't get lost. The center picture in the above collage is the teak palace, and that rounded section was the king's apartment. We all wanted to live there!

Bangkok was a great trip. This is my last post about it, I promise. Today is my last day of work, so our time here in Thailand is coming to a close! It's been an incredible adventure, and I better get the rest of our adventures documented before I get home, because I know I will just get melancholy thinking about Thailand and I won't want to post anymore.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And the tough guys tumble...

Can't be too careful with your company!

All these photos are real, I'm not even kidding. Mostly I was only terrified of the croc and the man-eating tiger. The cub only wanted milk, not meat, so he was cool.

This zoo was incredible. I've never been so close to so many animals. We got to play with a chimp riding a bike (with training wheels, don't worry), watch lions tumble and fight together, feed crocodiles fish heads, and more. Unbelievable experience.

Andrew feeding crazy bird some cereal. He only liked the fruit loops, definitely not the fruity pebbles.

Notice how cautiously I'm holding this pole. 20 baht (less than $1) to feed a croc a fish head.

So we all did it. I had to have Hayley help me hold the pole...I was afraid I would just let go of it!

The farm has 30000 crocs. The reason why those guys aren't in danger of going extinct.

This chimp made me laugh so hard. It was like playing with a little kid. We all enjoyed his company while he was biking to work. 

And then there's this little cub. He was ready to get away from his siblings. The photo lady caught him just in time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The world's your oyster

 One night, in Bangkok, we went to this delicious restaurant on a pier and ate oysters. I don't even like oysters, but this place was amazing. Check out our starfish dish:

Bangkok's version of Central Park was amazing. They had free aerobics classes going on everywhere, beautiful ponds, and rollerbladers everywhere. I loved it.

Andrew got a suit cut here. I got a dress made and a skirt made. This was a very sweaty shop.

My Thailand staple: cold ovaltine! Hayley and I get it every chance we get.

We also need ice cream a lot here since it's so hot. Becca is rockin' the fray bans.

Thanks to Andrew's extensive knowledge of Bangkok's public transportation systems, we ended up on this little number: the Klong Monster. Think Amsterdam minus clean water plus dead dogs and fast moving taxi-boats.

Hayley's artistic Bangkok photo, touched up slightly courtesy of Picasa. Did I mention we lost our camera in Bangkok? Big thanks to Hayley and Jessica for sharing their photos.

 Oh boy was the traffic crazy here. Layers and layers of roads, just like Gotham City.

We had a great time exploring Bangkok. I have a few more posts coming with more and more pics!