Friday, May 16, 2008

Thailand - Finally, Part 5

So, I took a couple of weeks off of blogging to do some crazy things like buy a house, celebrate Brian's graduation, and fly to Europe. But, I'll sum up the rest of our Thailand adventure in one last post before moving on to the other major things I've just listed. :) (Whew! What a busy month!)

Chaing Mai

After visiting Laos, we took the next weekend and flew up to Chaing Mai (in northern Thailand). There we rented this cool 'transportation vehicle' called a Rote-Dang...which is basically a truck with a closed in cab, benches along the sides, long side windows, and an open back. The kids loved it because, once again, they didn't have to wear seatbelts. In fact, their favorite place to ride was in the back of the truck, with their feet dangling out, so they could wave to all the people behind them. You can kind of see that in the last picture above.

We hiked up a million stairs to visit this beautiful wat (a buddhist temple). McKenzie was sure proud of herself because she walked up the whole thing by herself.

We visited a silk farm and learned about how they make silk from the silk worm (you can see the silk flowers pinned onto Kenz's and my shirt). Have you ever learned how they make silk? Amazing!

We pounded some wood bark to help make some of these beautiful fans...

We watched an elephant draw... Yep. We watched this elephant draw this entire picture...and now you can see her writing her name! Suda. I guess it takes an elephant about 2 months to learn how to draw...but, evidently, not all elephants can learn. Some have the talent, and others just don't. They had three elephants up there at the same time, all drawing the same picture, and Suda's was, by far, the best. One was trying hard, but sloppy, and the other one didn't seem to care too much about the whole idea of drawing! Suda was the youngest of the three at only 4 years old. Kenz was excited, "Hey! I'M four!" I asked her why she couldn't draw an elephant. She didn't get it.
The rest of the elephant show captivated Carson. Especially the part when they turned on some loud music and let the elephants dance around. One elephant swung his trunk around and around as he bobbed to the music and Carson couldn't stop pointing and laughing! This was such a great animal show because you could tell that the elephant keepers really loved those elephants...and they were very well taken care of.

We rode down a river on a raft - this, I think, was the highlight of McKenzie's whole vacation. The people who were guiding our raft along ended up getting in a water fight, and with a little coaxing, McKenzie jumped off the raft to walk in the shallow river. She was really, really cute.

Although, we had a slight bit of trouble when she got cold in the back of the Rote-Dang. Good thing my mom is full of great ideas!

Next, we went to visit the monkeys - and McKenzie actually kissed one...on the lips. I just tried to close my eyes and turn off my germ-a-phobe tendencies.

The Waterfalls

After we made it back to Bangkok, we took a little trip out to a beautiful 'national' park (I'm not sure what it's actually called in Thailand...). We hiked up to some waterfalls, jumped in (some of us with our clothes on!) and had a fantastic time!

The Grand Palace

My dad took us to the Grand Palace. Carson's favorite things were the water lilies... hey, they had pretty purple flowers with bees in them...what more could a kid want? While we were walking around the grounds, my dad said, "You know, this is cool." I looked at him and he continued, "30 years ago as a missionary I never thought I'd be able to bring my kids back to see this..." he looked down at McKenzie and Carson and added, " grandkids..."

Well - dad - I can't say thanks enough for actively sharing this part of your life with us. 5 posts, and I have only touched on what I saw, what I heard, what I felt, and what I learned. I miss you, mom and Amber terribly, but your examples have strengthened my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I owe you all the thanks in the world for that. I love you, guys... thanks for an unforgettable vacation!