Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Long Neck Tribe in Northern Thailand

Bamboo is the tool of choice for all buidlings. A young son is helping dad stabilize the round bamboo.
The village gauntlet of merchandise

The longest neck there today. 28 rings. Apparantly their necks don't get longer, their shoulders get lowered.

A tribal woman at her doorstep

A tribal hut

The hillside with budha image in the hill. Apparantly these buidlings are 5-6 hundred years old.

Ted and Laela in the cave where there are wonderful carvings ans images of budha throughout.

A pagoda that houses the ashes of some famous monks. The architecture has the flavour of the Burmese or Miramar people. Very intricate stone work instead of the additions of fancy addornments of Thai and Chinese style pagoda structures

Farmers working in the rice paddies which are now growing ginger and garlic. Rice was harvested in November and December and now the paddies are filled with other plants including the above and soybeans.

We verntured out on a long, long bus ride from Chiang Mai to the Northern borders of Thailand. On the way we wound our way around mountains at break neck speeds and enjoyed the lush vegetation of Thailand. The one thing that made me sad is that any scenery pictures I took ended up looking hazy. Not sure if this is the effect of humidity or polution. We were far away from cities but it still looked Hazy. On this tour we drove a lot! More than we would have liked and saw two things. First an old monastary in the mountains, which included a walk through a cave. I found it OK, but don't love small enclosed places. It was truly beautiful and had the influences of Burma or Miramar in the architecture and the look of buddha. Since we were fairly close to that border, this made sense. We then had a lovely lunch at a cooking school on the river. Did I mention the food here is over the top??? Anoter 1/2 hour drive got us to the area where we would see the Long Neck tribe and several other tribes which the names of I have already forgotten. For me this was the horrible part of the trip. We went to this little village comprising of about 5 different mountain tribes. All from different countries who have come to Thailand as refugees. The government here keeps them in these little villages and allows them to work the land and get the produce off the land for a small tax and the willingness to be "on show". The guide wanted us to take lots of photos and I did take some but I felt in my heart that it was like being at a zoo, looking at the different people and snapping their photos in a false setting. They were also all trying to sell us something and I felt obligated to oblige (which also makes me uncomfortable). Seeing the long neck tribal women was interesting and found that these long necks are seen as a thing of beauty. The woman with the longest neck has the most prestige and power. They begin wrapping the necks of girls at about age 5 and add more rings about every 3 years. The rings are removed when a woman goes into labour and reapplied after the baby joins the world. We lifted one of the rings (made of copper). It was very heavy! I am glad our beauty isn't dependent on the length of our necks. I would truly loose that battle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chiang Mai elephants etc.

The end of the day was spent watching traditional northern Thai dancers and enjoying a northern Thai Dinner.
These tigers are about 18 months old. Their trainers play with them like Bri plays with Flora... it was fun to watch how excited they were to run after a little tuft of grass on a stick.

What a beautiful cat. Glad he was on the other side of the fence.

This elephant painted this with his trunk! Puts me to shame with his creativity!

The trainers playing soccer with the elephants. The elephants truly seemed to enjoy the sport and didn't want to leave the ring when the game was over.

Young elephants enjoying the water. There were people down stream catching their poo with nets to ensure the stream wouldn't get too dirty.

Butterfly and Orchid Farm

Hi all,
We are having a wonderful time. The temperature is about 30 degrees C., it's clear and beautiful. We have spent the last few days touring like crazy. I'll share the pictures. My favourite parts were the elephants. I loved the ride and watching them enjoy their lives. It seemed to me that they were very well loved and treated with huge respect.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hi from Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)

The Monks who are ever present in both Bangkok and Chaing Mia
The Pepto Bismal coloured taxis

All the cool rooflines in the temple with the Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha
The flowers they sell to give as gifts to Budha to show respect

One of the lovely Temples in Bangkok
Hello from Lovely Thailand. Wow have we ever had a lot. We haven't posted from our last day in Bangkok, which was visiting Temples. We had the city tour, which endede up being a temple tour. Buddhism is central to the people in Thailand and so their cities are centered around their temples. I have learned more than I have ever known before about Buddhism and have come to understand some of their customs a little better. What a concept to be in a city that is 100's of year old. We flew to Chaing Mai two days ago and have had 2 days of tours which I will try to update you on in the next day or two. Tomorrow is cooking school and visiting a market.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The rest of the day...

From the Cruise, the palace and temples at night
All the mosaic tiles, a Thai form of decorating architecture

One of the Budhist temples we saw today

Day 1 in Bankok

Sttatues of Demons protecting the Budha's temple Amazing architecture from 3 different asian regions China, Thailand and Cambodia
Bernie and our tour guide Natalie from Bangkok

We have had an intense day of discovery. We went on a "Temple Tour" and saw the grand Palace in process. The afternoon was filled with being measured for a tailor made jacket and pants for me (Bern didn't want anything). The evening went on a dinner cruise down the

Chao Praya River that runs from Chaing Mai in the North right down to the Ocean. Our day tour was a private one with us and a guide. Our guide had very good English and an in depth knowledge of Thailand's hystory and politics. I learned more about Thai kings than I ever thought was possible. Thailand's hystory goes back to the 1300's so it is a long history lesson. Did you know that Thailand used to be Siam? Probably some of you did. The musical "The King and I" was based on one of Siam's Kings called Rama 4. His son, Rama 5, made huge changes happen for Thailand's people including absovling slavery, creating infrastructure like roads and water systems etc. Aside from his improvements for his people he was also busy having children. Apparantly about 99 children. I asked if this was with just one wife, but the tourguide laughed tongue in cheek and stated that there is not official record of more than his wife, the queen. HMMM well that's enough other than we also learned a lot about Budha and Budhism, but I'll save those tdibits for another time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Too spoiled and now you all know...

How Far does this thing go back???

Loving the Leg room

OK, how far back does this thing go?

Waiting in Chicago

Does anyone else remember this walk way between concorses? Reminds me of a wierd carnival and paint chips.

We made it to Thailand!

Hi all!
Well we made it. All flights were on time and the longest lines we stood in were at the Winnipeg airport. We left in plenty of time, so no worries. Our flight to Chicago was no problem We had a few hours to walk around in Chicago airport before bording a plane to Hong Kong. We nearly jumped for joy when we saw what our seats look like. They went perfectly flat! We walked on (we got air miles bussiness class) and there was enough room to sit between us and the next seat in front of us. Then they gave us some champagne and we new we had arrived. Spoiled rotten is what I say. We each had our own video/tv screen where we could play video games, watch TV programs, choose one of about 30 movies to view, listen to audio books that they had on their system... and the list goes on. Can you tell that we were excited?
We landed in Hong Kong at about 3:00 am our time, but it was about 5 pm their time. We ran to our next flight and got to Bangkok at 8:30 their time. In total we were in airports was over 26 hours. Oh my goodness.
We are now in our hotel, it's 9:30 pm and only some time in the morning where you guys are at. Have a good Friday, we have.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Off to Thailand

We are almost ready to go. At 2pm we leave to the city and tomorrow morning very early, we are on our way to Thailand. Very worried about the long, long, long flight. I think we are in airports and plains for about 26 hours. My previous longest flight has been 6 hours (and I thought that was too long). I am looking forward to getting there. I am very excited about spending time with Bern discovering something new.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A wonderful December trip to Olds Alberta

We had a chance to visit Ingrid & Clarence and family in the middle of December 2009. What a wonderful visit. I will share some of the pictures from that get away. We were treated like royalty and it was wonderful to connect with the Krahn's in their space. It was frigid cold, but their home was brimming with hospitality, love and warmth.

Starting a blog in anticipation of Thailand

Heh all. Just starting a blog to use for sharing our experiences in Thailand. Thought I would start out practicing in advance of our vacation.