Sunday, July 24, 2011

ELEPHANTs and thai massages

Saturday we slept in and then went to a place near chiang rai to ride elephants. me and lauren rode one together and her name was mayday {although probably spelled differently}. our guide was way cool too and took pictures for us and spoke a little english. before i rode i fed one of the elephants bananas and sugar canes {which she thanked me for by rubbing mud all over my leg haha}. it was a pretty long ride and we even got to sit on the neck too. they took us up into the mountains a bit and it was gorgeous. and to end the ride it poured rain. seriously the best thing ever though, i love the rain in thailand. after that we went straight to get thai massages which is a full body thing and it felt so good but i definitely need to get another one for sure. then dinner and ice cream of course.

feeding it

paul & mitch, aubrey & manasa

our guide

props to lauren for taking this awesome picture for me!  

i loved riding elephants but this makes me sad.

Friday, July 22, 2011

THAILAND. week one.

I couldn’t find a train to London early enough in the morning to catch my flight so I ended up buying a plane ticket from Leeds to Amsterdam to London the day before and stayed the night in this hotel “near” the airport. The next morning I flew from London to Mumbai then that night to Bangkok and in the afternoon to Chiang Rai. SO MANY AIRPORTS. 6 OF THEM. 4 countries, 4 layovers, a lot of security checks, buses to and from the planes, 3 movies, lots of Indians and Asians, and only about 2 or 3 hours of sleep. And the whole way there I was served a lot of Indian food {at least 4 times} and most of it was really good too, especially for being airport food. But I made it to Chiang Rai around 1pm and the country directors were there to pick me up and all was good. The first day we hung out and got dinner and I am not sure what else. 

The next morning we went to the mall and saw Harry Potter 7.2 finallyyyy. And it was in english so I was happy with the world. We got pizza at the mall and that night we played badminton with a woman from the hospital named Maple and her husband. Thais play a lot of it apparently but I am...not so good at it. Then we watched like 3 episodes of modern family that someone had before bed. 

The next morning we went to church, which surprisingly was only like 15 minutes away. They had me and one other new volunteer bear out testimonies as the first two talks {translating takes up the time} and then the Elder Senior Missionary talked last. For sunday school us foreigners broke off and had ours in english and then for relief society one of the guys in the group who speaks Thai translated for me. I was the only girl out of 5/6 guys in the house for the first like 5 days because all the girls were on vacation in the south {it was a 4 day holiday weekend}. I thought church was pretty good considering it was a branch and they also fed us good food afterwards. The members are all really sweet and friendly, but most all Thai people are like that {its called the land of smiles}. In the afternoon we just hung out and then after dinner we watched two movies. 

Monday was also a holiday for Buddhist Lent so we decided to go up to the Golden Triangle. We live in Chiang Rai which is in the north of the country near Myanmar {Burma} and Laos. Where the three countries meet is called the Golden Triangle. To get there we rented scooters and the drive was about an hour I think. It was my first time on a scooter so it was a little crazy {every time we hit a pothole I thought I was going to fall off} till I got used to it but I loved it. The first stop we made was at the Opium Museum. Interesting place haha them asians love there opium. But it had a really cool gift shop so I got a patch, backpack, and chopsticks. {fact for yourself: in Thailand they don’t really use chopsticks at all unless they are eating noodles or Chinese food. They use a spoon and push the food on it with a fork}. 
Then we saw a huge buddha with a view of the three countries separated by the river. We went to two temples and at the second one we got blessed by a monk with holy water and a bracelet. When we got back I watched a movie after again. mhmm. 

DAY 5.
This was the first day I got to do volunteer work. I went to what we call “soccer school” with two of the guys and we taught english all morning until we left around 4pm. We taught them vocabulary for animals, days of the week, and family for 1st grade through 5th grade. They are so cute too and can’t pronounce an “L” for the life of them it gets me every time. At this school they have one thai woman who is an intern for teaching english but doesn’t know too much or have a good accent so we go to help. Some of the other volunteers went to the hospital as well. Next: dinner & movie. obvs.

DAY 6.
The next day I went to the Recovery School, where girls in their teens who have had traumatic experiences like rape/trafficking live. We teach them english and do a creative activity with them. For the creative activity we did a little acting exercise where me and two of the guys each had a line and they had to finish the skit and act it out in groups. They love Justin Bieber apparently so I pretended to be out to dinner with Justin when my boyfriend walks in angrily. Some of them finished it off with them both punching the girl while others just made it a threesome...interesting perspectives but it was sooo funny. {and then other stuff i don’t remember} and a spicy spicy curry dinner.

DAY 7. 
I went to recovery school again but to get there we missed our bus and hitch-hiked the way there hahaha funniest thing ever. After the english lesson we taught them how to make origami cranes for the creative activity. We ate lunch and then they invited us to help the weed around the banana trees. We got pretty muddy too. Sleep dinner grocery store.

DAY 8.
FRIDAYYYY. We went to recovery school and worked in the rice fields by ourselves all day instead of teaching. We spread big bags of dry fertilizer over each rice patty and then spread wet fertilizer on top. It was really wet and muddy so I took off my shoes because I kept getting stuck but that also meant I got my feet scratched up from thorns too. It was hard work but also really awesome and I have always wanted to work in rice fields too. I got so dirty mud alllll over my clothes and appendages, and I probably squished tons of frogs, spiders, and tadpoles in the process. After we washed off a little bit we ate lunch with the other teachers, went home, showered, ate dinner, saw Harry Potter 7.2 again and went to bed. We were supposed to get Thai massages but I guess we are saving that for the next day.

there is a picture with all of us to show how dirty we got but i don't have it so once i do i will post it.
and the update...