Monday, October 25, 2010

Thailand - Random Other Stuff

The other cool things we got to experience in Thailand? Well, there was this. Yeah, that's a cop out there directing traffic (because the road washed out in the typhoon that hit the island on our second day there that knocked out all of the power and water for two days). The cop is in SANDALS! We were standing outside of the "Police Box" (i.e. Police Station) and I couldn't resist snapping this shot.

OMG! The toilets! Who can forget the toilets? Yeah, you had to put your feet up on the sides (see the ridges there) and then squat to go. No toilet paper here. No siree! There was a handy dandy hose with a spray nozzle on it to take care of such matters.

It actually makes much more sense than what we in America are accustomed to but, MAN, it was a bit of a shock!

This is Mau. He is every bit as adorable as he appears
here. Him and his brother, Thor, owned and operated the restaurant that became our absolute fave. Thor is a transvestite (spelling is probably off but that's not a word I usually have to spell) and Mau is obviously gay. We LOVED these guys (especially Mau).

Mau suggested I order the passion fruit on my first visit. He informed me that is had LOTS of passion, lol.

Monkeys!!! If you look closely, you can find these little devils in a lot of places. We spotted these little guys playing up on the wires as we were on our drive one day out and about.
Another day while we were shopping there was a monkey (actually about several monkeys) playing on the roofs of the stores. They were so dang cute. But I hear those little stinkers bite and HARD!!!

Yes! I had a great time in Thailand. There were some things that I could dwell on that were kind of a downer but I think I just want to focus on what was fun. Like when we went to Bangkok and I bought this way cool hat (that I just know Brandilyn is going to steal as soon as she can get her little mits on it) and wore it all the way home. In fact, Skip didn't even recognize me at the airport with my hat and red braids (which were another way cool thing that I just did because I felt like taking a walk on the wild side).

Thailand - Suckers!

Everyone was doing it and we just couldn't be left out! Yeah, it's just what it looks like too.

You pay money and go into this place called the Fish Spa. For like 20 Baht (about $6) you get to sit with your feet soaking in this water loaded with these little fishies. They come and go to town sucking the dead skin off of your feet (or hands or whatever else you feel brave enough to stick into the water).

It made me feel pretty good about myself because it appeared that my feet were the most popular with the fish. Natasha, little darling 17 year old daugher of Sandy, had barely any fish snacking on her feet. Go figure. Sandy just couldn't take it and only lasted about a minute before she went outside and stuck her hand in the tank with the smaller fishes. Somehow that seemed a little more appealing.

At any rate, it was a fun experience. It felt like little vibrations on your feet. I actually enjoyed it after I got used to it.
Here's a little video of my reaction when I first put my feet in with the fish

Thailand - Just a Straight Shot

Had to include this story in my Thailand blogs. I promise, I'm almost finished with the whole Thailand thing. I think I have like one or two more posts after this and then I get back to my boring life again. Lol.

So the four of us, Karyn, Natasha, Sandy and myself, had decided that we had had enough of the "staying on the island and putting up with the rain" thing and wanted to see more of Thailand. It was rather rogue of us but we took it upon ourselves to enlist the aid of a travel agent and get ourselves off of the island and on to somewhere more . . . entertaining.
Enter the travel agent. We went into this cute little shop on the main drag and chatted with the young man running the shop. We told him our desired plans and he was able to make the reservations for us. We then said that we wanted to pay with our credit cards. "Oooohhhh", said he, "I need to call my boss to come pick you up and take you over to his place so that he can run your cards through. You see, I can not do this here." Okay, bring on Mr. Boss Man then please.
Mr. Boss showed up in his little beebop car (he was a man from England) and whisked us away to "his" place (actually an office attached to his home with little wifey poo acting as his assistant). We chatted away with him as he ran our cards through and printed out our travel agenda. He then loaded us up back into his little car (as Karyn went around to the driver's side which is the passenger side in America and attempted to get in only to have him ask her if she was intending to drive, lol). We then asked Mr. Boss to take us to Thor's so that we could get dinner. He quickly complied.
When we arrived at Thor's we then asked him where would be a good place to get a hotel for the evening in Bangkok (since that was our destination). He stuttered a bit and then rubbed his head and said this classic statement, "Uh, can you come by my office tomorrow to get that information? I've had quite a bit to drink tonight and I can't think clearly."
WTF? Did I hear that right? We said, "What??? You've been driving us around drunk?" He then replied, "Oh it's no problem. You see, it's just a straight shot from here to there!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thailand - Ew!! Tatoo!!!

No, no, no! That's not my back you see in the picture. That back belongs to another person in our group. I just HAD to take this picture because I was mortified at how much pain this new "fad" causes. Not to mention the fact that it leaves this permanent mark on your body.

So, while we were in Thailand, the tattoo parlor was right below the deck of my room. I could stand out there and look right down and see everything that was going on in there (yeah, I was a weirdo stalker chick). The tatoo artist was pretty good looking (in spite of all the tats he was sporting cuz I just find tats tacky).
This place, evidentally, was the place to be. Several people in our group got tats while we were there. I found out that it costs about 1/2 as much to tat yourself up there than it does in "America." Hence, the reason my friends saved their pennies for Thailand, right?
Well, this particular tat took five long, painful hours to do. The young lady receiving the tat was "tough" and endured it. I popped into the shop several times throughout her ordeal to see how she was doing. She said that there was a point where she wanted to abort the plan but once you start you kinda gotta finish (like pregnancy and childbirth, I guess). I was really sad for her because she is only 23 years old. I so know that this isn't what she's gonna want on her body when she's my age and beyond.
Anyway, my curiosity about the tatoo world has been satisfied. I have no desire to participate in this ritual and have a new found appreciation for those who have tattoos.

Thailand - The Elephants!!!

Ask anyone on the retreat . . . the elephant ride was definitely the highlight. I don't think there will be one person that was present on that trip that wouldn't agree.
We thought we were just going out to ride the elephants. End of story. Don't get me wrong. An elephant ride in and of itself is what I was expecting, happy with and really the biggest motivating factor in getting me to Thailand.
What I didn't realize, nor did anyone else in our group for that matter, was that we were going to get to SWIM with our elephant. Holy crap! It was raining like frickin heck but the water was warm. The elephant took me up on his trunk and flung me in the water. We got to slide off his back and he even layed down on his side so we could "rest". Yup, nothing short of amazing!
Karyn got to ride up front in the "pilot" position for quite awhile on our ride. He didn't extend that invitation to me (probably because of my size) but I was happy to just be along for the ride.
We learned that the name of the elephant driver is a "mahout". We learned that elephants live to be about 70-80 years old. The mahout gets his elephant while it is a calf and trains the elephant. The elephant has the same mahout throughout his life (and throughout the life of the mahout). Each mahout managed his elephant different. Our mahout was the cutest young guy and it meant a lot more to us when we learned that this elephant was his LIFE!
I want to be a mahout.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thailand - Breaking out of the Compound

My next several posts are going to be about my trip to Thailand. I had a GREAT time and this is MY blog so I'm going to post memories about my trip. Sorry if this bores anyone else but ME!
I went to Thailand with a group of yogis from the studio I practice at, Cosmic Dog Yoga. There were 17 of us in our group and it was a great group. No drama.
The 2nd night we were there a typhoon hit the island and the power and water were out for two days. Five of us had had enough of being confined to the resort where we were staying and made a hasty decision to get out and see something of this country we traveled so far to see.
We decided to rent motor scooters and get mobile. The woman who was renting to us took one look at us (all five of us are blondes) and sternly suggested that this was a BAD idea. The roads were wet, the traffic travels on the LEFT side of the road and we, all of us, were completely inexperienced at driving motor bikes of any kind.
Plan B: We hired a taxi (the back of a pick-up truck in the above left of the picture) and he took us out and about. We went to the infamous falls and hiked up and got to enjoy a fantastic treat, courtesy of Mother Nature. It was breathtaking. He then took us to an alligator (crocodile, idk the diff) farm which completely caught us by surprise. We got to pet the elephants (which got us pretty excited for our upcoming ride the following day), experience some fantastic ocean views and then he took us (five women, good call) to Fisherman's Wharf for shopping.
On the wharf were these little huts (bottom right) that people actually lived in. They were about half the size of my bedroom. Hard to imagine. Gobs and gobs of shops and we only made it about half way before one of us was way too hungry (and no, it wasn't me) and we needed to head back.
It was our first absolute favorite day of the trip. We blew off our evening yoga class which none of us regretted. The five of us bonded and soon became inseparable for the balance of the trip. It was a special treat to discover that Sandy and her daughter, Natasha, were LDS. We stuck together like glue for the next six days.
This trip wasn't what I went to Thailand looking for (I was looking for serious yoga time) but I ended up finding something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Great memories and life long friends.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yes, They're ALL Mine!!

While we were driving home from Idaho, the twins and I popped into a convenience store to snag some snacks (essentials on a road trip). The woman working there motioned to the twins and said, "looks like you have your hands full there." (and Jacob was being super well behaved!)

I just smiled and said, "I've been doing this for awhile. I guess I must be used to it."

She then asked, "How many kids do you have?"


She then HAD to ask that question that I loathe. "Are you a foster parent or is this a blended family?"

"Neither. They're ALL mine!"

My parents adopted me when I was a new baby. They also adopted two of my siblings and then got pregnant with my younger sister. My mom NEVER and I mean NEVER(!!) said, "I have four children. These three are adopted and this one is my own." That made an impression on me (not that I thought about it at all as a kid) as an adult who DOES have a unique family make-up. I always felt as if I was just as important to Mom as my little sister. I never felt different. In fact when I was about 18 months old my mom took me on a trip to England (her home) with her. Someone (uncool) pointed out that I had blonde hair and she didn't. My mom replied, "Well, my mother has blonde hair." No further dialogue was needed. Go Mom!!!

I strive to do the same with my own family. They're ALL mine! End of story. Yes, the twins arrived via an alternate route than the others. I keep in touch with their grandma and she still loves them so very much. However, she doesn't interfere with their life with us and respects that we are their parents. Someday soon I hope they get to meet her. She's an awesome grandma.

One of my favorite responses to someone's nosiness came from Skip's aunt. Her and her husband adopted three children as well and had one biological child. When the inquiry came, she simply said, "Three are adopted. One we had naturally. I forget which one, though." Classic.