December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays to all of you.

Christmas Day Lunch at Jomtien Beach Mark and I had a lovely Christmas day. We watched some exciting TV movie then we went to Lunch at a restaurant just three doors down from our beach guest house. Complimentary glass of champaign, turkey, roasted potatoes, gravy, carrots, broccoli, and brussel sprouts, dressing and some kind of sausage wrapped in bacon, and a special English pudding. Minced pie was available but we were full and needed to stop before the pie. We received boxed gifts of small christmas towels from the owner of the restaurant, who is an English Barrister. Other people from our guest house were there too.
After lunch Mark and I went to the beach for awhile and stayed until the sun went down.

December 19, 2007

Mark doing construction work Even though he still has cancer, Mark is doing all he can. Yesterday and today he worked a full day with Mr. George Richardson, who along with his wife Angel, owns the guest house where we are staying in Jomtien Beach Pattaya Thailand. It is one half block from the beach.
George has purchased the house next door and is remodeling it for a guest house, restaurant, and Kareoke bar. Yesterday Mark and George used a winch system to move a large pile of eucaleptus boards from the ground to the third floor roof. Today they are building some sort of shade wall on the third floor. For you guys, they have a power saw, a compressor, and power nail gun going full blast. Notice the tall condominium in the background. We are one half block from the beach. Mom will head to the beach this afternoon late and will stay to get somemore sunset pictures like this one taken yesterday, only better.
10,453 visitors to the blog from 77 countries now.

December 13, 2007

Group Trip to the Angkor Wat Ruins, Siem Reap, Cambodia - Our host and hostess Mr George Richardson and wife Angel organized a trip for guests to go to Seim Reap to see the ruins of many ancient Hindu and Budhist temples. These sites were in the running for one of the top 7 wonders of the world. Last time Mark and I (mom) visited Siem Reap, we flew in and had our own car and driver and tour guide. This time our group traveled 3 hours in a van to the border of Thailand and Cambodia, arranged a tour including transportation, hotel, food, driver, guide and then walked accross the border to a bus which took 5 hours to go 125 km as the road was so very bad. Riding on the bus was like riding the mechanical bull at Billy Bob's although the bus had more moves and you had to hold on tighter to avoid being thrown off your seat.
Immediately on crossing the border, the poor people of the country are highly visible. All our luggage was hand pushed accross the border in a wooden cart by a man. There were wooden carts everywhere pushed by manpower. Trucks were seriously overloaded with recycled metal or handwoven baskets. Eventually we got to our hotel the Angkor Hotel which is beautiful with hand carved wood everywhere, a wonderful dining hall, and a pool. We spent Wednesday touring ruins, eating fantastic Cambodian food, and seeing a show about the history of Cambodia in song and dance. On Thursday we went by van to take a boat on the 100 mile long Tonle Sap lake. This is the lake that connects with the Mekong River. You can go on this lake to Phenom Phen. There are floating villages on the lake. 70% of the people who live on the lake are Vietnamese. One interesting sight among many was a small girl on a boat with her mother. The girl who was about 3 years old had her baby doll and she had a large live snake around her neck. At one point some small child about five years old jumped off a passing boat onto our boat to sell us water, beer, or soda.

We arrived Tuesday and left Thursday to return to Jomtiem Beach, Pattaya, Thailand.

Note: there have now been over 10,000 visitors from 77 countries to this blog. Thank-you for visiting and telling friends.

December 05, 2007

Mark and Mom are in Thailand - Mark's mom left Austin, Texas on Sunday December 2. When she and friend Suzie arrived at the airport at 5:20 am, there was a long line and after an hour in line, mom learned that the plane was delayed four hours and this meant no connections could be made and she was told to go home and come back the next day. It was tempting to go home, but reservations had been made and plans were to leave Bangkok for the beach town of Pattaya on Tueday at noon to attend the birthday party of Mr. George Richardson Tuesday evening. Bangkok is half way around the world from Austin and there is 12 hours difference in time. Bangkok is 12 hours ahead of Austin. Mom and Suzie started to go home, then Mom tried calling the 800 number of the airlines and got an agent to schedule 4 flights with two tight connections (1 hour for one and 41 minutes the other). Back in the line for another hour to get the boarding passes. Mom made the first tight connection in Denver, but not the second one in San Francisco. Missed it by 5 minutes as the plane was 30 minutes late due to de-icing the wings in Denver. Back in line for another hour with a patient lady agent who tried all kinds of things to get mom to Bangkok including going to Korea first, but finally a simple solution; another flight to LA, a bus to international and out at 10:30 pm on Monday on Thai airlines. So five flight legs and mom finally made it to Bangkok at 6:30 am Tuesday with only one bag missing.

Mark and Jin met mom at the airport and headed to the house close to Soi 76 and Sukhumvit,the one where the large python climbs over the wall and slithers through the yard where we will later play croquet. An hour after we arrived at the house and Mark and Mom had gone to the Bank of Bangkok on motorcycle taxi's and back, we packed, ate lunch, and waited for Jerry to come in the van from where he was staying down by soi 23. By noon we were headed for Jomtien Beach Pattaya. We stopped at the tiger zoo on the way down. We checked into Angel's guest house in Jomtien Beach. By 7 we were at a birthday party for Mr. George Richardson our host at the guest house.

George's birthday party Tuesday- In the afternoon we were at the site of the birthday party watching the preparations. A truck drove up with big chunks of ice and two men started with saws and chisels working on the ice. Later we saw the finished products which was two swan ice sculptures. Happy birthday signs were hung along with many ballons. There were many floral displays with orchids and roses and mums and fruit. In the evening at the party there was kareoke, dancing, and many different dishes and drinks served. George was very happy and so was his wife Angel who threw the party for him.

The King's Birthday December 5- The left over food last night went to the poor or somewhere. Tonight Angel cooked a bar-b-que with all fresh dishes including whole fish in foil, huge shrimp on the grill, bar-b-que chicken, stir fry vegetables, soups and much more. Angel has a heart of gold or Jai Dee which means good heart in Thai.

We took a trip down the coast through costal villages and toured a Botanical Garden. We also went to what we call a temple but would technically be called a Wat It's name is Anek Kusala Sala (Viharasien).

Mr. George took us to a Budhist temple overlooking the bay of Pattaya. Near the temple on a hill above the city there is like a small park with a large statue of the son of Rama Five. This son was sent from Thailand to Dartmouth Sailing School. He returned and took charge of the Thai Navy turning it into one of the best in Asia. People who sail bring small replicas of boats here and have a blessing for their boat. Part of this ceremony is to shoot off firecrackers. There is a sign banning all fireworks except firecrackers.

Friday December 7 - Today is a lazy day. This morning early our hostess Angel went to the beach one block away and bought fresh fish, shrimp, and crabs out of boats that had come in from fishing. We took our daily walk along the beach and our other activities have been to drink iced tea, eat wonderful homemade light chicken soup, and nap.

"The happiest people are those who have harvested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy."~John C. Maxwell, Entrepreneur, Author and Leadership expert