Blogging is a learning experience. It's time consuming to sift through pictures and decide which ones will look best in a post. Then there is the explanation of the pictures. What I am leaving out in a frantic desire to get everything posted is the description of the experience! Plus the whole thing runs backwards. So, I decided not all the pictures had to be in chronological order, at least not in terms of being in a certain place. Sally emailed and asked when did we go to Thailand and of course, it wasn't in July when the pictures are posted. Thus, the commentary on the comments! Or vice versa....
We left very early on Saturday, March 29, 2008 from Salt Lake, accompanied by Paul and Nancy. The first flight landed in San Francisco, the second flight landed in Hong Kong, the third flight landed in Bangkok. It was Sunday night in Bangkok by the time we arrived. Bangkok very hot and very crowded. Upon leaving the airport, I felt the culture shock, "Toto, we're not in Kansas any more!" When we left our home in Vernal, we still had several feet of snow on the ground after one of the most astonishing winters of my life.
We were escorted to a very nice hotel for a short night's rest before taking off to sight see in the morning with our beautiful Thai guide, Tum (pronounced Tomb). We visited the King's Palace in the morning and traveled to Kanchanaburi on the River Kwai (actually pronounced ka-whey). After spending the night there, we travelled back to Bangkok and then left the next morning. When Gary arranged the trip he thought we would need a break from sitting on an airplane and he was right. Though brief, it was wonderful to experience a slice of Thailand.
Our trip was booked by Journeys. I had seen an ad in the Snow Lion newspaper that looked intriguing. They were willing to customize a trip for us. It would have been too daunting to try and organize this all without assistance, yet we didn't want to get on a big tour bus with a bunch of people either. This was a wonderful way to go. We had a guide for each destination who was gracious, well-informed and helpful to us in every way. Providing good service is still a priority for people in Asia which we all appreciated a lot.
So, Narayan met us in Kathmandu to guide us into a much more third world experience in Nepal than in Thailand. We spent my 55th birthday there. Nancy and I made up a new version of the birthday song:
Happy Birthday to you
We're in Kathmandu!
We saw a bunch of monkeys
And they weren't in a zoo!
Gary and Paul weren't nearly as amused by the song as we were. We had a very pleasant dinner that night at a restaurant that provided traditional Nepali dancing for entertainment.
Driving through the traffic in and out of Kathmandu made LA traffic look like a walk in the park. There is only one road and everybody in Nepal seemed to be on it. Elections were being held and people were returning to their villages to vote. It was a relief to get to Chitwan for peace and quiet.
What I have loved most in all our travels is the experience of the natural world, the beauty of the scenery, the exotic animals and most of all, meeting the people. It is incredible how different another culture can be and yet how similar we as human beings are. There was so much interest from the people we met in Asia about what is happening in the United States. They wanted to know we thought of the economic situation and at that time, the presidential primaries. What we do as a country affects everyone else around the planet and to think otherwise is sticking your head in the sand.