We considered “our neighborhood” to be be the area which was walk-able distance from our lodging. Looking back through these pictures of our neighborhood already makes me feel a little sad that we will probably never again see these streets which became so familiar to us during the five weeks we were there. Once again I must say we are very happy that we had the chance to experience this very different place in the world and meet the people there.
Typical students in their uniforms walking down our street.
Most are not walking but riding motor scooters. One day I counted 32 motor scooters going in or out in just five minutes.
At the end of the street is this place where you can grab a ride on a motor scooter or, occasionally, a cab. One day Chuck and I took a motor scooter to church together. It was just a bit harrowing, especially when our driver was going against the traffic (which is very heavy here no matter where you are) and when we went over this little pedestrian/scooter bridge pictured below. Whee! Wish we had a picture but we were busy holding on.
The 7 Eleven dogs. These two were always lying in front of the doors to the 7 Eleven. They found a way to beat the heat this way as whenever anyone went in or out, a blast of the very cool air conditioned air would come out. I fed them scraps sometimes although they were not starving and one wore a collar. At another 7 Eleven across the street from our church there were two other dogs (also 1 black, 1 brown) who had discovered the same way to keep cool.
Here’s the guy who supplies the fruits and vegetables to the food stands along the streets. There is always an array of fresh fruit and Chuck and I often bought some for our breakfast the next day.
I’m amazed he can balance his scooter with all this hanging from it.
We referred to this woman as “the chicken lady” although she also cooked fish at her little street-side grill. Chuck always stopped to greet her on his morning walks (which I did not do because of the oppressive heat–I only walked when there was something I really wanted to see as when we were touring.)
Chicken Lady’s “kitchen” up the stairs. We ate here (at the one and only table) one day–just chicken, no sides, and no drinks. When we wanted a Coke they went next door to purchase one for us.
We discovered this place the last week and ate there four times. It was almost like home. They had a wonderful pepper gravy on either steak or pork chops. Very tasty.
The sweet waitress (owner) of Steak For U.
My lunch. It looked so good after eating mostly Thai dishes for weeks. It was more expensive though–Pork chop -$2.99 and t-bone steak $ 5.07 – the most expensive item on their menu. We usually spent about $ 4 total for lunch for both of us with drinks in the Thai restaurant on the ground floor of our dormitory.
This open-air food court was just around the corner from us. In the evenings, the little “restaurants” around the perimeter would begin cooking and the tables would fill with mostly students.
Along the street in the evenings. Time to eat.
A couple of blocks up the street was a side street where fish were trucked in and prepared for sale. Notice temple in the background.
Along the streets were several micro-businesses such as laundromats, usually with 2 or 3 washers and no dryers. People dry their clothes outside on their balconies (as we did) or right on the street. Across from us was a small hotel where you could stay for $15 a night. There were tiny drug stores, internet cafes, and sewing shops. Everywhere the Thais seemed an industrious people always working hard.
Our last sight-seeing venture was to the ancient capital of, then, Siam. This involved getting up very early and catching the 6:28 train near us to the main station in downtown Bangkok, then catching the train to Ayutthaya, a trip of about two and a half hours altogether. There we hired a tuktuk to drive us about to the various ruins of interest. It was quite an interesting place. We visited seven temples, each somewhat the same but a little different. Enjoy the photos!
We are now home and working on overcoming our considerable jet lag. Because our last few days in Thailand were very busy, I didn’t complete all that I wanted to share so will post a couple more times.
While in Thailand, we attended the Lat Krabang Anglican Church pictured below. The church had been meeting in a building across the street until the new building was begun a few months ago. You may think it doesn’t look much like a church. That is because this building is the first in what will be a group of buildings including a bigger church building and a school. This building will be the welcome center with a coffee shop and fellowship area. But for now, it will serve as the church.
How the church looked when we first arrived
The workers lived in these little makeshift “houses” behind while the church was being constructed. There were women as well as men and one woman had a little boy who followed her about as she worked. You can see the size of the compound which will eventually hold the additional buildings.
No shovels were in evidence. This hand-held scoop was used instead.
Fr. Lee preaches in English with translator for Thais
Lunch and fellowship after church
The big dedication celebration was April 1 and we were happy, after watching all the construction taking place–even during our Sunday services–to have been here when the church was dedicated. It was a big event with several bishops and other clergy attending from the Diocese of Singapore.
Bonnie helped as a hostess
Chuck was an usher
The Bishop knocks at the door
The choir sings
Fr. Andrew Yap in front is the rector of the church
Fr. Lee Mullins (our boss)
And food for everyone of course
Fr. Lee, his wife, Pom, and baby Bella
Our good friend and helper, Serene Hsu, missionary from Singapore
We will always keep this church and all the people we met there in our prayers.
Sa Wat Dee Ka!
Very early last Thursday morning we flew to Siem Reip, Cambodia, because we needed to be out of country in order to re-start our 30-day limit without buying a visa. We were happy to do this as it gave us an opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, one of the major tourist destinations in the world. It was very interesting and we wandered around there for nearly four hours despite the hot sun. I’ll leave it to you to look up the history for this place as it is a lot to write here. After this most famous temple, we also visited Ta Prohm, the temple where Tomb Raider was partially filmed. Then on to Bayon and on to see the sunset (which we didn’t actually do) at another temple high on a hill. I forget the name of that one. I didn’t make it all the way to the top of the hill and turned back although Chuck, as always, charged on. When he came down he told me I was actually almost there when I turned back. I was just SO hot that climbing was not at all fun. He took some nice photos there, but unfortunately, my card reader for my old camera which he was using will no longer work and we couldn’t find one here. But there are plenty of pictures from my camera to share. In addition to the temples we visited, there were many that we passed that were not open to tourists. I had no idea it was such a large area.
Our transportation and driver for our three days in Cambodia–tuk tuk and driver, Saar-rot (I’m just guessing at how to spell his name)
Love those stairs—there were many
The following five pictures are at TaProhm
The next three are from Bayon temple.we”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’eeeeeeeeeeeeee””””””””’
Chuck looks at a memorial to The Killing Fields–many died here in Cambodia.
At the Angor National Museum, Siem Reip, Cambodia
That’s it for today!
I am here in the Student Center waiting for my laundry to be done and it is time for another post. Tomorrow Chuck and I will make a long trek to the ruins of the old capital, the ancient city of Ayutthaya (a-Yoot-ta-ya) and I realized I haven’t even sent pictures of the temples we have visited so far. By the way, What’s a Wat? —a Buddhist temple.
Two weeks ago on Saturday we took the old train which runs close by downtown to see what we could see. It was certainly no luxury train. We had to walk a mile to board, the seats were old and hard and it had no air conditioning. But it did have fans and was right on time and the price was right—-free on the way down and 18 cents each on the way back. The day was incredibly hot and we did not see all we had hoped to see but it was a good day of sight-seeing nonetheless.
The OLD train. They have newer trains, of course. When we go to Ayutthaya we’ll take this train downtown, then catch a similar train there. Total travel time 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
An outdoor shrine near the wat
A new monk praying
The world’s largest solid 18 carat gold Buddha weighing 5 tons
Chandelier over the Buddha
Another small Wat we visited
We saw this procession of the family and friends and a new monk heading for an installation ceremony. Most monks, we are told, are only monks for a short period–anywhere from 3 months to 3 weeks. However, some will go for much longer periods including some who are monks for life. There are hundreds of rules they must observe and whatever else they do, they survive by highly-ritualized begging. Buddhists believe that in order to be reincarnated to a better life next time they gain merit- the more, the better. Giving gifts to a monk gains merit. Becoming a monk gains merit and this is traditionally dedicated to his mother for her benefit. This is an important act of filial devotion. When we return, we’ll have more to say about this in our presentations.
This picture, and the following ones are from our visit to Wat Pho which was an amazing place. It was hard to photograph because the sun was SO bright, I couldn’t see what I was taking sometimes which means I sometimes missed the tops of some things.
The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. He is half a football field long.
Here people can gain merit by purchasing these coins and then depositing them in the monk’s bowls pictured below.
If anyone is improperly dressed–shorts, uncovered shoulders, etc.–they must wear one of these coats.
At first I thought this was funny but, after consideration, I think it is good advice to beware of your valuable possessions.
The last thing we did was climb the Golden Mount for a great view of the massive city of Bangkok.
Here we are at the top!
There is so much I’d like to share but the time to post is sometimes hard to find. In order to attach pictures I have to go over to the Student Center because the connection here in our room is not good enough. We try to do some things in the mornings and then our work stint from 2 to 10 pm leaves us feeling less than energetic so it is easy to put off writing a post. Right now, we are waiting to meet with a couple of students who want to take us to a park this morning. So I thought I’d start a post and then add the photos later.
This picture–the outside steps to the student center last night–shows that we had a nice crowd of students. Since many places we go here require that we remove our shoes to keep the inside clean, this is a familiar scene. Needless to say, we feel a bit odd going into a restaurant or store (not too many of them require it) in our bare feet. In the US, of course, it is “No shoes, no service” here it is the opposite. One of our first days here, I was wearing a pair of sandals with an elastic strap around the back. Coming out of the store, I found I could not put them on without sitting down so had to walk the block and a half home barefoot carrying my sandals. So now I’m careful what I wear although when walking a lot for sightseeing, I do have to have my supportive Eccos. So far, I’ve been able to put them back on. At temples they usually provide a bench to sit on to do this. Around here, most wear Crocs-type shoes and flip flops.
Yesterday morning we took a cab downtown at 6:30 a.m. hoping to see a few more sights. Because the traffic was so extremely heavy and slow, we didn’t get to see much and one destination was closed for repairs so, by the time we got back at 2 p.m. (in time for class) we had spent 2 hrs. actually seeing things and the rest of the time riding in a cab and sitting in traffic jams. We visited a Hindu temple where, unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos. It was very interesting and different. I was able to capture some of it from the outside.
This young woman is stringing flowers into a sort of lei which people buy to put on their altars to their various gods.
Second, we visited the Royal Barge Museum. On significant occasions, these barges parade down the river with the king and other notables. Wish we could have seen that. Our final stop was the Jim Thompson house. He was an American who lived in Bangkok and was the promoter of the cottage industry of the hand weaving of Thai silk. He was an architect and his home, made entirely of teak, is unusual and full of many interesting objects. Again–no photos inside.
While in Cambodia, besides the well-known temples, we visited a silk farm where we got to see the production of silk from the moths to the finished product. All of this is very labor intensive and explains why even a silk scarf is so expensive.
Silk worms eating their mulberry leaves
Steps in the production of silk fabric
Chuck had a skin problem with his feet when we arrived and we had to visit a hospital to see a dermatologist. That was quite an experience as the hospital was unlike any we’ve seen before. First, it was beautifully landscaped including a fountain. We were met at the door by two doormen who opened the cab doors for us and the doors to the hospital. Inside we were greeted by two lovely young women who directed us to the correct area for his appointment. There was a grand piano playing in the large lobby. Making our way to the elevator, we passed Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and other emporiums as well as a beauty salon. Check out these pictures.
Sa Wat Dee Ka, Bonnie