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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Silk worms eating their mulberry leaves

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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.

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Sa Wat Dee Ka, Bonnie