Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Part 2

I began writing this blog entry long ago, but then I forgot to save it, lost Internet connectivity, and thereby lost all I had written. As much as I would have liked to continue blogging while in China, it was next to impossible, since the site where I blog is banned in China (as is anything related to Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and Internet service was unreliable and slow for me and most anyone else who did not have a phone aligned with a Chinese service provider. I cannot remember now what I had written, so I will start from scratch.

My first Thailand entry, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Part 1, was written out of chronological order. I had already been in Thailand for over a week when I put those words and images together, and I do remember that when I made my unsuccessful first attempt at writing Part 2, that entry was also going to be out of order. So, where do I begin now? I suppose that I will look through the photos I downloaded to my computer for some inspiration...

(I know you can't tell, but a day has gone by since I finished that last sentence. It is now Friday evening and I am sitting on a sofa in Tain Palanun's house writing. He is playing a game on his phone that involves fruits that make little squeals of joy, excitement, or pain - I cannot tell which. Today I took possession of a box of letters from the GGCA seventh grade students and there were two large bags of M&Ms and an Amazon gift card enclosed, so I will be downloading some e-books soon.)


I know this is what you have been waiting to see, a picture of my feet covered in sand from one of Thailand's beautiful beaches. No? You'd rather look at something other than my pale feet? Some people...

Our first evening in Thailand, we took the new (to me since my last visit) train from the airport into the city, took the skytrain a bit further, then rolled our luggage to the Samran Place Hotel, which I recommend for its convenient location, decent rooms, and good included breakfast. 

Tain appears to be making a top-secret phone call in front of the hotel.
Dawn, Tain, and I went out and ate at one the sidewalk restaurants that spring up late in the afternoon every day, seemingly out of thin air. 


The food was spicy, fresh, and delicious, and we followed it with some sticky rice with mango from a vendor down the street.


Tain left to pick up Zinan from the airport. Zinan had flown from Budapest via Finland and had never visited Thailand before. Dawn and I took advantage of the fact that the Samran Place has four Thai massage shops within a 30 second walk from the front entrance. For less than $7.00, we both had our feet washed and received an hour of Thai massage. Such a blessing it was to our travel weary bodies! By the time we finished our tea and cleansed our faces with the cool, moist towels, Tain and Zinan were back from the airport. Zinan and I went to our room to settle in, and then he went and got some food with Tain.

After a night's rest, we packed small bags with a few days' worth of clothes and went to visit the Baptist Student Center and the New Vision Baptist Church where Tain would be staying whenever we were in Bangkok from then on. Tain had attended this church before and knew many of the people there. It was decorated for Christmas and we took some pictures during our tour.





From here we took a taxi to a mall where we were to meet one of Tain's friends named A. I know that's not how she spells her name, but that's what her name sounds like - the first letter of the English alphabet. In the mall, we were invited to make keychains for free, so we all did. 

Zinan chooses his bangles and beads.

My masterpiece.

Our bags sporting our keychains.
When A arrived, she drove us east toward Tain's hometown, and along the way we passed near where William was visiting his mother, and they met us for lunch at a restaurant.

Noodles!

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

EST cola (like Pepsi, only better)

Cold "green worms" dessert

Tain loves green worms

William and his mother, the founder of our feast
After lunch, we continued eastward, stopping on a bridge to stretch and take a few photos,

A and Tain with her car in the background

Zinan snaps a photo of the view from the bridge
and then stopped at a Swensen's ice cream parlor to meet up with some of Tain's local friends and his brother.



Tain's brother, Eak (sounds like Ache) befriends Zinan
 That evening, we went to Tain's sister's house to stay. It was an almost-finished, two-storey modern home located beside a river. We dropped off our stuff at the house, went down to a trendy part of town where people had opened nice restaurants, shops, and hotels in an old neighborhood, and ate dinner at a not-so-trendy little open air restaurant that looked like it was a family business. 
Tain points out the name of the neighborhood


Pop cooks up our dinner

Our meal. (My stomach just growled as I wrote that.)

 That evening, I fell asleep on a couch so new it was still wrapped in plastic. The next day, we got a good glimpse of where we were staying. I will likely never own a home like this in my lifetime, but God takes care of His children, doesn't He? What a treat it was to stay here for nothing. Our God supplies all we need according to His riches in glory, and that includes a place to rest our heads. Sometimes it's just a piece of floor in community center in Korea with a big old bucket full of cold water to bathe in, and sometimes it's a state of the art house like this one with a bathroom that includes a jacuzzi bathtub (not working yet when we stayed there) and a shower with warm water raining down from multiple shower heads. I'm thankful for both.










After breakfast, we drove to visit other members of Tain's family who lived further down the river. Here are some pictures of them and their home.

The happy family.





Thais are very proud of their king and pictures of him are everywhere.
Jackfruits. They are enormous and resemble dinosaur eggs.
We stopped in town long enough to take a picture of Tain and A at their childhood elementary school...


...and then drove to the coast where I ended up getting the sandy toes you saw above.








Dawn rides the swing
We rode further up the coast and took some more pictures of God's marvelous creations...

Wait... Are these God's marvelous creations?
This is what I meant...



...before making a stop near a temple where I saw this amazing tree...


...and then went to a restaurant for dinner beside the sea.





There was more food I could have shown you, but this is not a food blog, contrary to what some people may think. After eating, I went down by the water and took pictures of the myriad seashells there. Looking at these pictures now puts me in mind of Psalm 139:17-18a - "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand..."












I couldn't begin to number the shells on the beach, let alone the grains of sand there. What is God thinking about me? I cannot begin to imagine.

Back in town, we visited a famous cathedral where Tain had an epiphany of some sort...


...Zinan spotted a lovely photo opportunity...


...Dawn made some new friends...


...and I peered wistfully into a fabulous looking bakery.


It was a week before Christmas and I knew that my friends and family would soon be gathering to celebrate the joys of the season together in churches and homes back in America, and here I was in warm Thailand, where Christmas is the "Christian festival" that Thai young people enjoy as another time to shop and go out to eat. What was I doing here? What was I thinking?

Comments

  1. love all these amazing pictures and all your activities, for those of us who dream of missions, it is the best glimse I have ever seen without being there!!! thank you!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I hope your dream of doing missions work becomes a reality!

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