Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grand Palace!



















So I gave in and went to the Touristy site: The Grand Palace. It was beautifully sparkly and shiny!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rice Harvesting







The University took 10 of us to Harvest Rice at the other Campus, Rangsit. It is a 45 Minute drive from our downtown campus out into the middle of no where. But this campus is HUGE and very very nice!! So why did I harvest rice? WHY NOT?!?! hahah So we were given these sharp hooked gadgets and told to grab a hold of the rice and then cut it near the bottom and pile it up. We did an entire field! See all of the people helping?? That entire field was all cut by the end!! How fantastic! And and and! Our exchange student group were the frist ones to cross the entire field!! :) Yay us! It was a very nice experience! But it was extremely hot! And that one handful of rice I am holding....that huge amount will ONLY make about one bowl of rice!! There must be ALOT of rice workers slaving away! It is HARD work!! But definitly a fun experience! Also, there were water buffalo just strolling around us as we worked. haha, what a life. they were watching us work wondering why we were taking over their job for them!! haha
:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cooking Class/Flat Tire/Pool Party


OUr univeristy hosted a cooking day for us. they took us to a fantastic market and then took us to the head coordinator, Pi Maa's, house to cook. I was in charge of peeling the shrimp! I could handle that. We were shown how to cook Pad Thai, Tomyum Soup, and Mango with Sticky Rice!

This is mango with sticky rice! OMG it is faaaaaaaaantastic. It is basically just rice coconut milk and sugar, but it sure makes for one delicious snack!!

On our way back from Pi Maa;s house, just as we were crossing the bridge to our apartment, we hear a HUGE bang and our driver pulls over. This is what the bang was! Our tire blew!! haha. So the driver started to call people to come help, but two of our exchangers, Dhruv and Bruno, busted out the manly skills and changed out tire for us!! Who knew boys were so handy!! haha it was great!!

Last week we all went to a pool party hosted by the other university, Chula, in Bangkok. It was a pool party hosted at a hotel with the pool on the rooftop! How amazing. This is a shot of the pool with a bunch of people around. There was free alcohol and food for the evening at a cost of.....zero dollars!! They were charging 500 Baht ($15), but there wasnt anybody at the pay table when I entered so a group of us just got in for free!! It was great!! This is Eli and I at the pool party. Eli goes to Western in London Ontario. My fellow Canadian!! Woot! haha

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Gorgeous Photos from Vietnam









Just some more pretty pictures from Vietnam :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Khao Yai National Park












So we went to the Khao Yai National Park over the weekend! Lions and Tigers and Bears oh MY!

There were actually Tigers there. So between 5 and 6 PM we werent allowed to wander too far since that is Tiger feeding time. Woot!

We slept in tents since that was the cheapest. And really...it WAS the cheapest....since it rained for about an hour. and when I say rain I mean flooding rain - cause thats what happens here. So it was just storming away and Paige and I are sitting in our tent and then it starts to drip on us. haha From the top centre and every corner leaked. So we shuved out towels in the corners and put a towel in the centre. Just to soak it up. It was manageable and we did not get wet.

Later when it cleared up we went for a 3.4KM hike. This was a nice journey to a waterfall which was in the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo DeCaprio. Woot! But along the entire route were signs that said Beware of Crocodiles! We were walking ALONG side a swampy area with nothing but a little rope blocking the way into the swamp. One sign wouldnt of been to bad. But these signs were every 20 feet. So we picked up the pace a little since we were getting hungry and didnt want to be somebody elses lunch! Ok at times we started to run. So what. Crocodiles are creepy. But we did not run into any luckily. haha.

Around the park we just hitchhiked everywhere. Sounds strange but the security gaurd said to us "No, dont walk thats dangerous. Hitch hike; its safer". haha Not every day you hear that. So basically we flagged down vehicles and asked them to take us where ever they were going. Since one of the waterfalls was 23KM away. It was the huge 5 tiered one too! There are photos of the group of us at it. But you can only see the one tier of it since the other tiers were closed down, atleast the viewing points were.

Then Lonely Planet told us there were Bat caves 3KM outside of the park. So we started to hike there. Along the way we talked to street vendors who told us it was 3KM to the entrance, but another 3KM in that road. So ugh. it wouldnt be possible to hike that far with the bats coming out around 6PM. Then we ran into a vehicle with Angeline and Hafidz inside, and the guy was nice enough to drive us out to the bat caves, atleast, we thought it was the bat caves. Instead we got taken to somebodys house, and there, we spoke to the people living there and they said they'd take us up to mountain. Oh yay! Well, up the mountain, really does mean UP the mountain. It was STRAIGHT up, full out rock climbing, with no gear, and multiple trees that we had to swing around and hope that we did not fall to a bumpy rocky death. haha It was VERY exhilerating, but WOW! haha so we got to the top, and had to wait for about a half hour until the bats emerged. They came out in SWARMS!! They were SO tiny! but they came out for like 15 minutes straight. Just this HUGE straight line of bats. But the cooelst thing was, from above, owls and hawks were diving straight down through the path of bats trying to catch them to eat them!!! It was such an amazing thing to see!! Then we had to get down the mountain again while the sun was about a SLIVER left in the sky. By about half way down this steep rocky death trap, the sunset and we had to go via flashlight. haha It was extremely tricky and extremely scary, at times I thought I would fall off the mountain. But alas, we all are safe and sound and I cant promise I wouldnt do it again. :D sorry mom. haha.

Then we got on a bus. and I feel bad for every person on this bus. because they had to sit next to the 10 of us who must of smelt SO SO SO terrible. Like sweat and guano (bat shit). Just so so so stinky. Poor people. hahah.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. LOOK AT THE MIDDLE PHOTO OF THE CHINESE GUYS! THERE WAS THIS DEER THAT WAS WITHIN TOUCHING REACH,AND THEY HAD THESE GIGANTIC CAMERAS TAKING PHOTOS OF IT FROM SO CLOSE! It was an AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZING morning. like WHO needs a camera THAT big. bhahaha. Compensating much??? hahahha And Deer. Lots of Deer in the park. I really wasnt all that excited to see them. Only the other kids from Ontario and Minnesota were not excited either since well....we see deer all the time. hah. nothing new there. but those cameras.....oh god.....what a morning.

:)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quick catch up

Just to get you wondering where I've been all week - I am currently covered in guano. And for those of you who dont know what that is - it is bat poop! hahah!

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!!

Full Update later :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bombs in Bangkok

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/32952/security-forces-ready-for-action

Read the article. Here is a clipping

"On Saturday, a grenade exploded at Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon campus and a C4 bomb was found on Sunday at the Supreme Court."

Apparently this was all due to the Thaksin judgement day on Feb 26th.

And goverment force?
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/168704/govt-won-t-use-force-against-udd

"The government is ready for the 10 dangerous days ahead of judgment day on Feb 26 and is capable of keeping the situation under control," Mr Suthep said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chinese New Years in Chanthaburi

I went to Paige's host family for the weekend to celebrate chinese New years with them. Paige lived in Thailand four years ago on a rotery exchange in Highschool for one year. So, she took me to her host familys house to celebrate since they are chinese. It was somewhat difficult since I cannot speak Thai, but Paige speaks Thai so she translated for me whenever it was necessary. The familys father is the mayor of the city and they have a massive family. They live in a 5 story house next to the mercedes benz dealership and the ice factory that they own.

This is the shrine that they have on the 5th floor of the house. There are tons of buddahs here and elephants and in the room just next to here are portraits of their recently passed relatives that they pray. They light incense and pray with them to their ancestors, then put the burning incense in a pot infront of their portrait. Paige and I were allowed to pray and sit in meditation position in front of the buddahs to think about our ancestors. It was a very nice experience.

These are 3 of the neices within the family that we hung out with all weekend. From left to right is: Suwichaya, Paige, Rainny, Kirada, and myself. We are all holding a chocolate that spells out Love <3.

This is a fish they had within their house. I thought he was pretty amazing! Look at those lips and eyes!! haha :)

During the day on valentine's day a group of us went to the beach. Get me a tan!! :) haha Left to right: Pi Jang, Pi Bong, Kiranda, an Aunt, Suwichaya, Rainny, then Paige's arms. haha. We brought a feast with us and ate an feast all weekend!! So much food!!

They served us a fish that was still burning below it! :) haha it was pretty funny, but difficult to get some fish because the flames would flicker out through the bottom and lick your wrist. haha.

This is a picture of the beach that we spent the day on. It was beautiful. The water was SO SO SO warm!! Lovely Gulf of Thailand!! :)

This is me, an aunt, and Paige on the beach! Im not even that white anymore!! :)
This is us bananaboating!!! :) Paige, me, and Pi Wow. It was alot of fun! but everytime we took a corner - we all went down!! haha.


This is Paige and I. Paige's mouth is filled with food. haha What yummy food!!

We went to a toy factory and we got to pick out toys we wanted. I picked a little Pooh bear obviously :) We had to wear masks because of all the dust. Those masks are SO SO hot - you want to pass out they make everything so much hotter. It was already about 33 degrees this day! Ps. I have been climatized!! At night we turned the A/C on and at 24 degrees I was too cold to sleep!!! bahaha! How wonderful!!!

This is a shrine on the first floor of the house. It is pretty. I did not learn more about it.



These are the tastiest treats!! :) They are all multi coloured. and they are like a sweeter bread!! Paige and I got to help make them, we just put the batter into the cups so they could be steamed! :) The family made TONS of food to give to all their employees.


Also! One of the traditions on Chinese New Years, is for adults, or those who are married, to give Red envelopes to those younger than them. These envelopes are filled with money. Paige told me about this tradition, but I did not expect anything from the family, but since they are so wonderful, they gave me envelopes as well! So I made 3,700 Baht ($123) this weekend. :)


So overall - it was a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vietnam Videos - More

I Forgot to post this :)



video


This is the bus ride we took from Nho Quon to Hanoi. What a lovely ride. Look at all the people!! haha They put seats up and down the aisle to squeeze people in!! And this is only 20 minutes into the ride!! They shuved probably 10 more people on this bus! It was one sardine bus thats for sure!! But the lady next to me served for lots of amusement as Din and I attemped to speak Vietnamese to her via the 4 pages of Vietnamese at the back of our Lonely Planet book!! hahah




This is the beautiful hike through Sapa. I walked through this for 2 days - through lots of muck - but so much fun. :) See how beautiful the area is??


video

Monkey Island Videos

video

MONKEYS MONKEYS MONKEYS!!!!!!! We got to feed the Monkeys bananas! They are cute but also very creepy! they guy told us they would not bute or anything, they just wanted the food, and that they were afraid of us - but him hitting them with that life jacket doesnt seem like they are all that friendly!! haha. Also - the big monkeys would try to drown the little monkeys when they came out to get the bananas! It was terrifying!! the poor little things squeeled so loud! haha but monkeys - neat but creepy!!

video

This is us going back to our hut after our muddy fun!! :) Pretty sunset over the muddyness! haha

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monkey Island!

So We decided we did not want to stay in Bangkok for the weekend. So 6 of us left town on a 10 Baht (33 cent) Train ride, 5 Baht Ferry, and another 10 Baht Train ride until we arrived at Klong Khone. A little place in the middle of nowhere that has a Monkey Island! Monkeys Monkeys Monkeys!!!



This is the pretty railway station that we had to wait around at for a few hours until the next train arrived to take us to Klong Khone. While we waited - we ate Mangos! Yum!





So this is the craziest thing! Our train had JUST arrived - like 2 minutes before, and we passed through on these tracks...but the tracks have a market on them! Yes I know they do! The market was pulled back the tarps and everything for the train to pass through and then immediately afterwards the market is put back over the tracks!!! It was a really nice market as well!! But how crazy - who thought to build a market on train tracks???



There are full length bambo shoots!! They are HUGE!!! the men were taking them off the truck, I suppose they were going to build another hut hut to live in!


This is a photo of the place we stayed in Klong Khone from the river. That hut hut with the grass roof - we sang karaoke there for the evening. haha. We slept on an balcony like that on the opposite side. There was a highschool group of students at this resort for a weekend fieldtrip! And they were singing - so we did a little competition ourselves!! :D


This is where we slept!! We had the option of sleeping inside little huts on stilts, but this was cheaper and also alot more experience! haha. So for 150 Baht ($5) each for the night - we got to sleep outside on mats on bamboo over water :) It was a good experience but certainly not my best sleep Ive ever gotten!! haha


Then we rented a boat for 400 Baht ($13.3) total to take us out to see the monkeys on the island and to take us to play in the Mud!!!! hahah Here we are with the pretty sunset! Geoff, my eye, Emily, Paige, Julie, and Kelly!


Down and Dirty! hahah This whole area is just mud/clay everywhere. People scoot around on these long boards searching for shells to collect and sell in markets. We attempted the board but liked just playing in the Mud Better! hahah it was one giant fun mess!! At one point 4 of them decided to stand on the long board and faceplant into the mud. Geoff was the only one who went full face into the mud. BAHAH


So this is another boat that came up to us and offered to date us boarding. It was just a large wooden board that you stand on and the baot pulls you around. It is considerably easy to stand on!!


But the bad part is that mud shoots up into your face the entire time!! hahah But it was great none the less. That is why I look not smiley in this photo!!