So what did you do for the 4th of July? Please write and tell us what's happening with you.
I really enjoyed sitting and relaxing on the beach. Tropical beaches are one of my favorite places to be and I finally got to sit on one again. The last time I sat on a tropical beach was 6 years ago when we were in Thailand for our honeymoon.
It was really hard to get back in the taxi trucks and go back to the boat. Rob and I were in agreement that it was very tempting to change our plans and stay at the beach the whole weekend. We are planning to go back if possible.
That night we drove back two hours to a small beach town near where
we would go sight seeing the next day. We ended up eating peanut butter
and bread and some dried fruit in the van for supper. We weren't able to
stop because we were following Dr. Chew. He drives fast and we didn't know
where we were going. We shared a two room house with the Gouges and a few
students. The bathroom was off our room. Nothing was very private. I was
glad to leave that place. It didn't work very well with our kids, and it
wasn't very clean. But we were on a budget trip for the sake of the students
and not a comfort trip for the sake of the Frohnes. We could put up with
it for a night. The whole trip cost only 300 baht per person, not including
several of the meals when we were on our own. The sad thing was that some
of the students could not even afford 300 baht.
When we were all loaded up we drove to what they call "The Open Zoo". I think they call it open because the animals are given more open space to roam in, and aren't enclosed in small cages like the zoo in Bangkok. On the way there we stopped at a small stand by the road. Some bought jackfruit. Many students bought chickens that were roasted over half of a 50 gallon drum cut in half long ways. They have devised a chain system attached to a small motor to turn the chickens so they come out golden colored. You can see it in the web photos. I bought Araya and I a 6 baht coconut to drink. After the juice was gone, the man cut it in half for us so we could eat out the soft jelly like coconut meat.
It started pouring rain just before we got to the zoo. So we saw most of the animals in the pouring rain. At this zoo you can drive around in your car and look out the window at the animals. It is not quite as free as a Wild Life Safari, but pretty nice. The animals were in fences close to the cars, so you could get a good look. The most interesting animal was saw was a 3 toed Sloth. He was actually moving around for us to watch. I had never seen one move before.
At 11:00 there was an animal show. When we walked in there was loud music blaring, just as in the Bangkok zoo. We almost left before it started as it was so very loud. When they got started I quickly saw it was a copy of the Bangkok show, so we got up and left and went out to take pictures of butterflies and see what else we could see.
We found where they were giving elephant rides and had a young elephant we could feed. We bought some long beans and the kids had a great time feeding the elephant. I decided that we should take the kids for a ride. Rob was afraid of how much it would cost, so he stayed down and took pictures while I took the kids up for a ride. It turned out to be only 30 baht for the 3 of us. So Rob took the kids up for a second ride while I took pictures. It was really quite fun. We met the group again just as they were coming out of the show.
Once again we ate peanut butter and bread, dried fruit and nuts in the
van on the way to our next destination, a marine aquarium. The aquarium
was connected to a university. There were two floors to tour. The first
floor contained tanks of fish to watch. There were so many people we could
hardly get through at times. The best tank was a large one with sharks
and green sea turtles in it. William got quite excited whenever a shark
would come swooshing by the window. I liked watching the turtles go by.
It reminded me of the good times I had snorkeling on Phonpei when I saw
a turtle go by on the reef. By the time we finished that floor we were
quite tired of the crowds and the kids were getting cranky, so we skipped
the second floor, which I found out was more museum like with no live displays.
We went out and found some shade to sit in and I took pictures of a water
lily in the pond by the entrance.
My biggest surprise on arrival was to see some of my former church members,
Danny and Shaney Pung. They have a very active music ministry, teaching
music lessons, tuning pianos, and going around to Christian churches of
all kinds and teaching how to make good music for worship. They also write
Christian radio programs. When I was here before they did media production for the mission. I had been wanting to see them, but didn't know it would be so easy. They had actually come to see the Gouges. They have a house in Bangkok and one in Pattaya. They took us out to eat for supper at a lovely Thai vegetarian restaurant. And let me tell you, it was a multi course feast! So much delicious food. What a nice time!
They had built some new houses since I had been there before with rooms to rent, including air con. So we had a good place to stay. The cafeteria and other buildings were the same. And I think the cook must have been the same, because she still had a hard time making vegetarian food. I am glad we still had some fruit and bread on hand to supplement our meals. For example Sabbath breakfast was rice porridge with no salt, fermented over salted tofu, and mostly raw salt eggs. On Saturday night we went out and bought banana muffins to bring back for the students for breakfast Sunday morning. They were greatly relieved, even though the food was a bit better on Sunday morning with rice and stir fry veggies to put on top, with a watery tofu soup.
Sabbath School and church was held out on the lawn. After Sabbath school, I took William back to the room as he had missed his morning nap for the last two days and was quite tired. I needed a nap too. We slept till lunch time. And after lunch before we went sight seeing again, William and I took a nap again with Araya when it was her turn for a nap.
In the afternoon we were taken to see two temples, one Thai Buddhist, and the other Chinese Buddhist, on hills near Pattaya. There was very nice views from the top of the city and the bay. I don't care so much for temples, but I enjoyed seeing the things going on around the temple. The holiday was the beginning of kind of a Buddhist lent. This is the time when many men do their required service to the temple, and other devotees come and do something at the temple. There were places to donate money to the temple and lots of opportunities to do something to make merit. In the photos you will see a mother buying a bird with her child to set free. By freeing a bird, you can gain merit. Of course, the bird sellers will recapture the bird as soon as possible and sell it again. The sparrows here have a hard life. We saw lots of pretty flowers and butterflies around the temples.
The third place we stopped was a fitness park. Fitness is a new idea to Thais. I think in the past they got all the exercise they needed just surviving. Now, with people living in cities and sitting around in traffic jams, or watching TV, there are actually Thais who are overweight and in poor physical health. I spent my time looking for flowers to photograph and watching people. After that we went to the mouth of a small river and had sundown worship.
Finally, after dark Dr. John, chair of the department, had arranged for the faculty to take the students out for a nice meal. It turned out to be the same restaurant we had gone to the night before! There was spaghetti, a Museum curry, and curried vegetables with okra. The okra was delicious. I will have to learn to make it that way, if possible. The students then went shopping at a mall, and we headed back, stopping first to see Danny and Shaney at their condo. After they walked in they turned on some music. I was surprised to hear myself singing. I had forgotten that I had recorded in their studio some songs for them so long ago to use with their radio program. They are going to try to make a copy for me, if the tape isn't too old.
We got to Saraburi around noon, so the Gouges suggested we go to Lotus
and go upstairs for Pizza. I hadn't realized that was there, or I might
have brought home a pizza before. Matthew seemed to enjoy the pizza the
most. He will return to the states in just a couple weeks. I think he is
looking forward to more pizza.
We all fell into bed exhausted and went right to sleep. The kids even slept in to almost 7:00 the next morning. It was a good trip.
More Pictures are downloading onto the web as I type this. So check here . Click on Chapter 2 for our most current photos of our weekend holiday.
That's all for now. I will have more for you next week.