The Frohne Flier

Volume 1, Issue 4 Tuesday July 10, 2001

P. O. Box 4 Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand 18180

Phone: 66-36-344-726

So what did you do for the 4th of July? Please write and tell us what's happening with you.

Our Four Day Holiday
I had a hard time deciding if we should go on the trip with the science students. My sickness was subsiding, but Araya woke up with a fever on Wednesday morning. Thankfully it was gone by noon and no other symptoms appeared. So Rob and I decided to go and take our chances that one of us might get sick. God blessed and we were all well the whole time.
Thursday, July 4, 3:00 a.m. - Time to Get Up
The alarm went off early on Thursday morning. Departure time was 3:30 a.m. We rode with David and Leona Gouge in their little Asian style van. The Gouge's grandson, Matthew, and 3 other students came too. The remaining students were divided between a small bus, and two cars. Our destination was Ko Samet, a small island 4 1/2 hours away. We ate breakfast in the van, somewhere along the way as we were driving along. We had oat burger sandwiches. Everyone else had fried rice.
Ko Samet
We arrived at the port just before 9:00. Liap had arranged for a boat to take us straight to the nice beach, but the waves were choppy and so we could only go to the main dock on the island. And then we went by pickup truck through the middle of the island to the nice beach. The waves were really rough there, so it was decided that they should take us to the other side of the island. It was a bit quieter there. You can see the photos of the beach on our web site. For the first hour everyone played on the beach. Araya enjoyed the sand and the water, and so did William. I applied liberal sunscreen on both of their little bodies and it is good I did, because those who didn't have it on were bright red by mid afternoon. We ate lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach. Then the students went in groups on hikes some on the beach, and some into the jungle. Araya, William and I stayed at the beach so the kids could get a nap. Araya woke up shortly after the groups returned and got to drink for the first time from a coconut. Dr. John searched long and hard to find her such a nice treat. They were 30 baht a piece on the island. The next day we found them for 6 baht a piece! I thought the island coconuts were a bit overpriced.

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.

Friday, Open Zoo and Marine Aquarium
Friday morning we ate peanut butter, bread and some fresh fruit in our room. I was still hungry so I went across to the beach and found a vender ready to make Som Tom (Green Papaya salad). I am slightly hesitant to eat from such venders, but I was their first customer of the morning, so everything was fresh and the mortar and pestle was as clean as it ever would be. The vender must have thought I was crazy because I didn't want any of the customary shrimp or crab they normally put in, and I only wanted half the normal amount of sugar they put in and no chilies. It was quite delicious, and I think nutritious, because what is left is mostly raw vegetables: green papaya, green beans, tomato, peanuts, garlic, lime juice, salt and a little sugar. Mrs. Gouge was a little envious when I returned. She said next time she is going with me. She has been here many years, but doesn't speak any Thai. She hadn't a clue how to get what I came back with.

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.

The Baptist Camp and Sabbath
We left at 3:00 and drove to Pattaya. Because it was a holiday weekend, the traffic was terrible. It took us a very long time to get through the town and to the Baptist Camp. When I had been there before there were a few buildings nearby but no tourist activity. Now there are Chairs and umbrellas on the beach across the beach, jet skies, boats, things for sale on the street and everything. I am not sure what attracts people here, because the water was very dirty, as was the beach. It wasn't a place I could sit and enjoy for long at all.

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 scripts for
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.

Sunday, Trip home
Sunday morning we loaded up the van again and headed back to Muak Lek. We stopped at a fruit stand in Pattaya where they still had some mangos and mangosteins. Yum. They were expensive for Thailand, but will probably be our last chance to get some as they are already out of season. The interesting thing was that I found out the ladies who were selling the fruit were actually from Muak Lek.

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.

Back home
We are back to our house at Mission College once again. Waiting for us were 7 papayas ready to come off the trees. One had already fallen and spoiled too ripe.

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.