Warning: This is LOONG. If you don't have time, don't attempt to read it. I had too much to say to even try to condense it.:-)
We're in Thailand right now! It's almost hard to believe, even when I'm looking at my surroundings. We flew into Bangkok around midnight on Thursday (this time - we're about 13 hrs ahead of you guys in MT). It was a long flight. We left at (this is all approx.) 6:20 from Kalispell on Tuesday morning, flew to Seattle where we had about a 6 hr layover, from there it was 11 hrs to Tokyo, about a 45 min. layover and around 7 more hrs to Bangkok.
Things were crazy the last few days. It was very hard saying goodbye to friends. Monday night some of us never got any sleep just trying to do last minute things. We were supposed to be out of the house by about 2:30 a.m., but we weren't ready so we ended up dashing out the door around 4:00 or so. I did manage to somehow get in a cat nap part of the way to the airport. We were nearly frantic thinking we might miss the plane. An accident happened right in front of us while we were driving through Whitefish. We were so thankful it wasn't us. Arriving at the airport, some dear friends surprised us by being there. Poor people! some of them got up at 2:30 just to meet us and had waited at the airpor for us since 4:30. So sweet.
I just so happened to be one of those "special" people randomly picked my my airline for a more thorough inspection than anyone else.:/
When we arrived in Bangkok, a friend picked us up. We were so thankful to have someone with us to find a van for all our luggage, speak Thai, tell us where to go and what to do, ect.
We found a room for the rest of the night at a very nice hotel. We were really surprised by it. I hadn't expected to see anything that nice in Thailand, except for maybe a tourist resort. We only had to pay like 600 baht (maybe $16?) for it, though. Although it was after midnight here because of the time change and all I didn't feel like sleeping yet. Found solace in my guitar for a while. We were up around 4:00 a.m. and had to wait for another long 4 hrs until we could do anything. My guitar really came in handy again. I think I've played more in the last two days than I have in the last two months before that.:)
We headed out onto the street to look for a rice shop or something for breakfast. That's when things got more interesting. Believe me, it's a totally different story actually being out on a street than looking out of a fourteenth story window at a street. Looking out the window is like looking at a picture or watching any movie you see of a third world country, but when you actually get out on the street you have all the added effects - the sound and smell especially. Sometimes I even hesitated to take pictures because I felt that a picture could never adequately show things as they are. You guys have really already heard it all. There's not a whole bunch I could say that you haven't already somehow heard. But it's different when you actually are there. Of course anytime you go somewhere new there's surprises in that things are never exactly how you imagined them to be. But I have a pretty good imagination and I think for the most part can expect things to be worse than they end up being. We saw extreme poverty to extreme wealth all in one day. Walking the streets there was the aweful smell, dirty kids, sad looking people, and filth; but later on we went to a mall type thing we had never seen the likes of. It was incredible. And then Ben took us to -- Subway! Yes, the restaurant! I thought I'd eaten my last sub. Not so! No worries, that's not going to be our everyday fare. I guess, according to Ben, after you've been on a Thai diet for a while you start to crave those things. I can believe that.
The heat and humidity can be quite tiring. Mama suggested that we had had an "exhaust"ive walk. It's not uncommon in Bangkok to see people walking around with masks on their faces due to the pollution.
Piled back in a taxi for the trip across the city to our room. This time we had a, well, younger and more spirited driver. Poor Mama! She told us that she took comfort in the thought that God wouldn't have brought us to Thailand to die. At least one of us thought it was kind of fun.=) They drive on the opposite side of the road here. Someone said they drive like flowing water - meaning you go around whatever's in your way. I'd have to say that sounds pretty accurate.
Right now we up in Ayuttaya, about a 1 1/2 hr drive from Bangkok.
I think one of the hardest things for me so far would have to be the noise. I've been raised a country girl. The dogs next door intermittently howl (and I mean HOWL) away. Sometimes it dosen't seem quite so intermittent. It's 4:56 in the morning right now and the loudspeakers just came on blaring Thai music. We're told they're going to read the newspaper on there too. I guess they recently turned off the speaker that was right beside our friend's house.:]
We should be headed to Chang Mai by Monday or so.
I'll put an update on later.
I have this fascination with plane's wings and the sky.
So beautiful, I think!:)
The long wait in Seattle.
Tired in Tokyo. 7 more hrs to go.
Getting rooms for the rest of the night.
The next morning. Jet-lag, if you ever saw it. Josiah must have slept like this for around 4 hrs while we made racket all around him.
This is the rice shop where we stopped.
That's breakfast, folks!:-)
One of the streetsweepers.
Yes, that's six of us piled into the back of a taxi!=0
There's the poor vehicle.
That place was almost indescribable.
Had to document it.
Doing it again. Poor Emily's looking a bit smushed.