Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thailand "Round II" - Chiang Mai


Round II Chiang Mai
Condo Grounds

Round II begins.... back after sorting out matters in Calgary.

 Round II started out back at BKK exhausted with a lost cabbie.  As he was about to leave us down an alley when we found our first hotel....
As you can see it has a loft. Very cool.. Good Job Richard as I booked all the hotels and flights. The Chiang Mai hotel well....that's another story.  Not such a score...
  When last in Chiang Mai we were in a lovely hotel.  The Night Bazaar Inn so I thought!  
 I booked it again thinking it would be so nice to see the friendly Thai man who washed my rental car daily.  As it happens that had been the Night Bazaar Boutique Inn.  When the cabbie a grouchy lady, brought us to the Night Bazaar Place around the corner we said no - in Thai of course - ours is around the corner.  By this time she was angry and she told us as much.  I thought I had better check if this was the hotel I actually booked.  Now realizing as I checked my phone it likely was not. 
 Low and behold no reservation in my name.  Back into the tense taxi. " Please can you take us to the Night Bazaar Inn"..... uggghh ...turns out this was the last of three lobbies I entered and the grossest room I had entered in a long while.  Mould everywhere and spores shooting out the air con.  We just left the windows opened mostly.  But it had a neat view....

 .....as you may have noted in the last photo I am bald. It was a lovely present from a pioneer sister in our cong. back in Calgary.  Don't worry its growing fast, as it is rainy season here. 
Monsoons most mornings. We are next to the Poo Ping river.  Which has swelled and there are massive puddles everywhere. 
Things are moving fast.  Which is good as we need to get to work pioneering. We have only been here a few days and have a condo already.  Complete with hairy bald man!  The bathroom is even cooler but it was cluttered so you have come see it...
I mentioned it is monsoon season.  We don't love scootering in the rain.  So I found something...
a 1985 316 very good shape, nearly 300000km but lots of new parts.  As cars are expensive here I thought I would get something cool.  I will put up a photo but its on bahtandsold.com Chiang Mai.  Nice silver 5 speed. Cars are priced high because of import taxes.  Its tough to find a decent ride for less than $3000.  This was less and its clean and original. 
We have not said much about the south Chiang Mai Cong because we have yet to attend.  We just arrived this weekend and did a lot in three days.  We didn't even buy groceries yet!  Rest assured we will take lots of photos.  We are excited to try out this new area in the ministry.  There is so much greenery and so much culture.  Hmong hill tribes and Lhisu, Lahu and only Lahu is not part of our cong.  all the rest including Thai sign are part of the cong.
We will still learn Thai fast as the only Br who was speaking English to me had to move to Lahu just as we left Canada!  Guess someone wants us to learn Thai fast!?
We are in a condo with English brothers and sisters so it is nice if we need English friends, or an English meeting.  Most are Australian and are a very great bunch as over half their English cong. are pioneering.
Anyhow that is all for now as it is Tuesday and we have only been in Thailand since Friday 11pm...so really its not so little considering jet lag... later...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Found this just up the road from us!  Although you can't swim in the water, it was a nice surprise to find an actual beach!  And not a single person enjoying it?!  They are in the process of planting that lovely row of palm trees when we got there.  Went again the other day and they have now set up a volleyball net.  Very cool!

An RV showing us her lovely weaved straw mats. 

Massive squash hanging like grapes.  Careful when walking underneath!!  Pretty ingenious I might say though!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Typical study session.  English, Thai, English, Thai, English, Thai......our brains are hurting.  Our days consist of early morning field ministry, followed by 2 hours of classroom study with the dear brother who has taken on the task of teaching us.  Then we go home, have dinner and prepare for the meetings.  Of course, we do have fun too.....see pictures below. 

We had a great session today, found out from our very strict teacher that we are at grade 3 level!  Yay!  We thought we were just at kindergarten level, so that's a plus!  Although, I'm not sure if we are starting to develop brain melt, or if today was just unusually funny.  It turns out the word "dee" is used for everything good!  "Jai dee", is a good heart, or someone who is very kind.  "Sabai dee", I am fine, "dee mak" is very good!

On the other hand the word "kee" is everything not good, directly translated as "manure."  For some reason both Richard and I got the giggles so bad, as our dear brother explained to us all the ways that "kee" can be used.  Are you stingy?  You are a "kee niow." Scared?  "kee glua."  You know...the stuff in your ears, eyes, nose....as he asked us if there was a word in English that we use for such things, insisting that we teach him the proper word for it.....we tried to explain that in English using such a term would be very bad.  And just left it at that..........

The other thing we have noticed in this country, is that there are many politically incorrect things here, that are perfectly acceptable.  While I won't go into great detail, I will post a picture of the "Fatty Girl" clothes shop (no, that's not just the name, it's for us "big" girls!) just down the street from the kingdom hall as soon as I get one!

Just so you guys out there don't think it's all fun and games, iced coffees and chicken feet!  This was our day in the ministry today.  We have been working the rural areas, which had some amazing sites of rice fields and grazing cattle, but of course my phone battery is always dead.  This is the territory just outside of the university area.  As usual, every door is happy to talk, curious what we are sharing and most invite you to sit down!  How I WISH I could say more than: "Hi, my name is Brenda, I don't speak Thai very well but we are talking to people about a hope like this (point to paradise picture) Hai!  An!  Free!" (give to you, read, free)

This is our humble abode.  Can you believe only $167/month!  For a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 storey row house with car park!  Of course, we did have to buy some furniture and a fridge and stove, but not bad overall!  Don't get me wrong....it's not all peaches and cream here, the daily discovery of a dead cockroach or two, or three.....sometimes four.......is getting a little tiresome.  Although, no longer shocking so much!  The discovery of "dead" cockroaches by the way, because Richard was quick to find powder to douse every drain and hole he could find.  Hopefully they will get the idea that they are not welcome here!

As promised, this is Khon Kaen.  Although, there is so much more to this city.  This is a picture of Bueng Khon Kaen, which is in the southern part of the city.  There is so much variety here.  The beauty of places like this and the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.  The university area, at the north end of us, has trendy restaurants and cafes.  Of course, there is much poverty as well.  But a city filled with friendly, patient people.

Who'd a thought we would find a place like this in Khon Kaen!  Incredible ground with koi ponds and wicker chairs to sit under umbrellas.  Simply beautiful!

A much deserved "Starbuck's" style iced mocha after the chicken foot incident!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

We have now arrived in Khon Kaen.  It truly is a beautiful city.  I will post pics of it soon, so that you all really believe me.  But, for now, our experience at the food court. 
Richard noticed a lovely vendor selling wonton soup, his favorite, and immediately decided that was what he was going to have for lunch.  I, on the other hand, decided on an Isaan dish made with pork and fried sticky rice.  As we parted ways, he for his hot bowl of Chinese noodles, and I to my smiling sticky rice vendor, I noticed, "what??  Red curry!"  I was so excited it stopped me in my tracks.  I said the woman, "I would like some of that!"  Creamy curry with chicken I'd hoped!  As she scooped up some of that lovely broth I notice; "wait, is that chicken feet!  Oh no!!"  I scream in my head.  But, I can't say no, now that this sweet woman is spooning me up a heaping helping.  I then notice purple potatoes, "ok, not so bad, I can do this!" With my biggest grin I thank her and hand over my 30 baht food card.
As I walk to our table with my head hanging low, so sad that I hadn't bypassed the curry and continued on to my sticky rice vendor, I then notice that my purple potatoes are not potatoes at all!  They are blood cakes!  Seriously!  I could get through the chicken feet, but no can do on the blood cakes.  I sat down next to Richard, about to cry, that I had spent my share of the food card on a dish I couldn't eat. And so scared to offend someone in our vicinity.  We moved to the back wall and Richard kindly handed over the food card so that I can go back to my sticky rice lady. 
I couldn't help but think of my Auntie Valerie during all of this, if you are out there reading, here's to you and chicken foot dinners!