Fried Bugs and Elephants in Thailand

If you’ve been reading along…you know that in 2009 I did a lot of travel.  It began with Egypt and Jordan in March–followed by Peru for three weeks in May, and now in December, another G Adventures trip to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

So…for the story–

After checking into my hotel in Bangkok, Thailand…having just traveled 33 hours from the Midwest, I needed a massage.  Although it was 3:30am in the morning, I was able to get a massage in my room for $5.00 (from a girl).  It was the first of four massages I would enjoy while in Southeast Asia.  After sleeping for a few hours I briefly explored Bangkok prior to attending a “get acquainted” meeting with the other tour attendees, who turned out to be a married couple from England on their honeymoon and four women from Germany, California, England, and Canada.

The following day we took a boat ride on the famous canals aka Klongs of Bangkok and visited a Buddhist Temple…one of many to come!

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I took some video footage from my trip and made a few movies (for the first time) with my Mac…so if you’d like to see some very aggressive catfish, watch this.

I loved taking photos of the monks…

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I didn’t partake of any fried bugs…but if I hosted a travel show like Andrew Zimmern…I would!

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We went to the Wat Pho temple where the largest “reclining buddha” is housed!

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Riding in a “tuk-tuk” is a fun experience!

Later that evening we took a night train to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I rode an elephant the next day…

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And took a half-day cooking class…

For Sale:  Painting by an Elephant…

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more of the World’s beautiful children…

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I have a treat for tomorrow…the dazzling White Temple!

More “Hubbly Bubbly” please!

Riding a camel in Egypt should be on everyone’s bucket list!  Although it was a unique experience, once is enough.  Having ridden on a donkey and an elephant, I discovered a camel is more awkward and uncomfortable.

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Your Egyptian experience is also not complete (in my opinion) unless you partake in smoking some “Shisha” aka “Hookah” aka “Hubbly Bubbly“!  A few of us…the restless rebels…would stay up past bedtime…drink Turkish Coffee and smoke the flavored tobacco!

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We spent one night sleeping on a felucca sailboat on the Nile River.  After dividing into two groups of about 7 each, we boarded separate boats for our adventure.  It was quite obvious they split us according to age.  The other boat held the 25-34 age group and our boat was the 35-65 age group.  What’s interesting to me, is that the “restless rebels”, as I mentioned earlier, consisted of the older age group.

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A separate boat called the “service” boat was available for mealtimes and use of the bathroom.  The “restless rebels”…stayed up after the others went to bed and were talking on top of the service boat when it became noticeably windier.  Out in the distance a huge black mass was approaching quickly…

when we queried the workers, they said it was a sandstorm.  The sense of danger and exhiliration resulted in an immediate rush and feeling of…aliveness!  We were engulfed in sand for a few minutes.  I still remember the sand pelting my skin, leaving a tingly feeling.

We rode donkeys to the Valley of the Kings and if you wanted your donkey to go faster you would say “hopa hopa”.

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My donkey liked to go fast…just like me…and every time someone else would say hopa hopa – my donkey would run.

I raced one of the guys and almost fell off.

The Karnak Temple is located in Luxor, Egypt.  The entire complex which spans 1 mile x 2 miles, was built over a period of 1300 years, beginning in the 16th century BC, and is the largest ancient religious site in the world.  The last three photos are a portion of it…

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Next installment tomorrow!

Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico – 8/2011 – Day 9

Today was a big day!  First, we drove 1 1/2 hrs. North to Abiquiu to a “real” cowboy’s land to horseback ride!  His name is Fred Espinola…and I learned more on this 4 hour ride than I’ve ever learned.  Having rode in Spain, Costa Rica, Texas, Indiana and Hawaii…not to mention a variety of places in Ohio…I discovered why horses usually gave me a difficult time.  They want you to show them who’s boss…(kind of like men).  I fell off of a horse in Spain because he wanted to eat grass on the side of a cliff and I let him.  A horse laid down with me on top of him (of course I had to jump off quickly) in Texas.  On the Loveland Bike Trail in Cincinnati, a horse tried to buck me off of him.  They used to love to scrape my legs against trees and fences.  At least I’ve followed the advice of getting back on a horse if you fall off!

I hadn’t ridden in 4 years so I asked for a nice steady horse.  Meet Charlie…the one-eyed horse.

Fred had us take a minute to close our eyes and visualize what our ride was going to be like…and to sense the connection between ourselves and our horse…pretty cool!

This is Fred…

This is Mitzi…visiting Fred from California.  She’s a sweetie!!

This is Tony Llama!

His horses are rescued Mustangs!

At times, we were riding along some higher hills/cliffs and I was afraid that Charlie (since he was missing an eye) wouldn’t be able to see where the cliff dropped off!

We got to trot/canter/gallop a lot…so I’m still sore a week later!!

Fred made me a little nervous when he said if Charlie starts to paw at the water…to pull him away from it…because that means he’s going to lay down in it!

Next, we stopped at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs to hopefully help with the sore muscles from riding.  Their sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. Over 100,000 gallons per day come to the surface, revitalizing those who soak in the long believed, healing waters.

SPA is the acronym for the Latin phrase Salus Per Aquas, which means “health through water.”

There was a European guy that hit on me…as I’m telling him about my bruises from horseback riding…he said I was sexy and he would kiss them for me…oh la la!!  I told him he had something in his mustache (a “booger”).  I’d want to know!

We only spent about an hour there…because we had a schedule to keep.  Next…we went to a piano bar called “Vanessie”.  The pianist’s name is Doug Montgomery and he is very talented.  It is a local’s hangout…if you want to sing…you tell Doug ahead of time and it’s great fun!!