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06/25/2018 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Good to Know Meeting - China Travel Show!
08/06/2018 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Good to Know Meeting
Our trip to explore Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, ended with the final country of Vietnam. As we were preparing for the trip, this part of the visit got mixed reviews on whether there would be interest in a tour. Some veterans would like a return trip to “see”; others didn’t want to return. Other travelers are always interested in seeing another country. There was a variety of opinions shared with me.
To be honest, Vietnam was background noise for my childhood years. I had some older, distant cousins involved, but I didn’t know much about them. I didn’t understand what was going on with the USA and some place called Vietnam, but I was too young to ask. A news story would come on our black and white television and it would provoke a worrisome hum from my mom. We were safe in Oklahoma.
As I got a bit older,
Cambodia, here I come! Our 27 day tour of Asia hooked us with the chance to visit Angkor Wat, Siem Reap. That was on our bucket list. When telling friends what the “draw” was, I could only say, “Oh, you know …it’s that place that has those old buildings that were covered up forever, and the trees have all those roots that have grown over them. It was in that Indiana Jones movie, you’ve seen it!” (I’ll admit, not a very good pitch to fly 13 hours to see tree roots cracking cement, we can see that around here!) BUT it was even more impressive than we even imagined. A little background, please.
We all travel with different eyes and that makes group travel even more fun. I would miss so many things that others notice and point out and vice versa. When I travel, I get a kick out of the differences of very common things. I can have as much fun roaming a grocery store in a foreign country as seeing a world class museum. And I have already dedicated an entire chapter of my future book to toilets. But I keep discovering the variety of ways we do the same thing and it cracks me up.
Our tour of Asia gave us a few days in Laos. I will pause here while those of you, like me, either Google it or go find it on the globe. Find Thailand, under China, to the right of India, and then move right. It’s above Cambodia and beside Vietnam. Who goes to Laos? I do.
I can’t say that my mid-school Geography class spent a lot of time studying Laos, or Asia for that matter. I had heard of it, was sorry for what I thought was its unfortunate name, and that’s about it. Another one of those “over there, somewhere...” kinda countries. Now Laos has a face for me.
I just finished reading, “The Magnolia Story” about HGTV Fixer Upper superstars, Chip and Joanna Gaines. The sweet friend that loaned the book my way knew I’m not a TV watcher and that I really was clueless on what the entire buzz was about. Good to Go with Patti Beth has a group tour to San Antonio and Waco with a visit to the Magnolia Market this May. I get it now. And now I’m a fan. It doesn’t have as much to do with the way they fix up, but more about their story and the big picture.
An adventure in Thailand has to include visits to all the iconic, postcard picture temples. We did that, but it must also include learning a few mahout skills. Mahout? The elephant companion, a centuries old occupation that is very important in a culture where the elephant is considered holy. Thai history praises the pachyderm for being the beast of burden that cleared forests and pulled tons of stone to create places of beauty. But even more significant to their culture: the kings rode elephants into battle and then paraded victoriously on them.
The number of wild elephants in Thailand has dropped considerably (as well as in other countries) due to illegal poaching and deforestation of their natural habitat.
Allow me to take this opportunity to publicly say I’m sorry for the times I visited your home and I didn’t gush over your grout. I didn’t compliment your countertops. I didn’t dote on your drop-in sink. I didn’t bask in your backsplash. I apologize.
The unpacking, packing, moving, organizing, tossing, hiding, rearranging, and decision making continue as we transition into our new home. The latest in this adventure is the few remodeling projects that needed to happen to update our new place. Most of these were kitchen related. Now I’m needing to make decisions regarding things I didn’t even know had names.
We are doing some traveling in Thailand. The trip has two purposes,1) I’m on a fact finding mission to see if this might be an area that others would be excited to visit and 2) exploring Asia is on my Bucket List.
I love to travel far enough that things are foreign, meaning I need to figure things out. Customs, languages, and food are not just like home. I desire this in my travel. I’m always a little disappointed when fellow travelers expect things to be like home when they are away. They probably should just stay home. Our Thai guide, Uza, encouraged us to “Open your eyes wide, but open your mind wider.” A good travel mantra.
There are living walls of orchids in the Bangkok airport. These beautiful, delicate flowers welcome us just like the lovely people.
Between my comments here and my much older sisters posts on Facebook, the world knows we are moving. It’s just across town, but the campaign isn’t over and the struggle continues. But I felt I did need to weigh in on one remark that seems to keep reoccurring. I must state, there is a big difference between “hoarding” and “keeping treasures”. In fact, the Encarta Dictionary defineshoard as ‘to collect and store, often secretly, large amounts of things such as food or money for future use.’ So one can clearly see, the treasures that I have saved have no value, nor did I ever expect them to have a future use. Big difference. Big.