WEDNESDAY IN THAILAND...and Laos!
We did indeed get to visit the Golden Triangle yesterday. From our boat on the Mehkong River, we saw Burma and maybe also Mynmar and China in the distance? I'm not too sure on that account. I know that Jon, our faithful missionary guide, pointed in certain directions and said those words. I will have to ask him again for clarification. In the meantime, here is a photographic recap of our day:
Before we crossed the river, we were fortified with yet another delicious Thai meal. Unfortunately, while I was holding the plate of food and trying to tilt it at just the right angle, the boiling hot broth spilled out and onto my hand. This seems to be a regular occurence for me.
But, the yummy factor more than made up for the messy mishap.
We walked down steep concrete steps to a dock where we loaded up looking oh so chic in our stylin' life preservers and dorky tourist hats bought just before lunch.
Yes, I was getting wet. And I ask you...can anyone take a flattering photo racing down the Mehkong in dressed up like this? Regardless of the lack of elegance, it was FUN! And wet. Especially since Jon thought it would be a charming act of tour guide-ism to splash me. As though the boat cutting through the water wasn't doing an effective enough job already. Aye-yi-yi.
Our intrepid missionary guide points out that several countries come together in this region --- Thailand, Myanmar, Burma, China, and Laos. This river is a major thorough fare.
On arriving at the Laos side, we climbed up more steep sides and met a man sitting under a canopy handing out day trip visas for just a tiny bit of money.
Basically, you depart from your boat, shop up two "streets" of shops, and then get back in your boat and return.
I was expecting more of the bustling border crossings I'd experienced in Africa and instead found a place with a very sleepy, rural market feel...except instead of cabbages and pumpkins for sale, there were scarves, knock-off designer items, wood carvings, and critters bottled in whiskey.
This beautiful little girl was wandering around the shops. Her clothes were ragged and dirty but her smile, when I finally elicited one after several attempts, was amazing! Once I started showing her the image of herself on my digital camera, she would beam. But then when I'd try to snap it, she'd get all serious again.
What did the trick? Having MK CyCy put the little portable fan up to blow in her face.
And who says American tourists are the only ones who take photos of cute kids? This Laos mom wanted a cell phone pic of her little boy with CyCy.
I was able to buy many fabulous scarves to bring back to the States with me. I was planning on only buying one for myself but fell prey to their allurement. I think three will become mine "for keeps".
One of my favorite images from this trip is of the mother rocking her baby in the swinging cradle under a thatched roof. They were very, very sweet. I sang a blessing song over the baby and the mother knew enough English to thank me and tell me that she liked it.
When it was time to get back in the boat, a small flock of little Laos boys were there to wave us off after telling Betsie that they loved her. I told them that Jesus loved them!
A last shot of us before we stepped foot back on Thailand territory. I was still hoping for a flattering shot on the river. It just wasn't going to happen. Oh well, at least it was a happy shot.
And look how happy these guys are, too? Made out of coconuts, they were hanging beside a carry-out place where I bought bottled water and a little clay boy figure that pees when you pour water over him. I know, I know...but with sons, I just couldn't resist.
Once we returned home, I took this gorgeous shot of my hat-head. Yes, this is what it looks like when you wear a dorky tourist hat on the Mehkong River and then take it off.
Don't worry. I didn't go out in public this way. I might have caused an international crisis. I fixed it then raced off to help Betsie with her English class.
We played Scrabble to help the students continue to improve their vocabulary and just to build relationships that can lead to deeper ministry. For once, Betsie did NOT win! I know, can you believe it?
Debbie (who said she was not good at Scrabble---yeah, right) and her partner Pi were the champions.
Chai and I came in second place over Betsie, Miss Spelling Bee Queen. No, we didn't gloat at all.
After English classes, it was time for the weekly prayer meeting with the staff and whoever else wants to attend.
They have a time of praise and worship using a chorus book that has Thai on the left and English on the right. Everyone just sings in their language of choice at the same time. Sounds like it would be chaotic but it works.
I couldn't help but think about how people from every tongue and tribe will one day stand before the throne praising our amazing and mighty God.
After the worship time, consisting of about 4 songs, we had a Bible study led by a Thai staffer, Jah. Then we split up into smaller groups for prayer time.
And after Prayer meeting? You guessed it....FOOD! Jon picked this up for us and had it waiting when we went "home" for supper.
It is called khao pad ka pao moo. It is slightly spicy and I made it even more so by putting those little packs of pepper sauce on it. It is rice topped with minced pork (moo), morning glory, other spices, and a fried egg. Again, delicious, as has been almost everything I've eaten in Thailand. I didn't come here for the food. I came here for Betsie and to learn about the ministry and bless as I can, but the food is definitely a perk I'm thankful for.