Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears and ELEPHANTS

We are in an Internet cafe right now, and don't have our cameras...but I think it is noteworthy to say that we have finally ridden an elephant. Today we went to the Chiang Mai Elephant Conservation Center where Thailand has a big school/hospital for elephants. There we rode elephants, watched them paint water color paintings with their trunks, and even play musical instruments...and it wasn't even too much of a hokey tourist thing...considering we had to take a local bus to the middle of nowhere to get there. We became just as much of an attraction at the elephant bathing as the elephants were, because of our skin color. We had our picture taken about five times.

The other day we went to a hokey tourist safari park where we did see lions and tigers and payed $7 to hold little bear cubs for a photo. We thought it was mean to take the baby away from it's mama, but still couldn't resist holding the furry little fellas.

This blog posting is about to end though, because the man here in the Internet cafe is doing some weird coughing noises, and I think it's best if we go find ourselves some of those green medical masks that everyone wears here in Asia.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Millions of Monkeys!

We LOVE Hong Kong. We are leaving today to go back to Thailand, and are sad to leave this beautiful place, as well as our dear friend, Emily.

The pictures below are of us at the jade and pearl market. Laura is with Mei - the lady who supplies the Colonial Relief Society girls with all of their pearls...small world! There is also a picture of the three of us at a dessert cafe. The picture at the bottom is of the Young Single Adults in Emily's ward. We took a hike up a mountain to Lion's Rock, where we saw a magnificent view of the city.

Church was amazing with these same (and more) people. Today in Sunday School we had people from the Phillipines, Hong Kong, Canada, Korea, NYC, California, Utah, Virginia, Nepal, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Spain and Nigeria! 2 Nephi 31:3 was quoted, which seemed applicable!

Our FAVORITE though would have to be the monkeys. After hiking, we headed over to Monkey Mountains where we were told that we would see numerous of monkeys. We weren't disappointed. As soon as we got off the bus, we notice that a "herd" of them was crossing the overpass to come to the other side of the street that we were on. We walked on a footpath, and literally saw monkeys EVERYWHERE. Some would follow us, which made Laura sort of nervous. This is the reason we don't have many good pictures - because Denise's camera died, and Laura was carrying a largish stick most of the time(to protect Denise, and the others of course.) We LOVED them. A lot were carrying babies on their backs, or underneath their stomachs. A few were eating lollipops, that other people on the path had given them.

The most amusing monkey incident occurred though, on the other hike when we saw a few monkeys as well. A Chinese man came hiking up the trail carrying a portable boom box device that was blaring Chinese opera music. He saw us watching the monkeys and pulled out a little slingshot, gave us a sly grin, and shot the sling shot in the direction of the monkey. We felt bad for the monkey who scampered off, but found the whole incident to be rather amusing!

Currently Denise is devising a way that we can take one on the plane with us back home for a pet. We have some Tylenol PM, so that just might do the trick...

More from Hong Kong...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Island of the Pink Dolphins

We are in Hong Kong this week visiting our friend Emily, who is working for the Church here for a year assignment. (See Emily below eating her frog legs and rice.) She is the perfect hostess, and Hong Kong is the perfect city. There are many reasons that we love it, first and foremost is that we saw a whole bunch of endangered pink dolphins the other day on our boat ride that cost us $2.50 -- including our generous tip. Please see photo at the bottom of this page...and NO those are not the pink dolphins, but a self-portrait of us speeding back to the island. (Please ignore Laura's $1 sunglasses, and Denise's comb over.)

The night scene above is from the Kowloon waterfront where we watched the "Festival of Lights." This is a nightly production in which lights on the buildings across the water are synched to music. Pretty cool.

Today we visited the Hong Kong temple for a session - a definite highlight!

Hong Kong!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Movies

Thailand has a lot of very large and plush theatres. We decided we definitely had to go to one when we learned that before every movie, a tribute to the King is played on the screen, and all patrons in the theatre are required to stand to show their respect.

Thailand LOVES their King. Everywhere you go, there are pictures of the King - HUGE ones on the roads, on billboards, in people's homes, in taxi cars - you name it! The tribute before the movie was set to music and lasted for a good few minutes. At the end of the tribute the screen read, "We Love Our King, Long Live the King."

Anyway, as we were buying our tickets, we noticed this advertisement for a Thai film that is just in theatres. It is a love story about a man with three arms. We had our friends Ben and Wyatt (and Denise's arm, recreate the cardboard cut out.) We think it will be a grammy winner, for sure.

All the glitters...just really might be gold

Okay, sorry we have been lame on the posts. We haven't had much internet access recently. But we will attempt to catch up within the next few days. Starting with the Grand Palace. It is hard to do the Grand Palace justice with pictures, because it is so magnificent and large...but here are a few. It is the probably the most famous attraction within the city of Bangkok itself.