From Thighland to Thailand

March 9, 2014

Thailand 5.14

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 6:11 am

March 6, 2014-Friday


Thailand/Myanmar 5.14


This morning Pastor Jack needed to get his Children’s Time fix out of his system and so instead of doing an adult song, he made us do the kiddie song: “Deep and Wide” song with all the hand and feet movements.  I guess we need to “shake it to wake it” moments.  Some just stood there faking it in their action poses when Pastor would see you.  It was a sorry sight.  I wonder what the foreigners thought of us, silly Americans, perhaps?  Definitely. What do the lyrics “There’s a mountain flowing deep and wide” mean anyway? I dun no.  Later we were to find out.


Our devotion this morning we discussed our high points and low points and what we found out about ourselves.   We talked about working as a team and working with new members since it was the first time for Lisa, John, Chris, Ron, and Ali with this team and having Vicki and Jen back on the team continued to feel like family for all.  We felt very comfortable working with each other and picked it up for others when we weren’t at our best of health.  We had set backs starting in the beginning at customs, loosing our compressors from the get go, half the team getting sick, and rough travels. So it was apropos for us to do some team building exercises, further bonding, and other mushy stuff.


First we toured what is essentially an outside museum and acted like tourists visiting the “Black House – Baan Si Dum.”  There is a Chiang Rai Artist Thawan Duchanee, a pretty famous local guy, with a bent for dark themes.  There are large eclectic house size buildings that are filled with odd and unusual objects.  Skulls of animals, horns, and snake skins (very long like Burmese Pythons) arranged around tables and chairs are in the first building.  He also likes very large phallic woodcarvings for some reason, picture a big club or baseball bat or one made into the handle of a slingshot. Both genders of the team really seemed to like handling, err, “examining” these pieces of “art”.  Frankly, it made me seem inadequate.  There were things from huge gongs to shark jaws and horns and beautiful pieces of wood furniture carved from massive pieces. Huge meteors like rocks were on the grounds along side of an owl and python in a cage.  He either designed a lot, or he’s a collector, or maybe just a hoarder.  We appreciated the quietness of the park like surroundings.  Rumor had it he was actually sleeping in one of the houses, as there was security around one of the buildings that didn’t let us in.  Several ethnic people were taking photos around this piece of living art.  There was a man, very statuesque appearing, where flocks of tourists where coming up and taking a picture of him.  His hair was a white, moustache white with a white beard.  He appeared unassuming, yet, very politely nodded yes when asked it they could take a photo with him or of him.  One mother brought his child up to him.  Hey, that’s Pastor Jack!  He thinks, they think, he is Santa Claus.


After that, Luka said, “Do you want to go on a hike?”  Most of us, feeling adventurous, said, ”Sure, why not?”  Considering that we’re just a group of office workers and paper pushers the thought of us trekking into the jungle was exciting, Some members said they wanted to just chill at the Golden Triangle Inn (what you travel 40 hours so you can read a book?) but, I think they were scared.  So us brave souls got to feel like Indian Jones and take this treacherous adventure to the famous waterfall of Chiang Rai:  Khun Korn Waterfall.  I’m sure lives have been lost or people lost in the jungle but good thing we have Luka, our tour guide and Ron our outdoorsman to keep an eye on us stragglers.  Oh yeah, Bill he keeps a current head count. For Luka, Khun Korn waterfall holds precious memories for him since he took his wife, Ghan, on one of their first dates there. He wanted an excuse to hold her hand by helping her up and down the steep terrain.  Rumor has it that he fell head over heels for her, and proceeded rolling down the path, and over the embankment face planting into the mud.  I guess he made a lasting impression, in the mud, that is.  From the gate we had to hike 1.4 kilometers; that doesn’t sound far, no problem we thought, but it was a struggle crossing the path of snakes and bugs, like the dreaded bamboo worm, fighting off malaria-carrying mosquitos, water hazards, and spider webs, and that was just getting out of the parking lot!  It took 45 minutes of up and down (mostly up) gaining and loosing altitude, slipping on dirt and mud, traversing rocks, tree roots, with Ron, felling like Bear Grylls, hacking away with his pocket knife, with machete-like motions, to make a path, cupping his hand yelling’ “We’re almost there” for encouragement.  I really think that Ron could have his own outdoors adventure reality show himself!  He actually was jogging up the hill and jumping down the steps when most of us were crawling.  There were some slow pokes, names, which I won’t mention, but it wasn’t me, even though I was last.  I had some Gopro technical difficulties I had to deal with and the only shoes I had were my Disneyland ½ marathon shoes.  I see Bill whisper to Ron, “Make sure there are no stragglers.”  Half way up some of the team got enough fresh air and had enough sense to turn back.  Been there, done that and “I’ll just watch the video” attitude.  Besides, they prefer their aerobic activities back home like golf (especially when driving the golf cart).  Well it was a good thing because I left the nitroglycerin pills and the AED behind.  The distance markers were not encouraging, first 800 and then meters.  Then I realized it was meters and not feet!  The sounds of the falls in the distance and the other team members heckling were the only encouragement.  I was not going to be left behind.  Finally, I see the falls breaking through the jungle not far in the distance.  I think I hear Pastor singing, “…There’s a mountain flowing deep and wide.”  As I huffed and puffed with my 20 lb. backpack on, there is a silhouette of a figure stooping and looking over the ledge to the waterfall.  It’s Ron yawning and looking at his watch thinking, “It’s about time, what took you so long?”  The guy can be intimidating for an “older” man.  I was just enjoying the scenery.  He doesn’t realize that I was watching out for him.


The members who made the climb are playing in the water and taking pictures as the mist and cool breeze flows into their faces.  It was an experience to appreciate God’s creations and beauty.  Some wanted to go skinny-dipping in the base of the waterfall but they were afraid I’d identify them and post a photo of their derriere.  I actually did find some loose underwear but no one claimed it.  After plenty of Kodak moments we return down the mountain, which is slightly easier than going up.  Ron makes sure everyone is accounted for and he’s having a grand ole time hopping and jumping down the steps.  I’m sure those of you that know him can picture his “energy.”  Now this is for real.  He happens onto a vine and starts hanging from it doing his best Tarzan imitation.  “ahhhAHHahhAHHahh!!” No lie, I have a photo of it.  Dar, I would like to know what happens when he beats on his chest at home.  We mad it back to civilization with the proper head count. Okay, enough of this boy scout stuff; we already went camping in Myanmar, so we headed home.


There is not a lot of nightlife for us but the night market is a hit with the women and fun for the men as well.  The men do go along to protect them, but mostly to carry their goods.  (I think I’m a pretty good shopper myself; I got a free plastic carry-on suitcase made in China that Lena loves…even though I had to buy a watch, because mine broke, to get it.)  The women sweet-talk Bill into giving them bin space for their souvenirs.  Funny, I have to buy bin space from him.  They buy for the staff, their friends, their family, and some for themselves.  Some try to bargain just for the sake of bargaining but others feel guilty since these people are supposed to be “poor” and pay full price without bargaining or using the “walking away without buying something so the vendor chases you” technique. But they must be pretty good businessmen themselves; they got you to buy something you really didn’t need, didn’t they?  It is interestingly a zoo and packed with locals and busloads of tourists arrive like Black Friday.  Street vendors line up and down the alleyways and the women can’t get enough of the night market and go back night after night.  It’s something about that place…


It’s pretty bazaar 😉  Mark



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