1: May 26 - June 10 Thailand | May 23-26 Victoria, B.C. | June 14 to 24 Lake Koocanusa, BC | July 8-11 Calgary Stampede, Alberta | July 12-15 Eco Tour/Whale Watching on the Snow Prince Port Alberni, BC | July 4-8 Lake Koocanusa | July 21-24 Fishing Ketchikan, Alaska (Barry) | July 25 -29 Lake Koocanuusa | July 29-30 Calgary, Alberta | July 31-August 5 Lake Koocanusa | August 22-Sept. 2 Lake Koocanusa | Sept. 5-8 Whistler, BC | May 15-20 Lake Koocanusa | April 12-28 Calgary | March 20-25 Drive the Oregon Coast | August 6 Golf Tournament, Vancouver | July 15-24 Calgary (Janet)
2: Where were we? Vancouver Tokyo Bangkok Chaing Mai Phuket Krabi Au Nang Hong Kong Vancouver
3: Japan/Thai Airlines/Narita Airport
4: May 29/08 So yes we made it! It was a very long flight but well worth it! Here are a few of our highlites so far. - in Japan I soaked myself with the toilet as I didnt know how to use it. So many buttons written in Japanese on the toilet but they all produce a waterfall to soak the whole room!! I'm such an idiot! - Bangkok smells like open sewer, the whole infrastructure needs work - the Four Seasons hotel is incredible and very spacious, gracious and ostentatious!!! WOW!! - went on a Tuk Tuk ride/ hold on tight! - shopping with Barry in the night market until 1 am, bought fake miu miu purse and gucci shoes, too much stuff for Carter and Ryker but nothing for the rest of you!!! - too afraid to leave hotel by myself on the first day, traffic is out of control like I can't even describe... there are no rules of the road. Sidewalks are packed with people selling birds in cages (50 birds in one small cage, no water or food) weird food and flowers for the shrines on every corner. motor bikes piled high with people and baskets - today I braved the smell and road danger and went exploring on my own. Had lunch in McDonalds! Cheeseburgers are almost the same but gritty (some kind of filler I guess) and I don't like the fries. Diet coke works though - walked to a shrine today, sat and watched the dancers and worshipers until my eyes hurt from the incense
5: - it is hotter than I've ever been in my life!!!!!! Love it by the pool with a Bacardi Breezer - everyone bows or salutes as I walk by and opens doors for me even in the malls - security guards everywhere, even the malls and when you pull into a drive way there are mirrors on the ground to see under the car and guards to check the car. - crazy pollution makes it hard to breathe - Barry is finished his Tuna conference tomorrow so then we will be together again, can't wait - the opulence with the poverty side by side is hard to take, people with no arms begging with small children by their side. I brought a bunch of crayons with Canadian flags on them for the children. They LOVE them! Love you all very much and will send another update in a couple of days. Now I have to leave this air conditioned office and brave the heat while trying to breathe! It will be different when we leave the city on Sunday evening. There's got to be fresh air here somewhere! Amber and Mike of course you can stay at our place, just let me know and I will give you the code. Lots a love, momma J
6: Four Seasons Bangkok
8: -People live on this barge with small children -Worshiping at a budda shrine
9: In Krabi we witnessed a girl in flip-flops, shorts and no helmet on a morotbike hit by a car. She was lying on the road moaning and crying. They picked her up and put her in the back of a truck and left. No ambulance or police called!! | Anything goes on the roads!!
10: Admiring the dental work -the sssssssnake ssssssshow I love snakes and couldn't get close enough!! Barrry kept telling me to get back. hssssss
11: Pool Boy sweeping Four Seasons I love the broom so I bought one for our place at the lake. | Our CRAZY Long Tail boat driver. The only english he knew was "Hallo, big one!!!!" The fish were Hallo Big One, the houses were Hallo Big One, The Beer were Hallo Big One! We laughed our heads off!! | Wouldn't let my kids swim here! | My Diet Coke and Barry's Beer
12: More multi family accommodations There were snakes and raw sewage in the river where they swim and wash | Long Tail drivers wife (we think). I got to pretend I was driving.
13: May 30/08 We went on a long-boat tour yesterday and I've never seen this kind of complete poverty! Needless to say we are tipping them a full weeks salary each time just because we can. There were children swimming in the Chao Pyrah river where the sewage runs so bad that I have to cover my mouth and nose from the smell! There were large Iguanas and BIG river snakes by them even. They smile huge smiles and wave as we pass. People come up to the boat in their little boats to sell us items that are useless. We went to a snake charm show and a zoo that could make me cry at the condition of the animals. Barry is finished his convention now so he had his first swim with me this am. Again I can only be shocked at the poverty beside huge gold buddas on every corner. And the people pay to worship there and then they sit on the ground and beg. I gave some money and crayons to a young girl with a baby yesterday and she was so happy. Today we move to the Centre Point Silom Hotel for the night and are going to tour the largest temple. Jason and Regan- I wear the shawl you got me in India every day when I leave the hotel, It is beautiful and protects me against the heat and smells Amber and Mike- I wear the sarong you got me in Mexico every time I go to the pool Amber- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART!! Jordan- HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUNNY!! I will write again in a few days. I hope I will never complain when I have to clean my large house again, or am too 'tired' to make dinner in my beautiful kitchen!! We are blessed more than we deserve!! Love to you all! Momma J
15: View from Centre Point Siloam Hotel room. | The Oriental Hotel
16: Our train was an hour late so our driver to the Elephant Nature Park was waiting for us with a sign that said Kuhn Collick. Straight to the market where we bought food for the Elephants and then the hour and 1/2 drive into the jungle. Hot hot hot! Our time at the park was incredible. We were walking with elephants, feeding and yes we played in the river with them. There were big balls of dung floating down the river and hitting our legs. We bought a video of the way elephants are treated when they are being trained to work at the tourist areas and the elephants we were with were rescued from those areas by donations. It is heart breaking to see the abuse. One female elephant had a broken back and could hardly walk, another was blinded when its Mahut (trainer) got mad and shot out her eyes with a slingshot. That's just the small part of it!! These elephants are so beautiful and gentle as they are treated with love and patience. The landscape around the park reminded me of the Vietnam War movies I've seen and by the way, Rambo was filmed right here. In the park we were only an hour from Burma. Chaing Mai smells much better then Bangkok!! Yay! Went to the Chaing Mai Night Market and to bed very tired last night. Woke up this am to get ready for the flight and was quite sick to my stomach from the malaria pills. Feeling much better now. My legs look great after swimming with elephant dung...I wonder if there is a market in the beauty industry for this stuff? I could make a fortune. Longing for a Tims coffee!! Tara we will have go when I'm back!!! Love you all, and can't wait to hear some english again!!
17: 'First Class' Overnight Sleeper Train to Chaing Mai | First thing to do after boarding is for Barry to kill the cockroaches with his shoe!!. | I was too afraid to sleep.... I kept thinking the train was going to jump the tracks. I guess I've seen The Fugitive one too many times.
18: Loading up the trucks with fruit and vegies for the elephants
19: Elephants are rescued and provided medical care. This was the highlight of my trip and I would return to spend my entire vacation with these beautiful animals. | Elephant Nature Park
20: We walked with a herd of 35 elephants. Absolutely Spectacular!!
21: Some of the babies
22: Lek- the park founder. | Check it out on-line Elephant Nature Park, Chaing Mai
23: When we were bathing the elephants neither of us wanted to be on the shore to take pics, so we didn't get many good shots in the water. But honestly it was a magnificent xperience. These animals are huge but gentle and playful. | We walked through the fields with the elephants, I got many full trunk in the face kisses but Barry couldn't snap the pics fast enough. | 7 days old with mommy and auntie
24: When we first met the herd from the safety of the platform it was a bit frightening to think we were going to be walking amongst them.
25: Elephants are tortured to teach them to paint etc. please do NOT support the places that do this!!!
26: June 3/08 I'm sitting in the Chaing Mai airport with our flight to Krabi delayed by 5 hours!!! I can't believe it! We just want to get to the beach and instead we are spending our day in the Airport! I talked us into the Thai Airline VIP Lounge while we wait so that helps. Comfy couches and lots of food and drinks. The last day we were in Bangkok we hired a Tuk Tuk for the day and our driver took us touring, we saw so many temples made of tonnes of gold, the Royal Palace, the Kings Residence, a political riot, and in one temple I was so hot that I almost fainted and our driver had to take us to 7-11 right away to get me a drink and food. For visiting the temples we had to wear long pants, long sleaved shirts and closed toe shoes, it was so hot that we really struggled. Our driver was great, he waited on the street for us while we did our sight seeing at each of these places and he asked us not to tell his boss as he's not allowed to do that. He was quite afraid so we paid him very well. As planned we took the overnight First Class train to Chaing Mai. Picture first class in your mind and I'm sure you are thinking what we expected. OK- now the truth--- cockroaches to kill on our beds and walls. Stench to make you spew, a bathroom that you would want to wear hazmat gear to enter and use- a hole in the floor out to the ground to squat over. Our dinner and breakfast, we're not sure that it was real food. I covered my pillow with my hoody so I couldn't smell the dirt. I felt disgusting when I got off the train, but who cares; in a few hours I was in a dung filled river with elephants and swarms of mosquitos!
27: Off to Krabi! Swim, Snorkel, Sun, Sand, Shop
28: June 5/08 OK -we're here! the Amari Vogue Resort in Krabi! Where do I begin? This place is like we've never seen before!!! The service is unbelievable with 3 people serving us at each meal, just us! And it smells like gardenias here, it's about time something smelled good! We have our own Ocean Front Pool Villa- built out of teak with the high Thai peaks on the roof. We have 2 big decks to ourselves with a large outside couch and table and chairs and lounge chairs. A large Thai style living room, bathroom and bedroom. The ceilings are are about 18 feet high! Now for the best part-our OWN private swimming pool in our own private garden. The other pools on the resort are nothing to be sneezed at either! Jacuzzi lounge seats made out of limestone in the pools to relax in and large elephant fountains. It is about 35-40 degrees every day and yesterday we took the shuttle into Au Nang village for some shopping and sightseeing. Had dinner at a great Italian rest. and then we both had a Thai foot massage. Today we took a sightseeing tour into the jungle mountains, the emerald pool, chrystal pools, a rubber plantation tour and the Tiger Temple Caves. We got to walk by ourselves through the jungle quite a bit and we saw a 1000 year old Hopper Tree, lots of monkeys too. Toured a rubber plantation; I had no idea that rubber came right out of a tree!! Kids -you would laugh at your dad- he is absolutely soaked from sweat! It looked today in the jungle like he had just gotten out of the shower. Jason you would love caving here!
29: Had a swim in OUR pool and are now waiting for happy hour to start. After happy hour we are going to an Irish pub called Paddys, they will pick us up and drop us off again. Tomorrow we are doing a four island tour by speed boat, apparently we will be able to get some beautiful pictures and to swim on each of the white sand beaches of the Krabi 4 islands. Mike we have taken some pictures of construction sights for you- great quality building! Amber and Tara- you would be horrified at how families drive here... 2 adults and 3 small children on a motor bike with no helmets-including little babies!! Mike, we're so sorry to hear of your grandfathers passing. Please know that our thought and prayers are with you and your family. Give your mom our love. Hey everyone...this is the old guy... Wow what a time we are having. There's nothing in this world like being with the one you love the most on this earth and sharing in the beauty of God's great creation. One thing for sure... we have a lot to be thankful for. Canada is a great country with lots of great sights, but it's so neat to share in the culture of others on this awesome planet. The rocks and mountains here seem to jut right out of the ocean, and the beauty truly is something to behold. I love the Thai people as they really go out of their way to make you feel right at home. The other night when we arrived they made us a meal at 10:00 PM as our plane was delayed and we didn't get to the resort at the scheduled time. A waiter saw me scratch my leg once and brought me bug spray on the spot. Kids, when you read this just know how much I love your mom and the great fun she is. I love spending time like this with her so much and boy are we having fun. We were the young ones on the tour today. Others much younger than us couldn't make the trek up to the Tiger Caves and pools, but on each trek our guide let us lead the way. On one trek to the Crystal pool, mom and I arrived about ten minutes ahead of everyone. We were already in the pool when the rest arrived. This trip has taught me once again to be thankful for what we have and enjoy every moment of the relationships we've been blessed with. We love you all and we'll look forward to sharing some great pics with you when we get back. Love Daddy...and to the rest Your Forever Friend.
30: Hey everyone...this is the old guy... Wow what a time we are having. There's nothing in this world like being with the one you love the most on this earth and sharing in the beauty of God's great creation. One thing for sure... we have a lot to be thankful for. Canada is a great country with lots of great sights, but it's so neat to share in the culture of others on this awesome planet. The rocks and mountains here seem to jut right out of the ocean, and the beauty truly is something to behold. I love the Thai people as they really go out of their way to make you feel right at home. The other night when we arrived they made us a meal at 10:00 PM as our plane was delayed and we didn't get to the resort at the scheduled time. A waiter saw me scratch my leg once and brought me bug spray on the spot. Kids, when you read this just know how much I love your mom and the great fun she is. I love spending time like this with her so much and boy are we having fun. We were the young ones on the tour today. Others much younger than us couldn't make the trek up to the Tiger Caves and pools, but on each trek our guide let us lead the way. On one trek to the Crystal pool, mom and I arrived about ten minutes ahead of everyone. We were already in the pool when the rest arrived. This trip has taught me once again to be thankful for what we have and enjoy every moment of the relationships we've been blessed with. We love you all and we'll look forward to sharing some great pics with you when we get back. Love Daddy...and to the rest Your Forever Friend.
32: Amari Vogue Boutique Resort | Five Star all the way! Friendly, top notch service. Beautiful setting with many unique pools and features. | Our own ocean front Villa
34: Our private pool and garden for those times we wanted to be alone
35: My tootsies and our Villa in the background- yes it was the whole thing!
36: Barry's favorite memory of Thailand. He found this car in Au Nang
37: Tsumami hit this area
38: Does it get any better?
42: Spectacular dinner sunsets!
44: Growing inside the ladies washroom!
46: - Our favorite place in Au Nang to have a pic-me-up! - Laughing at how soft Barry's feet are, and how tough mine are.
47: Something I couldn't buy in Au Nang.
48: McD's does not taste the same at all. Well ... the coke does, but nothing else.
49: Tiger Temple Cave Tour | These monkeys were everywhere
50: We explored caves and found some budda's.
51: Thou shalt have no other god's before me; thus says the Lord
53: Barry getting ready to run to the top! 1200 steps!
54: Enjoying the natural Crystal Hot Springs They were very, very hot!
55: The Emerald Pool a natural warm lake. Absolutely breath taking here. | Emerald Pool
57: June 7/08 First of all--- Congrats Jill on another grandchild!!! That's such a blessing and gift from the Lord! Secondly--- Mike and Amber congrats. on your new house, it sounds absolutely amazing! Thirdly--- Wendy I'm glad I gave you something to do at work! Daydream on girl. Hope to see you the week of the 18th. Our Four Island Tour was so beautiful however we got too much sun despite wearing hats, long sleeved shirts and tonnes of sun screen. So we are sticking to the shade for now. We went snorkelling off a reef, when I was swimming the tour guide threw bread into the water in front of me and hundreds of fish were jumping ON me, I laughed my head off!! We had a picnic on another island and swam into caves on another. The first island was small and too busy. Met a really sweet girl from the Netherlands named Rose, I felt bad saying goodbye to her. Swam and read my book by Cathy Reichs- The Cross Bones, and am so tired now that I can't remember what else we did, but believe me it was fun whatever it was.
58: Oh yeah! I remember, last night we went to Paddy's Irish Pub. It was the most un-Irish place I've ever been, I was the only Irish person there and the music was heavy rock and roll. The pub driver picked us up in an open back pick up truck and returned us in the same. As soon as we arrived at the pub a girl on a motorcycle got hit by a car right in front of us. Her head crashed on the pavement (they don't wear helmets) and she was moaning/crying. So what do they do?... pick her up and put her in the box of our 'taxi truck' and take her into the health unit. No ambulance or police, and they moved her when she could have had a neck injury or anything!! Rebekah, you would have been shocked! They need your nursing skills here! Very interesting. I was tempted to take pictures but thought it might be in bad taste. We were afraid to eat at Paddy's so we came right back to our Resort and had dinner on the beach at the Italian rest. Amber--- how are you feeling dear? Love you all and I am not regretting our flight home in three days, I'm missing you all so much. And besides I have another baby to hold, Thanks Sharlene!
59: By speed boat for the day of island hopping
60: Another beautiful hot, sunny day!
61: Chicken Head Island I wonder why they call it that?
62: The fish were jumping on and over me! I loved it!!
63: Jigging Squid from our boat. Barry got INKED when they pulled this one in. It was pretty funny!!
64: Me in my pink hat swimming into a cave. The current was very strong and I was pretty tired when I got back.
65: We spent the most time on this beautiful Island. God has created such beauty for us to enjoy!
66: -Lunch time. The food was delicious! Even though it sat unrefrigerated in the sun for 3 hours! - This hairy guy was hungry too and kept trying to steal our food!
67: I decided to do a little rock climbing myself!
68: Best Friends Forever!!! and charter members of the "stupid hat club"
69: Hoping to find some good IRISH music and food, we took the Paddy Wagon to Paddy's Irish Pub. We rode in the back of this truck. We arrived to heavy metal pounding and the place was dark, empty and a little scary. A girl on a motorbike was hit by a car right in front of us. So after a beer we headed via the Paddy Wagon back to our resort for dinner. I was the most Irish thing in the Pub!
70: You have to hold on tight in these taxi's
71: I bought a broom to use at the lake from this lady. She was so sweet and happy to have her picture taken.
72: Ready for our side by side Thai Massages. Oh YEAH!! | Last day at the Amari Vogue
73: June 9/08 Back in Bangkok in a beautiful thunder storm. Every single day we were here it was beautiful and people have been telling us how lucky we are that just when we leave the monsoon starts! Pretty good timing, Thank You Lord!!! Tonight we are eating at Face Hazara and then up to Vertigo Restaurant at the Banyan Tree for a drink after. The Banyan Tree is Asia's highest open air restaurant, it has no roof and is 62 floors from the ground! And then we're going to see what else we can buy at the night market. We have to leave our hotel (Evergreen Laurel) at 5:30 AM to catch our flight to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong home!!! Yeah, I'm ready. We've had a wonderful time but there truly is no place like home!! Thanks everyone for allowing me to keep my travel diary through you on-line. Now when we get home I have my vacation journal in my sent box. All our love... I think it will take me a week to get over the jet lag so be patient if I don't call right away. I get jet lag just flying one time zone to home from Calgary so 14 hours will get to me I'm sure. Love you all. Kap Khun Ca, Sunnu ma ma, Ca ---Thank you it's been fun, Yes!
74: Bangkok at the Evergreen Laural Hotel
75: Last day in Thailand and still can't get the smile off my face.
76: Last visit to Pat Pong Night Market --- Looking pretty tired.
79: The Banyan Tree -last night in Thailand
81: Vertigo Restaurant at the Banyon Tree. 62 floors up and open air. When I stood the railing came to my waist and I could look right over to the city below.
83: Waiting for transport to airport... time to go home.
84: On our way home Hong Kong
85: Our flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong was quite delayed so we were met at the gate and rushed to catch our flight to Vancouver. This is all I saw of Hong Kong!
87: Something special to come home to!! Our doughter Amber and grandson Carter were visiting us from Calgary when we arrived home!!! -no time to get over the jet lag.
89: All Done!