S: THAILAND/HONG KONG/CHINA - 1990
1: Thailand/Hong Kong/China
2: Thailand | Thailand is located in the center of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never been colonized. The first King, Rama I, united the country. The current King Bhumipol, Rama IX, changed the name from Siam to Thailand which means "free."
4: Upon our arrival at the Bangkok airport at 2 a.m., we witnessed the simultaneous arrival of the champion of the international Muay Thai competition -- Thailand's national sport -- and his trophy! | The view of the Chao Praya River from our room on the 30th floor | Bangkok
5: The Royal Mercedes Benz | Our transportation: the water taxi | The red carpet was for the Royal Princess, who was giving the opening address to the international AIDs conference.
6: The Grand Palace The most fabulous royal complex imaginable! Built in 1782 when Bangkok became the capital of Thailand under King Rama I.
7: The complex is entered through corridors with murals depicting scenes from the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana
8: Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the talisman of the Thai Kingdom and the legitimator of Thai sovereignty, with its three chedis or pointed towers
9: Statues of Demons
13: Elephants symbolize power and independence as Thai kings fought wars mounted on elephants. | Parents have their children rub the head of an elephant statute for good luck -- see the smoothness of the surface!
16: The Reclining Buddha 160' long The feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl and display the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified: flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers, etc.
19: Climbing to the top of Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, a pagoda decorated with pieces of Chinese porcelain plates and bowls
21: The Royal Barges Museum Across the river from the Grand Palace and within a residential area, the museum housing the royal barges rises up like a vision.
23: The principal royal barge, made from the trunk of a single teak tree was commissioned by King Rama I in 1782. It is named Subanahongsa in reference to the swan-like mythical steed of the Hindu god Brahma.
24: The Jim Thompson house belonged to an entrepreneur who is credited with spearheading the Thai silk industry. In the hot and humid tropical climate, the airy open spaces offer protection from sun and rain. Built without nails, the house could be taken down, stacked on a raft and floated to a new location.
25: Muay Thai uses eight "points of contact": punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes. The legend is that the Thai king bested the Burmese king with this kind of fighting, a feat celebrated annually as "Boxer's Day."
28: Traveling on the Chao Praya River to Northern Thailand
30: Elephants were used in warfare, precursors to modern-day tanks. They were domesticated for farming and forestry, dragging teak logs, which demolished their own habitat. By 1990, the rain forest which had covered 90 percent of the country, had diminished to 15 percent and logging was outlawed, leaving the elephants out of work, with no forest to return to.
32: The border between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) at the Golden Triangle. Having withstood attempted invasions, the Vietnam war and the opium trade, the area was about to be irreparably destroyed for a golf course resort development.
34: Hong Kong
36: We took a ferry from Kowloon Bay to the modern part of Hong Kong with its striking architecture. The shoppers were busy preparing for the holidays.
38: Guangzhou, China
39: China | Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, the Chinese leadership wanted to redefine China's role in the post-Cold War international environment and chose to make Guangzhou the center of its economic growth.
40: Qing Ping Market
41: American-style consumerism
42: Although Guangzhou was on the cusp of modernization, tradition still dominated.
43: Our guide and the people we met on the street were fascinated by us -- most had never seen a non-Chinese child before and came up to touch Zachary's face and hair!