Saturday, November 12, 2011

News from Thailand

November 11, 2011

There was a monkey on Eli's head. We were at the far reaches of Ko Dam Hok beach in Phang Nga Bay and we had made a new friend. Actually, he was looking for one of the many handouts tourists are so willing to give. Eli had only smiles to share, but he got some special time anyway.

We've been in Thailand now for 9 days and there has been a lot of special time. After a couple of nights in the marina (the last place we had internet access and blogged), we headed out into the large bay enclosed by Phuket island and the mainland "trunk" of Thailand. Here we have been surrounded by the amazing limestone krast islands that are a famous geological feature of the region. These islands often have enclosed or semi-enclosed lagoons or "rooms" ("hong" in Thai) in their middle that are accessible only through caves or small passages.

During our first week on the bay, we have fallen into a nice rhythm. We are up early to swim, eat, read, and study. Then, if not staying for the day, we choose a destination and sail for a few hours. If we plan to remain at our present anchorage, we kayak (or swim or motor dinghy) to shore and comb the beach or sit in the shade. It is hot here! In the afternoon, we set anchor, swim, eat, talk about the day and tomorrow, have a cool beverage, sit under the stars, maybe watch a movie on the boat's DVD player, read, and go to sleep early--hopefully with a nice breeze coming in through the hatches.

Besides our first days in the marina on Phuket island, we have only twice anchored outside towns. Otherwise, our interaction with other humans besides ourselves has been limited to tourists and their guides coming for the day to the islands by Thai longtail boat. And if you are reading this, we must have found a new inhabited location with internet access! (I'm writing on an offline computer on the boat).

The kids have been writing as well. Below are some of their journal entries to give you a flavor of the bredth of our experience. We have had no news of the outside world since November 2 (US time), but we have been thinking of you and hope all is well.


Journal Entries, Thailand Week 1

Eli, November 11:

We are now anchored in a new place on our way to Koh Phi Phi Dan. Here there are some nice reefs and even monkeys.

The monkeys are often given food so they are very bold and sometimes pushy. One of them sometimes will climb on you. Today I didn't give one of the monkeys a piece of bread that I was holding and he pulled my hair. In the reefs we saw lots of clown fish that were in anemones. We also saw some parrot fish which eat coral that they poo out as sand.

Grace, November 10:

Even MORE monkeys

Yesterday we sailed to a new island. We read that it had a coral reef, so decided to go snorkeling. In the coral reef I saw: purple coral, orange coral, yellow coral, green coral with blue iridescent spots, and many fish! After that, we went to a near-by beach. At the beach we saw a funny monkey family: a mom, a dad, a little girl, a little boy, a big brother, and a grandpa. The big brother climbed all over me! Later they put on a big show swimming in the shallow water.

Sophia, November 8:


Gautama was an Indian prince whse parents tried to shelter him from the fact that others sometimes were not happy. But one day he discovered that not all were happy. The Indians then renamed him Buddha (the enlightened one or the awakened).

A Buddhist goal in religion is to be enlightened or nirvana. It is so captivating that 95% of Thais are Theravada Buddhist.

Grace, November 8:

Asia is the biggest, most populated continent in the world. It has 730 people on each square kilometer. A huge amount of crops are developed each year. But Asia also has down sides: earthquakes, floods, typhoons are not uncommon. Asia is home to one-fourth of the earth's trees. Culturally, the Asians present an amazing picture showing: Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism. All of these originated in Asia. Thailand is in Asia. Thailand has the population of 58.34 million people. Its capital is Bankok.

Eli, November 7:

Muslim Fishing Village
Today we went to a Muslim fishing village that was almost entirely composed of houses on stilts. It had a shopping street running through most of the village. The stores sold mostly all the same thing and the city was full of tourists. My sisters each got something, but I didn't see anything I wanted. Along the way we even got to shake a monkey's hand.

Sophia, November 7:

Bat Cave

Yesterday, Papa and I decided to wanted to explore the beach and island that we had just arrived at by kayak. So, we crammed into the one-person kayak and started to row.

We had gone about 1/4 of the way around when we spotted a big, smelly, loud cave. Then I asked curiously, "are those bats?" "Yes," Papa said, pointing to the grey figures that were flying around over head.


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