Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who Knew Krabi Could Make You So Happy?

As much as I love to write, I find it hard to express myself (in any language). Plus, I always get stressed out about trying to include all the details. So I won't ... I'll just stick to the highlights.

Red Bull started in Thailand, believe it or not. Some Austrian guy ripped it off, added soda water, and told everyone it gives you wings. Now he's probably a billionaire. So I can buy Red Bull here for like a quarter and then I just buy some soda water for another quarter and make my own homemade Red Bull.

When I went to church in Don Muang the other day, I found at that one of the kids I taught as a missionary, Nat, just got baptized a couple weeks ago and he's as stalwart as a 14-year old kid in the Church on his own can be. He moved out of his crazy religious aunt's place and lives with his 17-year old brother in an apartment they got.

Last week I made a last-second decision to go down to Krabi in the south of Thailand with Matt Jenson, another returned missionary. Best decision I ever made. I finally got to partake in the glory of what is southern Thailand that I missed out on as a missionary. I've never been anywhere so beautiful. It is surreal. I felt like I was in a movie ... a pirate movie to be exact (but that may have something to do with the beard and bandana too).

We took longtail boats around to see the islands in the bay between Phuket and Krabi. Did some snorkeling and played with fish and sea cucumbers. Those suckers shoot out this white stringy stuff that I swear astronauts could use to repair a space station or something as sticky as it is. It took me all day to get it out of my arm hair. Matt decided to play with a sea urchin and got stabbed with their poison darts about 25 times in his foot. We got some kayaks and paddled around Hong Island. That wasn't as easy as I thought it was gonna be at first.

Besides all the ocean fun, we rented motorcycles for about 5 bucks a day and drove them 100 kmh on wet jungle roads out in the sticks to ride elephants (bareback) and play with monkeys. We climbed to the top of a mountain near the Tiger Cave Temple that has a 1,237-step stairway that goes 600 meters straight up in the air with a Buddhist temple on the very top that has a vew like nothing I've ever seen before. The south of Thailand is sooo greeen.

All that fun wore us out, so besides my sleeping for a straight 14 hours one night we also went and got hourlong massages almost every night while we were down there. We stuck to the same massage place we went to the first night after we checked out another place and found out that they had tranvestites doing the massaging. After a transvestite outside 7-11 took out her fake boob and tried to touch Matt with it we'd had about enough of that. One night we played pool (snooker) with some bar girls and got our trash kicked.

Our last day we went to Railey Beach, which can only be accessed by boat, and hiked around. I made the climb up and then down into a hidden lagoon that rocked. I ended up covered in mud and drawing cave paintings. And the hike up to the viewpoint nearby beat even the view from the top of the Tiger Cave Temple. There aren't words to describe ... and there's the truth of the matter: I could do my best to give an idea of how surreal the beauty of southern Thailand is, but the pictures I put on Facebook do such a better job.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crazy Asians

Which of these two pictures is more offensive? It's a trick question. They're both offensive because they were both taken in Seoul, Korea and that place is boring and useless ... at least what I saw of it. At first glance the picture on the left just looks like a antiques shop or something ... but then look at the kid's shirt. Where does he get off? Notice in the reflection of the window that I didn't even attempt to be discreet. And the picture on the right is less offensive than you think. It is a swastika, but not a Nazi swastika. With the arms bent to the right it actually means strength and intelligence in Zen Buddhism.

I made it to Thailand. I flew from Denver to L.A. first. The airport in Denver is so easy to navigate, but L.A. is a nightmare. I checked in for my flight and they told me it was full and were gonna put me on another flight that would've taken me through Hong Kong. That would've screwed up my plans to see the sights in Seoul (I wouldn't have missed much), but they ended up finding a seat for me. This Taiwanese guy cut in line as we were boarding and this Korean family right in front of me got all up in his face. They were so close to starting a knock-down drag-out fight right there. The adult son in the family threw down his bag and had his fists up and everyone was yelling and cursing in Chinese and Korean and English. Crazy Asians.

I ran into this Moroccan kid, Mouad, in the airport in South Korea. He had a long layover too so we just went into Seoul together to see the sights. He's Muslim and it's Ramadan right now so he was fasting, but I had some spicy kimchi. It wasn't all that great. Oh yeah, and people in Korea suck at speaking English. They're even worse than Thai people. We went and saw some ancient palace and then an ancient temple. There's way cooler stuff than both of those in Thailand. While I was eating he realized he booked his flight from Korea to Singapore a day too early and he'd missed it. He ended up working it out though and the funny part is that his next stop was Thailand and he ended up on my same flight. So I got him hooked up with a place to stay when we got to Thailand. We'll probably go hit up some of the sights around here before he leaves for the next leg of his trip to Cambodia or something.

It's great being back here in Thailand. I'm in Don Muang where I served for a year as a missionary so I get to see all the members and investigators that I taught. One of the first people I visited was my Thai mom, Mama Praphin. She's sweet. And yesterday I went to visit another one of my Thai moms, Mama Sri. She did the majority of the translation of the Book of Mormon into Thai way back in the day. She's sweet too. It's kind of overwhelming trying to visit everyone else here that I want to see, but I'm just glad that I can ... cause I've missed it here. I love it. I got a Thai massage the other day. An hour long. It was incredible. And it only cost like 4 bucks haha. I still have jet lag. I feel like passing out at about 6 PM every day. I've had a few days to adjust though so now it's time to start pursuing the reason that I came back to Thailand in the first place: to become a Thai rockstar.