Thailand Day 2

Up early, 6AM, breakfast downstairs at the hotel. I receive a text from SooBin sometime during the night. We will meet up with him at noon. But until then, Ami and I will go to check out the Grand Palace along with the Wat Pra Kaew template. After walking there, not too far, we decided to forego a tourguide and walk the place ourselves. Now, these places aren’t like museums and tourist attractions in the US where everything has a story written next to them. Nope, we wandered through the array of highly decorated buildings, museums, and temples (wat’s) without knowing anything about what we were seeing. However, we did stand near other tour guides and listened in to figure out what the heck we were looking at. Two hours and I was exhausted and we resolved that if we go to see anything else that is moderately complex that we will rent a tour guide – we notice that there was one tour guide for two people in several cases.

Hotness, we arrive back at D&D and there is SooBin. Wow, what a relief to meet up; turns out that connecting without cell phones or knowing anything about the city and having much of everything in an indiscernible language is difficult. Ami and I also meet Angie (SooBin’s traveling partner for the previous several days); she’ll be along for the whole two weeks along with us. After short deliberation, we decide to eat and discuss our upcoming agenda. While eating, SooBin runs into somebody he met several weeks earlier in Vietnam and she shows us her bedbug bits and instills fear in all us about sleeping in beds in Thailand.

We then book a 2-day trip to leave the following evening for Chiang Mai. We’ll have the trekking and elephant riding experience that are the trademarks of Thailand. Luckily, we’ll also get to hit up Chiang Mai on the weekend to participate in the markets. I’ve heard that these are cheap and fun markets for Thailand. Plus, I’ll be happy to get out of the fairly dirty city of Bangkok.

All four us depart to check out the other nearby attractions of Bangkok to knock them out before heading out – Reclining Buddah (Wat Po) and the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). Ami and I headed back for a 1 hour Thai massage before dinner and would meet back up with Angie and SooBin at 7pm for dinner. After standing at the meeting place for 15 minutes and then walked along Khaosan Rd looking for them to no avail. Not again, split up from them again and no good way to reconnect. So, Ami and I walk around and decide to book a day trip for the following morning to Ayutthaya to check out the old capitol of Thailand. Afterwards, we grabbed some food and headed out to check out a tailor for some suits. After a while in the suit shop, I consented to be swindled and purchased several suits. After the suit purchase, Ami and I wanted the streets for a bit looking for a good place to have a few drinks. We settled in on this little bar run by a woman named Nok (pronounced nook). She managed to run a bar with no overhead, she simply setups a bar on the sidewalk along with some chairs and tables and starts serving. After a few drinks, we ask Nok about a “ping pong” show. Angie had mentioning wanted to go see it that night since it was going to be our last night in Bangkok for some time. So, Ami and thought we’d see if we could find her and SooBin there.

Nok got a taxi for us and off we went. Soon, the taxi driver was lost and didn’t speak any English. He managed to find a police officer on the road and talk with him for some time. After a while the police officer just got in the car with us and off we went. We make it to the show and only to be asked to pay 1000 Baht entrance fee (~$30), absurd! So, we weren’t going to go in to see the show, but we got him to consent to 1000 Baht for the two of us including the first drink.

Wow, I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all, but this was extreme. And, being my first real night in Thailand; the prostitution was much more overt than I expected. Luckily, I was with Ami and I’m pretty sure that has stayed off much of the would-have-been approached from these girls. At the show, there was this guy that had pulled out his camera and was attempting to video part of the show. What an idiot. Bouncer people jumped over the tables and grabbed the dude’s camera. Totally sweet, there was some yelling and almost a fight right next to me. Could have been fun to throw some punches. Oh well, didn’t happen. Ami and I left soon thereafter because it was getting way too out there / gross. After a taxi back, some more street food, we went to sleep fearing the bedbugs.

It was a good day, and our only day in Bangkok. We’ll be leaving at 7AM to visit Ayutthaya and then head directly from there to Chian Mai. We may not see Bangkok again until we come back to fly out – who knows.

Thailand Day 1

As I step off the airplane in Bangkok, I realize that it’s not going to be the sunny but cool climate I found in Ethiopia. The humidity and temperatures seem to be about what I live with every day in DC. I proceeded to walk level 3 of the airport since that was where I was going to meet Ami to begin our Thailand experience. After completely walking it once I was a bit worried because, if we didn’t meet up there it would have been more difficult to connect later.

We managed to get a taxi ride to where we were planning to stay. But, upon arrival to the hotel we were to stay, there was no SooBin. I emailed, texted, and attempted to look him at the place, but to no avail. I grabbed my first bit of food in Thailand off a street vendor, Pad Thai (what a surprise). About 3AM, Ami and I booked a room at the hotel for quite a high price and got some sleep.

“Wicking” undies

So, after the realization yesterday that washing socks makes them smell much less and feel great, I wanted to share another recent clothing revelation.

“Wicking” undies.

That’s right, forget those cotton things you guys wear around. These synthetic briefs, boxer-briefs, and boxers are the way to go. No longer do my man-parts swim in sweat throughout the day. Also, that horrible smell that comes with sweaty man-parts is gone. I no longer am plagued with man-parts sticking to most anything it can attach to. As an added bonus, for those of you with jock-itch, the wonderful dry-nature should reduce or eliminate this problem. And maybe, guys will soon to be seen as a species of sophistication – there may be much less of a need to scratch/adjust man-parts.

Finally, without sweating, there’s no need to wash or change undies. Ultimately it’s like being naked, but wearing clothes. As I continue to test out the undies, I’ll know more. So we’ll see how long I can wear these without showering or changing while maintaining a respectable amount dignity – going on 36 hours (1.5 days).

UPDATE: Some of you may think this is gross, but I assure you – it’s not. That’s the reason for the test. So, four (4) days of wearing the same synthetic undies have left me smelling decent and feeling incredibly comfortable and dry. After four days, there was some smell begining to stick, but nothing more than you get out of your regular cotton undies after a few hours.

I purchased mine from REI – check out their Boxers and Briefs.

Impacting the World: Let’s talk Ethiopia

Right now, the world grieves; cries for help are heard from near and far. Right now, we see large-scale devastation from natural disasters; killing from terrorists and wars; dehumanizing injustices of human trafficking, the sex-trade, and slavery; loved ones suffering from cancer; hopes and dreams destroyed through the economic downturn; and loneliness within the masses. We all respond to the needs around us in our own way – none better than another.

Much of the world’s population cannot afford any form of health care or medicine. More than half of Ethiopia’s population has no access to health care at all; of those that do, most must walk more than two (2) hours to a facility. Preventable and treatable diseases such as cholera, river blindness, yellow fever, dengue, hepatitis and typhoid fever kill thousands annually. It is with this understanding that I am compelled to take action and impact this world.

In August, I will go into Africa to serve the needs of the forgotten. Rather than focusing specifically on orphans this year, as I did last year in Uganda, our team of sixteen (16) will set-up a health clinic in a rural area of Ethiopia to provide free basic health care to a community. We will see and treat many children and adults as well as share the love and message of Jesus with all.

I share this with you because I strive to live in the tension between the American lifestyle and the adventurer yearning to impact the world in the name of Jesus. I ask that you forgive me for messing up, offending, being self-centered, manipulative, and apathetic and for not expressing my appreciation and thankfulness for your involvement in my life.

I invite you to share in this adventure with me in the following ways:

  • Prayer: I’d love to have you pray with me for this world to transform into what God intended it to be.
  • Encouragement: Let’s hang out, go for a walk/run, talk about how to change our world, or otherwise create an atmosphere of excitement and adventure in our own lives.
  • Financial Support: The complete trip will cost $3,500. If you would like to help fund the trip, please provide your tax-deductible donations (payable to McLean Bible Church) at http://www.frontlinedc.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=9190.

I will continue to share my Africa experiences at http://africa.jason1365.com updating the website as the journey unfolds. Thank you for your friendship and considering to partner with me to sustain life in Ethiopia.

Give me a call, let’s talk soon.

~Jason