Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thailand, Loas, Cambodia and Vietnam: Reflections, Spirits and Farewell

The people are patient, kind and had working

This beautiful mom-to-be was selling lottery tickets on a ferry

You might get your purse snatched on the street, but you wouldn't get murdered

I was in the way but this person graciously went around me

Street food is tasty


Don't drive unless you are 21 and fearless

It is chaotic by our standards.
Driving requires knowing where you are. Thais drive left side of the road, Lao and Cambodians on the right side.  There must be a giant cross-over lane at the border of Thailand & Cambodia. 

 In Vietnam it is a cooperative dance at intersections with cars, bikes and motorcycles merging from all directions. 
No one looks nervous or scared though!

Crossing the street, especially in Saigon, is an adventure 

You need bravery, timing and intention. 
Our mantra was, "Be one with the traffic (not the pavement)"We heard the story of an American women who was so terrified of crossing she hired a taxi to take her across the street

Consider visiting places you're not sure you'll like

You may be very surprised if you try something new
Slip into a Cu Chi tunnel

Eat something new

Crunchy--like the fried shell of shrimp

Talk to children

They are the future.
Ask them about it

Many children know some English

Use alternate forms of transportation

The river boats on the Chao Praya in Bangkok are a fun and cheap way to get around.
 You can buy a jump-on, jump-off ticket for the day at about $5.00

Or try water buffalo drawn cart

 Splurge occasionally

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has high tea

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Lobby

Do fun things

Men in suits play checkers with pop bottle caps

People watching is rewarding

Bright colors abound

Look up and down! 

M.C. Escher would have loved the floor in the cathedral in Saigon.
This is Istanbul, Turkey. A teaser for our next posts in Turkey

Bamboo is used for scaffolding

The scaffolding goes through the wall

 Buy stock in Starbucks

There is one (or many) in every city we visited.
Also American fast food is in the big cities.
My Vietnam--My BK (Burger King)

Farewell to our OAT Tour

Sang, our Siem Reap, Cambodia, guide
Anya our trip leader from Bangkok
Mana, our Lao guide
Sofia, our Phnom Penh guide, demonstrates the usefulness of the large local scarf in fashioning pants

Henry, our Vietnam guide

New ways of doing things

Mannequins are not in store windows; they are on the sidewalk

Andy's new friend has half a brain
Darrell meets a girl almost as tall as he is
Anya could be recruiting a cute client for her next trip

Spirit Houses

I loved the spirit houses and looked for them around every residence or business. 
I was crushed when I saw a spirit-house store where one could buy a basic, gilded spirit house ready for installation in the yard. I thought they were all hand crafted by the occupant of the house they protected. However there are some beautiful, high-end spirit houses.
A spirit house is a shrine to the protective spirit of a place and are found in the Southeast Asian countries of BurmaCambodiaLaos, and Thailand
Most houses and businesses have a spirit house placed in an auspicious spot, most often in a corner of the property. The spirit house is normally in the form of a miniature house or temple, and is mounted on a pillar or on a dais.
Candles or food and drink are left at the house to propitiate the spirits. Happy spirits, happy house.

Night life for the spirits

This spirit house protects the residence and is a hat rack, too. (Cap hanging in upper left.)

Not your run-of-the-mill house

My type of spirit house--homemade! Maybe the dog has a protective spirit house too. (left)

Not a spirit house. However the apples here are from Washington State.

No comments:

Post a Comment