24 October 2006

Gettin' Caught in the Rain

The rainy season is an adventure for those of us who have to get around on motorcycle! Heavy rains can come out of nowhere, forcing us to don rain ponchos. Sometimes we have to just pull over, take shelter, and wait it out.

Rahel snapped this photo of me during one of those "pull over and take shelter" times. I didn't even have time to get out the poncho--my jeans were soaked!

21 October 2006

Toilet Expo

Who knew?

16 October 2006

My Many Names

Known to most of you as Karis, and by some as Aunt Ka-Ka or Zappy, here in Thailand I had to find a name that was easy for Thai people to say.

Thais generally go by their nicknames, so it is not strange at all to go by an easier name.

Thanks to Mr. Alan Galvez, and the people who subsequently started calling me by that name, I usually introduce myself here as "KP."

It is fairly easy to remember, but occasionally it morphs into K.T./Katie, Tepi (the Thai word for an angel-like creature, I think) and young boys especially like to call me KFC.

My Thai pastor has given me the Thai name Chabaa (hibiscus), so church people generally call me that.

Aunt Ka-Ka

Whatever you call me, I invite all friends and family to call me sometime. (hee hee)

14 October 2006

Thailand's Religion

Theravada Buddhism is the primary religion of Thailand. As I walked around in Bangkok during a recent trip there, I passed an area that sells primarily religious articles, including Buddha figures and monks' robes.

Most men who become monks do so only for a period of their lives, not forever. Maybe as few as 3 weeks. I even recently heard of a foreign exchange student who was ordained just for one day, just to say he had been a Buddhist monk in Thailand!

Women cannot really be monks. There are some who wear the white robes and such, but it is not the same. They do not make merit by doing this the way the men do. But, everyone can EARN merit by giving food to the monks as they go on their early morning alms walks.

10 October 2006

"Don't Forget My Something."

I must say, the forcefulness of children selling their wares in the Angkor Wat Temple compound really caught me off guard. Before I had one leg out of the motor-taxi, a handful of children rushed toward me and began showing me their tour books, postcards, cold bottled water, scarves and so forth.

They were surprisingly good and English and knew many world capitals.

"What is your name? Where do you come from? I know the capital of your country."

After this brief time of introduction, we were shown their wares and if we said no, thank you, they pressed us with many reasons to buy from them.

"I sell you cheap! You need cold water! See my postcards!"

After many attempts to say no, they moved to encouraging us to come back to them after visiting the temple.

"Don't forget my book!"

"Don't forget my postcard!"

"Don't forget my water!"

"Don't forget my something!"

My something?

Upon our return, these street-wise kids remembered our names, and if we still said no, they said, "You promised to buy my book/postcard/water/scarf!"

It could be frustrating except that I knew that Cambodia has seen great hardship, and these children are only being obedient to their parents. As much as we could, Christine and I tried to engage them in normal conversation. They were pretty bright kids, and often even if we didn't buy anything ultimately, they would wave good-bye cheerfully. Sweet kids.

I won't forget them, although I might forget their "something!"

06 October 2006

Angkor What?

There was actually a restaurant by this name in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the base town for exploring Angkor Wat and the other ancient Temples of Angkor.

Seriously, though, I understood why this is considered SE Asia's greatest sight.

Built between the 9th and 13th centuries (or thereabouts), there are many impressive temples covering a large area. A 3-day pass was not quite enough to see everything! The temples were massive, built with large stones, with so many carvings and details. The area has become a bit touristy, but they don't have all the cool areas roped off like they might in the U.S. You can still feel like you are an explorer as you check out the various crumbling temples, climbing up steep stairways and scrambling over rock piles to get a good photo.

Ta Prohm, the one with all the tree roots taking over, was especially fascinating, And I like this shot of the Cambodian man carrying a monk on a scooter, racing into the modern era and away from the Old Ways.