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Wander & enjoy the diversity...it feeds your soul “What is more miraculous than the moment?” Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh

Kirsten's holiday visit

THAILAND | Thursday, 1 January 2009 | Views [659]

Kirsten’s holiday visit:
What is better than having your children spend time with you?  NOTHING!!!!  Although Kelsey couldn’t get any time off from her teaching job in Korea, we had the pleasure of Kirsten during Christmas week coming from not too distant Chennai, India, where she has been living since last September.   We picked her up from the airport early one sunny, Samui morning & toured the island in a tiny, very rough-riding jeep, where it is a good idea to hold on to your head or the jerkiness from manual stick-shift gives you whiplash!  Even though she had been on an all night flight, she was a good sport, a true adventurer-traveler and made it through the whole day while we showed her a few highlights - -  

(See pictures to the right “Kirsten’s Holiday visit”) Our week included: the ‘Big C’ supermarket & shopping center – she was surprised at how BIG it really is – “nothing like this is Chennai;” a fishing village/shopping center – great fruit drinks at a organic/vegetarian art-coffee shop; meals at close & distant beachs; watching elephants trekking tourists to a waterfall, Big Buddha; meals at our favorite restaurant right here at ‘Save House’ – where we are living.

Kirst wanted to get as much beach time as possible & she has a inquisitive nature to try new foods - so the days we lounged at the beach also included buying beach-vendor pineapple & mango while thoroughly enjoying his technique of carefully cutting the fruit so it can be eaten with a wooden skewer or carving pineapples in a slanted circular pattern so that you only have to pop these sweet, tangy pieces in your mouth to taste the tropics!  The fresh fruit drinks are also -- yumm!  

We introduced her to our international ‘Save House’ friends and to the caring & supportive staff here.  Since we typically play games with whoever is around on Friday nights, Kirsten showed us how to play a ‘murder’ game (while snacking on treats she had brought from India) – the mafia was pretty ruthless.  She risked getting her hair cut by ‘Bo’ who had done my hair.  Bo is Thai & she listened better to what we wanted & had better techniques than what I have typically found in the US!  Language was no barrier!  Her hair looked great!

Besides the beaches we ventured through a few fairly empty looking resorts & swam in their often empty pools.  Sad to see how few tourists are taking advantage of this place.   Besides a colorful boa & sequined Thai ‘lady-boy’ show we went on a snorkeling boat trip to Koh Tao & Koh Nangyuan.  The snorkeling part was too short, but the fish were beautiful & the island had those spectacular white sandy beaches you seen in brochures!  She & I got a couple of Thai massages – nice way to spend an afternoon!   

Her curiosity also took us into several clothes & food markets – not where the tourists usually go, but where the Thais get their fresh fish, meat & vegetables – some look clean & beautiful, but the little skinned animals that looked like dog & rat (guinea pig?) made you want to stick with vegetarian dishes.  She encouraged us to try more street food vendors – always looked a bit risky to me – but must admit we got some pretty good dishes for less than a $1.00.  One buffet, “hot-pot” at-your-table restaurant was good, but when we were leaving, I noticed that the staff were cleaning a table & taking the meat left-overs (hadn’t been cooked yet) & putting them back on the buffet table?  Maybe nothing wrong with that…since they were going to be cooked anyway, but…???

Besides the touristy things, Kirst came with us to the elementary school to teach a couple English classes – she saved a boys life when she caught one boy putting a plastic bag over another boys head…her teacher mode kicked in & after reprimanding him, he was quite well behaved – even finished the assignment!

Christmas Eve we went to a secluded beach resort – enjoyed the quiet & their buffet!  X-mas Day - - Save House also had an amazing buffet  - had planned to have the food by the pool…BUT it started to rain, so they moved everything under the little roof, which meant that a few of us had to sit under umbrellas – that was ok…kind of cozy!  In the gift exchange I got a hair dryer!!!  Fabulous – didn’t bring one – so really nice to have one again!  Can use it to dry my clothes!

Kirsten had to leave the next day – on to Madurai to see her former host family and the SEED family.  We miss her – no one here now to push me into trying new things!  But she has left her mark – we have since bought 2 street-vendor chickens, more beach vendor fruit & tried a different Thai outdoor market.  We even tried the scooter one day to go to the other side of the island.  Way too adventurous!  Chuck’s helmet kept on falling off & I worried about having to go to the ER - picking gravel out of my skin if we fell into a ditch, skidded into a pothole or disappeared into a gutter – amazing how many people you do see here with bandages on their heads or limbs!  We are now eagerly awaiting Kelsey’s visit at the end of January!

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