Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Sorry, But I'm On Thai Time...All Day Errdayy" THAILAND!!!! (Bangkok and Koh Samet island)

The one and only, Bangkok. Not a bad sunset skyline

 Thai food! (My favorite food in the entire world.)  This is pineapple rice with prawns, and a Mai Tai to wash it down.  The six of us had our fair share of delicious pad thai during our trip. We also consumed a massive amount of fresh fruit, smoothies, and pina coladas...YUM.

Where "The Hangover Part 2" was filmed!  The scene when the helicopter lands on the hotel roof top and the Asian man is found guilty.

Bradley Cooper sat on these steps, ladies and gentlemen.  Charlotte (Emily's friend, also from SLU, who is studying abroad in Thailand) and I contemplated whether or not we should sit on every step, in the hopes to possibly be graced by his presence (which has been absent from this location for more than a year.)  HA HA

My lil' friend the Python, who's not so little.

The Elephant reserve an hour and a half outside of Bangkok.

 So excited I was almost screaming.  Nicole and I rode this girl together, and it started down pouring during the ride, but we loved it!!! Our guide was laughing at us because he didn't understand why we welcomed the rain and why we kept screeching with excitement and fascination.  The rain was a nice break from the 102 degrees F weather that day..

 One of the top three wisest creatures to roam this planet.

 Smoking something (hmm..) on his friend's back.  We got the impression that the elephants were treated quite well at this reservation
 A baby CHANG! "Chang" means elephant in Thai.  I was attempting to communicate with him...couldn't help myself.
 The King's Palace, which we could not enter because the King was actually there that day.  A bummer that we couldn't go in, but I thought it was neat the King was present!

"Jia You, Jia You!" Keep going!  We cheered on the runners for a good hour.  This guy was great, all decked out and loving the run.....THE NINE HOUR ULTRA MARATHON with over one hundred participants! Women and men, old and young, running in the 98 degree weather.  I was so impressed.

 A doggie cart full of cold water and fruit

 KOH SAMET!! The most beautiful island I have ever seen and explored.  #Seasfordays
 Lambo! One of the many dogs on the island - almost all of which were stray - but, Lambo had a collar.  Reminded me of Bago, so naturally, I had to find a stick and play.
 Stare down.  Dinner on the beach every night!

 One of my favorite parts of Koh Samet: the Fire Dancers (I prefer to call them fire crackers)  About twenty of them would perform every night on the beach, in the water, and on stage, and each night the show got more intense and more impressive. They were all about 5foot7inches or under, extremely fit, a bit crazy, and somewhat cocky.  Playing with fire requires a lot of confidence though, and a love for fire....pyromaniacs!?!?
Nicole and I could not resist - we talked with them many times and they had pretty good english.  They were quite the jokesters!

 The other side of the island, which only required 1 kilometer of walking to find

Look Ma, I sprouted a palm tree!

 (I apologize Mom and Dad, in advance) but I had to include this.  A good ole' St. Lawrence "icing,"  thanks to Charlotte and Em.
 Inside was a cave that we explored!

 One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen
 There is a man in the middle of all that fire...in water, with a whole lot of kerosene.

 Coconuts straight from the palms
 McDonald, possibly the most globalized (plastic) man on our planet Earth.
A Thai specialty.  Sticky rice, with sliced mango and coconut milk drizzled on top.  

Our fourteen-year-old snorkel guide! He dove down to retrieve this sea urchin.  #stud

I only have about three weeks left in Asia and I have a feeling that time is going to fly by.  I still want to explore more of Shanghai and I hope to hike China's famous Yellow Mountain (HuangShan) this weekend.  However, I need to keep in mind that finals are coming up and I have a few big papers to write. Sometimes I wish "study abroad" was just abroad without the study part!  There is so much to see and so little time!

This may or may not be my last blog post, depending on how busy I am about to be after this Spring Break.

Thanks for exploring my blog!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Up and Down the Coast of TAIWAN! I prefer to tell my story through more pictures and less words.

Dried everything!
 Polish cakes and candy in the Shilin night market - Taipei
 Chiang Kai-Shek and his lovely wife
 Characters to form a face
 National Palace Museum
 Chiang Kai-Shek's estate...gardens on gardens

 Lu Kai Ling and Shi Mei Ling

 National Museum of Taiwan History... outside grounds

 National Museum of Taiwan History

 A rainy day on Sun Moon Lake
 Anping Tree Houses

 One of the many unique coffee shops in Taiwan
 Little kiddos...SO CUTE

 Chih Kan Tower
 Old architectural ruins

 MY FAVORITE PART...the Ocean! Kenting is the Southernmost tip of Taiwan. This is Maobitou Plateau

 Eluanbi Lighthouse

I don't have pictures from the actual beach because I was afraid of losing or destroying my camera and phone. But it was beautiful and the water was so clear! Reminded me of Turks and Caicos.  Of course I got stung by a jelly fish the first five seconds in the water.....it was a small blue bubble with a long blue rope-like tail about five feet long. I was a little freaked out at first, but the tingling and red marks on my stomach and legs disappeared after an hour.  What's traveling without some exotic-creature-encounter-excitement anyway...!
 Surf shops and neat vendors in the Kenting night market

 We visited a tribe on the east coast of Taiwan called the Bunun.  They did not want pictures taken of them but allowed videos to be taken of their performance.  I will try to put up a video on my blog later!
 Pineapple fields for daysssssss
 Paradise. I want to move to Taiwan.

 On the windy road to Tarako National Park

 The cliffs!

 Moira and Em!

 Could not stop staring at this little one!

Michael Jackson moves
 We took a break from our bus and took the train for an hour to avoid falling rocks on the windy road back up to Taipei. Our teachers were notified of past tour groups being crushed by falling boulders on that particular road.....
 Reminded me a little bit of my Bago....but I have refrained from touching any dogs here in China and Taiwan so far for fear of rabies and/or fleas.  It is quite hard for me to ignore the dogs :(
 Jiufen, where I climbed three hundred steps to wander into this coffee shop! "Ocarina Coffee"

 The view from our table. Not too shabby
Hard hats were distributed at Tarako. I wonder if they would actually provide much protection if a large rock was coming for you at high speed.....

       I am now back in Shanghai and had such a fun weeklong trip in Taiwan -- I did not want to leave the warmth and the kind Taiwanese people.  I pick up classes again tomorrow and apparently have a powerpoint presentation to give.....should probably start that now.  In two more weeks I am traveling with six other CIEE friends to Thailand for a week for Spring break, starting May 3rd! I am very excited and I hope to find another elephant to make friends with!  We are all looking forward to the authentic Thai food and the daily average of 85 degrees F.  
     I am not sure if any of you have heard about the Avian Flu here in China, but it is getting increasingly worrisome to the Chinese Government.  Shanghai is considered "the center" of the H7N9 flu and has lost a handful of people to this Avian Flu.  As of April 13th, China has now reported a total of 43 cases of human infection with the new avian influenza A (H7N9) virus; 11 of which have resulted in death.

 Center for Disease Control website says:
"On April 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that influenza A (H7N9), a type of flu usually seen in birds, has been identified in a number of people in China. Cases have been confirmed in the following provinces and municipalities: Anhui, Beijing, Henan, Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Zhejiang.
This is the first time this virus has been seen in people. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Infection with the new virus has resulted in severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, death. Chinese health authorities are conducting investigations to learn the source of the infections with this virus and to find other cases"

But I am safe Mom, Dad, Dahma! I am avoiding eating chicken and eggs and I trust what my host Mama cooks because the family also eats it.  She is very aware of H7N9. 

If you want to read further:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/avian-flu-h7n9-china.htm

Hope you enjoy the pictures!  Zai Jian for now