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Trip to Thailand

John and I just returned from Thailand where we attended a consultation for missionaries. It was pretty good. Lots and lots of meetings. We were busy from morning to night with not much free time. The food was wonderful! The hotel was luxurious, at least for us! This is our hotel. We were on the 12th floor.

We had to go a few days before the consultation and stay a few days after. So we did get to see some things. That was because there are so few flights into and out of Niger. Not exactly a world-class tourist destination.

So, we had to fly from here to Casa Blanca, Morocco. The Casa Blanca airport is very small, but
clean. But after 6 hours, what is there to do? It was a LONG wait. From there we flew to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. We flew Emirate Air and they sure know how to run an airline! The service was top-notch. The airport is....opulent. But it was so busy and there were tons of people. People from every country in the world probably. We were so exhausted. It was the middle of the night, so we finally just laid down on the floor and slept. As I looked up, this is what I saw. They had these fake palm trees in the airport and columns with little lights on them. Anyway, our third flight was from Dubai to Bangkok. A driver picked us up in Bangkok and took us two hours by road south to Pattaya where our hotel was.

This hotel was called "Ambassador City" and it was like a little city. There were four hotel buildings, three pools, and a conference center. It was right on the beach. They had their own little tourist market, grocery store, and restaurants. Our meetings kept us busy all day long and into the night, but we were able to squeeze in some swimming and John went to the exercise room a lot. This was the view from our window. You can see the three pools and the beach.

After the conference we did more swimming, walked the beach, went shopping, and.....the highlight for me....rode an elephant! You had to pay to ride the elephant. Then the elephant man stopped the elephant and got off and took our camera and took photos for us. So we had to pay him a tip. Then when we got back from the ride, this guy told us to sit down at a table. We were like, no we don't want to buy any food. But they brought us a plate of pineapple and watermelon....part of the deal I guess. Then we bought bananas and fed them to the elephant and took pictures. We also got to sit on the elephant's tusks and the John let the elephant pick him up in its trunk. These elephants are so smart. The man just talks to the elephant and they obey. We went to a cheap place, but some of the more touristy places have elephants who "play" soccer and who paint pictures. These are Asian elephants and they are smaller than African elephants and I think more trainable. They were grey, but had pink splothces on their skin. It was a great experience and I'm glad I got to do it.

These trucks are the poor man's taxi. As soon as I saw one, I said, I've got to ride in one of those. They are pickup trucks with benches in the back. About 10 people can ride inside and then there is a special place where two people can stand on the back bumper. There are switches on the roof that you push to ring a bell when you want to get off. It was a lot of fun.
I have so many more pictures, but I guess this will do. It's hard to describe a new place to people. Everything was so different from Africa or from North America. It was clean, people are hospitable, it was so modern. It was a fantastic time.