Monday, January 10, 2005

Touring the National Parks

We're going on a whorl wind tour of all the National Parks, today we went to Pha Taem national Park with is on the boarder of Laos across the Mekong River. The bottom of one of the cliffs there's a bunch of prehistoric paintings dated between 1000 and 3000 BC. My uncle Dek and I went on the 3 mile or so walk along the base of the cliff where the paintings are. I'm wearing the guy out, he's been my almost constant companion on most all of my adventures except for yesterday when it was my cousins Thomb and Bank (they were in school today).

Thomb is 16 and Bank 12. Yesterday we went to the Khao Phra National Park which is home the ruins of Prasat Khao Phra Wihan, a Buddhist temple. I would tell you how old it is but I can't read Thai. It's pretty old though.

That National park is on the boarder to Cambodia and you need to go across the boarder to reach the temple, there's a checkpoint (hopefully this wasn't an off limits area for US Military personal and I'm posting about it!). Along the side of the path, it's fenced off with rope and danger signs for mines all over. Eep! To get to the temple you have to walk up these tiers of steps that keep going and going and going, My mom, Albert, my uncle Sing and aunt Ting, pooped out early so my uncle Dek, another aunt , cousins Thomb and Bank started up. After we got through the first couple sets of ruins Dek and my other aunt said go ahead because they were tired. So it was just my cousins and I all the way to the top. Took many pictures of the ruins which were really cool, you might recognize the place from the Tomb Raider movie. I'll soon be posting pictures soon. Also bought a bunch of souvenirs (yes Won, you're now the owner of a cool Buddha), supporting the local economy at least.

My aunt Dang has given me her spare cell phone (secret idea from my mom to keep tabs on me because I'm always wondering off to take pictures of something) The cell phones out here are pay as you go types, so far it costs about 10 cents a minute to call back to the states, not too bad. What I've been hearing from everybody back home is that it's cold and rainy or snowy everywhere. Hopefully it will stop by the time I get there, fingers crossed! I feel bad talking about having such a good time while just about everybody I know is cold, wet and shivering. Some crazy weather going on right now, it's drier here then I've ever seen it, the Mekong river looks like regular river instead of the moving lake I normally see and there's a lot brown. The humidity is lower then I ever remember it, it's like Arizona humidy, usually I'm drenched in sweat. I'm not complaining though! It's sunny warm and dry, better then I could have expected it to be. Someone asked a question about how the Thai people are dealing with the tsunami, if you look on a map, it's in the southern most region of Thailand. A vast majorities of Thai's have never even been that far south, it's a long drive to get down there, mostly tourists. I wish I could go and help, one of my cousins is down there right now helping out in the relief effort. Other then red cross donation boxes at the stores and what appears in Thai newspapers, I haven't really seen that much of an affect it has on day to day life.

My mom the Real Estate baroness is looking into buying a house on the beach (not the one hit by the tsunami). Maybe next time out here I won't have to stay at a hotel when I head down that direction. See ya all in a few then it's off to Iraq.

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