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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stone Mountain, GA

Tonight was a great evening out at Stone Mountain, GA, as Scarlet and Wendell celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, with all of their guests in "all white chic." The Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery officiated as they repeated their vows, and then we celebrated on the riverboat. Celebrity entertainers included Dawnn Lewis from "A Different World" and Montell Jordan ("This is How We Do It").

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New York, NY

Attended a great rooftop party tonight in at 230 5th Ave. Mojitos were flowing, and the party was hopping in the shadow of the Empire State Building.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bangkok, Thailand

Leaving Chiang Mai, we flew back to Bangkok on Monday, August 3. I stayed at the Intercontinental, which is downtown in a large shopping district. On the surface, this was quite different than Chiang Mai. Looking out of the window, one might think it was New York. Consider the traffic:

Or Bangkok's version of Times Square:

That night, we had a great dinner at Bhan Khun Mae (translates to something like "Mom's House"). It was yummy:

The next day I went to visit the Grand Palace, the former home of the royal family. But the huge compound is probably better known for Wat Phraw Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (actually made of pure jade.) The palace is really a must-see in Bangkok. Pictures really cannot capture its grandeur and beauty. Here are a bunch, just to try to give you an idea:

And while we weren't allowed to take pictures of the Emerald Buddha inside the Temple, I did use my zoom to capture it from outside. Notice the clothes on the Buddha -- they are changed for each of the three seasons, and then only by the King.

After the Grand Palace, I left to visit Wat Po, the oldest temple in Bangkok and the home of the famous "Reclining Buddha" which is 147 feet long:

It is really quite beautiful, and it was interesting to see how it changes as you walk through the temple, since it is really difficult to see the full Buddha because of its size and the way it fills up the temple.

After Wat Po, we left to have a Singha beer on the river, completing a lyric from "One Night in Bangkok"-- "This grips me more than would aMuddy old river or reclining Buddha"--

After the beer, we took the river ferry back up the river to the train and back to the hotel.

That night, we had dinner, checked out the night markets, and then I settled down for a few drinks before going back to the Intercontinental to pack for the long voyage home.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I flew out on August 1 from Atlanta to Narita, Japan (about 14 hours), had a few hours in Japan before connecting to Bangkok (6 hour flight). Overall, by the time I checked into the Novotel by the airport I had been travelling for over 24 hours. I showered and set my alarm for four hours later to awaken and travel on Thai Airways to Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai from my room at the Lotus hotel:

The view from the front of the hotel:

After meeting with hotel folks and Habitat for Humanity folks during the day, that evening we went to a Thai cultural center called Khum Khantoke.

We had a great dinner of Northern Thai cuisine while being entertained by the music and dancers:

I even got in on some of the dance action:

The next morning, I had breakfast in the Lotus. My favorite thing was a rice flour and coconut milk mixture that was fried into a half sphere. Very tasty.

For lunch, I had a local specialty called khao soi:

That afternoon, we went to the Maesa Elephant Camp, where I got to ride and feed an elephant. The ride was about 30 minutes long, and it is scarier than it looks. I promise.

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