Water For Elephants


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August 4th 2008
Published: August 4th 2008
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Thai BoxingThai BoxingThai Boxing

He weighed 102 lbs!
I have to admit, over the last few days I've sat down to write and have come up with nothing. I wrote over and over again, but something was missing. I was ready to tell you all about how we went ziplining in the jungle high above in the canopy. I was excited to tell you that I rode on the back of an elephant and fed it with my own mouth. Or even how thrilling it was to go ATVing in the mountains of Chiang Mai. Even trying on the neck rings of a Hill Tribe woman seemed to be lacking the joy I thought would accompany it. All of it was fantastic, but when it comes down to it, nothing compares to the events of today.

We've been in a bit of a funk. We're tired, feel sick and lethargic. The constant planning of our next move and the hours of travel have caught up with us. We blame it on the train. We needed something, but what? How can you beat being attached to the top of a tree swaying in the breeze in the middle of the jungle, too high to even see the ground?
Flight of the GibbonsFlight of the GibbonsFlight of the Gibbons

The kid in the blue is starting at Tufts dental school in September. Small world!

I saw a brochure about Batik painting, and although I thought it would be worth taking, I wasn't sure how everyone else would feel. Luck must have been on my side, because as I was recovering from a rather difficult day, feeling dehydrated, the girls took it upon themselves to sign up and I woke this morning anxious to watch, learn and color.

Batik painting goes way back to 500AD and forms of it have even been found in the Egyptian tombs. Batik painting uses melted wax to outline a painting. The rest is painted with water colors, but the wax prevents the color from bleeding. You then have to soak the painting in a sugar solution, dry it, then boil it to peel off the wax. It was literally an all day process, but we all truly enjoyed getting in touch with our creative abilities. Painting was an escape from the daily tourist life and with Ann as our teacher we were able to REALLY see true Thai culture, not the culture put on display. We were in our first Thai house, with a homecooked Thai meal, talking about the Buddhist religion (which I am seriously interested in).

I'm not certain my words did the day justice. Maybe the pictures will help.

Just to clarify some concerns, the train we were on for 15 hours was very slow moving. We only traveled about 400 miles, the same distance it takes me to drive to Philly in about 6 hours. So, when I say the man jumped off, he remained on both feet and survived...no act of suicide. Also, Macaela and Courtney hanging out the window. The entire train was windows and open air. I even went in back to recreate one of the last scenes from "The Color Purple" where Whoopi throws gold coins off the back of the train, myself prepared to throw all the Skittle colors I refuse to eat, but when I realized I would easily fall off, I decided to just stash them away. This was no Amtrak train, in fact, what ever train you are imagining, it wasn't near as nice or as fast. Sorry for any confusion.

We are off tomorrow to Pie, a short three hour ride northwest of here. The trip is constantly evolving as we go and where we will end up is anyones guess. That's
Sky bridgeSky bridgeSky bridge

The course consisted of: 2 skybridges, 3 drops, 13 ziplines
the fun of it, but the burden as well.

Hope you are all doing well back home. I'm so anxious to see everyone. Just two weeks left! I'm already thinking up ways to decorate my classroom with a bit of Thai culture and see which lessons I bring home, and which get lost on the journey.

Thanks for tuning in!

Love,
Thai Kho and Crew

PS Just to keep everyone in the loop, I am now looking into taking the following classes and you are all welcome to join me: photography class, painting class, auto mechanic school, and possibly piano or guitar. I was going to go for a language course to fufill my dream of being bilingual, but after visiting 11 countries and everyone speaking english, I may take it off my list. Let me know if you are interested or if you have any other ideas.


Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


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BrakeBrake
Brake

The brake was literally this bamboo wishbone thing I could have snapped with my fingers.
PlatformPlatform
Platform

When you reached the platform, someone reached out to grab you, then immediately attached you to the bark of the tree. The tree is swaying at all times, so we were never not attached.
RaftRaft
Raft

I absolutely was NOT getting on this
Long Neck Little GirlLong Neck Little Girl
Long Neck Little Girl

The gold rings are put on the necks, knees and ankles of all women. It is believed to protect them from tiger bites. The men do not wear any of this because it is thought they are strong enough to fend off any attack. Funny since all the men here are my height and 10-30 pounds thinner.
The TrainThe Train
The Train

15 hours and I had to sleep on top of where their heads were. Still feel like I am moving.
Listening to DirectionsListening to Directions
Listening to Directions

If only all students were this interested in everything you had to teach them. I guess that's the trick.


4th August 2008

I miss you!
Thai K-Ho, I hope that you are doing well. That blog made me a little worried. I hope that you are feeling better. The picture is beautiful and sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy the rest of your vacation! I miss you. Mary and I were on the phone fore over a hour last week, we both cant wait for your return!
4th August 2008

Love the pics! The baby elephant is adorable! I have to ask...are you all really that talented, or were you outlining an already drawn picture?
4th August 2008

Art
Hi, well your day of art class sounds quiet interesting and probably also just the break you needed from your travels. I bet it refreshed you and now you are allready for the nxt round of travels. why did you go on the raft????? you've tried everything else. Feeding the elephants is an art too you know. Continuing to follow along with you and thinking of you. Continue to have fun and stay safe. GREat memories and learning experiences are happening every day now...keep up the good work. Teachers are the best learners and educators as you are. If your rumor is true at least youg et tostay at the Brooks. If you are in grade 3 you will be on my floor and I willget to see you more then. Enjoy and thanks for sharing your photos and memoirs. time to write a book before allthose other classed , don't you think. Love Lucille
4th August 2008

eat, pray, love
Kristin, I am amazed by all the things you have seen and done. I am continuallly impressed by your courage (there is no way in hell I would have gotten on that zip line in the middle of the Thai jungle- did they have a certification?) I am happy that you have found a creative outlet (should third graders next year plan on making their own Batik paintings?). Funny you should mention photography because I have been looking up classes online after a beautiful sunset made me feel I had a "calling"(I'm in if you want to take a class). Anyway, I am so glad to hear all is well. Rest up, enjoy the rest of your trip and I can't wait to see you when you get home.
4th August 2008

I CAN IMAGINE EVERYONE IS EXHAUSTED. VERY TIRING GOING FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITH A BACK-PACK ON YOUR BACK..ARE YOU JUST EATING CANDY?? ARE YOU ENJOYING ANY OF THE FOOD THERE??
4th August 2008

...and the journey continues
You truly inspire me Kristin! I can't wait for you to come home but it seems you are getting everything out of this adventure that you should be. And just as an aside what do you think the chances would be of having me try on one of those necklaces and it not coming off??? I say its a very HIGH possibility! Miss you lots. safe travels to your next destination to you and the girls!
4th August 2008

I'm always up for a class!!
I want to take a photography class and I want to learn how to play guitar. I also want to learn sign language!! I am glad you are having fun! Take it easy!! :) Camille
5th August 2008

Classes....
Hey hunny......Miss you so much and am counting down the days until you get home. These pictures are incredible and your interpretation of everything through the blog has really had everyone glued to their computers this summer! It's the best summer read - we should have put it on Oprah's Favorite Things show!!! Jaclyn ran to the computer to see Auuuuuuntie and an "ehaphant" or so that's how it sounds. I finally got Rob to sit and read a page and let me tell you, he sat in amazement of the pictures and read quietly while I changed J's diaper and got her into her jammies. Then he hit the sentence and read out loud "talking about the Buddhist religion (which I am seriously interested in)." He got up shaking his head! Haaa! Good thing he hasn't read any other blogs - he's not into summer reads. haaa! ssshhhhhh!!! Ok, keep us posted and am so happy we are on 8/5 and you'll be home in 2 weeks. AMEN! God bless, be safe and you girls watch out for each other. All our Branley love!! :)))
5th August 2008

Pictures
I am so glad that you posted the photos. I imagined the train so much more stylized elegant. Didnt think it would be a baby blue with metal railings. I would have gone nuts on that train. Your all looking great, but I bet your very tired. You hide it well. Be good. Eric
6th August 2008

Nicole
Yup, I also think Gram should not be told about me possibly becoming a Buddhist. Not yet anyways. Let her focus on the Sox, then we can break it to her.
6th August 2008

Nicole
Yup, I also think Gram should not be told about me possibly becoming a Buddhist. Not yet anyways. Let her focus on the Sox, then we can break it to her.
6th August 2008

Karen
Please, don't go buying some big fancy camera just yet. Lets look into the classes and go from there. Miss you!
6th August 2008

Sarah Bloom
No worries, you haven't lost me yet. Miss you!
6th August 2008

Billie
Thanks for the message. You are too sweet. Have not really given any thought about arrangements for KC's wedding. I'll call you as soon as I get home. I'm assuming I'm sleeping over at least one night. I'll check in with Dave and Andrea.
6th August 2008

Aili
Thanks for the message! There is always next summer, not for 6 wks though. I'd go some place for 3 or 4. Would love to go to Peru!
6th August 2008

Emily R
Hey Em! Sorry about your news. Hope you mom is back now. I went to the dentist before I left. No cavities! I saw the picture of you and your sisters, too cute. I tried the cotton candy fluroide-- YUCK! I knew I should have stuck with my regular marshmellow. Bad news though, they are kicking me out of the office. They told me I'm old enough to find an adult dentist. I may be able to sneak in one more visit. Let me know when you are going. Tell Mary , or any one else from class, I said hello.
7th August 2008

Heights
Holy crap Kris. The pictures of the sky bridge made my stomach turn. I can't imagine going over something like that so high up. I'll stick to the wood bridge in the pit at BK. The baby elephant picture is too cute! I want one. If only he'd stay little. I've always wanted to take photography class. I had to drop it at URI because I was too afraid of the dark room. I might be ready to try again though.
7th August 2008

CANDICE
You know, I thought the same, but that elephant was way scarier than the bridge. Hard to believe. I saw Scooby Doo in thai yeterday and thought of you. Not sure why, just thought you would have enjoyed trying to make out what was going on.

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