After 6 weeks in Bangkok, we were able to pull off a weekend getaway on the coast with the kids. It was a much-needed escape from the concrete and busyness of our Bangkok life. And we were blessed with no traffic, what a pleasant surprise!
We love our Bangkok life, and are totally committed to our mission here, but we were yearning for some nature on a grander scale. Living in a city of over 10 million, you quickly learn to notice and appreciate the small glimpses of nature, like butterflies, birds, geckos, lightning streaks, and rain. Or even urban art, like the Rama VIII cable-stay bridge seen above that we crossed to leave the city. Being so outdoors- and adventure-oriented, we were yearning for more nature than Bangkok can give, so we’re so grateful to have hopped in the car (so glad we purchased one a couple weeks ago!) and driven the 3 and a half hours to an area called Dolphin Bay near Hua Hin.
The photos above are from a few places along the way – Ronald is doing a “wai” (pronounced “why”), the typical manner in which Thai people greet each other. (The wai dates back to the 12th century, and was to prove that the person was not holding a weapon.)
The next set of photos shows what we got to wake up to at Juniper Tree where we stayed. We were super excited to see mountains! And green! Especially since we’d arrived at 7:00 pm the night before, and it was dark, so we got to be pleasantly surprised in the morning. Juniper Tree is a retreat center, and missionaries from all over southeast Asia and China come here to rest up and rejuvenate. We feel blessed to be less than 1/2 a day’s drive from it, and we plan to return.
We planned to have an amazing hike into the nearby national park where there are caves to climb up to, but we were not in tip top health. Jeff was getting over a cold, and Austin felt like he was getting sick as well, and my foot had a weird cramp on the heel and arch (which is still bothering me days later!) We had to accept that on this trip we’d be forced to relax, which must be what God had in mind for us this time. No jaunting up into the wilderness! Just relaxing at the beach across the street – we got our fill of searching for shells, swimming in the ocean and the pool, taking a short drive and finding monkeys, lounging in the hammock, playing a little frisbee, and just enjoying being together with no work, school, or specific agenda.
The view from one of our balconies over to the neighbor’s property next door was a definite reminder of the slower pace of life here than we see daily in Bangkok. This man was walking his cow across the street where he left it with a bucket of water to graze all day there. There were more cattle in the back of the property grazing in the coconut palm orchard. California happy cows – you have some competition!
Lots of coconut palms around the beach, and orchards of them in the farmland near where we stayed. Lots of banana orchards as well, but somehow we didn’t get photos of them. Saturday morning we heard come chain saws, and the neighbors were cutting down a few of the palms – what was amazing was that by the end, the wood was planed and already turned into 2 x 4’s!
With the beach being just across the street, we went over there quite a bit. We very much enjoyed the tides, the light during various times of day, the evening coffee in the hammocks, watching the bats come out, and Saturday night was clear of clouds so we saw tons of stars.
We went for a short drive toward Sam Roi Yod National Park (the park is where the caves are that we were not able to hike to this trip). We went to see some mountains and monkeys! The funny thing was that the first monkeys we saw were literally right at the national park sign. They were so cute, hard to get good photos as they move a lot and we got blurry pictures. We got some videos, but I will have to put them on FB (WordPress won’t allow me to unless I upgrade.)
The restful weekend away was just what we needed to be ready to dive back into full-time teaching (me), running cross country (Austin), coaching basketball (Jeff), homework (kids), masters swimming (Jeff & me)… grateful for the quiet time in nature and with my family.