Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speaking of Traveling...

... here is the latest from my parents' global circumnavigation -

They've been in and out of Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and China.

They loved Thailand, although they were unable to do much in or near the capitol because of the protests, which have turned violent of late. So they spent their time in Chiang Mai, which they loved. My Mom writes:

We fell in love with Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were there during the Songkran Festival (Buddhist New Year), also called the Festival of Water. For 3 days people toss water at each other - tourists are not exempt! Entire families line the streets with buckets, hoses, cups, water guns - or kids pile into the back of trucks and drive around with a barrel or two of water, throwing it at everyone within reach - it was a lot of silly fun! We took a Thai cooking class; rode an elephant, an oxcart and a bamboo river raft - oh, and we crammed in a temple or two! Unfortunately, my camera picked that week to stop working, so we have very few photos of this fabulous stop.

Here they are on that elephant:

Because of their camera's untimely death, they've only got a few small pictures from Cambodia, in Angkor Wat, the seat of an ancient empire. These pics give me the shivers, incredible castles with huge trees growing up inside and around them:

My Mom writes here about life in Cambodia, and her words haunt me:

Dear friends, fall on your knees and thank whatever power granted you life in North America. Yes, we have problems, but the bottom of the barrel is Cambodia. Invasions, wars, civil war, Pol Pot, crooked politicians, nationwide lack of education, horrid climate, Cambodia has it all! And yet people are warm, noisy, friendly and quite beautiful.

Sometimes the randomness of life just hits me, and reading something like this makes that almost palpable.

After Cambodia, my parents moved on to China and a river boat cruise up the Yellow River. This is the part of the trip that Owen and I most wanted to become stowaways for, because my parents got to visit the Terra Cotta Soldiers. According to Wikipedia:

The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang, "shi huang" means the first emperor) in 210-209 BC. (He declared himself the first emperor of China in 221 B.C.) Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as "Qin's Armies."

Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.

Here are pics from my parents' visit:

Aren't they lucky?


Diane said...

Thanks so much for sharing their adventures with us. It looks fascinating. Always wanted to see those locations.

jugglingpaynes said...

Have I told you your parents are awesome? I hope I have half the adventures they have! I've wanted to see the terracotta army ever since I first read about it!

And I have to ask, did their camera die because they kept getting doused with water? :oD

At least it is easier to tell with digital cameras. My camera back before we had kids decided to die halfway through our trip to Germany, Austria, Hungary, and England. I didn't know until the pictures were developed that the shutter wasn't closing completely, so all of our pictures in London, Bath and Stonehenge were blurry. *sigh*

Peace and Laughter,

Karen said...

Diane - you're welcome :-) I am so glad that they're sharing with us... my Mom-in-law has just returned from a river boat trip to Russia, and I am hoping that maybe we can get a virtual field trip update from her, too!

Cristina - I'll ask them about the water-dousing :-)
I know just what you mean, I spent a semester in Italy and it was only when I got home that I found two damaged rolls of film, from Ravenna and northern Italy... I was SO bummed!

Anonymous said...

My camera died because I took up to 3000 pictures in 4 months - the cable that operates the shutter gave up the ghost. Got it repaird in Chiang Mai for only $75 US (beats the price of a new one) and have been merrily snapping away ever since!

Karen's Mom

Jena said...

awesome adventure! would love to do that someday. thanks so much for sharing with us. :)

Rana said...

These are awesome pictures. My husband and I have always wanted to travel to China. What a great adventure.