Thursday, May 27, 2010
Well poop (can teachers say poop?) I made a whole movie of ancient Greece and it is not letting me upload it. It has been trying for hours and nothing is happening. So, you get to see the Parthenon and that is about it. A central thing to Greece is Agora which was in its time the hub of Athens. It was where festivities, religious events, political rallies, and governement meetings took place. The big hill next to Agora is known as the Acropolis which is where temples to the Greek gods were built. These temples also served as meeting places just like down in the central part of the city. Over time, when Greece was invaded by different armies (Roman, Turkish, and Slavic to name a few) the buildings began to crumble and some were lost completely. In modern times (over the past couple hundred years) pieces of these buildings have been found and the ancient city is being restored!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We are here in Athens, Greece. Strikes and demonstrations seem to follow us though. The day after we arrived here was a big strike. People were upset about the government overspending and using money to bail out other companies. The people feel as though they are not getting what they are entitled to now. So they striked and had a big rally in front of the parliment building (which was near where we were staying!) Everything was closed that day and walking around Athens was like walking around a ghost town. There was nobody out and about. I loved it though. Everything is so different from what we have at home and it was fun to see it all with no people around. The next day we were not so lucky-it was SUPER CROWDED! Anyway, Athens is called the city of wisdom after the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom. IT is known as the oldest city in Europe as well as the safest!
Friday, May 21, 2010
We visited the tallest building in the whole world which is located in Dubai. We rode up the 828 feet in one of the world's fastest elevators (we went up 10 meters per second) and when we stepped off we could feel the building swaying...that is how high up we were. It was pretty amazing!
We had so much fun on our desert safari! We got to go dune bashing through the UAE desert which was a blast! I got just a little car sick (I think it made the driver nervous!) but had so much fun. After slipping and sliding through the sand, we got to ride on a camel. The we got to sandboard (which is like snowboarding on the sand). We also got henna tattoos (don't worry, they wash off!) and got to see traditional dancing (of course I had to join in.) Afterwards we ate Arabic food which means lots of hummus! After dinner we got to try on the muslim clothes. Someone helped to put my sheila on this time so no hair was showing! It was awesome!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
We got to go to another elephant camp and you will have to see the videos to believe it. It was awesome to watch the elephants bathe, paint, play soccer, build fences, put on hats, and parade around. Shawn even got to play darts against the elephants (and he won!) What amazing creatures they are!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Much to Shawn's dad's dismay, Shawn, Kassie, Crissy, and I got to hold baby tigers. We got to go into the cage with them and pet them and hold them. They were 3 months old! We learned that tigers in the wild sleep about 17 hours a day. Larger tigers sleep more than the babies but they all sleep a lot. It is just like a regular housecat (but with much bigger claws and teeth!) They are also becoming endangered because poachers (people who kill animals illegally) kill them for their fur and other parts that are used for different souvenirs. It is very sad. At the Tiger Kingdom though they are working to make sure this stops happening. Before we left the tiger cage, Shawn, Kassie, and I spelled LSU with our arms for the LSU Tigers! GEAUX TIGERS!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
After a week of daily massages and relaxing on the beach, Shawn and I decided that we needed to do a 2 day trek through the hill tribes of Northern Thailand. We were under the impression that we would be hiking through the jubgle for 2 days to arrive at the Long Neck village where women wear gold rings around their necks, adding them until their necks are very long. We packed our backpack to the T. Everything that it said on the checklist, we brought: including the raincoat (even though it is dryer than the Sahara here) and long sleeves and pants (even though the tempatures have exceeded 100 degrees all month.) The first thing our guide told us was that we were going to stop at the market to get some candy in case our blood sugar dropped on the hike. This is when I learned that Thai candy comes in the form of seaweed or fish. I was glad that I had some peanut butter and apples already packed away. Next, she asked us how much water we had. "None", we replied, "the brochure said it was provided." She proceeded to give us 5 water bottles to lug up the mountain that were about the temperature of hot tea. As we walked uphill in 113 degree weather she told us that just last month a 29 year old had died from heat stroke on this hike. I responded to this by drinking half of a hot bottle of water. You can never be too careful. To compound the heat, they were doing some controlled burnings to prevent forest fires since it was so dry. The smoke and ashes made it even hotter. 1 hour into our trek we ran into a couple of women who were cutting down bamboo to build their house. The cut us each a stick and sanded it with leaves and told us they were to hit away the snakes. Super! 3 hours into our trek, we got to jump into a waterfall and swim which was quite refreshing. As we were leaving though to head to the village where we would be sleeping, our guide asked us if we had a flashlight. "No", we said, "we were told one would be provided." "Hmmm..." she says, "I wonder how you will go to the bathroom at night?" (I'll tell you how...but turning on our camera to view a picture then somehow managing to make it to the outhouse, squat, hold my pants, toilet paper, and camera all at the same time.) When we get to the village I get bold and try to practice my Thai. "Sawasdee-ka," I smile and say to passing villagers (a Thai greeting). Laughter broke out. When I asked our guide if I had said it right, she said, "Yes, but these people are from Mongolia, not Thailand. They don't speak Thai." Who knew? We were also a bit discouraged that these Mongolian villages in Thailand had roads leading up to them and many of the villagers had cars or motorbikes. I am happy for them for that. It was not as fun knowing that just anyone could drive up there. Also, these was not the long neck village. This was a village of Mongolian refugees. That night, we were served dinner by candlelight since there was no power. Once the sun went down, there was no light. Shawn and I tried to play a card game but couldn't remember any so we played Go Fish. We were in bed (a mat on a wooden floor and a blanket to cover up with- so not needed- and a blanket as a pillow) by 8:30. The next day we awoke with the roosters and began our desent. Down was much better than up. After about 3 hours of trekking and a quick lunch, we arrived at a river where we were to get on a bamboo raft. "Put your camera in a plastic bag," our guide told us, "because Thai people like to splash." What she didn't tell us was that the bamboo raft sits under the water and we would sit directly on it. We were soaked! But it was fun to paddle down the rivers of Thailand looking at the sites as we relaxed (as opposed to hiking!) After the raft we got in a van- soaking wet- and drove home. Shawn and I both agree that it was a fun experience and we are glad we did it, but next time it will not be in the middle of their hot season. We are now so glad to be home (back in Chiang Mai with Shawn's family!)