Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thailand by the Numbers

In January 2012, Michael and I went to Thailand to visit family. We also did typical touristy stuff - the Grand Palace, the most famous temples, a boat cruise down the Chao Phraya River, and the beaches in south Thailand. This time around, we did nothing touristy and got to see a lot of the "real" Bangkok. Here is my best attempt to summarize two incredible weeks.

33 hours spent on planes.

hours spent on layovers.

+14 hours - The time change.

27 weeks pregnant.

Dozens of bananas and rambutan consumed. We also ate gobs of pineapple, guava, mangosteen, and green mango. But, the bananas and rambutan were our family's favorite. We also ate dozens of Thai dishes. Only a couple of them appear in your typical American Thai restaurant. 

6 - The number of homes and hotels we stayed in during our two weeks. I highly recommend not moving around this much with a toddler. It made things a little too crazy, but it's what we had to do for the purposes of our trip.

3 trips to the pharmacy.

  • Trip #1: Thailand has too many mosquitoes. Michael's aunt's home is out in the tropical countryside and is surrounded on three sides by mostly stagnant water. Within our first 48 hours of being in Thailand, Michael was bit about two dozen times around his ankles. When his ankle bone disappeared under the swelling and it hurt to walk, we did a little online research and purchased over-the-counter Allegra for about $10. The swelling was completely gone in a couple of days.
  • Trip #2: Thailand is so hot and so humid. Grace was such a sticky little sweat ball that she developed a heat rash on the back of her neck that turned into a stinky, itchy, painful yeast infection. After emailing and Vibering my nurse practitioner mom, we went to the pharmacy, purchased cream, and the infection was gone in a couple of days.
  • Trip #3: More yeast cream.

4 - Number of malls visited. There aren't many parks, museums, etc. in Bangkok, so everyone goes to the mall instead. These malls are nothing like American malls. They are huge, crowded, posh, often themed, and there are new ones being built all the time. Inside these malls, I saw a waterfall, parrots, and a giant replica of the Golden Gate Bridge.

1 incredible conversation with three women who were formerly prostitutes. Thailand is infamous for prostitution, sex trafficking, and sex tourism. We were able to visit an organization (The Well) that works with women who are trying to leave that life. While visiting, we sat down with three Thai women to hear their life stories all the way from horrific abuse and trauma in childhood, to selling themselves throughout adolescence and young adulthood, to being healed and transformed by the grace of God, to now working with "bar girls" trying to leave the sex industry. It was such a privilege to hear their stories and to marvel at God's great compassion and power.

3 nights spent in slums. We visited another organization (Servant Partners) that seeks transformation in urban slums all over the world, including in Bangkok. The staff and interns actually live in the slums alongside the people. Incredible, right?! We got to spend time in three different communities experiencing that lifestyle. It was tiring and difficult in some ways, but at the same time, our imaginations over here in the comfy west can blow things out of proportion and the word "slum" brings to mind only refuse and crime. Life is life all over the world. In the slums, we saw people doing laundry, caring for babies, selling and buying, singing and playing, chatting with their neighbors, and simply living life.

15 - The number of hours Grace slept the first night we were back home. She was such a trooper with being dragged all over Bangkok for two weeks. But, we definitely wore her out. I've never appreciated the simplicity and routine of our everyday lives more than now.

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