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Bangkok, Thailand Again

November 1st, 2015 No comments

In June we were able to go back to Bangkok, Thailand for two nights. During our previous vacation in 2013 we were not able to go to the Chatuchak weekend market. And we also wanted to play with tiger cubs and bathe with elephants again. This time we stayed at the Shangri-La and had a fabulous time there. Again we booked our favorite tour guide,”Nok” in Bangkok as well. It was a quick trip but nice to get out of Manila for a weekend and enjoy the sites and culture of Thailand.

You can never go wrong with Shangri-La.

You can never go wrong with Shangri-La.

The ambiance, rooms, food and staff are all so great at The Shangri-La. Mason was able to grab a ride with the bell-hop.

The ambiance, rooms, food and staff are all so great at every Shangri-La. Mason was able to grab a ride with the bell-hop.

Day 1

We went back to the Damnernsaduak Floating Market. It is crowded with tourists and locals, but such a cool experience.

We went back to the Damnernsaduak Floating Market. It is crowded with tourists and locals, but such a cool experience.

They use these types of motors to power and steer the boats.

They use these types of motors to power and steer the boats.

We bought some yummy soup from this man right from his boat. You leave your bowl and spoon in your boat when you are finished and some how they make their way back to the vendors.

We bought some yummy soup from this man right from his boat. You leave your bowl and spoon in your boat when you are finished and some how they make their way back to the vendors.

We went back to the Tiger Temple. I was a little nervous to have our "not yet one year old" baby next to a big tiger, but it was fine.

We went back to the Tiger Temple. I was a little nervous to have our “not yet one year old” baby next to a big tiger, but it was fine.

Kalani got disgusted with how sweaty and "stinky" this tiger was while she held the head.

Kalani got disgusted with how sweaty and “stinky” this tiger was while she held the head in her lap.

We were able to go in a small group and feed and play with tiger cubs. Kalani liked to play with this two month old cub. Baby Blake was not allowed in this part and stayed with our tour guide.

We were able to go in a small group and feed and play with tiger cubs. Kalani liked to play with this two month old cub. Baby Blake was not allowed in this part and stayed with our tour guide.

Mason learning from his father how to feed a tiger cub.

Mason learning from his father how to feed a tiger cub.

We ended the day by bathing and playing with elephants.

We ended the day by bathing and playing with elephants.

Mason really had a great time with the elephants. He even did some "cannon balls" off of the elephant's head and basically saw the elephant as a "jungle-gym"

Mason really had a great time with the elephants. He even did some “cannon balls” off of the elephant’s head and basically saw the elephant as a “jungle-gym”.

Kalani didn't want to get wet, but we did take Blake out in the water and he got cooled off by an elephant.

Kalani didn’t want to get wet, but we did take Blake out in the water and he got cooled off by an elephant.

We ended the day by eating dinner next to the river and watched a cultural dance during our dinner.

We ended the day by eating dinner next to the river and watched a cultural dance during our dinner at our hotel.

Day 2

Klong Ladmayom Floating Market is more of a food area where you can buy food inside on solid ground, or outside by boat.

Klong Ladmayom Floating Market is more of a food area where you can buy food inside on solid ground, or outside by boat.

I had these small coconut pancakes the first time that we went to Bangkok and loved them. I was happy to find them again at Klong Ladmayom. They are small bit size snack.

I had these small coconut pancakes the first time that we went to Bangkok and loved them. I was happy to find them again at Klong Ladmayom. They are a small bite size snack.

There is a wide array of food options...Squid anyone?

There is a wide array of food options…Squid anyone?

We got to experience Chatuchak weekend market. Here we bought some "Thailand" pants that really only tourist wear.

We finally got to experience Chatuchak weekend market. Here we bought some “Thailand” pants that really only tourist wear.

Matt bought our "Thailand painting" from these guys on a previous trip. Besides painting canvas art, they also paint shoes.

Matt bought a Thai painting from these guys on a previous trip. Besides painting canvas art, they also paint shoes.

Chatuchak weekend market also has an area where there are dogs and cars for sale. Blake was very excited to see all of the animals.

Chatuchak weekend market also has an area where there are dogs and cats for sale. Blake was very excited to see all of the animals.

By the time we were leaving the Chatuchak, Blake was exhausted.

By the time we were leaving Chatuchak, Blake was exhausted and my make-up was running.

Matt and I had a quick date with Blake riding the free ferry that Shangri-La provides to Asiatique that is just up the river.

Matt and I had a quick date with Blake riding the free ferry that Shangri-La provides to the Asiatique Night Market that is just up the river.

View of Asiatique as seen from the ferry.

View of Asiatique as seen from the boat. There is a ferris wheel and lots of vendors there.

We only spent two full days in Bangkok,but with our wonderful tour guide Nok, we were able to cram a lot of things in. Nok is super easy to work with, has good English, great with kids, mixes up transportation between private cars and public so you get to experience everything. If you go to Bangkok, try to book Nok as your tour guide.

We only spent two full days in Bangkok, but with our wonderful tour guide Nok, we were able to cram a lot of things in. Nok is super easy to work with, has good English, great with kids, mixes up transportation between private cars and public so you get to experience everything. If you go to Bangkok, try to book Nok as your tour guide.

More photos of Thailand here.

 

Our sister Felicia visits Asia

March 5th, 2013 No comments

2 years ago Felicia came to visit us in Texas and we had a wonderful time.  Then she went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in Richmond, Virginia Spanish speaking.  She came home from her mission a couple of months before we moved to the Philippines.  Since we hadn’t seen her for a couple of years we got her to come out and visit us before she starts graduate school and her life gets crazy busy.

I think we kept her pretty busy for the 3 weeks that she was visiting us.  We filled her schedule with facials, massages, waxing, shopping, working out, sight-seeing and a trip to Thailand.  It was fun to have her here with us and we look forward to her next adventure…life after a mission!

Felicia had been flying for 36 hours, got to rest for about 10 hours and then she got back on an airplane to go to Thailand

Felicia had been flying for 36 hours, got to rest for about 10 hours and then she got back on an airplane to go to Thailand

Tiger on her lap in Thailand

Tiger on her lap in Thailand

She rode around on a tuk tuk with her big brother

She rode around on a tuk tuk with her big brother

Celebrating Tia's birthday at PF Chang

Celebrating Tia’s birthday at PF Chang

We took her to Eagle's Point and she was able to snorkel for the first time

We took her to Eagle’s Point and she was able to snorkel for the first time

We took her to the Mall of Asia (3rd largest mall in all of Asia) where there is an ice skating rink inside

We took her to the Mall of Asia (3rd largest mall in all of Asia) where there is an ice skating rink inside

Co-workers of Matt invited us out for dinner and then dancing

Co-workers of Matt invited us out for dinner and then dancing

We took a day trip to Pagsanjan Falls

We took a day trip to Pagsanjan Falls

Felicia and Mason with an iPad attracted many kids at a basketball game

Felicia and Mason with an iPad attracted many kids at a basketball game

 

Thailand Vacation

March 2nd, 2013 No comments

Matt has business trips every few months to other parts of Asia. He was in Thailand in November and then again for the last week of January. He really wanted us to be able to visit Bangkok with him, since it is one of our goals to travel Asia while living in this part of the world. We left a few days before his meetings and were able to explore Thailand with a top notch tour guide. After our wonderful experience of having a guide in Cambodia, we decided to book one for our time in Bangkok, and found “Nok.” She was fabulous and well worth the $50/day. We had a 3 day tour with her and enjoyed our itinerary and would recommend her to everyone. After that, my sister-in-law (Felicia), the kids and I explored Thailand on our own while Matt had a few days of meetings. It was a fabulous vacation!

Day 1

Grand Palace is remarkable...Strict dress code:  must wear long pants, shirts with sleeves, no flip flops

Grand Palace is remarkable…Strict dress code: must wear long pants & shirts with sleeves

Canal Tour...we bought some bread and fed some fish from the boat

Canal Tour…we bought some bread and fed some fish from the boat

While on our canal tour we spotted at least 5 monitor lizards sun bathing

While on our canal tour we spotted at least 5 monitor lizards sun bathing

Buddhas at Wat Pho

Buddha statues at Wat Pho

Reclining Buddha Wat Pho is 15 m high and 43 m long

Reclining Buddha Wat Pho is 15 m high and 43 m long

Temple of Dawn Wat Arun

Temple of Dawn Wat Arun

Small replica of Wat Saket Golden Mount...the point from which all distance is measured in Thailand

Small replica of Wat Saket Golden Mount…the point from which all distance is measured in Thailand

A different God statue for each day of the week...and for some reason Wednesday has 2 statues

A different God statue for each day of the week…and for some reason Wednesday has 2 statues

 

Day 2

Siam Ocean World is a pretty amazing aquarium on the ground floor of a mall

Siam Ocean World is a pretty amazing aquarium on the ground floor of a mall

Learning about silk at the Jim Thompson house...and Mason feel asleep on Tia's back

Learning about silk at the Jim Thompson house…and Mason feel asleep on Tia’s back

Fish Spa in the backpackers area of Khao San

Fish Spa in the backpackers area of Khao San

Tuk Tuk is one of the local transportation in Thailand

Tuk Tuk is one of the local transportation in Thailand

 

Day 3

Train Umbrella Market...A train comes through here twice a day and the vendors move their items back while it passes

Train Umbrella Market…A train comes through here twice a day and the vendors move their items while it passes

Wat Bang Kung Wat Bang Kung...a small chapel that is completely enclosed within the roots of a banyan tree

Wat Bang Kung Wat Bang Kung…a small chapel that is completely enclosed within the roots of a banyan tree

Floating Market where you can buy a wide array of items

Floating Market where you can buy a wide array of items

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua or The Tiger Temple.  Also pigs, deer, antelopes, water buffalo, peacocks and maybe a few other animals were on the grounds

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua or The Tiger Temple. Also pigs, deer, antelopes, water buffalo, peacocks and maybe a few other animals roam the grounds

River Kwai Bridge was constructed by World War 2 Allied prisoners of war

River Kwai Bridge was constructed by World War 2 Allied Prisoners of War

We rode the elephants, brushed them down and played with them...the highlight of the vacation for us

We rode the elephants, brushed them down and played with them…the highlight of the vacation for us

 

Day 4 & 5

Flower Market of Thailand had hundreds of flowers and arrangements for sale

Flower Market of Thailand had hundreds of flowers and arrangements for sale

Exploring China Town...very busy place and full of crafting supplies and other items

Exploring China Town…very busy place and full of crafting supplies and other items

Kalani and Felicia on the paddle boat at Lumpini Park

Kalani and Felicia on the paddle boat at Lumpini Park

Mason at Lumpini park where he made some new friends

Mason at Lumpini park where he made some new friends

After a date Matt and I went to the Magnum Cafe and had a custom Magnum bar...YUM

After a date Matt and I went to the Magnum Cafe and had a custom Magnum bar…YUM

Sky Train of Bangkok...we took almost every form of transportation while exploring Bangkok (walking, van, taxi, tuk tuk, sky train...just missing the underground)

Sky Train of Bangkok…we took almost every form of transportation while exploring Bangkok (walking, van, taxi, tuk tuk, sky train…just missing the underground)

Cobra out at the Red Cross Snake Farm in Bangkok.  There is a show at 11am & 2pm where they bring the snakes out

Cobra out at the Red Cross Snake Farm in Bangkok. There is a show at 11am & 2pm where they bring the snakes out

Kalani asked and answered questions at the snake farm and then willingly went up to have this python around her

Kalani asked and answered questions at the snake farm and then willingly went up to have this python around her

 

More photos from Thailand here.

 

Two Months in Asia

January 13th, 2013 No comments

Having visited the Philippines several times over the past two years, we knew that there would be a lot of fun family activities waiting for us once we moved here.  Looking back over the first two months since our arrival it’s amazing how many trips and memories we’ve made in such a short amount of time.  Below is a summarized list with links to photos documenting our experiences.  (linked photos are also displayed at the end of this post)

During the past two months, we……

 

…. and as if that wasn’t enough, over the next few months we’ll have three separate extended visits from friends and family (Nate and Laura + 3 kids, Ryan and Sarah + baby, and Felicia, who will accompany us to Thailand on a combined business trip + vacation)!

Photos from the links above:

Ayala Triangle Light Show

Ayala Triangle Light Show, meeting cousin Jennifer for the first time

Cebu Shangri-La

Cebu Shangri-La

Paragliding in Cebu

Paragliding in Cebu

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Cebu/Mactan Shangri-Law Cultural Performance and Buffet

Mactan Island Beach (Cebu, Shangri-La)

Mactan Island Beach (Cebu, Shangri-La)

Traditional dancing performed at a Bangkok restaurant

Traditional dancing performed at a Bangkok restaurant

Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Long lost (found) cousins!  Jennifer, Kennybie, and Belinda

Long lost (found) cousins! Jennifer, Kennybie, and Belinda

Village volleyball tournament (Cousin Judith Grado)

Village volleyball tournament (Cousin Judith Grado)

Family picnic at Salagdoong Beach

Family picnic at Salagdoong Beach

Village Disco (Belinda and Robbie pictured)

Village Disco (Belinda and Robbie pictured)

Cantabon Cave

Cantabon Cave

Siquijor Cockfighting

Siquijor Cockfighting

Waiting with our cousins to find out if the ferry is canceled (typhoon)

Waiting with our cousins to find out if the ferry is canceled (typhoon)

We ran into 2nd cousins while driving around the island

We ran into 2nd cousins while driving around the island

We bought bread here almost everyday, and this employee is our cousin's cousin

We bought bread here almost everyday, and this employee is our cousin’s cousin

Junior doing the spider-man pose at Cambugahay Falls (Tia watching) (Siquijor)

Junior doing the spider-man pose at Cambugahay Falls (Tia watching) (Siquijor)

Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary (Siquijor)

Siquijor Butterfly Sanctuary (Siquijor)

Enchanted Tree (Siquijor)

Enchanted Tree (Siquijor)

Capilay Springs (Siquijor)

Capilay Springs (Siquijor)

Christmas dinner at our cousin's house warming party

Christmas dinner at our cousin’s house warming party

Firefly Cove B&B (Siquijor)

Firefly Cove B&B (Siquijor)

Taking the ferry back to Dumaguete

Taking the ferry back to Dumaguete

Hanging out with our cousins at Julie's Bakery

Hanging out with our cousins at Julie’s Bakery

This dentist in Thailand fixed  my tooth (until I could get back to Manila)

This dentist in Thailand fixed my tooth (until I could get back to Manila)

Christmas Party - Receiving the award for our performance

Christmas Party – Receiving the award for our performance

Ascott Halloween Party

Ascott Halloween Party

View from the Ascott (our temporary apartment for the first 9 weeks)

View from the Ascott (our temporary apartment for the first 9 weeks)

3rd place in the basketball tournament

3rd place in the basketball tournament

Mason's first professional haircut

Mason’s first professional haircut

Kalani at her new school (International School of Manila)

Kalani at her new school (International School of Manila)

A concert at the Mall of Asia

A concert at the Mall of Asia

American Cemetery

American Cemetery

Rizal Park

Rizal Park

PBA Playoffs

PBA Playoffs

The King and I

The King and I

Market Market in the fort

Market Market in the fort

Greenbelt Shopping Mall

Greenbelt Shopping Mall

Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano

Dampa Seafood Market

Dampa Seafood Market

Dinner at the Hobbit House

Dinner at the Hobbit House

Midget Boxing

Midget Boxing

Lunch and a movie (The Hobbit) with Lory and her husband Sugar :)

Lunch and a movie (The Hobbit) with Lory and her husband Sugar :)

3D Art

3D Art