Sunday, April 26, 2009

Contrary to popular belief, we are still here.

Hello everyone! Ben survived the trip to Thailand and Emily managed to find her way back to Japan, so we are back home on Okinawa. The work side of the Thailand trip was very good, and the food was incredible - so long as you like spicy. Sometimes it was just enough, and sometimes it was hot enough to make your fingers burn, so you can imagine what it will do to your mouth. Thailand in general makes Japan seem like a farm in Alabama. Strange, strange place. The people are friendly, overall, and everyone smiles and greets you with a bow and folded hands. You can also buy almost anything it seems with 100 Thai Baht, which is about $3.44. We bought amazingly cool sunglasses for the entire squadron to wear while we were there, so long as you think giant aviator style sunglasses are cool. They did go perfectly with the mustache March facial hair everyone was sporting - think Super Troopers if you've ever seen the movie. We are prohibited from driving while in Thailand, which at first sounded a little ridiculous - then we got to Thailand. Under no circumstances would I ever try to drive there. After being around the world for the last 14 years and seeing some completely ridiculous modes of travel (I swore a taxi cab in South Korea was the most dangerous place on Earth), I have changed my mind as to that bit of wisdom. There are 4 lane roads everywhere you go, which is normal....except there are no less than about 9 lanes of traffic jammed into them. Constantly. 60% of them are mopeds/scooters, and about 3/4 of those have 2 people at a minimum on them. I'd guess about half or so have 3, and many with an entire family. Kid in a basket on the front, or wedges in between the parents or sitting on the little footrest behind the handlebars. It was absolutely insane, and I've never seen anything like it! I saw one traffic cop the entire time, and he knew as well as we did there was no point to his existance - as did everyone driving. You could tell blowing his whistle or stopping someone was the last thing on his mind. And if that wasn't enough, add in elephant taxi's. Yep, elephants walking down the side of the street, with a reflector tied to its tail, that would take you places. (I can't make this stuff up.) My buddy that has the pictures of me feeding the taxi sugarcane is back in the states, so when he gets back I'll have pictures. We did stay at a nice hotel, and got around to everywhere we needed to go by motorcycle-ish taxi's called tuk-tuk's. Its like a 3 wheeled, 2 stroke motorcycle with a covered bench seat behind the dude driving. They are *everywhere*!! They really like to say "I nummer one!" and then drive stupid fast to get you wherever you're going so that you'll give him an extra 20 Baht. In other words, he is very proud of trying to kill you with a motorcycle and then wants an extra 75 cents for his effort. So we paid the man. All in all, it was a good trip but was very glad to make it back home. I think the trip to Alaska will be a bit better, although I'm not sure about that whole driving on the right side of the road thing...

Emily had a wonderful time at home, and got to spend loads of time with Shelby and Olivia and the family down in Mobile, Birmingham and Atlanta. Of course, as with any trip home from far away, the best made plans to see everyone get smashed after about the first day at home. The whole space-A travel for free thing turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than desired - no room the first few attempts then down to Hawaii, California, through Denver and then finally to Birmingham! But it was all worth it, of course, and it was just an all around good trip getting to see everyone again and eat some food from places she missed! She also got to make the trip to Atlanta for Sarah Campbell's birthday party, and saw some friends here and there when it somehow worked out. Emily will be back for round two sometime in June after she leaves Alaska, so keep an eye out!!!

And finally, today we went with our friends here and their daughter to a nice place on the water with a couple of parks and just a generally nice place to get outside, walk barefoot in the grass and see more cool stuff. I would tell you what it was called if I could remember, but you wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway.

See ya next time!

On the runway, ready to go to Thailand!

Over Naha International Airport on the way out

Time to get gas

Our turn (I was lucky enough to ride in a backseat on the way. Ugh. Real fighters only have 1 seat.)

One of the bro's getting gas (Yep, just attach your airplane to the one full of gas at 350 mph...)

Thailand at a blur. Standard.

Have you heard about Buddha? Neither have I. It's in Thai.

The hotel was nice. The view of the rest of the place was not.

A tuk-tuk in action

Two bro's in a tuk-tuk. They're more frightened than they look.

All the rest are from the park we found today!


Anonymous said...

so good to "hear" your voice! talk to you soon!
love you both

bartnbradsmom said...

it's good to hear from you guys! uncle JR and i miss you both!
love you guys
aunt jerri