Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

   CHIANG MAI, Thailand

  SaWaDee”…..Hello in Thai

Located in the North part of Thailand, Chiang Mai is filled with hundreds of temples, big and small and a huge Night Bazaar where you can find everything you need.

Fun Fact:  Chiang Mai was built in 1296 as a walled city surrounded by a moat. The old city was roughly 1.5km square. There are still portions of the city wall dating back 700 years.  The original moat is still in use to this day. Chiang Mai city is basically made up now of the old city (within the walled area) and the new city which has grown up around it. 

We all HAD to touch the old city wall. And go through the Gate to the City, Tha Phay Gate, which we went through each night. Here we are walking toward the Gate.. IMG_2699The temples in Chiang Mai are extremely interesting.  They are still used today and people pray at the all the time.  There is a lot of detail inside and outside. There are a lot of monks here…old and young. The younger monks are there for school for a period of time and the older monks are lifelong monks.  Here is some younger students walking around the old city…IMG_1808 (2)IMG_1813 (2)IMG_2816Sawyer and I would always smile and they would smile back. As we were exploring the Old City there were students on a “field Trip” and they came running up to us asking if they can talk to us in English… They were all so excited to see us (not many kids speaking English here) and their teacher even spoke to us. These are 2 different groups of students we saw at 2 different temples on the same day. They probably had some sort of school project because they gave us an interview and asked some questions.   They took OUR pictures too and had us write our names in their notebooks.  IMG_1775 (1)IMG_1764 (1)

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There are very old and newer temples in Chiang Mai.  So interesting. The gold is very polished, shiny and tiled floors, the old temples are brick and stone with carvings. Of course there are Buddha’s in everyone of them. Not just one Buddha, but sometimes 100.  I noticed that the Temples have so many statues (unlike the Church’s at home where there is “one” main focus point, the alter). IMG_2809IMG_1793 (2)The older temples are great and walking around them you see a lot of carved detail and Buddha’s at every corner and also up on top. Some of the newer temples are shiny and polished with rugs and paintings on the ceilings and walls and you can enter and look around, even when others are praying. IMG_1778 (2)All of these temples are different. Each one is pictured with the Buddha’s image and statue inside but they are all from different Temples. IMG_2791 IMG_2769Mom and Sawyer. chiang mai thailandtemple Wat phra Singh. IMG_2778IMG_2783They really are amazing to look at. IMG_2770This temple had jade and other gem carved Buddha’s in it.  Different from the gold ones.

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Buddhism is NOT only a religion, it is a way of living your life.

•FUN FACT:   Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or ‘way of life’. It is a philosophy because philosophy ‘means love of wisdom’ and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding

I have been learning a lot about Buddhism during my travels to Cambodia and Thailand, and it is interesting.

Fun Fact: there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

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In certain temples there were Monks (lifelong Monks) who were in some sort of trance, they sat all day, just staring and meditating. Barely blinking and very , very still.  At first you really believe they are not real, but if you look long enough you will see them breath or move so slightly.  Their hands are all different because each pose means something different. One monk was even in a glass box.  It was unhuman -like.  I don’t know how they do it??  They did not even notice the people in the room or the flashing pictures. IMG_2746These monks were also so still and seated together.  There were 4 more in back of them. Some had their eyes closed but still they were completely still.  IMG_1770IMG_2836This Monk is in a glass box, he looks like a statue.  He was completely still and I didn’t see him blink not once! I couldn’t even stay still while watching him.  It was crazy it’s hard to describe how still he actually was. What do monks think about when they meditate?

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We took the next photo’s outside while going through the Night Market, It was a different atmosphere at night, hearing the bells and prayers over the loud speakers.  Mom caught these boys playing video games at the entrance to one Temple…..Sawyer said they were probably playing Minecraft…IMG_1696IMG_1692IMG_2732We are putting Gold Leaf on to a newly carved statue.  Soon it will be covered in gold and placed in a temple somewhere in the city. The Night Bazaar was fun, we got foot massages every day.  I tried a Thai massage too, it was nice they do a lot of stretching and massaging.  We ate here every night and loved it.

IMG_2702IMG_2718 IMG_2715IMG_1781 (1)The bells are outside many of the temples and you can ring them if you want.  IMG_1789 (1)

We stayed in Chiang Mai for a week BUT we did not stay in the old city. We stayed 20 minutes away ($4 Tuk Tuk ride into town , free one way) because it was on a river and quiet and we rented an apartment with bicycles to use. It was cool. IMG_2853IMG_2691IMG_2697

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VISIT TO THAI SCHOOL:  We got to spend the day at a local Thai school in Chiang Mai.  The director of the school, spoke to my parents and he took us into each classroom to say hello to the different grades of kids.  They all asked us questions and some spoke to us in English. Their teachers were taking pictures of us.  Just like in the Cambodian school I attended, everyone was looking at us and interested in us.  We were the only American kids to ever go here.  It was cool.

IMG_1720The school was much newer than the one I went to in Cambodia.  They even had a computer lab and a teacher office.  It was still one room for each class, open air classrooms, and a field to play gym two days a week. Their desks were newer and they kept their supplies in them. Just like Cambodia, they still rode their bikes to school.  In this school in Chiang Mai there were mixed grades , different ages of kids in the same grade.  I guess it was because some kids start school later or don’t go every year.  There was a 16 year old in the 6th grade class I was in.  They all wore uniforms that were sweat suits. IMG_1730 (2)IMG_1729 (1)Here we are meeting the kids in grade 4.  IMG_1737the older kids asked us more questions.  On the board they had posters of the Months of the year in English and Thai.  IMG_1758 (2)Sawyer and I  got to play outside with the class. They played Dodge Ball. It was a good experience. Now I have been to school in 3 different countries….and hopefully more on this trip.

If you have any questions or comments you can email me at rileymeckley@yahoo.com        I will be happy to here from you and will write back when I can.

 

THAILAND -BANGKOK

 

BANGKOK THAILAND

Welcome to the Kingdom of Thailand

Thailand is a Kingdom in South East Asia.

Fun Fact: King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been in power since 1946. He guided his people through the tumult that was the second half of the 20th century until today. His death will shake Thailand like nothing has in its modern history, and the Thai military wants to be firmly in charge when that happens. The people love him. 

Imagine that…..A country “loving” its leader.  See original image

So much that they want to show him everywhere, especially with local people when he visits a town or city.

He is on cars, on billboards, in all the stores, all over the airport and  in Hotels etc.  The people like him and they wear shirts saying “long live the king”   in  Thailand.

imageHere we are in front of the many pictures of the King.  There were  lots of cool stuff to see in Bangkok.  It sort of reminded me a little bit of New York city because it is so crowded and there is tons of cars and motorbikes in the streets.  My famliy coughed whenever we were on the streets because the air had tons of car smoke in it.

A lot of nights in Bangkok we went to the night markets.  They sell all sorts of stuff there and everything is really cheep.  They had a lot of “knock off” items.  A knock off item is where they make a jacket and put a company slogan on it like “GAP”.  People might belive its made from the real company and buy it. People sold everything imaginalble:  food, bags, wallets, clothes ect… these markets are different from all the shops in Bali, Indonesia because here everything had a set price and little haggeling.  In Bali, you had to bargain for every single thing and it is such a pain.  Plus in Bangkok no one is screaming at you to by stuff. It’s actually enjoyable. We walked each night at 5:00 and always ate street food here too.  It’s everywhere and its awesome and great prices.  Fruit, juices, chicken, hot dogs, fish, Thai food, waffles, and even bugs. Sawyer had to have his banana and Nutella crepe every day. image our favorite thing was the sliced pineapple in a bag for 50 cents ( 20 Thai baht) the exchange rate is very good for the US dollar.  imageimageimagePhad Thai made on the street for 40 Tahi Baht a plate.  That’s about $1.05  My parents ate this every day!IMG_1534

Mom and dad say that this country has progressed a lot.  They were here 14 years ago and they said that the roads were filled with moter bikes and Tuk Tuk’s .  Now there are more cars, hardly any Tuk-Tuk’s and little haggling for street merchandise.    It’s a very modern city in most parts. High rise buildings, traffic, shopping malls.. There is still the “old city” and most older, historical parts of Bangkok are located along the Chao Phraya RiverIMG_1469See original image

Fun Fact: The Chao Phraya river is called the RIVER OF KINGS because for thousand years every King has traveled the river from up North (where the Old Capital used to be) to the Grand Palace in Bangkok to be Coronated. It is Historical for Thailand. 

The We took the local ferry to visit the sights. Only 13 Thai Baht (about 15 cents per ride). It passes Temples and old neighborhoods and the Grand Palace. This was a nice ride with all local people. Of course, many people starred at us and took photo’s of Sawyer and I, especially the older people, and they still want to “touch” Sawyer on the shoulder and say “handsome boy.” This happens all the time.

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THE RECLINING BUDDAH

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The reclining Buddah was by far the best thing I saw in Bangkok.  In case you don’t know, a reclining Buddah is laying down on its side instead of standing up.  The reclining buddah I saw is the biggest in the world.

The reclining buddah is made out of gold leaf.  gold leaf is almost like a sticker that you stick on to things to make it look like its real gold when its not.  The recling buddah is HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sawyer and I got to put gold leaf on to a smaller Buddah in another Temple we visited.

FUN FACT: the reclining buddah in Bangkok is the biggest in the world.  The buddah is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. ( That is 150 feet long and 49 feet high. pretty big right?!)  the reclining buddah in Bangkok is located at the wat pho temple and people still pray to it today. 

I was really amazed at how big the buddah was.  Its ear was bigger then me! speeking of the ear, I noticed that on all the Buddah there ears hang down really low and they have a piecing on it.  the weird part is that I just noticed that now while I was looking al the pictures.  LOL.  IMG_2534

I still don’t know if the reclining Buddah is a boy or girl? I wonder how the ancient people built something so big? Did they climb on top of the Buddah and put the gold leaf on? I also wonder how long it took to build?

FUN FACT: All reclining Buddahs in the  world have the Buddah lying down because it represents the Buddahs last illness before it dies.

FUN FACT: we do not know when the reclining Buddah ws built but resurchers say that it was founded during 1788 and reconstructed by King Rama. 

They said that the buddahs feet are one of the best things.  I did not get to see the feet because it was being reconstructed but I heard it has a bunch of jewels, opals and gems and some drawings of other buddahs. Here is a photo from the internet of the feet.

 Aside from the awesome reclining Buddah, there were other interesting things in the temple of Wat Pho.  The room that the reclining Buddah was in had beautiful paintings on the walls.  Every inch of the wall was painted over and the pictures went up all the way to the ceiling! The paitings had pictures of people and they were incredible with detail.IMG_2545

You can tell that the paintings have been re painted over because the paint looks new.

FUN FACT:  there are 1,000 buddahs in the whole Wat Pho temples.

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The rest of the Wat Pho temple had lots of miniature and large Buddah statues.  there were SO many!!! Most were covered in gold leaf and some were painted over in black and some had gems and more detail.  I wonder why there is so many buddahs? here are some pictures…IMG_2623IMG_2605IMG_2617Can you see Sawyer looking at the black Buddah statues?IMG_2637

IMG_2552Here we are putting coins into the wishing pots in the Temple. IMG_2639Look at all the Jewels…IMG_2641

 

I learned  the reason some of the buddahs have one hand up.  here is the story…

One time there were 2 neighboring towns and they had brothers living in them.  They were both Buddists and honorerd the lord Buddah.   One day the river that they used for water was drying out and there was almost none left.  The 2 towns that were once good friends were now enemies and went to war over the water.  Lord Buddah did not like what he was seeing and he knew that if this continued, one of the towns would be destroyed.  So the Lord Buddah walked on to the battle field and everything stopped.  He said “whats more important,  water or relatives?” He raised his hand, palm facing forward, and the 2 towns decided to share the water.  So, when you see a Buddah statue raising his one hand, it is a symble of peace!IMG_2582

We spent 5 days in Bangkok. We also took a small motor boat  one day to an Island in the River to bike around. Bang Krachao was the Island.  It is referred to as Bangkok’s “Green Lung” because of the scenery.   It was so hot this day, mom felt the heat the worst. The people here live a very simple life compared to the residents of the city. Here is something I found by the NY Times( June 13, 2013 paper) describing Bang Krachao.

Falling coconuts, papaya groves, Buddhist temples, nine-foot-long pythons and miles of bike-friendly elevated sidewalks snaking through the jungle:  Welcome to Bang Krachao, a smog-free, government-protected oasis of green that the mighty Chao Phraya River wraps around.IMG_2666

if you would like to email me feel free to do so at   rileymeckley@yahoo.com

Angkor Wat Temples

Before I get into the INCREDIBLE temples in the Angkor Archeological Park .  I learned a lot about this region of the world.  South East Asia.  I find it interesting that in the US schools we learn all about the Holocaust and how it affected world but “nothing” about the Cambodian Genocide that happened in the 1970’s.  My parents were about my age when this was happening here.  All of the people we meet are very familiar with those horrible times and have family members who have died during this time.  ( It was actually worse than what is going on in North Korea right now).  A few months ago I did a report on North Korea and long story short, the dictator does not allow anyone to leave or visit the country. Computers and radios are banned or only have Propaganda in them. Only books and TV channels that the government makes are allowed to be shown.  Everyone has to have a picture of the dictator in their home. If you are curios to learn more I suggest that you resurch it. It I a very interesting topic.)

Anyway, back to Cambodia…

FACT:

The Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979, in which approximately 1.7 million people lost their lives (21% of the country’s population), was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. The Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale

While in the US and everywhere else no one knew what was going on in Cambodia because they shut down all communication with other countries. I wonder what happended to the travlers that were visiting Cambodia at the time???

FACTS:  All political and civil rights were abolished. Children were taken from their parents and placed in separate forced labour camps. Factories, schools and universities were shut down; so were hospitals. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists and professional people in any field (including the army) were murdered, together with their extended families. Religion was banned, all leading Buddhist monks were killed and almost all temples destroyed. Music and radio sets were also banned. It was possible for people to be shot simply for knowing a foreign language, wearing glasses, laughing, or crying.

Cambodia has a fascinating history, it was a pretty tough time in the 70’s. Being here now, according to my parents, would be like in 30 years my children going to Afganistan or Iraq.  Places where we wouldn’t imagine going to now. Especially for families.  The reason that Pol Pot killed so many was because he wanted to take over and have a self sufficient farming country,  meaning that the country prouduces its own food and doesn’t rely on any other countrys for importing goods.  He killed all teachers and professors and banned schools because he didn’t want anyone smart to figure out a way to defeat his plan.

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ANGKOR WAT TEMPLES

This place is so awesome it should be considered as a wonder of the world.  The Cambodians are proud to have these temples in their country because they have the temples on their Flag. These temples are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites. the only other country to have a monument on there flag is Afganistan.

FUN FACT: Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.

We spent 3 full days exploring the ruins, temples, and monuments of Angkor and still didn’t see half of what is there.  Getting around by Tuk-Tuk is the way to go….$12-15 for the entire day, they drive you from temple to temple and stop anywhere you want. Very convenient.  We ate lunch in the Tuk Tuk too. IMG_1917This is the way to go!!!

IMG_1840 I will not write about every temple (or this blog would be 20 pages long).  I will only give what I found most impressive.

IMG_2110the carvings are absolutely extraordinary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and just about everyone that’s been there can agree.  If you click on this picture to make it full screen, you will see a painting of hell, heaven and the life. The picture is trying to tell that if you live a good life and honor the buddah’a beliefs (Buddism is the religion they belived in back then and even now ) then you are destined to go to heaven and always be happy.  But “hell” is entern punishment.  By the way this the only time I’m ever allowed to say ” hell”.  this is a carving.  I bet you wouldn’t even know unless I wrote it.  That just proves how amazing the incredible detail is!!!!!! It must of taken a really long time for the ancient people to carve because they had no modern technology tool and had to chip away at the stone.  Must of been very time consuming.  These carvings are on 90% of the temples. IMG_1319 This is a special language called Sanscrit. It was common during the ancent times but now only a few people in the entire world know how to read it! Some Modern forms of Sanscrit is still written in India today.  I wish I could read it to see what it says. We researched some figures on the internet.   I found it cool how the Sanscrit was carved in the walls.  I did a rubbing on it.  That means that I held a piece of  tissue paper to the wall and rubbed a crayon back and forth to have the Sanscrit carvings on the paper.  It is kind of hard to explaine but I will frame them when I get home and show my Art teacher.IMG_1968

I will keep these pictures of the rubbings forever. Sawyer and I did 6 of them. All different.

There were carvings of all sorts of things.  Mostly buddahs and flower designes.  I found it interesting to see a carving of horses pulling a charriot with elephants in the back round and dancing monkeys! That goes to show that they had all those animals back in the 9th century.  In fact there was a lot of statues of elephants and a temple called the  “elephant temple”.

FUN FACT: it is estimated to of took 6,000 elephants and 300,000 workers just to build the biggest temple. 

IMG_2119 This is the biggest temple and the most famous.  The 3 large spires are the ones shown on the Cambodian flag.  This is the temple known as Angkor Wat. When people refer to all the temples in this region,  they mostly call it all  “Angkor Wat” because well, I don’t know its just the name. There are names for every temple of course and I took notes on what I saw at each one.  The Angkor Wat temple has 2 huge moats around it and walls.  Iis known as the death temple because king Suryavarman the 2nd ( who was in charge of building Angkor Wat) ashes are burryed here.  A lot of funerals took place here.

To be honest I think the Angkor Wat temple itself  is over rated (compared to all the other awesome temples surrounding it)  sure its big but there is a lot of empty hallways.  I personally like the outer temples better.  But that’s my opinion.

IMG_1979This is called Angkor Thom/ or The Bayon Temple because it has over 400 faces carved into it. Can you spot the face???? this was Sawyer’s favorite temple.

IMG_1982 It’s easy to get lost in here. IMG_2180

This type of stuff was all over the temples.  There were a lot of fallen rocks, doorways, windows, collums, carvings and satues and every single temple that I went to had an entrance gate.

IMG_2273IMG_2020  People still decorate and pray at the Buddah statues in some temples. I learned that back in its hay day these gates were guarded  to make sure no intruders came in.  You can see the picture of me taking  notes.  I would bullet all the things I saw and then when we got back to the hotel, I copyed them down in my journal. I did that for every single temple.  I felt like a real archeologist.  I think that would be a cool job.  IMG_2157 This temple was differnent because unlike the ones that are made of all stone,  this one is made of only brick.  This temple had a bunch of different little “houses” as I call them that the people must of lived in. They are shown in the picture above.  Each temple is different and I noticed that some had separate “houses” that people lived in and others had really long hallways that I guess everyone shared.IMG_2522Here is Mom.

Its kind of hard to explaine but I picture each temple as a town.  Like my home town Port Jefferson, and everyone plays and lives in the town.  ( Maybe some of the kids play with other kids from other “towns” near by. LOL) All the temples that are in the same area as one another make up a little community.   And if you consider every single temple in the whole park, that makes up an entire state, like NY, maybe the Angkor Wat temple is the capitol.

Anyway it may be confusing to you but that’s how I look at things. I wonder what it was like to live in one of these temples over 1,000 years ago.

FUN FACT: the whole Angkor Wat park is known as the city of temples.

There is so much to say about Angkor Wat.  I only wrote half the stuff that I wanted to.  Look again in a few days to see more of the temples.  Remember to scroll down and you will see more what I wrote about the temples. Come back to this very post and I will include lots more picture, and fun facts. Tune in soon…for photos of the MOST COOL temple in the entire place.  ******************************************

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There were 2 temples with these really large trees.  Look at the picture closely and you will be able to tell that the tree is actually grown from the TOP of the roof and the roots hang down.  I think its pretty cool.  The trees are about the size of a 4 story building!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it is very thick.  We couldn’t even get the whole tree in the picture.

IMG_2286 I think this is a nice famliy shot. You can really see how big and thick the roots are.

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This is an aerial view of only ONE temple.  You can see how there are walls surrounding the temple and so many rooms.  We visited about 8 temples in 3 days and explored a lot of area with our Tuk-Tuk and driver.

FUN FACT:  Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. Larger than any Mosque, Church, Cathedral, or Synagog.

 

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I noticed that ALL the temples had very steep steps.  Most people including my mom were afraid to fall and didn’t climb up.  Sawyer and I had to climb up like a bear.  We used all our arms and legs.  the stairs were not only steep but they were also very small.  The stairs had only 6 inches of surface.  It wasn’t even enough to put my whole foot down!

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Sawyer and I doing the spider climb in a door way. Another thing I noticed about all these temples is that they always have the praying area at the highest point.

. IMG_1982 This is the temple of faces as I call it.  everywhere you looked there was a face statue .  You cant tell this from the picture, but there was a face in each side if the stone.  The 4 faces were in each direction.  North, south, east and west.  The idea is that the faces watched over the land to see that everyone is doing good things.

IMG_2246IMG_2221IMG_2412It was so cool to walk around here. IMG_1449

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LAND MINE MUSEUM

The land mine museum was very educational and I learned most land mines  were planted by the US  during the Vietnam war to keep the North Vietnam people to not go through Cambodia to get to South Vietnam. It did not stop them but harmed many innocent people, mostly children.  The US left this area in 1973, then …. What people do not know is that during that time the Khmer Rough Army  (Cambodian) Army planted millions more  landmines in the North part of the country as well.  The Khmer Army planted MORE landmines than anyone else.

Now there are millions of landmines left over, and through out the years, many kids who were playing in the fields accidently stepped on a landmine and got there legs blown off,  or they would get there arms blown off if they picked it up.  It is very sad to think that so many innocent people had to suffer, and the numbers were in the thousands!!!!!! We learned that in the 1980s, about 2,000 people were injured due to the landmines every YEAR.

The founder of the museum, AKI RA,  used to be a war soldier so he knows how to work with the landmines and disable them without setting them off.  He has a book and he has won a lot of Humanitarian world wide awards.

FUN FACT: Aki Ra is a former Khmer Rouge conscripted child soldier who works as a deminer and museum curator in Siem Reap, Cambodia. He has devoted his life to removing landmines in Cambodia and to caring for young landmine victims.

He goes around to all the villages that are expected to have landmines in there fields and takes them apart.  It must be working good because last year about 150  people were injured from the landmines.  That is still a large number but not as much as 2,000! no one knows for sure but there is an estimated 3 to 6 million land mines left.  This was a very interesting place. WE learned a  LOT. Mom and Dad read every picture comment.

If you want to learn more about the landmines you can go to this website… There was a chart on the wall listing the money from foreign Governments given to the Landmine Relief Efforts and the US gives the most per year.  Almost a million.

http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org/

 

IMG_1445these are only a part of the landmines that Aki Ra  collected. They are all different shapes and sizes, some as small as a tennis ball.

Come back to my blog in a few days when I will be posting about Bangkok, Thailand…….our next stop!

if you have any questions or comments you can email me at    rileymeeckley@yahoo.com

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CAMBODIA

Welcome to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

this is the first kingdom I have ever been in.

I will keep updating on Cambodia so please scroll down to see the newest updates as I post them every few days. This page will look the same when you log on but scroll down to see when I added more. 

Cambodia is a small South East Asia Country bordering Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The Capitol is Phnom Penh. Before going to the place where Mom will be teaching English we wanted to explore the Capitol.  I got to visit the Royal Palace.

Fun Fact: The Royal Palace, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia

imageimageThe Royal  palace was very impressive with its amazing architucture.  Unlike the palaces you see in the movies this one had a bunch of different buildings.  Each building served a different purpose.  Some are for meeting and shows and others are for living and eating, some are for displaying things, some for burial of ashes .  I did not get to see the building where the Royal Famliy lives because that is private.  The roofs of all the buildings were very pointy.

image  One room I liked had a bunch of statues.  The statues were carved from the ancient people of Cambodia.  I found it cool that they were made from SOLID GOLD, silver and jade.  There must of been about 200 statues in this room.  There were statues of mostly Buddah.  A lot of the statues had diamonds in them, there were over 6000 diamonds and one 25 karet diamond.  Some if the statues were bigger then me and others were the size if my hand.  We were not allowed to take pictures in this room.  By the way the WHOLE floor of this room was made of pure silver tiles.  I wonder how long it took to build this, and where did they get all this gold , silver and jade from?   The Royal Palace was cool, I wonder how the Royal kids like living there? I personally wouldn’t like it. imageBuddist Monks are boys that go to school to learn about religion and enlightenment.  They wear orange robes.  The monks have a lot of rules that they have to follow while they are in the monestary. I researched the rules..  image

RULES OF THE MONKS

Only boys are allowed. Most boys in Cambodia go into the Monestary or school at least once in their lives. Usually for a year. Then they go back into their old life. A monk can be any age!  Monks have to keep a simple life, they are not allowed to use luxury items (beds or chairs or drive) or electronics or TV. They only can receive their food early in the morning until noon from going out in the villages and cities collecting “alms” (which are donations of food, water and medicine from people). Lots of people give food , so do restaurants that donate to the school.   They are not allowed to talk to women unless a man is there also. They can not sleep in the same room as another boy for more than 3 days at a time.

I saw Monks walking in Phenom Phen city and at the Royal Palace also.

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These are photo’s of Street life in Phenom Penh. This is Sawyer riding in  a Tuk-Tuk. Which is how we got around all the time. They are motorbikes with attached cart that fits 4 people in it.  Rides are $1 or $2 around town.  Motorbikes are everywhere!!!imageimageimage

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CPOC Center:  Center for Poor and Orphaned Children

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Located an hour form Phnom Penh in a very rural part of Cambodia is the CPOC center. Founded in 2012 by Mr. Kim… this is a place for poor and orphaned children to live.  I interviewed Mr. Kim and he told me all about the center. image

If the Family is too poor or has no parents  to care for the child they can come here for a while. 12 children ages 8-17 are here now.   They go to the local school also. The Center is also a place where ALL the children from the Village can come to learn ENGLISH for free . Many families take advantage of these free lessons , taught by volunteers!  This is where Mom taught classes at 9am, 1pm, and 5pm.

imageMr, Kim is a very smart man to start this Center. He is working on another center 50 Kilometers from CPOC to help kids in another village too.  I  learned about his life and how he really loves the kids here. It was Mr. Kim who arranged for us to come to the CPOC center, he arranged a ride and everything for us.  We are one of the first “Families” to come here with children. So this was very exciting for us and for the kids living here.

The kids go to school at all different hours of the day. Some as early as 6am some late in the afternoon.  Village kids are sent here by their parents for free English lessons . Some kids don’t go to school when there is work to be done in the rice fields. Especially the boys.  This happened during the first week here, many kids missed school because the fields needed to be tended to.  Kids walk or ride  bikes everywhere. There are rice fields surrounding the village and small family owned shops selling fruit or food items.   The living conditions are basic.  There is little fresh water. The drinking water is imported from the city in huge plastic containers for drinking only and for brushing teeth. (not showering). There are chickens, ducks, pig, turkeys, and Oxen all over this area.  The shower water (if you want to call it that ) is the river water. Most bathing is done in the river and the toilet situation is a “squatty potty” that ALL 12 children share.   Despite all of this…It is a fantastic place… Volunteers come here for anywhere from a day at a time to months at a time.  We met 2 volunteers from Holland who have been here 3 months already and 1 from Italy who is planning a month stay. We arrived the same day with 2 girls from Israel also.

Please go to this website to read and see video’s about the CPOC center.

http://www.cpocfoundation.com/

There is so much to say on the CPOC center but I will only give the highlights….

I really like playing soccer with the kids from the center and the village kids. We play 2 hours a day. We scrimmage . Some of the boys are very good players.  None of the girls play, but they like wearing the jerseys. Girls would stand and watch ME play with all the boys, they weren’t used to that in Cambodia, the idea of girls playing football (soccer) was unusual.  I told them how I play on an all girls team in the USA.

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I would like to say thanks to everyone on Smithtown and Stony Brook  soccer teams who donated these jerseys.  The kids really liked them and there was enough for 2 or 3 jerseys  each. Now they have real uniforms!!!! First time ever. We shipped a box from New York before we left on our trip with Pens, notebooks, school supplies and 30 shirts.

Some photos from the Center.

imageimageA typical house in the Village. imageThey didn’t have TV, but they had a VCR with Cambodian Movies to watch.  imagethe Cambodian people are small. A typical 13 year old boy looks like 9 or 10.  We were very TALL children here.  The boys in this class are 10 (except the little guy who Sawyer is helping, he is 5 yrs old…seriously….!!!IMG_1751image        imageMom helping to prepare the Vegetables while Dad helped clear the garden and do some raking around the center.imageTeaching kids about Continents. imageThe River , which we used to play in and cool off.  Before dinner dad would take kids to the river and throw them  they loved it!!!image

imageHere we all are watching a movie on a laptop computer. It was an American Movie in English with the subtitles in Khamer so the kids understood.

Mom volunteered  to teach at the school in the center.  She taught English to all  kids of different ages.  She taught the little kids numbers, colors, and how to introduce themselves in English.   She taught the older kids about the Continents and Oceans and Geography.   I help out in the morning lessons. I went to school at 12:30 (more on that later)

The river was fun.  I like having a splash fight with all the kids.  From the pictures you might think that it looked disgusting.  and it probably was. I go in the river 2 times a day because it is so hot and I had to cool off.

imageThese girls are 13 and I went to school with them.  I followed the girl standing next me, Mania, in her classes.  The girl, Nary, in the yellow shirt is my friend, she invited me to sleep in the girls room and she speaks good enough English. I gave her a lot of my clothes and we gave out 25 Rainbow Loom Bracelets Sawyer and I made before we left. They were a big hit. Each kid wearing 3 at a time. image imageHere we are showing how to make English letters in the sand.

My family slept at CPOC in one of the volunteer rooms.  Actually Mom and Sawyer slept outside in the hammocks, Mom said she gets about 2 hours of sleep because the animals are so loud all night.   Dad slept on a mat on the floor with a mosquito net over him. Very basic….image IMG_1103imageimage  IMG_1081This is where Dad slept, his back hurt and he said he didn’t sleep well at all.  There is no screen on these windows either. What the CPOC center needs is decent beds for the volunteers and screens on windows to keep out the flying insects.  Money and time and volunteers are needed for this. If there were decent wood around Tom would have built a make shift bed.  But this has to be ordered in advance.

I was invited to sleep in he girls room because they had room.  the girls room was very small.  It was about the size of a dinning room  that 6 kids had to share with bunk beds.  so don’t complain if you think your room is small.  Everyone gets up at 4:30am and did all there chores! They have 2 main meals a day and that is lunch and dinner. They cook for all the volunteers also. The girls cook the rice and vegetables for each meal.  (I even went with them on a bike to pick up the food).  breakfast is left over rice from the day before (they just put in a Tupperware container) and leave on a shelf.   They have no refrigerator and they prepare the meals and cut the vegetables on a board on the floor. The center has electricity and even spotty wifi connections that work most of the time. imageThese are the Volunteers eating together.

The food was good but there were some bugs crawling on it.  The only snacks are if Volunteers give some (but this is not junk food) only , breads, and ice tea purchased in town.  We brought Nutella and Jelly and shared it with the kids on bread purchased locally. This is me signing the ‘Volunteers’ Wall…IMG_1213

Mom and Dad could not get a good nights sleep at all so we had to explore staying in a guest house in town…not at the center anymore. The guest house has decent shower and toilet and bed.

Stay tuned to see my posts on the Cambodian School I attended.  THE FIRST AMERICAN TO GO TO THIS LOCAL SCHOOL in a Cambodian Village.  I’ll post in a few days**************************************************

I’m sure you been wanting to here about my time in the public Cambodian school.  Well, a girl from the CPOC center named Mleah asked if I wanted to come to school with her.  Of course I said yes.  It was a s simple as that.  If I was a visitor from Cambodia going to a NY school, you would have to call, arrange an appointment, show in ID card go through security, ect….. it would be a whole day process just to arrange a visit.  But here, all you had to do was show up.

All the kids from the center and from the village rode bikes here.  The bikes were kind if old fashion and the brakes didn’t work.  you had to jump off the bike if you wanted to stop.  The bikes didn’t have any gears but that was ok because everything here is flat.   IMG_1843imageThis is the road to school, Mom took this picture one afternoon when she came to visit me at the school.image

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Pictures of me riding my bike to school with all the kids.

You may notice that in the picture I am carrying a backpack.  it is moms and I packed it with pens my journal and a Social Studies workbook I brought along on my trip.  I had to bring something to occupy myself for 5 hours while I  listened to lessons being taught in another language.  The language in Cambodia is “Kamai” it is the language of the Khemer people.

imageThis is typical house I passed on bike ride to school

imageThis is me in front of classroom  it was sweltering hot outside

As I rode my bike to school all the local people looked at me.  Now that I think about it, it must of been pretty funny to see a line of school kids and then this white blond haired kid in the mix.  I can only imagine what the local people thought.  The bike rode to school was 30 minutes long.  I liked looking at all the oxes and the rice fields along the way.  The kids in the school yard noticed me right away.  They all starred whispering to each other and looking at me.  A lot of kids tried to touch me. That is very common around here with foreigners.  It happens to us all the time. Many adults want to touch Sawyer and I.  They always smile when doing so and mean no harm so we just smile back.  Most in this Village have NEVER seen a child from the western part of the world.  Some adults pass by the village but NO children.  So they loved us. Some practice English and ask “how old are you?”  “Where are you from?”

The school yard was filled with bikes.  It was the size of a gym and there were fields and a swing set and jungle gym.  Not much.  There were also vendors outside selling food.

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The school itself was not like the school I go to called Minnesauke.  It was a long building with doors on the outside leading into the classroom.  There was probably 10 classrooms each with 25 kids in them.   Mleah took me to her classroom and sat me down at a desk.  The classroom was kind of like a one room school house.  the desks sat 2 people in them and you did not put your school supplies In them.  You brought what you needed for the day in your backpack.  there was a white board, a desk that the teacher sat in and a couple of posters on the walls and lots of Khamai writing.

Sawyers teacher was absent one day and when the teacher is absent there is NO CLASS for the day.  So the boys just played in the river. image

Once I sat down in the classroom all the kids from outside started pouring in the classroom and crowding around my desk.  There must of been 30 kids in the room and 20 starring at me from the windows.  It was kind of weird to have about 50 kids watching your every move.  I mean,  how would you feel if everyone was silently watching you?  They all wanted to know about me.   I just waved to kids, said hello and flashed a few peace signs.  All the kids said hi to me and asked how old I was.  I found out that most of the kids were 11 and 12.  My age.  The youngest one was 9 and the oldest 13 . All the kids wanted to meet me and I felt like a big celebrity.  They told me there names but it was hard to remember all of them because all the Cambodians kids look the same to me with their uniforms on and the dark hair. If they saw my classroom at home we would all look the same to them too.

Class starred when the teacher got there.  Before the teacher came it was like a zoo! Everyone was screaming and yelling and running around the classroom and schoolyard.  They played games and I joined in.  When the teacher came everyone stood up and bowed there head.  I followed along.  The teacher must of been surprised to see a blond haired kid in the middle of her class.  She didn’t speak that much English but she said hello to me and asked what my name was and how old I was and where I was from.   The teacher brought her baby with her to school!  That would never be allowed in NY but I thought it was cool. She carried the baby around during lessons and then sat him down at times.

You will never believe what the class was learning………..  FRACTIONS! I understood the lesson which is pretty weird considering I didn’t understand the language.  They used English numbers so I could solve one of the problems in my head.  They were multiplying fractions and that’s what my class was teaching when I left.  Mr. Pettrucci and class, if you are reading this I say hello.  Can you please email me.

The class also does silent work in their notebooks.  It was cool to see how they write the Cambodian charachters.  During this time I wrote observations in my journal.  Sometimes  this class was very roudy and was always talking out of turn and fooling around.

Reeces time!!!.  No matter what school or country I’m in I always love reeces.  A lot of the girls did this jump roping game.  Some of the boys were playing soccer with an out of air ball.  I wanted to play but it would be kind of hard to join a game when the kids only know a few words of English.  I stayed by  Mleah and did whatever she did.  because like I said, all the girls  looked alike and they were all wearing the same uniform so I did not want to lose her.  I did the jump roping game and went on the swings and climbed the jungle gym.  I noticed that all the teaches left on a motorbike and went home.  some of the kids were eating lunch that they bought from the vendors.

How many of  you know the game rock, paper, scissors? Well that game is played all around the world!!!!!!!!!! Mleah and some of her friends were playing it and saying the words in Cambodian.  I joined in.  I cant belive that game reached all the way around the world! At one point during reeses I was drawing inside the classroom.  I was copying words from the posters onto a piece of paper.  It was hard because the Cambodians use characters,  kind of like the Chinese language but more squiggily. It must  have been entertaining because all the kids crowded around my desk again. These are Cambodian letters and their sound.  Try saying these letters. I copied them all and learned a few sounds.  I can TOTALLY relate now to a foreigner coming into the USA who cant speak, read or write any English.  I had the reverse here in Cambodia.

It was hard to concentrate with everyone starring at me.  I brought out my SS workbook and showed them a map of the world.  I pointed out where Cambodia was and where I was from in the United States.  They loved this.

One  day mom came on a motor bike to visit.  she took these pictures.

image image imageimage Even in the pictures you can see the kids starring at me.  it was like this everywhere I went.  it was kind of funny.

As you can see I had a great time going to the local school.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I can also relate now to a new kid who enters school in the USA and how difficult it must be for them.    I’m so glad I had a chance to go.  It was cool to see a different way of school and living at the CPOC  center.

I enjoyed meeting everyone in this part of Cambodia. Their lives are completely different from mine.  Here is an interesting fact :

Cambodia

In Cambodia the average income is about $950 per year. Eighty-percent of the population lives in the countryside, and fifty-seven percent of the labour force is engaged in agriculture, which is dependent on the monsoon rains and irrigation from the Mekong River. In recent years the timing of the spring and fall monsoons has become more sporadic and unpredictable, making rain fed rice growing more risky due to prolonged drought periods.
Cambodia is a very poor country relative to the USA.  It is what we call
“third world” country.  Prices seem very cheap to us, but it is expensive for them. If you shop and eat locally and NOT in the tourist hotels, you can stay for little money here.
 For example. buying from street venders of local grocery . (money  been converted to US money so you understand)
Loaf of bread:  10 Cents
Bottle of water: 10 Cents
plate of rice and vegetable: 50 cents
Bicycle:  $5-10
new shirt:  $2, pants $2, socks 50 cents
One hour massage:  $5
fruit (pinapple 20 cents) banana bunch 30 cents, local fruit even cheaper
Renting a top notch apartment with laundry, pool, air conditioning, kitchen in the capital of Phenom Phen. $30 per night.
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Here are photos of our apartment when we stayed in Phenom Phen.
If you have any questions about Cambodia or any part of my travels, feel free to email me at     rileymeckley@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali , Indonesia

BEFORE  I get to post on Bali, I have to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year to everyone who is reading this blog.  This is how I spend Christmas Eve day. While driving in the Outback we got a flat tire. Dad had to change it in 101 degrees.  Thank god he knew what to do or we would have been there for hours. Only 4 cars passed us in an hour. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad who just turned 50. (he is so old! LOL).We love you Dad. He said it was the best birthday ever.  We drove back to ALice Springs, got a nice hotel and went to a local Church.  The Priest came up to us, welcomed us and asked us where we were from and we talked to him a bit.. imageThe hotel had a resident Peacock, he loved us.image imageWe spent Christmas Day in the hotel Pool and left for Bali, Indonesia that evening. I was very surprised to see a couple of Christmas gifts left for Sawyer and I. We were not expecting .

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BALI – INDONESIA

FUN FACT: Indonesia is an ALL ISLAND NATION.  The biggest island Nation in the world. Most of Indonesia’s Island people are Muslim.  Indonesia is an Islamic country and home to the worlds largest Muslim population (85%) EXCEPT for the Island of Bali, which is mostly Hindu.

FUN FACT: Indonesia has thousands of Islands (17,000), know one knows how many exactly because some are so small.  Only 6,000 are inhabited and even fewer than that have names.  There is one President who rules all the Islands.

Indonesia is (supposed to be) known for its beaches, but from what I saw, the beach in Bali was gross. Literally garbage all over the place and in the water.imageimageI never saw an ocean so discusting, there was logs, wrappers, and trees floating in the shore. I learned from a local resident that most of it comes from the island of JAVA because that is mostly poor and they just pollute the sea and the current takes it away from Java, over to Bali at this time of year. Mom and Dad didn’t let us swim in the water most days because they said it was “dangerous” my mom said ” I would be a bad parent if I let you go in , you could get impaled with a tree branch or knocked out!” I was looking forward to going surfing but could not.  ONe good day we got to go in the ocean, (no trees floating around that day, only garbage) it was rough waves for playing.

imageGoing at Sunset was nicer, we got to eat by the beach and enjoy watching the men play soccer on the beach in low tide.

By the way, The beach, KUTA BEACH,  has a ton of people trying to get you to buy things, they literally walk right up to you and shove in your face what they want you to buy.  (bags, bracelits, sun glasses, scarfs, hair braiding, ice cream, fruit, beer, toys, wood carvings, kites, massages, basically everything. ) its annoying to say NO Thanks all the time. Mom and Dad know how to deal with this, they have been to South East Asia before.  They would sit right next to you and stay until finally you ignore them and they move on. imageimageTypical street in Kuta, all the streets are small.  You have to walk single file. The streets are so crowded around Kuta square. There were a lot of motorbikes weaving around cars and people. The streets are all narrow and you have to walk on the side avoiding the motorbikes coming every direction.  PLUS, each street is lined with stalls and the owners sit there yelling for you to buy their stuff.  Nothing is listed as a price, you have to bargain for everything, even food.  Its annoying and takes a long time to settle on price.  My mom is the master she sets her “final price” and askes the store owner if they agree.  If not, she walks away, they always say YES and come to get her.  She got the stuff we baught for less than half of the original price.  Yes, things here are cheap compared to the US dollar but its a pain to bargain for everything.

imageHere in Bali, you can not escape Religion, it is everywhere.  The Hindu Religion is practiced here. every single shop, home , business, restaurant , hotel, etc has a shrine , some small some big, they leave offerings everyday in front of their business or home.  It is very pretty, the decorations on the shrines and temples are nice. Sawyer stepped on a few offerings without realizing. The offering usually has flowers, food, money, incense and fruit. Some shrines are very nice, even McDonalds had one. Offerings are made throughout the day.image

We were not that impressed with Kuta, Mom and Dad say it reminds them of Vietnam and getting crazy.  It is not a relaxing place to be at all!  IT’s actually stressful, the walking, the beach, the bargaining, BUT we did meet some great locals who showed and helped us learn things. We rented an apartment for the week and the ladies there were great helps. Even asking a friend of theirs to take Mom by motorbike to the post office to mail home a box.IMG_1637I learned that everywhere in Bali is crowded, there are some open spaces up north on the island but all the roads to get there are similar, lined with shops and just wide enough to fit a car or two. We went on a 10 hour day drive($40 for car, driver, and gas)  one day to see and explore other parts of the island, hired a driver because NO ONE should be driving here if you don’t know your way around. Nothing is labeled , few signs, and more traffic than the LIE at rush hour (according to Dad). No lights, stop signs, lots of stray animals,  its every man for himself We couldn’t believe the Miles and Miles and Miles of wood carving store fronts.  Carvings of shrines, and furniture mostly.  The day was actually a great day.  Here are the highlighs….and photos we took on our adventure.

RICE TERRACES: Bali is known for its Rice Terrraces.

FUN FACT: The Rice Terraces in Bali are Man Made and are 2000 years old, originally carved into the mountains with hand tools.IMG_1599

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FUN FACT:

Importance of Rice as a Crop in Bali

Rice is considered to be the most important crop for the Balinese and traditionally it has been viewed as a gift from the gods that needs to be honored as such. It is a key ingredient of the local cuisine. The value of this crop to the local population is demonstrated by the fact that the villages surrounding the rice fields will have shrines devoted to it. The cycle of rice planting, irrigation, maintaining, and harvesting sets the tone for much of the traditional island life. The Balinese have created their own system for rice cultivation, and it is one of the most effective ways of managing this crop in the world.IMG_1624I think it is smart that the people carved terraces into a mountain so the water would be able to run down.  it must of taken a long time to make.  when I was on the rice terrace trail, there was very narrow paths.  mom ended up stepping into the mud twice! Her sock and shoe was drenched. This is what the rice  plant looks like when fully grown,,  If you want to see how rice is made, click here , it is a link to a very educational video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT6gjb48_N0

I thought the rice terraces are cool. If you watch the video you can see how much work is involved, whenever I eat rice I will think about my time at the rice terraces.

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HINDU TEMPLES

My famliy and I saw a lot of  Hindu temples.    In the temple the adults had to where this skirt thing thatimage coverd their knees.  Sawyer and I got to wear this scarf that was tied around out waste.  I thought dad looked hailarous in his skirt.image

IMG_1640   the temple had a lot of stautes.  I have no idea what they mean.  The temple had tables that you are supposed to put an offering down and pray.  You can tell from the picture below that the temple has a lot of golden color.  And some red.

 

IMG_1635  what I found funny ws that a lot of the tourist here were from China and others were Hindu or Muslim   and they got all exsited when they saw Sawyer and I so a lot of people took our picture and posed with us.  They took pictures with us because they do not see much blond hair kids in there country so we kind of stood out.  If I ever go to China I would have to wear a hat or else it would get pretty crazy!

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MONKEY FOREST TEMPLE/  THis is a temple located in a forest that has been taken over by these monkeys. 

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The monkey temple was so awesome.  you get to walk through a path and see wild monkeys.  I don’t just mean a couple of monkeys.  I saw a  whole colony of thousands!!!!! Monkeys are my 3rd favorite animal and they are Sawyers all time favorite.  So we were really looking forward to this. IMG_1692I saw SO many monkeys I seriously cant count them all! I saw monkeys grooming each other, playing, stealing bananas from people, climbing on people, climbing up trees, chasing each other, eating, almost everything a monkey does!  I do not know what kind of monkeys they are but they were small.  about 2 feet.

Out of all the monkeys I think the baby ones are the cutest.  I saw some climbing on there mom.  Baby monkeys are like humans.  very curious and  play full.  Some of the monkey famlies would get together and let the kids have a play date.  It was really cute. IMG_1663in this picture the mom is grooming the monkey and the baby is playing with a red ball he found. IMG_1691 remember how I said the monkeys act somewhat like humans?  Well, this one is using a rock as a tool to rub against the stone and create white marks.  you can click on all the pictures to see it better.

In case you are wondering how close we got to the monkey the answer is about 2 inches from them.  Some actually climed on us!!!! and let me say again that this is NOT a zoo. These monkeys are wild. IMG_1679this is my favorite picture out if all of them.  I was just standing around and before I knew it a baby monkey was tugging on my clothes.  and then he put his hand in my hand.  let me just say, that the monkeys hands are very soft.  I think the monkey was acully studying me like I was examing him.imageIMG_1683

Another thing a baby monkey did to me was pull on my band aid.  It must of saw that the band aid didn’t mach my skin color so it started ripping it off.  I do not have a picture of this because it happened very fast and my parents weren’t ready with the camera. IMG_1658I’m sure everyone knows that monkeys LOVE bananas.  Well they were stealing bananas from people.

If someone had a banana in their hand the monkey would climb on the person and snatch the banana away. this happened to me and sawyer and you can look on sawyers page to see the picture.(when he updates his blog post) image I was surprised to see a bunch of monkeys playing with plastic water bottles.  They really liked them.  In fact a monkey jumped on dad and stole it from his backpack. He did it so easily. Climbed on the back pack, reached for the bottle , then took it an jumped off.  After some struggling with the cap he got it opened, spilled the water and drank from it > Look at this , isn’t it hilarious? We watched him.

imageimage my dad is not an animal person so he was very nevers when the monkey was climbing on him.  I had a great time at the monkey forest.  Monkeys are great animals.  if you look on Sawyers page you can find out his experience at the monkey forest and  how he got bit by a monkey! (don’t worry, it was nothing serious).

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LUWAK COFFEE PLANTAION

My famliy and I visited a coffee plation where this Bali coffee is made.  It was very educational and I learned a lot.

The coffee plantation was OK. First we walked through a forest where this creature called a ‘”civet” lives.  We saw Big Cocoa Beans hanging from trees, pinapple plants (never saw this before, they are cool) . We saw first hand how the beans are collected, dimageried, roasted and crushed up.

We got to taste test a bunch of different drinks.  Dad tasted coffee, mom tasted Tea and Sawyer and I had hot chocolate from the beans that grow right on the plantation.  I tried Tea for the first time and liked it.  The cool thing about the Tea is that it had color to it.  I tried a red tea and Mom tried the yellow, orange, red, brown and some other kinds.  I think the red tea tasted a little like fruit punch without the sugar.  (I personally think fruit punch is better). they also grow tobacco plants here and we saw what goes into a cigarette, we actually got to roll the tobacco into a cigarette (which of course we would never smoke).

                            THE STEPS TO HOW LUWAK BALI COFFEE IS MADE

#1-  first, a cat like animal, called a Civet, eats a cherry fruit  that grows on trees in this forest.      . 

#2-  the animal poops the seeds out and the poop looks like the picture belowimagethat is Sawyer in the backround of this photo.

#3-  people find and collect the poop from the forest floor. They extract the seeds out of it.  the seeds are then washed and dried (the digestive process does something to the seeds)

#4-  after the seeds are washed and dried they peel the outer later off and find a bean. (we got to peel off the outer layers, it was easy)

#5-  they roast the beans in a big frying pan , crush them up, then you add hot water to it.  No sugar or milk is needed.

BOOM!     you got Luwak Bali coffee.  I laughed at dad for drinking animal poop.  but it is not the poop only the seed.  (not all coffee is made like this).

FUN FACT– This is the most expensive coffee in the world.  It can be sold up to more then $25 dollars a cup!  In Europe it is $35 a cup.  Some of this kind of coffee is made in factories.  they keep they animals captive and feed them the cheeries so they can poop it out.  the factory kind of coffee is just as expensive then the real kind, but the real kind is said to taste better because the animals are not “stressed” and it is all natural. Look for the label on the bag if you buy this.

The coffee plantation was interesting. It was all natural and a  nice place to visit.  imageimage

 

We all enjoyed visiting these cool places, but ….To be honest Indonesia was not as good as I thought it would be. So crowded,   even 2 hours outside of the major city, Kuta, it was still crowded and a hassel to get anywhere or walk in peace without being harassed for one minute.  I expected the beaches to be a whole lot better.  Mom says she is “underimpressed” with Bali and especially Kuta .  It is a word we made up for not impressed.   Perhaps years ago when the backpackers discovered this island in the 70’s it was more relaxing but now (according to Mom) it reminds her of Saigon, a complete mess and only getting worse!!! We will never be returning to any of the Islands here. But learning about the Hindu religion, Luwak Coffee and the Rice Terraces in Indonesia was cool.  Don’t let the guidebooks fool you on Indonesia.

I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com