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October 2013
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January 2014

50 by 50!!

 

 

Nepal!!

 

  50

 

 

My goal was to reach 50 countries before I turned 50 - I made it! 

 

The men in the photo are not dressed up for tourists, they are real Sadhus (holy men).  This was taken at the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal.

Here is a list of all the counties I visited, in the order I visited them.  If you click on the links in blue, you can go to the post on that country.  Not all have blog posts, as some were pre-blog, and a few are posts from our second visit to the country.

 

1)   USA

2)   Canada

3)   Mexico

4)   Netherlands

5)   Germany

6)   Switzerland

7)   Austria

8)   Italy

9)   France

10)  Spain

11)  Czech Republic

12)  Hungary

13)  Monaco

14)  China

15)  Japan

16)  England

17)  Scotland

18)  Vatican (really it is!)

19)  Belgium

20)  Denmark

21)  Sweden

22)  Norway

23)  Portugal

24)  Slovenia

25)  Egypt

26)  Luxembourg

27)  Poland

28)  Croatia

29)  Bosnia

30)  Montenegro

31)   Slovakia

32)  Dubai UAE

33)  Ireland

34)  Singapore

35)  Morocco

36)  Estonia

37)  Finland

38)  Thailand

39)  Cambodia

40)  Turkey

41)  Romania

42)  New Zealand 

43)  Vietnam

44)  Indonesia

45)  Russia

46)  Malaysia

47)  India

48)  Laos

49)  Myanmar

50) Nepal!

 

 

For the record, D is at 52.  He lived in the Philippines as a child and had a business trip to Saudi Arabia.  However, as of January (we are going to the Philippines), he will only be one country ahead of me.  I am pretty sure I will never make it to Saudi... so in 2014, I plan to sneak out in the middle of the night, fly to Brunei or Sri Lanka and come home before he realizes I am gone  :   )

Check back in Janaury for the Nepal post - such an AMAZING place to visit!

 

 


Kanchanaburi Thailand - Tiger Temple and Bridge on the River Kwai

 

The Tiger Temple

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

 

Tiger park 6
 

 

When we first arrived we observed the monks playing with "their" tiger.  Many of the staff and volunteers work with each and every tiger in the park, but each tiger has one primary monk who cares for them. 

 

 

Tiger park 4

 

Look at the size of her paw!

 

 

Tiger park 5

 

The temple is a fully functioning Buddhist temple called, “Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua”; but is known as the “Tiger Temple”.

 

 

Tiger park 8

 

Next we got to pet and interact with the tigers.  This was an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING experience. 

 

D and 2a
 

 

Tigers are the biggest cats in the world.  There are six different kinds or subspecies of tiger alive today and all are considered endangered species.

 

  Tiger temple c 60

 

Many people have asked us if the tiger's teeth were removed… take a look at the photos below to get the answer.

 

 

Tiger temple c 52

 

  Me and the tiger

 

  

Visitors are allowed to participate in several programs including playing with and feeding the baby tigers.  We were very lucky to purchase tickets to feed the cubs.  We thought we would just get to hold one for a few minutes to feed them, but we actually got to play in the cage with them. 

 

Tiger park 25

 

There were three babies, two staff, and only six of us.  We were in there for about 45 minutes.

 

Tiger temple c 190

 

 

I fell completely in love as soon as I touched the cub.  Look at my face - I am talking away to him.  I think I was telling him how beautiful and special he was  :  )

 

 

Tiger park 17
 

 

He loved to be scratched under his chin.  Their fur was softer than the adult tigers, but still not soft like a domestic cat - more wiry.

 

  Tiger park 18

 

The little one was very feisty.  He hissed/baby-growled at D several times. 

 

D

Tiger park 20

 

 

Tiger park 28

 

This is the middle sized one.  Look how he is holding my hand.  Precious!

 

 

Tiger park 27

 

After their feeding they were full of energy.  They were bored with us humans and wanted to play with each other...

 

 

Play

 

 

 and love each other...

 

 

Tiger park 24

 

Tiger park 19

 

Tiger stripes are like human fingerprints; no two tigers have the same pattern.  The cubs have two round spots on the back of their ears.  Scientists think this may be a protective feature so that other animals will be fooled into thinking it's two big eyes looking at them.

 

Tiger park 3

 

 Such gorgeous animals.

 

  Tiger cub

 

 

We also walked the larger tigers with the monks.  They told us to keep our hands on their back with firm pressure.  If it is too light they think it is a bug and may try to swat you away.

 

 

Tiger temple 105

 

Tiger temple 113
 

 

This is one of the biggest tigers in the park.  The temple received its first tiger cub in 1999 and they are now up to about 124 tigers and various other animals.  Not all of them are able to interact with humans.

 

  Tiger temple 129

 

 

In Thailand, Buddhist temples frequently receive abandoned animals from the surrounding neighbors because Buddhist doctrine compels the monks to care for the animals.  Once the monastery took in the first tiger cub, they began to receive more tigers from other parts of the country and shortly thereafter became the "Tiger Temple" and grew to be the primary tiger care center in Thailand. 

 

 

Tiger park 14

 

 Tiger park 11

 

 

Before we arrived I told D I will take photos of him, but I do not want to go near the tigers.  Shortly after being in the park, I wanted to lie on top of them!  I never got to lie on top of one, but I did lie next to them - actually in between two tigers.

 

 

Tiger park 15

 

  Tiger park 16

 

There is a lot of controversy about the temple… Is it natural?… Is it safe?…. Do they drug the animals?  We walked away with a very positive opinion of the park.   Many of the animals are rescued and would be dead if they did not live there.  As to drugging them… anyone that works with the tigers knows that this is ridiculous.  Far too difficult and would make the animals more dangerous, rather than less dangerous.  Yes they lay around, but this is what tigers do when it is very hot and they are full.

 

Tiger temple 72 

 

I viewed it like a zoo, except that we got to touch them.  Now the question as to if it is safe?  Well..... this I am not 100% sure of this  :  )  We need to always remember, they are wild animals.  But if you have the chance to visit the temple I would tell you ABSOLUTELY!

 

 

 

We also visited the well-known Bridge on the River Kwai.

 

 Kanchanaburi 3

 

During WW II, the Japanese constructed a railway from Thailand to Burma.  

 

Kanchanaburi 2

 

Unfortunately, the construction was done using POWs and Asian slave laborers under unfavorable conditions.  The work started in October 1942 and was completed in a year, but at the loss of thousands of lives.  

 

Kanchanaburi 9

 

Kanchanaburi 8

 

Allied Forces bombed the bridge in 1944 and three sections were destroyed.  What we see today is part original and part rebuilt.

 

Kanchanaburi 4

 

Kanchanaburi 6

 

The track is still used today.

 

 

Kanchanaburi 5

 

There is a well-kept War Cemetery nearby where over 7,000 POWs, who sacrificed their lives in the railway construction, are buried.  Another 2,000 are laid to rest at the Chungkai Cemetery. 

 

Kanchanaburi 7

 

To get to Kanchanaburi we took a local train.  It took three hours and cost $3 each.  A deal and great fun.  We met a very nice couple from California and chatted with them the entire trip.  There was also a couple from Poland who joined in.  

 

 

Kanchanaburi 11

 

 

Kanchanaburi 13

 

The taxis in Kanchanaburi and many parts of rural Thailand are open backed trucks.  Safety first!  And I worry about airplanes.  :  )

 

 

Kanchanaburi 14

 

Our hotel/resort, The Oriental Kwai was awesome!  Each room was a little cottage and ours looked out onto the River Kwai.  The grounds were lush and tropical.  They even had a handful of goats.

Resort 2

 

We had such a great time on this excursion.  To see more on our time spent in Bangkok, click here.

 

 


Bangkok - on the waterfront

 

Bangkok, Thailand

November 2013

 

City view

 

We stayed in a different part of the city on this trip, on the waterfront, and it felt like we were in a completely different city!  We had an awesome view (click here for more photos) from our hotel room.  We had a corner room on the 32nd floor.  Even the shower was glass where you could look out to the view while showering.

 

Street Food

 

  Bangkok 13

 

Bangkok 8

 

Bangkok 5

 

 

Bangkok 11

 

Reminds me of the ice cream truck who used to come down my street - but with more variety. 

 

 

Bangkok 14

 

 

Bangkok 1

Bangkok 4

Food

 

 

Activities

One evening we went to the Asiatique Center for dinner and a walk around their market.  It is a decent market, given it is in such a touristy area. 

 

 

Bangkok 20

 

We went to the puppet theater with the work group... fun, but those puppets are a bit scary!

 

 

Puppet

 

 

A visit to the local temple...

I never get tired of visiting temples as each one holds a new sight to discover.

 

 

Bangkok 25

 

 

Bangkok 27

 

Look closely; a man is dressing the giant Buddha.

 

 

Bangkok 28

 

Isn't this interesting?  I have never seen anything like it in a temple.  Is it a shrine for a child that passed?

 

 

Bangkok 29

 

 

Bangkok 31

 

 

Bangkok 32

 

 

Bangkok 30

 

 

A slightly different shrine.

 


 

Kanchanaburi 15

 

 

Kanchanaburi 16

 

Have you heard about all the protests in Bangkok?  Well, I stepped right into the middle of it by accident.  This was day two of the marching and at that point they were still pretty peaceful - just VERY loud!

 

 

Bangkok 12

 

 

Bangkok 15

 

 

Bangkok 16

 

 

And my secret obsession....Hello Kitty!  Love her and all her friends.

 

 

Hello kitty

 

It was fun watching this talented street artist making balloon shapes.  The hubby had him make me the Hello Kitty balloon.  Awe......how sweet.

 

1

 

 

We always have such a fun time in Bangkok.  This was our forth visit in 2013!

 


Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,

November 2013

 

KL 9

 

 

The hubby had a two-day business trip to KL and a round trip ticket was only $60 USD, so I had to go and check it out.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and most populous city in Malaysia, an estimated  1.6 million people live there.

 

  KL 1

 

 

I was surprised to see what a modern city it is.  The architecture is a blend of old colonial influences, Asian traditions, and Malay Islamic inspirations. 

 

 

KL 3

 

Below is the Menara tower, the tallest telecommunications tower in SE Asia.  At the top is a restaurant.  The hubby ate there on a previous trip.

 

the Menara tower, the tallest telecommunications tower in SE Asia. - See more at: http://donaldandcathy.typepad.com/ma_vie_trouvee/#sthash.3n8w5Bgt.dpuf

  KL 5

The city's most famous landmark is the Petronas Twin Towers standing at 1483 feet.  Built in 1992 by Petronas (their national oil company), they were the tallest buildings in the world up until 2004.  They now sit at number four, but still hold the title for the tallest twin buildings in the world.   I do not like elevators or heights so we did not go up.

 

Misc 2

 

The Twin Towers are especially beautiful at night.

 

 

KL 11


 

This may be my shortest travel post ever.... but hey, it was only a two-day trip!

Good Night KL.