Friday, August 10, 2007

Quick View of how Martin Luther saw the Universe:
Double click the image for full size.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm Back!

In the wonderful words of Sam Gamgee at the end of his great adventure "Well, I'm back".
It was a long flight, with many layover (10 hours in the Korean airport) but I made it! I'm now home for coffee appointments! So, let me know if you want to meet, just e-mail me at the address above.

I also want to say "Thank you!" to all of you who have travelled with me through this blog. I loved your comments and your e-mails, so thank you for the support you gave. It absolutely made my day on more than one occasion.
Thank you also for the prayers poured out for me. I know they had something to do with the amazing and wonderful experience I had.
So, give me a call or send me an e-mail, let's get together!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A busy sort of day

I've been busy lately. I've played Songkran twice, which is absolutely exhausting, and this morning I went Bungy Jumping.
Which actually, was a little bit of a let down.
Chiang Mai's Jungle Bungy jump is 50 meters high over a small but deep pond. I stood at the top for a bit, and then thought "Ok, let's do this" and dove off. The falling bit was quite nice, and just as it got fun I suddenly felt this incredible constriction around my legs, which pulled me back up. You go up and down a couple times, but your legs really start hurting and you can feel your feet losing all circulation. Then you hang for a while while they lower you, and "ta da!" its done. They give you the certificate and the t-shirt and you get back into your car again. Your life is not really forever changed.
I'll have to try skydiving....

Anyways, my time here is wrapping up. Tomorrow I head home. I'm packed and ready. I'll really miss my mango and sticky rice though. And of course the people here.
Songkran is fun, but gets a little tiring as a foreigner. While they let some Thai's by without dumping several buckets of water on them, there is some unspoken code that says "Never ever let a foreigner by without completely drenching then". It's great fun when you are dressed and ready. When you just went out to grab a slurpee from 7-11, it's kinda frustrating. Especially if you just showered and changed into dry clothes. All part of the deal I suppose. It is fun, after all.
I'm sure I had something else to tell you fine folks, but its slipped my mind. Oh, right!
My wonderful little bike had a terrible flat tire this morning, so I had to run around until I found someone who could pump it back up again. I also fixed the tire with my little patch kit I bought. I knew that would come in handy! And just in time for me to use it too. So that's the word from Chiang Mai. I'm heading home tomorrow, can't wait to see you all!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Songkran has started!

Songkran has started and the world has gone crazy.
I've known that to venture out was to get wet, but I had to get here to write to you people. I tried to take back roads, but even there people wait with buckets to soak anyone coming by. And a foreigner on a bicycle is a very popular target.
I was soaked several times on the way here just to be able to update you folks. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice. :)
So you may ask what I've been doing with this week off? Mostly relaxing, eating and seeing friends.
Yesterday I had nothing to do in the morning, so I went to some waterfalls that I'd seen on the way up to Temple on the mount, but never actually went to. They were fantastic! It was actually not just one waterfall, but a whole series of them one after another. This one here was kind of off to the side of the big ones. A very smart man had set up a hammock just off to the left of the falls and was relaxing there. I tried to take a picture with my timer of me in the falls, but I ended up slipping on the rocks and out of the picture, but later when I got to another fall, I had some Thai people take a picture of me in the fall.
These other falls were really fun because you would climb up them, and then slide down like a water slide with the water over the smooth rocks and then it dumped you about 10 feet into the water. It puts West Ed.'s water park to shame I tell you! But it was similar in some ways... if you took up the "slide" for too long, people got mad, and would sometimes even push you down.

As I said Songkran has started. Right outside the internet cafe I'm in they are dunking people in huge coolers. And there are people soaking anyone in sight with waterguns, buckets, and anything else they can find. I don't think you'll get anymore pictures because I'm not bringing my camera out in this. It would be destroyed.
Also, beer companies have set up booths EVERYWHERE and are playing loud music. Music so very loud that I can feel it vibrating inside my lungs even from inside the building. Not to mention, the building shakes with the bass. So with the nice sun, the water fight and the commercial push, it really feels like a summer fair back home.
There is a dark side to this festival though. Many people get hurt. Many people die. In Thailand somewhere between 800-1000 people die every year, and there are more than 10,000 injuries. Why? Mostly motorcycle accidents. My friend Rodney, a guy who helped us in the rebuilding the wall project at the Centre, is one of those injuries. He'd gone up the mountain yesterday (higher than I was) and on the way down hit water on the road and skidded and fell. He broke his shoulder and has some really bad road rash all down one side of his body. He'll be going for an operation to put his shoulder back in place soon. His will be one of the few accidents that has only one person involved and no alcohol. In his ambulance ride down the mountain, the ambulance stopped to pick two more people up, both worse than Rodney.
So remember, stay off the motorcycles during Songkran! As far as I know, I'm better off on my bicycle, because I go a lot slower, have better control and can fit in smaller spaces. So don't worry about me! I usually walk in the Songkran infested places anyways!
Tomorrow and Friday I'm going to go "play" for real, around the moat where all the hard-cores are. It's also the first day of the official fesitval, so I'm quite excited!
Only 5 days left. Incredible. See you all soon! Don't be surprised if I'm soaking wet when I get off the plane, as the festival will not be over when I leave. I really hope not to get soaked on my way to the airport!
I'll try to get in to update this once more, but I won't endanger my electronic equipment again, so no more pictures!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The weekend

Friday night was a gong show.
As I said in my last post, we had a YWAM team in, adding an extra 18 foreigners to the group. So with the Centre staff, the students and the team, there was something like 50-60 people for Friday Night Party.
They did a good job for the games, and then one girl (Meredith) did this incredible dance while another member (John) played "24" by Switchfoot. It was awsome. The she shared her testimony and asked people to respond if they wanted to be a Christian. Three of our students did. Their people and our people went and prayed with them. It was exciting.
The rest of the night was just a celebration. We had a dance party, which culminated in the "Canadian dance club". This was where the 3 Canadian team members and I danced to the techno music while everyone else was strewn about, exhausted. Yup, Canadians certainly had the most stamina.
Once even we were exhausted, the YWAM team went home and the Centre staff sat down to watch a movie.
After that we went to Midnight chicken, where they serve great chicken. At midnight. It was great fun.
I finally arrived home exhausted at a really late hour.
Saturday I saw a movie with Tiffany, one of our new members at the Centre, and ran into some members of the YWAM team. I introduced them to Black Canyon Coffee, the cheaper and better Thai version of Starbucks.
This morning I went to church and when I got home I was planning to go to my waterfall again, but fell asleep instead. Which was good, because when I woke up it was pouring rain. It's been raining a lot lately, and I keep getting stuck in it. Storms move in here in half an hour, it rains like crazy for an hour and 10 minutes later it's sunny with not a cloud in the sky. It feels like being back home in Alberta.
So 2 hours ago it was raining cats and dogs. Now there is hardly a puddle anywhere and it's back up to the sweltering heat.
Songkran will start in the next few days I think. Already people are pouring into the city and traffic is crazier than ever. Luckily on my little orange terror, I have more mobility than even the motor bikes, and can often go faster in heavy traffic than anyone else.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Songkran is coming!

Hey peoples!

So, it's my last two days at the Centre. I'm having my FINAL evaluation today with my supervisor. They are having a goodbye lunch for me tomorrow. Pizza, Kow Soy, Moo Satay and Pat Thai. I can't wait. It'll be delicious.

There is a YWAM team here right now. 18 extra foreigners. As a result, the Centre has turned into a bit of a zoo. They are a really fun team though, and we love having them around.

Songkran festival is next week so the Centre will be closed. Songkran is a national Thai holiday. Some say it is the Thai new years, others disagree and say that it is a festival to cool off in summer. At any rate, it is a 10 day waterfight that consumes this city. Because of the moat around the old city providing a lot of water, Chiang Mai is the craziest place for Songkran. I can't wait. It's so amazing to be here. And it will be nice to cool off. I already had a taste of it when a guy named Jeff soaked me today. It took all of 5 minutes to be dry again.

That's all I've got for right now! Another update soon!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mormon Missionaries and Elephants

So, I ended up feeling better on Saturday, so I loaded up on the Tylenol and took off for the bamboo rafting. It was amazing. We were just given the raft this time, no guide, so I took her down for a bit, and then one of the guys took over. It's actually quite tiring.
Just as we were getting to the end, I saw up ahead some elephants playing in the water, so I polled like crazy to hurry the raft up, and then eventually just jumped off completely and ran over to them just as their riders were directing them out. So I had a short, but fun encounter.
This time I also found the cliff jumping spot at the end of the run. You climb up this 25 foot cliff and jump into the river just below the rapids where the water is deepest. It's crazy fun...
I also had a new food experience: ant eggs. They don't taste like much, they mostly just imitate whatever sauce they are in. But I'm sure texture people would not like them. Smooth and slimey, with a slight popping when you bite. I thought they were kinda fun.
Sunday morning I biked to Thai church. It turns out, I'm a little bit of an oddity here, on my bike. See, only really poor people bike here. The very bottom of society. Everyone else can afford at least an old scooter. But I'm white, and so they assume I'm not poor. Yet I still ride a bike, which is confusing to them.
But it turns out there is a part of the society (other than myself) who bikes by choice. Yup, you guessed it, the Mormon missionaries.
So when I parked outside the church in my black pants and collared shirt, one of the ladies inside the church could not understand why I would be coming to an evangelical church. So she asked the local missionary if I was a Mormon missionary.
Nope. But I mean, I know I was riding a bike, but my shirt was pink, not white, and I was alone. So we all had a laugh.
So that was my weekend - swimming, rafting, playing with elephants, etc. I bought a couple too.
Then this morning I went to the doctor... again... and I'll be going back on Thursday...again... seems nobody is sure why I keep having a fever, but we're gonna find out!
Other than that, I'm feeling much better and much more like myself!
See you all very, very soon!