Alaska Team 2007 travel blog

Our day began very early, as we were awakened around 6:30am with the news that the school children were coming to sing for us. We QUICKLY dressed and made our way down the ladder to meet our visitors. Twenty-some children ushered in our morning with song, recited Bible verses, and introductions. We introduced ourselves, and distributed gifts of rag-dolls to them. Paw Lu Lu took the time to introduce each child, and tell a little of their history. All of the children were orphans, with the exception of a couple whose mentally-ill mother lived in the nearby Safehouse.

Then we enjoyed a breakfast of peanut-butter toast, oranges, rose apples, sweet crackers, and coffee before we loaded our bags into PC's van. We visted the Elder Home, and offered a group prayer to them. Then we offered our thanks and prayers to our hosts, and goodbyes to our new friends.

Then we piled into the van for our return drive to Kanchanaburi. We made a quick ATM and ice-cream stop in Sangklaburi, and then piled back into the van. Our next stop was for lunch at the large Sai Yoke waterfall. After lunch, we made a quick change of clothes in the public toilets to hike around the falls, and enjoy a swim. It was VERY refreshing! After a quick change to dry clothes and an ice-cream, we jumped back into the van again.

Our next stop was an elephant camp / bamboo raft rides tourist attraction. Many of the workers (elephant handlers and raft guides) were Karen friends of Sharon, and they lived in a village nearby the camp. The camp was overwhelmed with several large bus-loads of tourists when we arrived, so we did not even attempt to ride the elephants or rafts. We did walk through the camp and snapped several good shots of elephants, however. Sharon also met one of her friends who took us on a special tour (where the general public is not allowed) to visit two baby elephants. Now THAT was FUN! They were very friendly, stood about waist-high to us, and wanted to play with us as we petted them. They would entangled their trunks around our legs, and squeak as they lifted our legs. We erupted in laughter at the entangled 'captive', and then offered a treat to the baby elephant to release the captive. We also visited the nearby Karen village, and became the sudden attraction as several people came to see the 'gallowas' (foreigners).

Then it was off to the van for our final leg of the drive. We reached Kanchanaburi around 4:30pm, and were treated to the surprise of a VERY fancy hotel for the night called the Felix River Kwai Resort. The grounds were massive and beautifully landscaped with palm trees, rolling lawns, flowers, and a stream with low waterfalls full of coy fish through the middle of the complex. Our rooms were located on the fifth floor with a balcony overlooking the River Kwai. We enjoyed a hot shower (YEA), a short nap (on a big, comfortable bed), and then a delicious dinner (accompanied by live music) on the veranda of the hotel restaurant. We feasted on steaks, pasta, salads, and seafood, then enjoyed cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and ice-cream for dessert. Sharon ordered a Dragon Fruit for us to sample. It was very odd looking, and we were quite fascinated to see it carved right at our table. The outside was spikey with shades of red and green on white. The inside was white with dots of small black seeds. We all agreed that it tasted sweet and delicious.

After dinner, we all wandered around the hotel along the various stone sidewalks. The wide river floated gently by on one side of the complex. We also discovered two inviting pools, and made mental notes to try them out tomorrow before our departure. The paths wandered around the hotel buildings of guest rooms and the main lobby, and circled through the gardens. After our stroll, we retired for the evening into our big, comfortable beds.

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