Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Thailand Team

From left to right: Clara (oldest son's fiance), youngest son Marco, middle son Mikey, honorary son Bryan, and oldest son Cisco. Note my T-shirt which features the label of a best-selling Thai beer. Some of you are getting these as souvenirs. ATVing among the Hmong outside Chiang Mai (Mikey and Bryan are just posing as Peace Corps rules prevent them from riding dangerous vehicles like all-terrain vehicles)

Me, the Liuzzi brothers, friend Bryan Polson and almost daughter-in-law Clara Rodriguez reunited for the holidays in Thailand this year and hardly stopped moving for two weeks. Here's some of what we did:

1. burned out taste buds on chili-laced Thai food from street vendors
2. rode buses for nine hours at a stretch from one part of this enormous country to another
3. watched a woman shoot ping pong balls from her vagina. Bryan needs work on his forehand returns
4. rode elephants through a forest
5. drove ATVs up and then down a mountain. In the dark.
6. Raced on bamboo rafts down a brown river. Cisco fell in but didn't drown.
7. white water rafted
8. climbed up numerous spectacular wats -- which was temples
9.had every part of our bodies rubbed numerous times because it costs about 6 dollars an hour for Thail massages and you can collect them on any street corner or shopfront
10. were custom fitted for suits that were sewed up in 24 hours.\
11. shopped for knock-off DVDs, T-shirts and fashions, except for Rosemary who took moral tone against aiding organized crime
12. swam and hot-tubbed in a glorious tropical pool
13. stood at attention for the Widely Beloved King -- because you can be imprisoned for showing any disrespect to his royal self.
14. raced through downtown jams in taxis, on tuk-tuks -- glorified golf carts -- motobikes (except for Mike and Bryan who are forbidden by Peace Corps rules from using dangerous mode of transportation) mini-vans and buses.
15. exchanged presents from US and Kenya in our international Christmas celebration
16. Lit paper lanterns and set them aloft with wishes for a happy new year

It was a hell of a trip which we survived with not too much of the usual family competition, conflict and bitching.

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