Category Archives: Guest Posts

Waterfalls and Elephants: A Thai Adventure

Meet my friend Marie! Marie and I went to college together in Arizona. She currently lives in Asia, where her husband is stationed with the military. She has gathered many stories during her global travels, and I asked her to share one with us!
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My friend, her husband, and I had been in Thailand, specifically Bangkok, two days and we decided to sign up for a tour to visit the Erawan National Park and the close by Elephant Sanctuary. Our earlier adventures had all been in the exciting city of Bangkok. We had seen the Jade Buddha,  national temples and palaces, the Giant Buddha, and many sights on-board exciting public transportation. However, time had come to see a little more outside the city.
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The morning of, we woke early and met up with our van driver outside the hostel we were staying at on Kao San Road. For three hours we made our way outside the city, only stopping briefly to use a squatty potty and grab a meat filled biscuit for breakfast while the van was filled with gas. Through the beautiful jungle and up the winding roads we finally made it to the Erawan National Park where seven gorgeous waterfalls awaited us.
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We made our way up the path to the first waterfall, along the way seeing wild pigs and hearing multiple languages from the many tourists on their way to the waterfalls. The heat and humidity required the constant consumption of water on our brief hike, but finally we made it to the first waterfall. The beautiful turquoise water gushed over the huge rocks and small naked children swam through the water with the many fish. The fish were the same kind of fish that many spas use to eat the dead skin off of feet.
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Further, we made it to a less crowded waterfall and pool where we waded and swam through the cool and refreshing water to the rocks under the waterfalls, getting our toes tickled by the many fish. Under the falls we looked through the curtain of water and viewed God’s beautiful nature. After a little bit of time and three more waterfalls, we had to say good bye to the falls and made our way down towards the van for an authentic Thai lunch and then on to the Elephant Sanctuary.
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An hour later in the van, we pulled into a park by a river surrounded by jungle. Immediately we were greeted and lead down to the shore by the river. Two massive elephants emerged from the jungle and waded into the river, each atopped by a native Thai man yelling commands.
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Three at a time, we made our way out to the first elephant and climbed onto his back. The elephant was then coaxed to spray his back with water, completely soaking us. His bristly back helped us to stay on as he moved and the river current sped on by. After a few minutes, the Thai man gave out a command and the elephant bent his front legs and threw us forward into the river. After belly flopping and trying not to be taken down river, we made it to shore where we went up to platform to ride the elephants. We climbed aboard an enormous and very friendly elephant. The trip was absolutely fantastic as we made our way through the jungle scenery. We were absolutely terrified when the elephant would climb up and down steep stairs!
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When the elephant ride was completed we climbed back into the van yet again for the long ride back to Bangkok. That day was filled with awesome new experiences. From there on we gained many other new exciting experiences as we entered Cambodia and visited Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, and Sihanoukville. After Cambodia we made our way to Southern Vietnam and saw the Mekong Delta, Can Tho, and the Floating Market. At long last we headed back to our homes in South Korea.
Life is surely an adventure.
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Kenyan at Heart

Today’s blog post is a special guest post from Gabriela, a Third Culture Kid living in Kenya. Enjoy– and don’t forget to like and share!

Having lived in four different states (having traveled to most of the fifty of them), been in six different countries (not counting airports), and lived on two different continents in my 17 years of life, I don’t have a culture to call my own. This is what makes a third culture kid (TCK) different: we make our own culture. I might have a name that is in English, Gabriela Reincheld, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m totally American. As a TCK, I take parts of different cultures and shape them into my own worldview. At the moment, I’m a senior in high school at a Christian boarding school called Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. My parents are missionaries and teach here. I love it. This school is so awesome because all of the kids here are TCKs, like me. For a while, my parents were dorm parents for ninth and tenth grade boys where Ben Johnson was one of my dorm brothers. It was awesome having twenty older brothers and my one younger sister. Over the years, I have learned so much through living in Kenya, while having more of a Western mindset.

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In March, I had the privilege of going on a cultural trip for school to a place off the coast of Kenya called Chale Island, where I would be studying Reef Ecology for one week. With a total of about 30 high schoolers and six adults, we had been traveling for nine hours by bus…you can imagine how that was. On our way to Chale, we were winding down a dusty narrow road surrounded by a vast forest. We came across an incident where a semi-truck was tipped over and we had to help flip it back over in order to keep going. The long drive from central Kenya to the coast usually takes about 9 hours, but for us it was 12. You never know what awaits you on these adventures…this is Africa. Although it was a long and tiring trip, it was worth it.

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We spent the next week in paradise. One thing that interested me was how pollution is destroying the environment and the natural habitats in the ocean. We got to have hands on experience by picking up 1516 kg of plastic on a 200 meter stretch of a deserted beach. Also, we learned about the different types of sea-life in the Indian Ocean and discussed how we can see God working in this environment. It was amazing to see how a tiny brown jellyfish can make a group of students laugh through their snorkels while tapping its top.

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Lastly, I must brag and say living in Kenya has its perks. Although we often have droughts and there are still internally displaced people (IDP) from the 2008 election, there is still beauty and joy found in this country. The people with less materialistic values are the ones you can see the most joy in. Whenever I visit orphanages and the IDP camps, I never cease to be amazed at their joy. God is continuing to work here and it’s awesome how he reveals his majesty.

If you would like to keep up with different events going on in my life as a TCK, come visit my blog: scarfedpassenger.wordpress.com

Image credits Gabriela Reincheld and Brian Wagner