Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Visa Run: AKA, paying our quarterly dues to the powers that be...

The river separating Burma and Thailand, my view from the walking bridge on the last visa run.
Every three months, we make a run for it out of Thailand.  Well, a visa "run" to be more precise.  For reasons I still don't understand, every quarter of the year we have to leave the country to get our passport stamped.  When I post on Facebook, "headed to Burma today," I am usually not sight-seeing or on some humanitarian excursion...I just going for the stamp, people.
I happened to have my camera in my purse a few days ago when we had to take another run for the border...so you can have a glimpse into what we see on our four-a-year trips:
Coming up on the border!  That big blue building ahead is where the Thai immigration offices are.
So, from the city we live in, we travel about three hours to the Thai/Burma border.  Since the kids don't have to cross the border like Treav and I do, we take turns.  We will take them shopping or out to lunch or just sit in the car with them.
The point of no return.

Inside the immigration office.  I had no idea that Burma...er, Myanmar...was a half hour behind!
After passing through immigration and getting my stamp out of Thailand, you walk over a bridge that separates the two countries.
On my way out, I caught this cutie playing while her momma was begging on the side of the bridge.
A bystander on the Burma side down by the river.
Like most places, even the bridge had food carts with all sorts of fried ware.
Here are all sorts of vegetables fried in batter and oil.  I passed on this...
Welcome to Myanmar...almost!

Outside Immigration...and no, that's not be in the yellow shirt.  I don't really need a photo op with Immigration officers to complete my life here on earth.

 First, before I was "officially" stamped into Burma, I entered a small room where the Myanmar Immigration officers take my picture, ask me for the $16 fee and then ask me where I am going.  I, actually, have never been further than this point right here.  Lots of people cross to visit the cheap markets on the other side...but the kids and hubbie are waiting for me...so shopping will have to wait for another day.  So, I answer them that I am just headed right back to Thailand, so the formalities cease and I am free to go.
On my way back to Thailand...and this is my lovely view on the walk back...
Even with as dirty as this water is...I have seen people swimming and crossing it without a care.  Saves the $16 fee, I guess! 
The cutie I saw before, and her momma, begging on the other side of the bridge...though the tourists across the fence didn't seem to notice her.  I didn't have even a coin in my pocket, so a smile and a prayer was going to have to do for today.
Of course, there's a photo op here at "The Northern Most (Part) of Thailand"
One of the many signs I see on my way back into Thailand.
This one highlighting human trafficking.  Mercy, Lord.  This picture represents the reality of thousands in Thailand each year. 
No, I didn't change my name to Sorn...this is one of the examples I could look at while filling out my arrival card for re-entering Thailand.
These two Burmese woman tried to offer me a sample of their fruit wine...until they saw the bump on my belly.  Yeah...don't think it would be the wisest food sampling right now for my "condition."
On my way back to the car, with Treavor in the car with our three lovely munchkins, the endless markets were kind of calling my name.  But, I decided to be a good wifey and pass them by.  If you look closely, the market on this side street goes on and on up the street.  There is everything from nuts, silver and gold jewelry, souvenirs out the wazoo, to Angry Birds games, cheap (and pirated) DVDs and CDs, etc.  On every street for blocks, there is cheap stuff to buy.  This is one reason why people frequent the border towns.  Everybody loves a good deal.
The endless markets of this border town.
The "Misty Mountains," as we called them.
On our way out of town, we prayed again for the nation we reside in, and asked God to bless this land.  The view of the mountains outside our car windows was break-taking.  A cloudy day had turned them into an eerily beautiful backdrop for the endless fields and roadside restaurants we were zooming by. 
In another three months, we'll view these mountains again.  Going four times a year is a small price to pay for getting to live here, getting to love on Thai people and getting to receive so much more in return.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Richy Rich Land: I wish I were making this up

Treavor and I were mall-hopping the other day while on a date.  On the way to boarding the escalators, I walked by this lovely display advertising a housing development on our side of town...

I had seen this display before, but had my camera handy this time.  The first few times I walked by it, I did a double-take at the name...really?  Richy Rich Land?  I still laugh out loud when I see it. 

Our city has every level of style and standard of living.  While some of you may still think that all Thais live in incredibly rural abodes, there really is a precedent for everything here.  I have visited friends in one-room shanties and others living in high-end homes with private ponds and multiple possessions busting out of every available storage place.

The home we live in is comfortable and in a gated-community...so I am not writing this to point fingers at foreigners OR Thais who live in pretty places.

I think it is mainly the name of this living community that gets me every time.  It is unashamedly ostentatious and gives me a good laugh when I see it.

If this is a "real-life" model of a house in the Richy Rich Land community, then I think I would invest in black-out curtains if I wanted to get any sleep at night!
Every Richy Rich Land house comes fully equipped with a Benz.  Or, at least, they look extra good-looking in the carport.

You never know what you're gonna see here. 

Thanks for stopping by to take a look at an ordinary day here in a very extraordinary land.


Monday, June 3, 2013

The Moth Emerges!

He emerges!

Let's just call this post "December in June" instead...because this epic (in the mind's of my boys!) event happened last December, people.  Last year.  Call me a procrastinator, if you please.  I have already come to terms with that label.  Its OK.

If you remember this guy...

...then you might actually care that he started to transform (click the link for pics)...and then died a terrible death.  His chrysalis was eaten mercilessly by ants and we were all so sad. 

But, his cousin (we assume) left another chrysalis in the back yard and we eagerly scooped him up and adopted him into our little family.  This time, no ants came and we kept him safe in an orange crate just in case he decided to skip town in the middle of the night without us viewing his departure.


Our caterpillar...er...moth...on the day of hatching.  Safe in the orange crate.

...it was fun to find his cousin waiting for us one day last December after he emerged into a new world.  No longer a weird-looking alien caterpillar...but a beautiful, breathtaking, hairy green Hawk Eye moth.  (And you wonder if I have embraced the world of Mom of Boys with my loving description of this guy.  Yes, it is just as fun for me!)

Two happy boys!

The Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar's wings were still a bit wet (and couldn't be used for flying just yet), so the boys were able to take off the lid and observe him for a little bit before they found a shady tree to set him on.  They kept oohing and aahing at his color, how fuzzy he was, and they were commenting on his "fake eyes" on the back of his wings.  After reading enough Usborne science books and bug manuals in our home school, they knew these "eyes" were for scaring away predators hungry for a moth snack. 

See his fake "eyes" right above his head?

The Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar's chrysalis

Getting to hold this guy, without him flying off, was the highlight of their week!

Thanks for letting me give you a peek into the every-day, ordinary things that happen in our house.  Maybe, soon, I can get to sharing things that aren't six months old.  Maybe

Have a great week!


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