1Step2Step workers deserve a holiday

No, I don’t mean me, I was referring to Nicola in particular, but after 2 weeks at Bann Fueng Fah I think Sally has earned a holiday too!

I was going to write a quick post on Thursday evening but I decided that as we had an early start on Friday morning – leaving at 5.45 am for the Singha Park International balloon festival near Chiang Rai – it would be sensible to wait until I had a bit more time.

But I thought I should tell you that we were having a great time on holiday in North Thailand. Unfortunately, exhaustion set in, so I’m posting this from Bangkok. But more of that another day.

The White Temple

On Thursday morning, we were taken to the White Temple by the motel owner. After a light breakfast at the local Cafés (we’re not joined at the hip), the Temple opened and three eager photographers scoured the site for different angles on an amazing piece of architecture. The Temple is, as the name implies, painted white and glistens with inlaid mirrors. A very impressive sight.

I found the most impressive part was the area where we were not allowed to take photographs – the inside of the Temple. So I am unable to post a picture to demonstrate. However, I listened in to a guide explaining why small pictures of Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were painted on the walls, overlaying the traditional orange painting opposite the Buddha statue and paintings. There was also a picture of the 911 Towers and wrapped around it a petrol hose. The guide was explaining that although Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were brilliant in their field of music, there is danger if we follow the whole lifestyles of celebrities . The artist was also trying to get across the point about the power of oil to rule over ways of life. Time prevented me from carrying on listening but I was struck by the important philosophy of life that was being taught.

Baan Dam

We went by the taxi (that Nicola managed to book so efficiently – as she has throughout this break) to the Black House (Baan Dam): a collection of traditional Thai art including crocodile skins, stone circles and sculptures spread across an area with several different buildings.

Then, for me came the highlight of the day – the Singha Park International Balloon Fiesta. Words cannot describe the sight of all the balloons, so here are a couple of pictures. I’ve more but WiFi is SLOW!

Balloons

Reflection

But outstanding yesterday were two blessings for Nicola. (see Nicola’s post Blessings on a Break)

Firstly, from among the thousands at the show, she encountered another English young lady living in Pakkret. Claire showed an interest in what Nicola does, so I do hope she will be able to visit Bann Fueng Fah orphanage at some stage.

Then, as we were watching the fun of the evening balloon competition around the lake, a little boat came and invited Nicola onto the prime position of the central pontoon. We felt it was another blessing from God.

As I have discovered on this trip, even when we are away from home, God blesses us. There is nowhere we can go that is out of his benevolence. I knew that already but I never tire of being reminded.

The evening balloon display around the lake persuaded us that return visits would be a good idea today.

However,on Friday morning, Claire kindly let us know that the morning balloon flights had been cancelled (through fog we think), so we each took the opportunity to get an extra 2 hours back in bed. Then, after a breakfast of Thai fried rice for me (certainly not the traditional English Full Breakfast!), just up the road from the motel, we took a private hire mini-tour bus to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos meet.

Beautiful Gardens

After lunch we did a bit of souvenir and prayer pal (elephants – ask about it when we get back if you dont understand) shopping then went to some beautiful gardens on the side of a mountain – planted out beautifully but slightly disappointingly with only the sort of bedding plants grown in the UK. We then returned to the Fiesta for another dose of nightime balloon photography and tasty festival style food.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we fly back to Pakkret. Then after Church, Sally and I will be off to Bangkok for some more sightseeing. Nicola will return to her charges at Bann Fueng Fah orphanage, hopefully refreshed.

All for now. Please keep praying for us. A day and a half back at the orphanage with the children awaits Sally and I before our return home. I certainly feel it has been a worthwhile trip – getting to know Nicola and Sally better and the work supported by 1Step2Step at the orphanage with the oh-so-lovable children.

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