Thursday, December 4, 2008

Leif in Thailand - December 1981 - Almost 7 years old

In December 1981, our family made a trip to Thailand. We were living in Japan, and this was a dream-come-true trip for me to see my Thai "sister," Lek, our family friend Ben, and their country. Leif was 6, nearly 7 years old, and Peter Anthony was just shy of his 13th birthday.

We stayed with Lek and her family in Bangkok, and went to see many wonderful sights. Ben took us to see one of the dams he built on the Mekong River system, the real Bridge on the River Kwai, and to Chiang Mai. We saw temples, countryside, people, flowers, waterfalls, elephants, interesting food, and culture.

Perhaps to our sons, who were growing up traveling all over the world (Leif had already lived in two states and two foreign countries by the time he was six years old, and had traveled in many more), a trip to Thailand did not seem so incredible, but for me, having grown up on the plains of Kansas and never having been to another country, other than just over the border into Canada, until I was 22 years old, it was magical.

Although we took many photos in Thailand, most are not of Leif, though I do have others, for instance one of him petting a kitten at a Buddhist monastery. These two will represent that long-ago trip.

The first photo is of Peter Anthony and Leif at the place we went to see the elephants working near Chiang Mai. This was fascinating, not only to see how the elephants could handle giant teak logs, but how they bathed in the river, and would come up and beg for and eat bananas out of our hands. There was a baby elephant that did this. It was a little shorter than Peter Anthony's height, and we were surprised to see that it had long hairs on its skin, not covered with "fur," but with scraggly long hairs.

The second photo is somewhere on the trip to the western part of Thailand where we saw poinsettias growing wild; huge, tall bushes of them. This was so different than the dense, small, potted plants we were used to seeing at Christmas time in the USA.

Leif enjoyed the trip. He was a good traveler, easygoing, uncomplaining, and finding things to interest him just about anywhere. He also had a good time playing with Lek's children.

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