Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Surprises:

Brett came and picked us (Janey, Lizbeth, Jen, and I) up, and we headed to Kaysville to hear Kathryn speak. We were a tad late, but were told we could go sit on the stand if we'd like. Brett led the way, while Kathryn smirked at our train. Brett wrote her a note, delivered it during the sacrament song, and she shared it at the beginning of her talk. "Some of my buddies from Taiwan are here, and they wrote me a note that they 'Have my back.'" I was embarrassed, and Brett whispered in my ear that it was supposed to be between us, not the entire congregation.

It was horrible sitting on the stand because I was so tirey from staying out late with everyone the night before. There were a couple of boys at the back of the chapel horsing around, hugging/wrestling, and then they both stood up, but one was bear hugging the other. They started walking towards the door, and I realized that they weren't "wrestling," one boy was carrying the other because he didn't have legs or arms. He was just a torso. I was so curious. They were gone for a long time, I accidentally took a cat nap even though I was sitting on the stand in full view of all of the Kaysvillees, but I saw the boys come back in. The one boy dropped the other off on the floor, and an older guy clasped his hands around the boy's neck. The man held on to torso boy's neck (sorry if the label "torso boy" is inappropriate), and started swinging him really fast round and round in circles. I was in shock. It seemed irreverent/hard-hearted/unhealthy. I was riveted, I couldn't even point it out to Brett to get his reaction. Once the man released, torso boy just kind of shook out his neck, and then they went at it again. It was hypnotizing.

We gave hugs all around afterwards, anxious to get out of there. We started to make our way around the lingering groups of church-goers, and I felt a hand grab my arm. Sweet Larry Belnap pulled me into a hug. I haven't seen that sucker since we jumped off Big Toe at Hyrum Dam up in Cache Valley. On one of his jumps he actually landed on a sunken scooter. That was such a great summer, big sigh. He introduced me to his wife, and we caught up a bit, and I filled him in on the status of James and Jackie. He started to bring up the "Monster in the Corn" experience ... I laughed, but my cheeks were pretty pink. We talked about Boony, and Jaren, and James Barnard, and James Crowley ... I miss my boys.

Home teachers are on their way tonight ... I can't wait to add to my pile of awkward Nathaniel encounters.

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Angkorwat pictures. Becca, Andrea, and I had so much fun clambering all over everything.

Angkor Wat is undescribable. I can't explain how much I loved it.
July 14, 2006

Please don't open any packages that are sent home. Andrea's friend Diane was only with us for a week, and she offered to take some stuff home for us, so I sent a lot of the gifts that I've bought for you guys home with her, but I want to be around when you open them. Plus my journal's in there, and I don't really want my secrets going around the Bateman / Carver circuit. I really hope it's not too late already. I'm losing track of what day it is. I was good about writing in my journal, but I'm a few days behind so it's throwing me off. I hate my journal these days, it mocks me. This computer's super slow, so I don't know if I'll be able to respond to your e-mails, but thank you so much for writing me. Rose and Jeff: Congratulations! James and Jackie: I'm so glad it fits Ezra, I was worried. Jay: Thanks for the e-mail buddy, can't wait to hug you in the airport too. Where the heck is mom? Why hasn't she written yet, and homeboy Zach, where are you? Oh, maybe you guys are at Granite Flats this week, I forget when that was scheduled.


We left Thailand behind, it was a little bit of a relief, it was kind of scary there, fun, but scary. We rode a bus for at least twelve hours into Cambodia. It was the bumpiest ride ever. (James: You know that bus video that we love so much where the kid in the back goes flying and hits the ceiling? That was us.) It was like riding up Judd's dirt hill on the oldest bus you can find at the dump going 40 mph ... for six hours. Our first bus was heaven comparatively, even counting the cockroach that was climbing up the seat in front of me that met his fate at the hand of my green, worn-out, Old Navy flip flop. We switched buses once we made it through the border. The border, Poipet, was an armpit of a city. We stuck close and ate dirt as it swirled all around us. We had some lame girls in our group that threw fits at lunch because they didn't want to fill out the paperwork to get their visas, they wanted to do it at the border. It was crazy annoying, and I was embarassed for them. One girl took the form the guy offered her, ripped it in half, crumpled it up, took a bite out of it, and shoved it into her backpack, with a smirky, "Thank you." Okay, she didn't take a bite out of it, but the rest was true. She said things like, "I've never been pushed around in my life, I'm not about to start now." Okay, idiot, why didn't you take care of this prior to ten minutes before the border? I'm so glad we had taken care of our visas prior to the bus trip.

I have third degree burns, so does Andrea. Our sunburn turned to blisters. Awesome huh? I was trying to be super quiet on the morning we left Thailand, and I managed to pop a blister on my back on the doorknob. Oh mama. I bit my lip and closed my eyes and cried inside. Worst pain of my life. Andrea and Becca gauzed me up on the bus ride, it was nasty, and today I bought some iodine patches, can't wait. Glad I have some iodine experience under my belt.

We've buddied it up with some scooter boys here in Cambodia, and they've been taking us around to see the town. We bought passes to enter the park to walk around Angkor Wat and other amazing temples. They are unbelievable, I don't know how to describe them. Apparently Tombraider was filmed here, didn't see that one, but it's like on Jungle Book when Balou goes to save Mowgli from King ... Louis? Temples in ruins, moats, super steep steps, broken statues, men that are part of "Victims of Mines" playing various instruments together. At first I was scared to look, I didn't want to give them money, but I was curious to see missing limbs. One guy had a full-on hole in his knee. There are signs everywhere warning us to stay on the path because there are still mines around. The first time we passed a "Victims of Mines" sign there wasn't anybody on the blanket. I asked Becca where they were, and I literally looked up in the trees, she laughed at me, I don't know what I was thinking, why would they be in the trees?

I think that the temples have been my favorite part of this entire trip. The Allens are nervous when we get to the steps inside the temples, there aren't any safety railings or anything, and Andrea laughed that I monkeyed it on up first thing. It's amazing to stand at the top and look down at the green green surroundings. It is super scary going back down the steps, they're steep, but also super short in width so you have to go down sideways. We went back this morning to see the sunrise, and I climbed up the stairs, but the girls stayed down this time. It's probably a good thing because this was the scariest set yet.

The children bombard you trying to sell books and bracelets and water. It breaks my heart, and I don't want to be mean to them, but one little boy followed us for literally a half an hour repeating, "Three for a dollar. You buy? Where you from? Okay? Three for a dollar..." in a super whiny voice too. It's draining. Becca eventually told him to go away, "Okay, you buy, I go away." So we started asking him questions, and it made me hate him less. His name was Mum, and he knows a lot of capitals. A girl this morning was trying to get me to buy postcards, she was adorable, and I hate that she has to do this job every day. She asked if when I came back if I would buy from her, and I told her maybe (we're not going back), and as I hopped on the scooter she ran up and said, "Lady! Free!" and gave me two bracelets. I smiled and said thank you, and we revved up and left. It was rad, and I really hope we don't see her again because I'll feel obligated to buy something. Maybe I'll just buy some water from her.

Yesterday as we were headed back to our hotel it started raining, then pouring, so scooter boys pulled us off to the side of the road. My boy's scooter slipped in the mud, so I bailed. He laughed at me and clapped when I expertly landed on two feet. We ran and hid under a hut, waiting for the rain to let up / tried to decide what to do. We told our boys that we weren't afraid, let's just head back, we had to do laundry anyway. The rain hit us so hard that I throught for sure I was going to get a fat lip.

This morning we had a 30 km ride to the Pink Rose Temple (Banteay Srei), the countryside was amazing. I'm forever thankful that I don't have to work in the rice fields. I started to get sleepy, we had left at 5 A.M. to catch the sunrise, but Andrea actually fell asleep. She said that she was out, then her boy hit the brakes a little hard, not hard if you were awake, but they were about to go on a bridge, and she slammed her face into the back of his head. She said she hit him so hard her eyes started to water.

I think we're headed to Ho Chi Minh in the morning, I for sure know that we have a seven hour bus ride ahead of us. Can't wait. We were told it wasn't as bumpy as our last ride. We met some ladies today that laughed at us and said, "Just think of the memories you're making ... " (Dra: Just like Mica. Oi vey.) It's true though, cheesy, but they're right. They remind me of Grandma and Luanne, just out creating their own adventures.

Uh oh, over time.


Our elephants weren't too rambunctious, but the group behind us apparently had some difficulties. As we wandered out of the jungle we could hear their elephants trumpeting to each other. It was amazingly terrifying to hear that coming out of the tops of the trees.
This actually went down July 8, 2006, but I wanted to add it to my blog for selfish purposes.

We're sitting at the airport waiting for our next flight to Phuket, a beach city. I can't wait to lay on the beach and have nothing planned. I think we've got a session of snorkeling planned somewhere, I can't remember when or which day. We ended up booking a tour, and we just flew north to a city called Chiang Mai. We rode elephants (not the glamorous, slide-down-his-trunk, play in the river together extravaganza I had in mind, more of a scared for my life, this metal bar is brusing my spine, our elephant's grumpy, one hour ride), visited a local village where I bought this amazing blanket that had taken the lady three weeks to make, I could cry about it, hiked to a waterfall, my camera's battery died, no more pics, I'll have to rely on the others', watched people fall down because it was so slippery, got yelled at by the tour guide because I was jumping from rock to rock while people were gingerly petering their way around all around me, I wasn't "being careful enough", slid down the waterfall on my bum, wanted to hike to a different part of the waterfall and belly down it, but the tour guide wouldn't let me, even though boys were doing it, saw ginormous spiders, floated down the river on a bamboo raft. I pulled an Andrea-in-Bear-Lake and fell off, but didn't really fall off. Becca and I actually did that a couple of times. We had to get out and walk when we came to a waterfall. Our tour guide told us that there are crocodiles in the river, my eyes got huge, my stomach ran away, but turns out he was totally kidding us. I still was wary though, and maybe a little sad that I wouldn't get to see them. But once we were practically sitting in the river, but still on the raft, man I was glad I didn't have to worry about getting my leg death-rolled off. Our tour guide's name was James, and he whipped out idiom after idiom, at first it was funny, then slightly annoying. He had some naughty ones, and he kept telling us that everybody had crushes on us, he did, the elephants did, the driver did ... He asked me if I wanted to learn Thai fighting, "I see you have muscles," as he strokes my arm, "you want to learn? Be a good fighter?" I told him I only fight my brothers, and he asked me how many times I had knocked them out.

We got a two hour Thai massage last night. Not too excited for it when we signed up, but I've got to roll with the group, and at first I was thinking, "I guess this is alright," then it evolved into amazement. It was so so great. We all decided that we'd have to sign up for another one. Becca said that you're not completely relaxed unless you pass gas without warning, guess I wasn't "that" relaxed.

Anyway, I'm doing great, just wasting time. It was so funny this morning, while we waited for our flight to Bangkok we watched people get ready to board, and they had to walk through this little walkway. Well the walkway had a tiny bump, but it was enough to send people supermanning it through the doorway. We sat with our arms crossed and laughed and laughed as passenger after passenger stumbled because they didn't see the incline. The boy in front of us was watching too, he was a little more discrete, his body would move as he laughed, but we were full-on busting up. Then later as we got off the plane when we arrived in Bangkok a passenger pulled this huge plant/stick thing out of the over head compartment and conked that same laughing-boy right in the back of the head. Becca and I laughed pretty hard.
We're off to Phuket to beach it up, I'll continue scouting out internet services.
Sending my love down the well.