The little elephants put on a show!

After we had a ride on the big elephants we were able to view the talents of the young elephants.

This 8 year old elephant did a great job painting.

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How fun to watch!

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I was thrilled to buy one of her originals for $15.00.

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They also played some soccer.

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Look at the talent of these young elephants.  Brought back memories of  teaching my students to play an instrument and dance.

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It felt wild and wonderful standing this close to feel their breath.

My feet have never felt so good!!

Over the last 5 days my feet have received some tender pampering of which they are all a first time happening.

First a pedicure in Beijing to get Glitter Toes for the summer. This photo overlooking the pool and the ocean.

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Boy, do they sparkle under the sun.

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Always up for an adventure, I had to talk Mark into trying this one.

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Why? you ask, do I want to have fish nibble on my toes!      Extraordinary… Refresheshing….Exfoliating…. Relaxing…

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Fisho Treatment using only the genuine doctor fish consist of the following procedures:

1.Body cleaning-exfoliation (removal of dead skin cells.) Note: this method is not painful because fishes have no teeth.

2. Micro -massage  (which reaches the deepest skin layers while improving blood circulation, thus the skin is better supplied with the oxygen, and as the outcome it becomes smoother and softer)

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What a tickling sensation to my tender tootsies!!!  Words cannot fully describe the nibbling feeling.

And today, we had a Thai body massage out near the ocean. It had just finished raining so a cool breeze flowed the whole time we had the massage. In addition to massaging  they stretch and bend your legs which felt wonderful.

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My feet and my body say “Thankyou” or “Kob Khun Ka” in Thai. I learned a couple words :)

I am sad to leave Thailand,as it has been a wonderful relaxing vacation. I have a feeling we will come back.

Snorkeling in the Phi Phi Islands

Today it rained and rained and rained, but we were in our swimsuits so a good day for it to rain.

We boarded a boat to go out to the islands and made the wrong decision by sitting at the back, because the water just rolled off the canvas roof right into Mark and my lap and face. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t covered ourselves with sunscreen that stung our eyes when the water dripped down our foreheads. Oh well, at least it was warm outside.

We made our first stop at Maya Bay where the movie “Beach” was filmed a few years ago. The sun came out.

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Look at that dark sky behind the mountains.

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Everything was so green!

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The water was warm to snorkel in which felt so good in contrast to the cool rain. There were small fish everywhere and when we held a piece of bread  underwater in our hands they just swarmed around us. I have never been that close to the fish but when they started to nibble a little too much on my hand, I let the bread go.  So, probably the most fish I have seen but because of the inclement weather the water was not really clear.

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This is a cave where swallows build their bird nests, which are collected and sold to make the famous expensive Chinese bird’s nest soup.

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We then stopped at monkey bay to feed the monkeys bananas.  We did not get out of the boat as they are not the friendliest animals to visit.

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We were not able to stop at the last beach because of the rain, but all in all a fun day.

I am still planning on showing the elephant painting in a couple days.

Riding an elephant in Phuket Thailand

Today I realized a dream as I rode on an elephant for the first time in my life. This took place on a mountain side in Phuket Thailand where Mark and I are spending a few day to relax.

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It was a little scary at first as I didn’t realize we would be around 10 feet off the ground.  It isn’t what you call a smooth ride with the elephant swaying from side to side.

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We were lucky to get the biggest female elephant out of 22 at the Siam Safari! How could I not love her with the name of Watermelon.

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You can see how much taller she stands compared to the one beside her.

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Her trunk was enormous.

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She worked up quite an appetite after our 40 minute trek around the park, so she devoured all the fruit so quickly that I could hardly hand it to her fast enough. Some of the fruit  she ate was watermelon, bananas, and pineapple.

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Since we were up in the mountains the weather was pleasant, so a very enjoyable day.

Wait till you see the picture I purchased that the baby elephant painted :)

On a mission to find a book store!

How many people does it take to find a bookstore in a 6 block radius in Beijing when I have the name,  address, and phone number in Chinese???

Today it took 12.

I started asking questions at Dairy Queen while I enjoyed my Blizzard before the hunt started. I was told the direction which I kind of knew so off I headed.  After a couple blocks showed the address to which the 2 men didn’t know so I continued down the street. Stopped at a nice massage place where the girl spoke English and was told I had come to far, and that the store was upstairs on a second floor. So back I turn and walk a couple blocks and stop at a convenience store where the clerk asks a young women who is in her PJ’s at 4 in the afternoon and just happens to be buying some watermelon. She can speak a little English and asks for my phone and calls for directions. We then walk up to an old apartment building where I think she lives. We have to buzz to get in which I think is weird and ask again, is this it?. She says yes and says get in the elevator which I do apprehensively and pushes 2 for me and 3 for her. When we get to 2 she says down that way so I get off and she continues on.. I walk down the delapitated hallway feeling my nerves and my body saying  this is not right. Decide to go down the cement steps but at the bottom to open the door you need a key. Some panic sets in as I climb back up the stairs and locate the elevator I came up on. Get in and push the button to go down. I rush out of the elevator to find the big door doesn’t open at first but find a small button to push and the door opens. Relief fills my body, along with sweat as it is hot humid day to begin with. For a moment I thought just forget about the book store as I had been looking for 45 minutes, when I walked by a young man sitting on a bench and looked to be studying so I figured he must know some English. (He also looked like Oscar!) He spoke some English and walked with me and made a phone call and voila, there it was behind the building with steps leading up to it. After a number of thank yous I walked around the corner to find it.

After all that, they had one of the three books I wanted so I got out my money and bought the book and left. Stopped across the street for a McDonald’s cheeseburger to calm my nerves and celebrate my bravery for the search for the “Bookworm”. Now I am ready for a nap.

Expo (World) Fair in Shanghai

Mind your manners the article stated for your trip to Expo.

This text message was sent to people entering the Expo explaining the six”nos” of the Expo: no cutting in lines, no littering, no smoking, so swearing, no vandalism, and no scrambling for free gifts.

Here are some of the pictures that Connie and Lorie took.

The Expo in China is really a big deal as this is the first time an Expo is being held in a developing country. They hope to have over 400,000 people daily to visit over 150 pavilions from different countries.  So, huge lines were expected to enter the pavilions with the longest line taking  9 hours to get into the Saudi Arabia Pavilion. The newspaper articles said to expect to visit 5 pavilions so we were more than happy after we visited 10 in one day.

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You can see that all the paviolins were very different and each unique to their country.IMG_0131

Exotic Food from the friendship tour

Enjoy the picture candy of the food that we experienced on our trip.

Hot Pot (we each got a boiling pot of broth that we put meat, mushrooms… to cook)

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This we just looked at, bee cocoon, water beetles, long horn beetles, centipedes, silk worms.

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This was Connie and Lorie’s favorite meal. Connie and I had the pork, Lorie termite or ant eggs.

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Donkey meat

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Steamed fish

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They had to try chicken feet!!

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This sweet potato looked almost too good to eat, it was delicious.

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Pork mixture that you filled in the buns.

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Dong Bei noodles

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Lily bulbs, from the flower

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Won-ton soup

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Boiled peanuts, such a different texture

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Beans and dates (Simon said they were especially good for women!)

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Poutine (a Canadian dish we ate at Expo, french-fries with gravy and cheese curds)

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Happy Father’s Day

Today was a day of celebration for fathers all over the world, including Canada for my dad, Mark, and a special first Father’s Day for Simon.

Simon was told by a fortune teller many years ago that in the year of his 33rd birthday his wife would give birth to his first son. His beautiful healthy son was born on June 14th, unfortunately for me in a city quite a distance from Changzhi so I can only wait for a few months to hold the little bundle of joy.

Simon on his 33rd birthday.

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Congratulations Simon and Wendy on the birth of your son. Will just have to wait to see some pictures.

Also a special thanks to Simon for all the help he gave me in making all the plane reservations for my friends visit.

Mom and dad with their happy family Chinese decoration.

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I would like to wish my father a Happy Father’s Day and thank him for everything he has done for me over the years….

he brought joy to his 4 young daughters by building a play house in the backyard that was filled with amusement all summer long

he fixed our bikes so we always had a way to get around

he made an ice rink in our small backyard every winter so we didn’t have to walk to far to skate

he was always there to take me for my early morning work shifts at Tim Horton’s and pick me up from my late shifts at McDonald’s

he sang exquisitely at my wedding

he looks forward to washing my car and doing the yard work when he comes for a visit

Thanks for all the good years and looking forward to your visit for Patricia’s wedding.

I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to my husband who has brought me so far from home and works hard to make my life happy. I am filled with joy that I could be here with him for this special day. Last year the holiday was spent with the kids and hopefully lots more in the future.

In order to celebrate we thought we should have a barbecue so we pulled out our package of “5” Hormel hot-dogs  from the freezer that we were saving for a special occasion. What a party!!

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You just have to love our table. Good thing Xueer is saving for recycling.

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The hot-dogs were delicious, the weather was agreeable, and Mark heard from our children so a meaningful day for all of us.

A ride through the Hutongs on a rickshaw

After touring the Drum Tower we took and enjoyable ride around the old part of Beijing.  In a rickshaw, we rode through the city’s alleyways (hutong) which weave across much of central Beijing. Typically running east to west, hutongs are created by the walls of the courtyard houses. Many people still live here now and open their homes for tourists.

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This man just stopped and waited for us to take his picture.

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Very narrow alleyways.

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A visit with a family who lives in the hutongs.

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A lesson on what a family needs in the hutongs.

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Visiting in her entry room.

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One more cute child

Last night when we were out for dinner this little guy was walking around the restaurant. He barely stopped moving so I was happy to get these pictures.

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What a happy baby. Love the hair cut.

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He was checking out our pear juice.

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