Second Entry: Friday the 13th, but who’s superstitious?

Sightseeing in the capital city
I awoke right before the alarm rang, jumped out of bed and got dressed whioh took forever because I don’t know where everything is. My roommate came back from breakfast as I headed out. As I entered the dining room I was greeted with beautiful silver warming trays with lids and glass vases and figurines above then on a ledge. The food choices were quite interesting ranging from broth to pumpkin to flavored hummus.There was no bread of any kind here except a round white dough ball stuffed with pork called a “bowsa.” I chose a boiled egg I peeled, fried rice, and a slice of watermelon.
Needless to say, I was late to meet in the lobby which is frowned upon. As we waited for our ride, I went next door to the bank ( a small glass enclosed room filled with people at kiosks) to find out that my cards wouldn’t work at a kiosk there but I was able to get some money from the director.
We boarded the van and first visited the Emperor’s Summer Palace located on a lake accessed by a boat. The lake was dug by hand by the Emperor’s workers who stacked the dirt up to form a mountain behind it. (See a picture of this on the post.) We walked around the large park surrounding it and learned that the lions which were in several places are always a pair of male (with his foot on top of the world) and a female (with a young lion at her foot.) We walked through part of a long covered walkway built for the Emporess’s walks with pretty paintings on the ceiling.
Next we visited the Temple of Heaven where we had to step over the marble raised threshold because it “kept away evil spirits.” (second picture on post) Some students with their teachers asked if they could take our pictures with them which we did. Later a small group of kids asked me if they could take a picture with me which we did and the oldest girl thanked us in English! I later realized that in such an ethnocentric country that I was really an anomaly with my “blonde” hair. The temple was painted in red, their favorite color, with a cobalt blue roof. The interior housed a wooden throne wth dark wooden walls.
Overall, I’ve found the Asians to be quite polite and kind, giving little gifts when you spend time with them. I also appreciate their modest dress, especially the women’s. Rarely have I seen women wearing shorts, no tank tops, and usuallly. wearing black heels in all settings. I was surprised to see the older men at both locations with the hem of their knit shirts rolled up exposing some of the midriff to cool off. Also, the women wear an “apron,” a quilted drape with arms to hold the handlebars of their scooters, the main form of transportation for all.
The streets were very crowded, even with their version of interstate highways everywhere in the city. The capital appeared to be quite large with 6 concentric rings of roads around the city, but not much of the past remains due to their desire to replace it with more modern streets. However, I did observe a few tree lined streets. There were lots of weeping willows and other trees planted in the parks. Beautiful roses of various colors lined the medians in some downtown areas. Other medians had begonias, daylillies and other familiar plants.
As we were walking in the city, we encountered construction areas where the dirt smelled like sewage, so much that I gagged at the first one. Extensive smog and clouds made the skyline appear hazy or smoky most of the day. Even though the smog blocked the sunlight somewhat, it was still very humid and hot. The body odor of males in groups smelled like onions, grease and sweat. Unpleasant.
Big napkins are nonexistent in restaurants. The nicer ones have round tables with a glass Lazy Susan which holds all the dishes servered family style. I learned early on that only the quick get to eat, because when the food’s gone, the meal’s over. Soup was served with every meal, even breakfast. And there were small ceramic spoons and smalll bowls for it. The majority of the meal was eaten with chopsticks and we’ve taken to spearing some items that are practically impossible to obtain otherwise.
At night I noticed lots of signs lit up in red, with some hotels, restaurants and stores having English translations underneath.
Next, join me for the first English camp.

carol t dean trip to asia

My Journal of Trip to Asia July 2018

This is my first time to ever go to Asia so you might ask, why would you want to go at age 66 if you’ve not been your whole life? And the answer is a calling from my Lord, plain and simple.. It all started over a year ago when Ed, a good friend of ours, passed away from lung cancer. Although I’d not attended a funeral since my mother’s 4 years ago, I felt compelled to go to Ed’s because of our friendship with him and his wife and because I’d been asked to help with the meal we serve the family at church before the funeral service.

So I was there doing what I could to prepare the food and welcome the family members when the founders of PI joined the family because Ed had traveled with them for at least 30 years as a talented musician in their jazz band they use for sharing all over the world now. While they were there I felt a strong sense of the Holy Spirit leading me to dig down deep to find the courage to approach them and ask if there were any places in their ministry where I could be of help. They welcomed me so I spent the next few weeks going through the application process. Initially, I was asked to go to South Africa with the foreign education group, but due to a previous commitment with my daughter and her family, i was unable to. The director then asked me to go to Asia which I readily accepted knowing that when God opens a door, I need to go through it.

I’d love to say and “now here i am!” But that would be too easy and untrue. In March of this year I went to DisneyWorld with my daughter, son-in-law and three adorable grandchildren. The last time I’d gone was when said daughter was only 3 and now she’s in her mid-thirties, so that was a while ago. But I’m a firm believer in the old adage, Time passes quickly when you’re having fun.

So to say I embarked on the trip with unrealistic expectations would be an understatement of epic proportions. With the notable exception of having problems walking because of a sudden pain in my right hip causing me to follow my son-in-law’s suggestion of using a giant ice pack for the 9 hours or so of car travel, I continued to envision skipping through the Magic Kingdom as I’d done when I was in my early 20’s and had first visited DisneyWorld with my parents and grandmother. We spent the first night in a local motel so the parents could surprise my grandchildren the next morning with their first day at MK. We got up early, drove the few miles to the MK and toured the whole kingdom all day until the rain in the early evening caused us to go back to our rooms and unpack. All during the week I helped my daughter with their 2 year old toddler by scooping her up from the stroller when she wanted holding and running after her while the others enjoyed more exciting rides. I almost forgot the 10 miles per day of walking quickly through the various kingdoms. After 3 days I noticed the soles of my feet were numb, my first three fingers of each hand were numb and my hip pain would visit me at the most inopportune times. But, I just shrugged it off because I still thought I was 21 and bullet-proof as the saying goes.

Upon returning home after our Disney experience I’d love to report that my phantom pains said “adios” but no such luck. I was stuck with them. I did the usual search for a diagnosis by visiting the orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to discover that I had “severe” nerve damage due to carpal tunnel only to be relieved by surgery. I kept wailing to doctors, nurses, family and friends that I just couldn’t because I had the Asia trip upcoming and just didn’t have time for surgery. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Thankfully, my third orthopedic surgeon, the one who specializes in hands, gave me a shot of steroids in both wrists, prescribed Ibuprofen for pain, and told me he thought I could delay surgery until after the trip.

So, thank you, Lord, He provided for safe travels and minimal pain for the excursion. Asia, here I come!