Monday, June 20, 2011

Adventures in Thailand: Food, Family, Fun

We had lots of good food and family fun during our time in Thailand. My mouth is just watering for more good Thai food. We had such a fun time playing, swimming, eating, talking, touring around Phayao and just being together. We'll start with a recap of some of our food experiences. Soooo good!

This was our favorite restaurant in Phayao. It sits looking out over Lake Phayao and has great food. We feasted on lime slushes (my fave, Sonic's got nothing on these! They are awesome!) passion fruit slushes, lightly battered morning glory, rice, chicken wrapped in banana leaves, stir-fryed vegetables, some soup Derran ordered that had fresh shrimp with the eyes, legs and tails still on them. I did not partake of this one. I'm not a seafood girl and the last time I tried something that Rick told me was "not fishy at all" I started dry-heaving in the restaurant. Awkward. So I passed on the soup because I didn't want a repeat dry-heaving experience and I just don't eat things that have eyes staring back at me out of a bowl.

This was our other favorite little place to get food. It's just a roadside stall set up outside of Lotus, which is the Thai version of our Wal-mart store. They make the best smoked chicken, sticky rice and som-tham which is a salad type dish made from thinly sliced papaya with lots of added spices. Delicious!!

Who needs a grill when all you really need is a metal barrel or trash can cut in half, something to put it on and some hot coals. Walah! You've got the best smoked chicken in town. I wish this guy was set up outside my Walmart, I would go there every week!

Making the som-tham. Yummy!

Ann ordering our food

While we were there we got to be a part of their team's taste-testing their brick oven pizza. Hallelujah! The Carders loooove pizza so we were more than happy to test out some different kinds of pizza. Ann and Derran and their team are opening up a pizza restaurant in Phayao this summer as part of their ministry and work there. You can read more about their ministry and vision for the restaurant by clicking here. So amazing!

Derran and Rick manning the brick oven ( their team built this oven themselves, very impressive!)

Ann helping measure out the cheeses

Chris making a pizza

Eva and Ella loved the pizza!! Delicious!

One night we were there we had a fun gender reveal party for Ann and Derran's baby number 3. We were so happy to be able to be in Thailand when they found out what they were having and we celebrated with a fun party and lots of yummy food...brisket made in the brick oven, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, corn and lots of cupcakes! Click here to read about the party and to see a short, fun video of the big reveal!

The girls favorite place to eat was KFC. Why would you eat here when you've got all this great food around?? Every so often when they kids had just had enough peanut butter and jelly (which is all Eva ate the entire time we were there, I don't think she tried Thai food once) we would take the kids to KFC which is inside Lotus, their Wal-mart store. Let the stare-fest and rubbernecking begin. Oh my goodness! It was just too much for 4 little blonde and blue-eyed girls to be walking around when there are really just a handful of foreigners in all of Phayao. People would stand at the window in crowds to stare and take pictures of the girls while they ate their lunch. Hilarious! Either the girls didn't seem to notice or they are experts at ignoring people. The drew lots of attention on our many trips to Lotus!

At the end of our trip we spent two days in Chiang Mai before we left and had lots of fun there. More to come about that. But we also ate at some great places, one being a Mexican food restaurant of all things. It really was so good!

Mexican food in northern Thailand...who knew?

Of course it wouldn't be a trip to Chiang Mai without stopping at Dunkin' Donuts a few times! Mmmm. Love it!

Our other favorite place was a restaurant called Lemon Tree. I was in heaven with my lime slush and stir-fryed vegetables. Yumm-o!

This picture makes my heart swell! Can you believe it?? Here is little Ella Hope Carder across the world in Thailand eating Thai food! Is this the same child that almost 3 years ago was laying in a bed in the NICU waiting for her stomach to be put back in her body? Is this the same child who had a feeding tube for most of her short life so far? Is this the same child who didn't eat anything and vomited everything for the first year of her life? Is it?? I'm in awe and a big lump is in my throat just thinking about it all and thanking God for what He's done in Ella's life. I could never have imagined that Ella would be able to sit at a table in another country, feeding tube free, no safety nets and eat Thai food. God is so good! Let this be a testimony to the goodness of our Lord. Wow!

On to family and fun! We played alot at Derran and Ann's house and the girls just had a great time building pillow forts, playing baby dolls, having tea parties and swimming. Lots of good cousin time, that will have to be another post.

Swimming and playing in the water in the front yard. Pretty much consisted of Eva hogging the water hose to wash her bike, Brynn and Ella just having a great time and Meg sulking in her tub of water. Hilarious!

When we weren't swimming we went to the market, walked around the aquarium and of course took many trips to Lotus. :) I guess if you don't have a Target to stroll around then Lotus is the next best option.

Eva checking out the goods at the Phayao market

Rick checking out the dried fish. Shooooey! I love Thai markets because you've got the umbrella stall right next to the fresh shrimp or you can pick up a new watch and at the same time get yourself some dried squid or fish at the vendor right next to it. Love it! I don't love the smell though. They've got anything and these fabulous shoes!

Are these not the greatest?? If you can't tell they have like big toes with claws on them. I spotted these on a grown woman at Lotus and told Ann I needed to know asap where we could buy some. I think the lady at the market probably thought I was crazy since I bought 10 pairs in different colors. Guess what friends and family got for souvenirs from Thailand? That's right, "Dragon shoes" as the girls called them for everyone! It's so funny because you will see grown men at the mall, on their motorcycles, at the construction site and they will be wearing pink "dragon shoes." Awesome!

Here's the circus all walking in to Lotus for a little KFC. So cute and what a sight!

I love this one of Ella! Precious with her little umbrella and heels!

And here we are at the aquarium. Fun and interesting...

Aren't the fish beautiful?? Wait, can you not see them? Is this not hilarious? Ann took us down to this outdoor underwater tunnel part of the aquarium to look at some dirty water and maybe catch some shadows of a fish as they swam by. Oh man, so great. You cannot see the fish at all. You might get lucky to catch a glimpse of a shadow of one if they swim close enough to the glass every once and while. I'm telling you if you're ever in Phayao, the outdoor section of the aquarium is a must-see! :)

Oh, such good times! We are missing Thailand so much everyday. The girls talk about Brynn and Meg and how they miss them everyday! So thankful for such great memories together.

You better not be tired of Thailand stories because we've got elephant rides and more cousin time still to document!


Jodi said...

OH my gosh, loving every single bit of these posts!! Keep 'em comin'!!! :) What fabulous memories!!!

leslie said...

loved.every.word. and love you!

Nancy Giurlanda said...

Love looking at the great pictures and reading about your time in Thailand, I love your stories !! Brynn, Meg, Eva and Ella are all beautiful just like their mommies. Sending my love to all of you. xoxo

Kelly said...

Loving your posts. And I LOVE those shoes...hilarious!

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