Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bingin Beach, Bali

Written on Sunday, January 31st: Mariella and I had a great six days hanging out at Bingin Beach. We met many wonderful people who were vacationing and working on the beach. I (Craig) loved snorkeling each day. The beauty of the creatures living on the reef is breathtaking. Today our French and Austrian friends were kind enough to drive us to an orphanage 1.5 hours north of where we were staying. Our new friends own and operate a crepe restaurant in France. We hope to try their crepes one day. Thanks guys for letting us hangout with you. We were greeted at the orphanage by Dewa a friend of our friends Sacramento. He gave us a tour of the orphanage and organized our stay for the next five days. We hope to love on the kids and help them with their school work. Check out the orphanage web page and facebook: Mariella and I are really enjoying the Balinese people and their culture.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beautiful Bali!

We arrived safely in beautiful Bali. Thank you Jesus! Mariella and I went to the busy tourist town of Kuta for the first night of our stay. It was crowded and the beach did not appeal to us. The next day we took a taxi south to Bingin. We are staying at a beautiful beach hut run by a Frenchman. Charlie and Christy thank you for recommending this paradise. Awesome! Wayan, Juniati and their daughter smiled wide when I told them about knowing you guys. There are less than thirteen visitors on the whole stretch of beach. Luckily it is the offseason and there are not many surfers because the break is not great this time of year. The “Dreamland” break is just to the north of us and the “Impossibles” break is to the south. We’ve met some nice people during our stay. We’ve spent a good amount of time with a family visiting from England. A highlight for me was spear fishing with Chris (the Dad). We went out night spear fishing yesterday and also this morning. I speared my first fish! Nice! We gave to fish to the grateful locals. We hope to stay in this location five to seven days. We will be in the Bali area for about one month. The warm weather, beaches and snorkeling are great. We only wish we could teleport the ones we love to this location with us. It would be so much better to share this tropical paradise. We need to put on more sunblock. Check out the photo of the sun burn. Ouch! This world is a beautiful creation and we thank the creator for the gift given us.

More Photos:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Looking Forward to the Beaches in Bali

We leave our friends in Cambodia and head to Bali tomorrow. We hope to spend some time on a beach called Bingin near the surfbreak called "Dreamland". Praying for safe travels. We are not sure if there will be internet access. We will keep you updated as we can.

Last of the Cambodia Photos:
Mariella and Jenny made some good salsa. We had fun cruising the streets of Phnom Penh on Jenny's moto. A group of us went dancing at a club the evening before which was a good warm up for church the next morning. The gathering of Cambodians were singing and dancing for Jesus with great joy. Thank you Jenny and Aimee for an enjoyable and encouraging time with you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Cambodian Street Workout...

This evening we walked down the street to Olympic Stadium. Mariella and Jenny got a nice workout before the sunset. The other photos are from tuk-tuk rides and hanging out by the riverside. Jenny does pretty good driving with three of us on the moped motorcycle. We pray before during and after each outing on the street. Craziness!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Around Town

Here are some photos of the country side when we went from the Northern town of Siem Reap to the southern city of Phnom Penh. We've had fun motorcycle rides. Usually the taxi drivers get lost when we ask them to take us somewhere (language barrier!) There are a couple photos of other moto drivers helping our moto driver find the Australian Embassy. Mariella received an Australian visa.

Our friends work with two human rights organizations that fight human trafficking in Cambodia. There is significant sex trafficking in Cambodia and other East Asian Countries. I.J.M. works to prosecute sex offenders and helps free young women, often enslaved as sex workers. One organization is called International Justice Mission (I.J.M.) and the other is called Chab Dai.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We arrived safely to Phnom Penh and are visiting with our friends Jenny, whom Mariella knows from Fullerton and Aimee, whom I know from Sacramento. We emailed them seperately knowing that both live in Phnom Penh. After they received our emails they replied back and said they are roomates. Luckily the girls did not need to argue long about what visiting couple would be staying with them. The couple was the one in the same (same, same!) What a small world!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bike Ride to Angkor Wat

Mariella was nice enough to take care of some house hold duties via the World Wide Web while I took a bike ride out to the temples. Here are some snapshots. Tomorrow we plan on taking a 6 hour bus ride south to Phnom Penh to visit some friends living and working there.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Angkor Wat, Day Two

Same area, same clothes, different day! At night there are 12 inch long geckos that eat the bugs by the lamp light. The trees growning out of the Ta Prohm temple were fascinating. A few scenes from Indian Jones were filmed here. We enjoyed sitting on a rock with the locals and tourists while eating bananas and watching people fish. Here are some shots...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Angkor Wat Temples

The temples are very large and beautiful. A setting out of the "Jungle Book" or Indiana Jones. We hired a tuk-tuk for the day. The most people we've seen on a motor bike at one time is six people. Loving the warm weather and friendly Cambodians.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia

We arrived in Bangkok at 1:30 am on Thursday morning. We decided to sleep in the airport after exiting the plane. We woke up later that morning to clear customs and then to catch a bus. We found a bus departing from the airport to the Thai border. Upon arrival at the boarder we were confronted with a bunch of guys telling us how to go through the boarder. You cannot trust anyone. Eventually we found the boarder crossing and exited Thailand. When arriving to Cambodia one would expect the Cambodian boarder crossing agents to be helpful. They were not and charged more than is posted. They charged $24 US instead of the $20 US posted on the sign right above the window. Crazy! Upon getting visa stickers and stamps we were welcomed into Cambodia by a bunch more guys trying to rip us off. Luckily we teamed up with another couple and split a taxi ride. We went from the boarder to Siem Reap (about 3 hours). The driver stopped once at the shop where it appears he was working with. The shop owner was very nice to us when we arrived. I decided to leave her shop and buy bananas next door. When I came back eating them she was mean, so mean. She told me to not throw the banana peels in her garbage. I asked if she preferred that I throw them on the ground. That response did not "appeel" to her. We hope to visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat today. Angkor Wat is the largest religious bilding in the world. I believe it was built for the Hindu diety, Vishnu. Our first tuk-tuk ride was entertaining. I will try to post video soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Terra-Cotta Warriors

Wow! We just returned home after taking a two hour bus ride from the Warriors. The bus was jam packed with people. My head was strategically wedged against the window to catch the occasional breath of fresh air. Mariella was five pancaked people away from me. Occasionally I would hear Mariella yelling, "are you still on the bus?" Craziness! Some how we made it back and got off on the correct stop. Pretty good for not being able to read anything. The visit to the Terra-Cotta Warriors was unique.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three Self Church

Today Mariella and I visited a Three Self Church. It is the Christian Church sanctioned by the Chinese government. The service and Bible study we went to was in English and Chinese. It was an interesting and freezing experience. I will attach a photo of Mariella in her giant parka. It was great a transformational time of studying the good book, sharing and praying together. In the next couple days we plan on seeing the Terracotta Warriors before flying to Bangkok, Thailand. Other pictures in this slide show are of a visit to the history museum. Oh, we also were in a public bus when a van crashed into us. We we jolted forward when the bus driver slammed on his breaks, but not enough to throw us out of the seats. It was entertaining watching the bus driver and the van driver yell at each other. After ten minutes the bus driver jumped back in and we were on our way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Xi'an, China

We landed in Xi’an today at 12:30. Our friend Daniel, who teaches at a university welcomed us at the airport. After a 50 minute bus ride we entered the center of the city through the giant outer-wall surrounding the city center. We walked around and watched kites, gazed upon the drum tower and meandered the Muslim quarter. Daniel treated us to guan tang baozi, steamed dumplings filled with soup and meat then dipped in different sauces. The dumplings are taste fantastic. Mariella was stopped by two parents who were coaxing their daughter to practice her English with Mariella. I took a photo of Mariella and the little one. For dinner we had da pan gi (meaning a big plate of chicken). The stuff was, Wow! The chicken is served on a giant plate all cut up. It reminded me of a stew with all the broth drained except for the bottom inch of the serving plate. The chicken was mixed with potatoes, garlic, bell peppers and then a heaping bowl of noodles is dumped on top. Once you eat the noodles and make a dent in the chicken they come by and dump another steaming bowl of noodle on-top of what is left. Sooooo good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bye, Bye, Beijing

Flying from Beijing to Xi'an to visit a friend. We had a blast with the Fadling family. Thanks you!

From China, Beijing4

From China, Beijing5

Monday, January 4, 2010

Record Snowfall In Beijing

The papers are reporting a record snowfall in Beijing (a whole 12 inches). Here are some photos. We walked with the girls to the local Hutong for heaping bowls of noodle soup costing a total of two dollars. It was piping hot and good.

We also received a phone call from their school. School is canceled tomorrow. The girls celebrated loudly when they heard the news.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sent the Kids to School, but there is No School Today. Oops!

So Mariella worked tirelessly with Savannah and Shania on their homework last night. Lunches were packed and school clothes were picked out for the next morning. We woke the girls up at 6:30 am and assisted them with getting ready for school. Then we sent them hurriedly out the door to walk to their bus. By the way, they had to walk through the the foot and a half of fresh snow. Twenty-five minutes passed before to very cold crying girls came back through the door. They were sad because they missed the bus. They were crying because their feet were wet and frozen. When they took off their shoes and socks the socks stood straight up like a mold of their feet and ankle. We gathered some information them through intense questioning. Did you walk to the right place? Did you wait where your bus normally picks you up? Could the bus be late because of the recent snow fall? Did you stop to talk to or pet and dogs? We ended up checking out the school website. It turns out there is a teacher training day. School actually starts tomorrow. Oops! Sorry girls. At least they got some good exercise walking through the snowdrifts. : )

We'll try it again tomorrow. There should be a bus tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Said Goodbye to the Children at Shepherd's Field

We said goodbye to the kiddos. Here are some photos of the last couple days. A couple days ago we visited the house where children do not get many visitors because they are quarantined off. Most of them have heart problems. Many are recovering from recent surgeries. There is a constant need for donations used for surgeries. Last night it snowed lightly. We are still chillin' in Beijing. We are watching the girls for a few more days while their parents fly south for a short vacation in 80 degree weather. I believe the projected high is twelve degrees and the low is negative four. We are feel blessed with each new day on this journey.