We managed to rest up after the Christmas craziness and prepped for the next leg of our journey in Thailand, the beach!
We all loaded up in a hired van and drove for about 3 hours to Rayong. The trip provided us the opportunity for most of us to have McDonald's for the first time outside the US. The trip over was pretty demanding on some of our stomachs, the Expressway within Bangkok was the worst with the constant shifts in elevation and very soft suspension making it sick for me and Mom. We joined up with Chris and Dora Barbie (Yes that is their last name!) along with their baby daughter Natalie who are serving in Northern Thailand to spend the next 2 days in Rayong, a beach town off the Gulf.
Luckily we managed to get there without much incident or delay and we also got to see some of Thailand's beautiful mountains along the way. If you ever get to see our pictures, you'll love how lush and green it is.
When we arrived at our Hostel we were absolutely blown away by how beautiful the building was. There aren't a lot of words I could use that could describe, other than the fact that it looked like it was part tree house. The lobby was outdoors along with several meeting areas around the hostel, simply put it was awesome. I can't say the same about the bed, as it was a back breaker. But it is one of the most memorable places I have ever stayed in.
After unpacking all of our gear we immediately set off for the beach, which was right across the main road from the Hostel. We might as well have just dropped all of our stuff and just jumped in. The cool and clear ocean water and roaring waves made all of us forget that it was the height of the winter season back home where is was probably cold and rainy. After some time in the water we hit up a nearby beach side restaurant and savored some local foods like fried shrimp. Andy and Chris found the food to be subpar and felt that we could've done better. So with that challenge in mind we all packed into Chris' pickup (Thai style) and drove to the ferry pier. Along the way we drove through the bustling nightlife of Ban Phe, which included a massive wedding party with Karaoke going on in one building and partying going on in others. When we got to the pier we found a seafood restaurant with no one else there but us and ordered up a family style dinner (also referred to as Thai style) and ate down on some Thai food goodness. From the Pad Thai that blew everyone away (even missionaries who live here) to coconut milk soup to spicy squid, we didn't hold back. Needless to say, I think we hit the awesome margin on the food scale.
We drove back to the Hostel and it was pretty clear that the beach managed to suck the energy out of everyone today. Tomorrow we plan to enjoy the beach some more and begin a discussion on a book talking about the Sabbath. Should be fun!