Possibly even more than Thai curry, and I didn't know that was possible! It's just delightful! That being said, I'm going to try to be as brief as I can, while still giving everyone a decent update.
The rest of our time in Phuket was most enjoyable. We took a trip out to Phi Phi island (where, as everyone loves to note, "The Beach" was filmed, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. I get it. I didn't see it. Move on.) and we hiked to the highest point and got a glimpse of the best view of the isthmus that connects the two main parts of the island. The next day we went to the zoo and saw a lot of things that wouldn't happen in America. All the animals were behind chain-link fences. There was a crocodile show and the dude put his head in a croc's mouth, we got our pics taken with a tiger, and an elephant almost sat on Princess.
Next stop was Chiang Mai. I'm a big fan. We spent the first two days on a crazy trek adventure outside of the city that included hiking about 18K over some mountains and through some rice paddies and under a waterfall, sleeping in a bamboo hut under mosquito nets, taking a ride on some elephants, and going down a river on a bamboo raft. We went with a few other people from the UK/Australia, all great people. They were also fascinated by how "short" American vacations are. Each of them was out for at least 4 months.
Next day we found a local massage therapist who gave us a crash course in arm and back massage. (It was supposed to be a week-long course but we talked her down to three hours. Yay for capitalism!) We also went to a Buddhist university and spent awhile helping the monks practice their English. We were basically just drilling them about Buddhism because we knew nothing about it. It was fascinating! There are a lot of truths to their philosophy. Too bad about that whole part where they don't believe in God. We went to a cultural dinner thing that night and we got to watch some traditional Thai dances, and at one point they got me up on the stage dancing with them. :o)
This is all aside from the massages. We've gotten a few. Never paid more than $9. I'm a fan of the Thai style, but I think Swedish is favorite. In my humble opinion. We also took out our braids because someone informed us that it really damages your hair - especially if you're white because your hair isn't as strong. That's great. It was fun while it lasted. I'm pretty sure my hair is thinner now.
Now we're in Cambodia. Throughout our time here, we've been reading this book, "First They Killed my Father," about the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge and what happened to the people of Cambodia during that time. We just finished it on the flight over here and it has added a lot of depth to this leg of the trip. I don't think I'd make it a book club book, but it was pretty fascinating and very informative. Plus, it is told from the perspective of a 5-year-old, so it's free of propaganda. But I digress. Today we went to see Angkor Wat and WOW!! I usually get bored pretty fast with historical landmarks (although, yes, this is one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world), but we were having a great time exploring! Basically, it's a huge Hindu temple. The stone carvings are plentiful and intricate. There is a figure of one of their gods that appears over 1800 times, and is doing something different in each one. Now the place is also full of stone Buddhas and other reminders that Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist.
We tried to go to church today because there is a Siem Reap branch that is supposedly only a couple miles away. Well...streets don't really have names here off the main road - they're just parts of different villages and if you don't live there (and often even if you do), navigating is impossible. Especially since this branch was probably just at someone's house instead of in an actual church, so it wasn't so easy to find. We made our tuk-tuk guy drive around for an hour and we asked half a dozen people for assistance and got different answers every time. No luck. It was a valiant attempt and we both contented ourselves that we were there in spirit.
Now here are some random interesting things I've noticed:
*People drive in the right side of the car and on the left side of the road in Thailand. Cambodia is American-style. Also, cars here don't have heating - only air conditioning.
*American music is prevalent, but they're a little behind. I've heard The Cranberries' "Zombie" five times.
*I've seen people wearing surgical masks outside everywhere we've gone. Bad air, I guess?
*It's offensive in Thailand to let the soles of your feet show.
*It took six men to get my Cambodian visa. One to staple my pic to the application, one to take my money, one to put the visa in my passport, one to stamp it, one to sign it, and one to hand it to me. There's efficiency for you.
*Cambodia accepts American dollars everywhere, and more often than not the dollar price is listed instead of the Cambodian money (riel), which is weird.
We uploaded more pics to the same album as last time, so you've already seen the beginning of this, but keep watching to see the latest at the end!
A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.
From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.
In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.
Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.
Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.
We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.
As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.