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This is rural Cambodia. My family and I went here this weekend to visit kids at an orphanage that a fellow teacher started up 5 years ago. There is a actually a site right in Bangkok, Thailand, near where we live that helps children of Cambodian and Burmese constructions workers, and we visited the local centers in Cambodia itself. It was just an hour or so flight from Bangkok, and really the countryside wasn't that much different from the parts of rural Thailand that I've been to, but there is so much more poverty in Cambodia. Cambodia is a third world country, while Bangkok is considered a first world city in a second world country, and boy could I tell the difference! I had a lot to think about, especially after just having read Renee's recent thoughtful post about Walking Each Other Home.
Like many north Americans, I have had an obsession with Tiny Houses during the last 5 or so years. I thought they'd be a fabulous way to downsize. I can picture hubby and I in one after the kids are grown, maybe in Idaho. After moving to southeast Asia, I realized many people live in them not by choice. I have seen all sorts of creative "tiny homes" in Bangkok and outside of Bangkok. Living in a packing crate isn't new, apparently, but decorating them so they star in magazines back in the states is. In the tiny homes I see here, there may or may not be furniture in them, and there may or may not be running water or electricity available. In THESE tiny houses - there are actually two here - there is no electricity nor running water. But they haven't rigged it with solar, nor do they have any fancy rain catchment system. They definitely didn't order home decor from Amazon. They live here in rural Cambodia in total poverty, walking their three cattle around to feed, tending to rice paddies around them. I love how the house in the back has some accent paint color. Maybe I will copy it some day in my own tiny house! Wish I could have gotten closer, but a lady was out with her daughter and some cattle, so I felt awkward doing that.
You don't need to go too far outside of Bangkok to see the lushness of central Thailand. This was the setting for our family end-of-summer trip to an awesome water park. The outdoor adventurer in me struggles with living in a large city (14 million people!) in a developing country with mildewy concrete buildings everywhere. Any chance I have to get out, my eyes feast on the green. It's nice when the man-made places, like the waterpark, maintain the natural environment around them rather than just build eyesore after eyesore leaving a mess in its wake. Next to this waterpark is also a winery and grape juice farm - next time we'll plan to tour it!
I am from California, we have 10,000 foot (3000 meter) mountains, volcanic in nature. I lived for my first 41 years of life 2 hours from Yosemite National Park and many other wilderness areas, marked by evergreen trees with needles and snowy winters.
Thailand's landscape and weather is a huge contrast for me. I love it! God is so creative! Here, in this part of Thailand (Bangkok/central Thailand) you have coconut palms, banana trees, many other tropical fruits like Durian, Lychee, Mango and much more!), geckos and beautiful birds, monitor lizards and cobras, and lots of thunder and lightning storms. There are three seasons here, which we have now lived through all of them. There is hot, hotter, and hottest! Actually they are called Hot Season (March-April), Rainy Season (my favorite, May/June-October), and Cool Season (but it's not really that cool! November-February).
My husband as we pedaled along one of Bangkok's many raised cement paths. Rainy season in this area lasts from May/June to the end of October, and we were pounded as soon as we stepped off the ferry. But the weather is warm, so it felt great.
Waited out the worst of it in a bike cafe, and had a nice little section of mud to ride in the botanical garden, but mostly it was a paved day of riding.
There is an area of Bangkok called the "Green Lung" to which we like to escape periodically. It is an 8 k ride down a busy highway to the ferry boat crossing, which costs 7 baht (about a 25 cents). When you step off the ferry, you have left the concrete jungle behind and enter Bangkok of old, with traditional teak wood housing on stilts and green everywhere, both natural and some orchards.
There are raised cement paths everywhere (typical around much of Thailand due to rainy season) which are fun to ride on - you never know what you'll find. This day we went into the botanical gardens which has some paved trail and also some dirt, which was mud this rainy day when we went a couple weeks ago. The pic is taken from a bird watching tower.