(Posted from northern Thailand)--Good morning, or good evening depending on your time zone!
It's a beautiful Tuesday morning here in beautiful northern Thailand. You already know I love internet cafes. At the computer next to me are two French couples watching a video of their visit yesterday to an elephant conservation area. They are laughing so hard watching it that the rest of us stopped our click-click-clicking to watch the video of their attempts to ride the cute elephants and stay upright (with mixed success).
Until 1989, Thailand "employed" many elephants for the lumber industry, but when all the forests were being depleted, they stopped the practice--putting the elephants out of work. Conservation areas care for the elephants, and the elephants actually provide the funds for their own support--and not just through tourism. Some clever person found a way to recycle the, shall we say, large quantities of dung that the elephants produce each day, and turn it into beautiful handmade paper (no, it doesn't smell).
Another clever person decided that elephants could draw. They set up an easel, give them a paintbrush, and the elephants paint a beautiful (yes, abstract) picture. I saw one for sale in a shop--for about US$200! Some have sold at Christie's and other auction houses for much more. This one was really beautiful, tho a little pricey and a little large. I asked the shop owner if she had anything smaller, and we both started laughing as I realized elephants paint only on huge canvases, not little 5-by-7-inch suitcase-friendly paper.
All is going well here. My face is healing slowly but surely--still dark and bruised in spots, but lessening day by day. I hope by the time I return home next Monday, it will all be healed.
The "Not For Sale" books and project are going well, too. I keep getting more and more insight and direction. My friend Amy arrived yesterday from Beijing, and she will be a huge help, as was Cindy when she was here last week. It's amazing how we coordinated all this (by email) and the timing has been more than we knew. I don't have my regular writer's group around me here (hi Val and Karen!), but God supplied another one.
Last Saturday, PawPaw and I were invited to a children's event--but we didn't realize until we got there that we WERE the event! It was a 2-hour English class, and I was the teacher. Oh my! I employed the time-honored technique of making it up as I went along. I pulled out PawPaw and all my PawPaw tricks, and somehow taught them some words and phrases and kept them occupied. They may not be able to conjugate verbs, but they can all say, "PawPaw is my friend" (what's more important, anyway?).
PawPaw now has a few more pals. You can see some of them in the "Thailand 2007" photo album to the left. Just click on the photo, and you'll go right to it. No, there are no photos of me (except far away) until I can get home and photoshop that black eye away!
Thanks for being one of PawPaw's very best pals.