An update. I am married. :)

So it is safe to say that I have been pretty busy with my life recently. The main reason for lack of updates on my blog is simple laziness.

This post will be a general update on my life for the past month or two. It will be in reverse order because I am too lazy to move the pictures, and I can only use pictures from my phone because everything else takes much too long to upload (our internet connection here in the Philippines is not exactly speedy).

This is the Manila (Philippines) temple. Loida and I totally got married a few weeks ago and for our honeymoon, we are living with her family and touring it up in the Philippines! We have not been doing much honeymooning yet because we have been getting logistical things out of the way first.... like process our marriage documents. Which brings us to Manila.

While we were in Manila processing documents, we decided to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, but found out that they did them at 6:00PM. Too late; we would have missed our bus ride home had we done that. Instead we just walked around the temple grounds and enjoyed the beautiful temple.

The Philippines is a really beautiful country. The temple is as well (beautiful that is; not a country).

How cool of an idea is this? Four flavors together. Genius.

Dad's root beer anyone? Not sure if they have this in America anymore, but they totally have it here!

Jeepneys are how we get around for cheap.

Loida with our nephew Jacob. So far it is safe to say we have been doing a lot more napping than we normally would.

Whenever I leave China, I try to take advantage of the fact that most  other countries have 7-11s with Slurpees. This cost me 28 pesos (about 65 cents).

This is Loida's house and where we have been living for the past couple of weeks.

Straight up the best snack food ever. 8 pesos. (20 cents)

This is the elementary school that all the kids go to in the morning. I walk my niece and nephew Jazmine and Arbee there just about every day.

Loida bought a toaster oven for her family, so we made bread sticks to test it out.

Going to church the first!

Shopping on the first full day of being in the Philippines.

This is me showing our engagement pictures to our niece and nephew.

This is the drive to where we live in Baguio. Warning! You should probably mute the volume when watching. Sorry.... it is loud and nothing to listen to.

Amusement park in Hong Kong.

My beautiful wife showing off her BYU pride!


Xuchang Building Openhouse

My one minute of fame. I basically got paid to hold a ribbon for one minute for being white. Hooray for being white in China.
When I first got to China, I met a girl while buying a phone card. Her name is Susan (though I think she has changed it, and she uses another name now... I will continue to call her Susan though). Susan has more or less created her own business over having a network of.... I will say "models" (aka white people), on her phone. She has asked me to do a few various gigs since I have been here. I would have to say this last one was by far the easiest!


Trip to Thailand

Fair warning. I am lazy so this post will basically be a ton of pictures with captions.

Day 1

Day 1 should have been day 2, but our flight was cancelled because of "fog" (pollution). We stayed in Zhengzhou for the day and were able to go out the next day.... no form of compensation or anything like the from the airliner. Bummer. We flew from Zhengzhou to Guangzhou, then to Bangkok.

What you see that is on the bottom and dark is not ocean, it is a layer of pollution. I was happy to leave the pollution.

Loida in the plane, excited to get out of the cold of Zhengzhou.

Once we landed in Bangkok, we bought ourselves some SIM cards for our phones and took out 10,000 baht from the ATM (about $335 USD).

Day 2

Up to this point we had been crazy busy with school, so once we actually got into Thailand we spent that time to plan the rest of our trip. We went to the grocery store and were both excited to see cheap food that you cannot find in China (like chocolate milk and ranch dressing). We bought some fruit.

We spent the rest of the day at a nearby mall so that we could use WiFi. Got a Blizzard at DQ for super cheap.

Day 3

We took a taxi to the center of Bangkok (called Victory Monument). From there we were able to take a van to our first destination, Dan Khun Thot.

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The fare to travel by van was 220 baht each (a little more than $7 USD). The van trip is when we got our first scare of the trip. We were told that we would stop in the city and be dropped off in front of 7-11. Near the city my phone's map started acting kind of weird and I could not tell where we were. It was not until we had clearly gone further than the city that we realized we were basically lost and needed to go back. No one in the van could speak any English and when we tried saying "Dan Khun Thot" they would just nod their heads. It wasn't until I finally showed someone the Thai script for the city that a man pointed backwards indicating that we passed it.

We were very fortunate, and the van driver was able to get us off in a small town and get us on another van that was going where we needed to go. Eventually we made it to our city. The van driver even offered to not accept any payment. That was one thing we certainly noticed in Thailand. Everyone was super kind.

Day 4

We played a lot of Scrabble (Angry Words) with each other on the trip.

This is Loida's cousin with her daughter. She was able to get some bicycles for us to ride around town.

Walking to go take a bus.
This is what an average street looks like (we were in a small city).

Loida in the bus. It cost us 33 baht to go to the next big city an hour away  (just over $1).

The buses were quite hot and had fans instead of AC.

Without the use of a mirror, I just took pictures of things Loida considered buying.

This is our Chinese friend Marina. It was fun to speak Chinese after not being able to communicate with most people.

This is a view of the market.

This was perhaps the largest (and cheapest) night market I have ever been to,

They had a lot of pets for sell at the night market.

This was perhaps one of the best things I had in Thailand. Mango rice.

Day 5

We chilled for most of the day and went out at night to meet some new friends and have a nice dinner.

We met a Chinese family and stopped to play ping pong with them.

Coconut ice cream. Super cheap and super delicious. 

Just a dog in the super market. No big deal.
Day 6

We went to the neighboring city to go to church.

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Church was wonderful! We got all the information we could on the church's website then went off faith that we would find it. We were glad we went an hour early because it turned out that church started an hour earlier than stated. 

The members invited us to eat with them after church.

This is Loida with the sister missionaries. There was also a companionship of Elders. The missionaries translated for us and helped us to have a very enjoyable experience.

There was also a Filipino couple there. Loida is holding their baby.

Thailand loves elephants. We went for a walk through the park after church.

Thailand is primarily Buddhist and there were many Thai and Chinese temples.

Just about every day we would have a "fruit party." You can buy a tray a fruit for 20 baht (70 cents). We went crazy on fruit and ate it every day!

Day 7

We took a van back to Bangkok then took another van to a small city near an island we wanted to go to.

This is what one of the vans looks like. Not super comfortable, but not too bad either. They seat about 13 people.

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I was super excited for the Slurpees. They were cheap and amazing! 22 baht (75 cents). This flavor I think was Fanta Strawberry but it tasted like Fanta Red Cream Soda (which I don't think exists any more but I had it when I was a kid at Hill Air Force Base in a bottle and it will probably forever remain my favorite flavor).
Day 8

We took a ferry to the island Ko Samet.

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Loida on the Ferry.

Neither of us are very good at smiling so I said we should try something different.
After we got on the island we took a while to figure out where we wanted to go. It was a national park so they asked us for more money to get in. I asked how much and he said 400 baht for me and 40 for Loida. This was the only time on the trip that it was convenient that people thought Loida was Thai.

We went swimming in the afternoon then explored at night. The water was very warm and pleasant, but the waves were pretty wimpy so there was not a super compelling reason to swim for very long. Most of the people on the island were white foreigners. Kind of weird for me. Have not seen so many white people since before I moved to China.

This is what it looked like when we arrived on the island.

We found a nice place to eat at night that was not terribly expensive. While in Thailand we learned that the best way to get reliable WiFi was by eating at a restaurant.

The neighboring beach at night.

The green lights are boats lining the water. Boats have green lights on the starboard (right) side which meant all the boats were facing south. Not sure if this is some sort of convention, but it looked pretty cool.

Day 9

We woke up and took pictures during sunrise. We went for a swim after that to take advantage of no crowds and also the fact that it was high tide and the waves were barely big enough to do some body surfing on waves that broke for a few seconds.

Our beach during sunrise.

Our beach was the best. Sand was super soft and clean.

Loida taking a picture of me.

Hiking was more or less walking from one beach to another we rocks separating each beach.

At night we walked to the other side of the island to take pictures of the sunset. Probably the only time in my life where I have seen a sunrise and sunset on an ocean on the same day.

Mandatory jumping shot.

Day 10

We went for a final swim in the morning then said bye to our island. After that we went up to Bangkok to meet up with a coworker.

We slept a lot in the vans.

By the river in Bangkok.

This is Loida with our coworker Enda.

Edna and her husband Kenny. They were super kind in helping us get around Thailand. The final night we were there, they took us on a river boat cruise. It was fantastic!

Loida and I on the cruise.

This was the cruise boat we ended up taking.

We went to a night market later that night.
Day 11

Woke up early and headed home. Sad to leave such an awesome place. We definitely plan on going back to Thailand some time.