Last week the university was closed for the Lunar New Year holiday so Bob and I planned a trip to Thailand. We flew into Bangkok and were met by Lan Anh, one of my student assistants from the university. She is now completing her master’s degree at Mahidol University so we went to meet her professors and tour the campus. They are interested in having me present at one of their conferences in the future. We actually stayed in the home of one of her professor which was a wonderful experience. She treated us to a lovely meal along the river and a massage at her salon. Thai people are so warm and gentle. I think it is an influence from the Buddhist faith.
After our visit at the university we went back to Bangkok to catch an overnight train, bus, and ferry to an island in southern Thailand called Koh Samui. It is a small island but has beaches, jungle, and mountains. We stayed at a beautiful resort right on the beach. Every night at 7:15 they had a lantern lighting ceremony where the guests all gathered to give thanks and make a wish before they released their lantern into the air. It was a very meaningful and peaceful experience. Besides relaxing on the beach we also went trekking on an elephant, learned how monkeys are trained to gather the coconuts from the trees, went on a 4 x 4 jeep trip in the jungle, and learned how to do Thai boxing. See the photos below to see all of our adventures.