Thursday, June 14, 2007

Earthquake Thailand: Mark Schrader the rock upon which we stand (posted by Jaymin)

Judging from the outpouring of emails we received, we assume that most of our friends, family, and acquaintances are unaware that we were hit by an earthquake while we were in Thailand in May. Between the four guys on vacation, we received a total of one email inquiry regarding our safety after the big earthquake in Thailand. We assume this is due to lack of information and not a lack of caring. Nevertheless, the following is an excerpt the associated press (link for full article).

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 with its epicenter in western Laos was reported Wednesday afternoon by the U.S. Geological Survey, and its tremors were felt as far away as the Thai capital of Bangkok, several hundred kilometers to the south. There were no initial reports of damage or casualties. The quake occurred at 3:56 p.m. (0856 GMT) at a point 155 kilometers (97 miles) west-northwest of the Laotian city of Luang Prabang, said the USGS. The region is sparsely populated, with little urban development. The quake caused high-rise buildings in Bangkok to sway, and many offices were evacuated, with their panicky occupants gathered in the street.

Since most of our readership is unaware of the earthquake in Thailand, I’d like to briefly recount the happenings of that day. When the earthquake hit, panic filled the hotel like a poisonous gas. As the building shook, people cowered in fear, froze in terror, and became frightened like little children who just realized they’ve been separated from their mother at the grocery store. While the other guests were busy instilling more panic in each other, we, on the other hand, were able to remain calm for one reason alone – Mark Schrader. Not enough can be said about the leadership by example of Mark Schrader during this time of crisis. Mark was unflappable during the earthquake, as if he had no idea a natural disaster was occurring. Mark’s state of peace during the earthquake really resonated with us and allowed us to remain calm during a time when we would usually be filled with fear. Luckily, I was able to videotape about 30 seconds of Mark’s leadership and poise during the earthquake. Please click on the video to see for yourself.

Link to video if embeded video is not working

Friday, June 01, 2007

Michael Wilson: Discovering the secrets of the orient (posted by Jaymin)

It's often said that there no education like travel. The exposure to new ideas, cultures, and practices helps build tolerance and maybe even appreciation for different types of people we meet every day. I can't help but believe that all the guys on the trip will be more well rounded upon their return to 'the States'. In particular, Mike has really made an effort to appreciate all of the nuiances of Thailand. If you don't know Mike, he's a college friend who has joined Mark and Dave for about 3 months during their trip around the world. Mike has really pushed himself outside his comfort zone and explored things that he might never try in the U.S. He's constantly trying new food, visiting historic sites and attending different cultural events. Props to Mike in this brief picture tribute.

Mike taking in the Grand Palace in Thailand.

Mike after the Thai Cultural show in downtown Bangkok.

Mike relaxing after enjoying some tradditional Thai food in Bangkok.

Mike after enjoying a special Thail style coffee (with cream and sugar).

Mike checking out the menu to see if the food will be too exotic/unusual for his American tastes.