Guest post by Kelly Abeln*
I recently had an opportunity to see Whole Planet Foundation’s impact firsthand on a trip to the Surin region of Thailand. I met with Whole Planet Foundation partner Small Enterprise Development, learned about their methodology and met microcredit clients at their home-based businesses. Read all about the trip here.
On my journey l also participated in some wonderful cultural and sightseeing activities in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. There was an overwhelming amount of visual stimulation everywhere I went; from the local street markets, to the temples, and even in the countryside. I tried fruits I had never even heard of and was awestruck by the intricate detailing and ornamentation at the temples.
At Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, we take our inspiration from the Midwest garden, so it was quite interesting to take in the exotic fruits, vegetables and fragrances of Thailand. I kept my eyes (and nose) open for inspiration.
FRUIT (clockwise from top left):
RAMBUTAN: Prickly on the outside, but soft and sweet like a grape on the inside. Similar to a lychee fruit, but has a large seed inside.
PAPAYA: Spotted growing in the wild here, we had it for breakfast every morning and in salad at lunch. It has a buttery texture and not overly-sweet taste.
DRAGON FRUIT (PITAYA): The fruit of a cactus plant, with a wild look, but fairly mild taste similar to a melon or kiwi.
LANGSAT: At first look I thought someone had left potatoes in my hotel room, but they were actually a sweet and sour tasting fruit.
FLOWERS (clockwise from top left):
ORANGE MARIGOLDS: These flower garlands were everywhere, hung in front of windows, Buddha statues, pictures of monks—they act as offerings and symbols of good luck. Every car we rode in had one around the rearview mirror, believed by many to have the power to prevent accidents.
HIBICUS: Spotted growing here, the blooms were stunningly large and attractive.
FLOWER MARKET: This pastel arrangement only a small sampling of the variety of flowers from my trip to the Chiang Mai flower market.
MADAME POMPADOUR ORCHIDS: The majority of these bright purplish pink orchids are grown in Thailand. They were on top of all my Thai Iced Coffees and on my hotel pillows.
Oh My Buddha! (clockwise from top left):
LOOK UP: One of the many hand painted ceilings at the Buddhist temple Wat Pho in Bangkok.
LOOK DOWN: Patterned floor tiles at the Buddhist temple Wat Pho in Bangkok.
RECLINING BUDDHA: At over 140 feet long, it is the 3rd largest reclining Buddha in the world.
TEMPLE COMPLEX: The outside of the temple is decorated in a tile/mosaic fashion, with no corner left unadorned.
Places (clockwise from top left):
CHIANG MAI: The view from our hotel of the beautiful town of Chiang Mai. A calmer, smaller city with a cooler climate than the capital Bangkok.
BANGKOK: We went on a long-tail boat ride through Chao Phraya River and saw how people live along the canal.
OLD CITY: Chiang Mai’s historical center is called the Old City and is enclosed by ancient city walls and a moat.
ELEPHANT NATURE PARK: I got to spend a day at this sanctuary and rescue center for elephants. Here is a four year old playing, with water buffalo in the background.
What’s the most memorable international trip you've taken? What's the one destination you hope to visit most?
*Kelly Abeln is a graphic designer at Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. She had the opportunity to see Whole Planet Foundation’s impact firsthand on a trip to the Surin region of Thailand.