>I know that some of you have been patiently waiting for an account of my family’s time together in Chiang Mai, so here it is.
Mom, dad and Tamara arrived in Chiang Mai on September 28th. They were supposed to land at the airport at 2:25pm so I had Rachel drop me off around 2:30pm. I figured that it would take them awhile to get through immigration and I wanted to be there when they came through the doors. After about an hour of being told that the flight was delayed, I found out that it was actually cancelled. I spent the next two hours trying to figure out where my family was. It was not hard to find out that they had arrived safely in Bangkok but nobody seemed to know when they were coming to Chiang Mai. Eventually I found out that they were to arrive at 8:30pm so I settled down with my ipod and waited. Unfortunately I live about 30-40 minutes from the airport and I had no transportation so going home to wait was not an option. Well, 8:30 came and went and I still had not seen my family. Finally, at 9:30 my phone rang and it was Tamara telling me that they were already at the hotel in Chiang Mai. Apparently they had arrived in Chiang Mai at 7:30pm, didn’t see and caught a taxi to the hotel. I can’t figure out how we missed each other because the Chiang Mai airport is so small that you can see almost the whole thing when standing in the middle. Overall, I spent seven hours sitting in the airport and never even saw my family there. I had to catch a taxi to the hotel which is about 3 minutes from my house and finally met up with the family there.
That first night I took them to my house so that they could see where I live, meet my roommate and meet my dog. All three of them quickly fell in love with Gracie and she was so excited to have the added attention of three more people. (I should probably mention that they also like my roommate, Rachel, I don’t want to leave her out.) I then took them to my favorite noodle shop and they got to experience the side of the road, buildingless food stands that are so common in Thailand. This was a good thing because within a couple days, my favorite noodle shop was gone. I am still upset! They were all pretty exhausted, so we went back to the hotel and went to bed.
I am not going to take you through every single day of our vacation together like I just did that first day, I will just give you some highlights now…
I honestly did not know where to take them or what to do because I have never visited Chiang Mai as a tourist or done any tourist type stuff. I asked around and found some fun things to do though. We went to and elephant camp (where an elephant grabbed me with it’s trunk as I walked by), a butterfly farm (butterflies as big as my foot and since I am terrified of butterflies, it was not my favorite thing), and orchid farm (orchids are extremely popular in Thailand), explored some caves, visited a Big Ear Village and a Long Neck Village (so beautiful!), explored the Palace and temple on Doi Suthep Mountain (Chiang Mai is famous for being the place where the queen lives during the winter months), went to Night Bazaar several times and went to Walking Street. We spent a lot of time just hanging out with each other as well. I was able to take the family to my church and they met a couple of my friends there. Overall, I had a fantastic time with them!
Some things that I will remember from the trip:
1) Never trust the airlines to have any idea what is going on.
2) Elephants are pretty darn smart.
3) Tamara is a fantastic bargainer.
4) I am proud of Chiang Mai and Thailand and happy to be here.
5) My family likes to turn the air conditioner on really high.
6) I have adjusted to the temperature and humidity here and often was cold while the family was sweating.
7) The Mong Pearl restaurant has great sandwiches.
8) Walking Street is more and more crowded every time that I go.
9) I still don’t love the Night Bazaar.
10) Pu Ping Palace is incredible and I should have visited sooner.
11) My Thai language skills really suck.
12) I wish that my family lived here with me.
13) I miss the sarcasm and easy way of talking that I share with Tamara.
14) I’ve changed a lot since I left the U.S., at least my thinking has.
I could go on and on but I would probably bore you. I had a fantastic time with my family and I can’t wait to see them in December!