Archive | August, 2022

We Haven’t Been Arrested Yet Part 3

28 Aug

I have always said that the test of any relationship is to travel together. Managing the twists and turns of adventure can be fun and stressful. We rarely do scripted travel.

Chiang Dao Nest boutique hotel and restaurant.

Our overnight bus deposited us in the sleepy village of Chiang Dao with no taxis in sight. I left Lisa with the luggage and wandered in search of something, but I didn’t know what. I found a clothing store getting ready for the day and explained as best I could to the proprietor what we needed. With an old school phone call, two scooters appeared as if by magic. The drivers grabbed our duffles, loaded us as passengers behind them and off we went careening down the road, hopefully, to our hotel.

Since the day was still quite young, we dropped off our luggage and set about on foot to explore the tropical environment. Unfortunately we forgot to bring a camera.

We passed this temple while walking.

Taking a right out of the hotel entrance, we began a lovely, early morning stroll down a country road in Thailand. The air was fresh and the birds loud. We were in heaven.

The road narrowed to a trail which turned into a rickety stair. There was a sign that we couldn’t read. Whenever we travel, Lisa always poses the question, “Are we allowed to do this?” My attitude is a shrug. What could go wrong? We haven’t been arrested yet.

We climbed, and climbed and climbed over 500 steps, eventually figuring out that we were entering a monastery. Bald men in orange robes were going about their morning routine. Laundry was hung about and incense floating through the air. No one paid us any mind as we continued to climb the stairs.

500 and some up and down.

Eventually we discovered the main attraction. With eyes wide and mouths agog we entered a huge cave filled with gold Buddhas and flickering candles. We certainly weren’t in Kansas anymore. I can close my eyes and still feel that rarified holy environment. I don’t think they let women be Buddhist monks, but I was ready to move in.

It took months before I realized that the Golden Buddha cave was where our friends got married! They didn’t leave a lot of breadcrumbs so I was completely surprised when the lightbulb went off. What a trip! And we weren’t done yet.

DOS TORTAS

Thailand Vacation Location Part 2

21 Aug

When I heard on the radio that the best way to help Thailand recover from the devastating 2004 tsunami was to take our vacation dollars there, I was all in. My friend Joe’s wedding had left breadcrumbs for us to follow. We made reservations at the same hotel in Chiang Dao, Northern Thailand.

Chiang Dao Nest

The flight from Austin went through Houston and on to Tokyo. We had a five hour layover in Tokyo and an additional nine hour flight to Bangkok. The flight is mostly a blur except for being squeezed into a cramped three seat row and a total travel time of almost twenty-four hours.

In Bangkok we hired a tuktuk driver to tour us around the city. It’s a hopping place and we could have spent a lot more time there, visiting temples, getting massages and eating amazing food. After Bangkok the plan was to take the train to northern Thailand. We had reservations at the same B&B that our friend had stayed at for his wedding. All good, except when we went to buy tickets, we discovered that the trains were on strike.

Tuktuks adventure on three wheels.

In case you wondered, we are not high dollar travelers. We fly in the cheap seats and as long as hotels are clean and safe, we’re good. We were bummed to find out that the trains were unavailable but when the travel agent recommended the overnight bus, we though, why not?

Reclining Buda Bangkok

The overnight bus could be a blog post in and of itself. Imagine a double decker hotel on wheels. Seats recline and stack and other than a bit of snoring, we slept like babies rolling down the highway. What an experience!

We arrived at Chiang Dao around 7:00am. Nothing was open and there were no taxis to be found. We also had no idea how far our hotel was. Little did we know that it was the beginning of one of the most amazing days of our lives. Stay tuned.

https://www.chiangdao.com/thailand.pdf

DOS TORTAS

Let’s Go To Thailand Part 1

14 Aug

The tsunami along the coast of Thailand and India shook the world on Boxing Day 2004. Like everyone else, we were riveted to the news and videos showing mammoth waves devouring everything in sight. For me the difference was my friends had just gotten married in Thailand and were likely in the wave’s path.

We went to this museum before the monuments were included.

Joe’s blog described plans for the engaged couple and both sets of parents to travel to northern Thailand for a Buddhist wedding ceremony. They had a fabulous bed and breakfast reserved and beautiful Thai wedding attire.

I checked his blog site multiple times a day after the tsunami, hoping for an update. As the number of dead and missing soared and time passed I became more and more frantic. What had happened to them? Would I ever know?

Then one day, a week or so later, a post appeared. Joe had been on his honeymoon and oblivious to the rest of the world. Apparently he’d been scammed by a travel agency and lost his hotel reservations and money! His post didn’t even mention one of the world’s largest natural disasters. He dodged a bullet.

I eventually lost track of Joe after his blog fizzled. I guess married life trumped the blog. One day I heard on the radio, “if you want to help Thailand, bring your tourist dollars back.” It sounded like as good a reason as any to go. Plans for Thailand began!

DOS TORTAS

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