Hello all - if there is anyone still reading this blog.
I have heard tell that I am a bit on the wordy end of the spectrum & it can be more than a little daunting to undertake the reading of my life story!! Who knew?!
Nevertheless it has been a busy last couple of weeks. We did find a replacement to the Nature Park. We went to Mahout Training instead. We got to feed, learn commands, learn to get onto & ride the elephants, walk through a mud pit (and yes we did wear the mud), and bathe the elephant in the river. We had the added bonus that our particular elephant was a mommy & her 6 month old elephant baby was following us around, his name was James Bond (because he can't stay out of trouble!!). The experience was hilarious, exhilarating & so worth it! We both would still like to do the nature park, but that will have to be next time.
We parted ways with Teresa & Terence in Chiang Mai. They had to fly out to South Africa & we had a little more time. It was so awesome meeting them both & here's hoping we stay in touch!
We left Chiang Mai via train. The ride was uneventful - really humid & warm, but comfortable. A nice change after the bus rides from hell. Although I must say, being too rather short ladies it was a much easier & more comfortable traveling experience than for our 5'9" + friends!!! We took a night bus & got into Bangkok fairly early. We took a tuk tuk to McDonalds. Always open! Had breakfast & then went in search of a room. It was quite busy, it was around Chinese New Year so places were booked up. But we found a dodgy little cheap cheap place with a shared bathroom. Good enough for one night! We got settled, had a little rest...and then we got busy.
It was a whirlwind of last minute adventures. Last minute grabbing of gifts we had wanted from Day 1, but left to the last few days so that we wouldn't have to haul them around for months. Last minute selfish purchases. Last minute trip to a gigantic shopping complex called MBK that we had heard about & that had a great movie theatre. Spent an afternoon/early evening watching a couple movies back to back. We ate at the places we loved, and the places we hadn't tried yet. We took a day tour out to the Floating Market, Bridge over the River Kwai, and the Tiger Temple. In that order "could have been better", "pretty cool, felt rickety, checked out the war museum next door too", "Pretty cool, got some photos with tigers, sad to see them chained up & drugged up". We went to a weekend market that was insane, so big & crazy we lost one another & spent the shopping day alone. We got some waxing done. A facial done. Clothes & household items, extra bags to carry it all!!! We didn't spend much time online, too many things to do. We did laundry so that we were set for Sydney & we finally got our tattoos. We got "matchy" tattoos, that are a little different on our feet. Mine is on the left foot & Crystal's is on the right foot. They say "Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam - Laos" in Thai writing & each country name is separated by footprints (and one of mine is a flower). They are lovely...we are happy with them.
So we barely had time to catch our breath, sleep or relax in Bangkok. It was all about crossing the 'gotta do it, gotta get it" off the list. And we were pretty darn successful. Literally combing the streets until about 3 hours after we had to leave for the airport. We got back to the hotel room at around 1am. We packed all our stuff, we showered & then we went to grab a cab to the airport. No sleep for us...
We flew direct from Bangkok to Sydney. 9 hours. Didn't get a whole lot of sleep - but we arrived at about 8pm or so?! Spyros & Jerry picked us up & we went straight to Spyros place. The rest of the week was pretty mellow, pretty lovely. Sleeping in. Eating loads. Getting chauffeured around the suburbs & different areas near Sydney. Checking out beaches, seeing new places, spending time with the family. All of whom are excellent. Younger brother George gave up his room for Crystal, what a sweetie! Older sister Ev & her family were a laugh a minute. Gorgeous kids, great fun & big hearts abound in this family. Loving that I'm getting to be a part of it! So happy that I was able to go to Sydney & spend the week. I think we all felt that it wasn't enough time, but we're all glad we got some time. I'm sure my next trip to Sydney will be a little longer. Also met cousins for briefer periods of time, but they were great fun too, and Spyros dad was awesome too. Letting us stay in their home & eat their food & do whatever we liked. I felt very welcomed. We also went out for dinner & drinks in our "fancy dresses" that we had made in Vietnam. We went downtown for Mardi Gras & saw a bit of the parade & had a few drinks. Big family BBQ on the Sunday with loads of food & much hilarity. Needless to say --- Sydney was great & the family, immediate & extended were just beautiful. Very lucky to have spent some time with them, thanks to Crystal for suggesting it!!
But the week flew by...and soon we found ourselves being carted off to the airport, having to say goodbye for another fairly lengthy period of time...and flying back to Bangkok. Yes. We had to go all the way back!!! We weren't able to change our flight. So the return home was...3.5 hrs flight, switch in Brisbane, 9 hrs to Bangkok. Sat in the airport from 7am - 5pm or so. Slept (crashed out!), ate, wandered, called home, stared at the time, eventually got on another plane. About 3 hours to Taipei, a switch...and finally - 10 hours to Vancouver. Customs was a quick & easy process. I love it when they don't give a person a lot of attitude!! Michelle picked us up at the airport with hugs & flowers. Very sweet!!! We got back to the Stask/Arsenault home & started unpacking. Showing gifts & regaling the family with stories. A couple of friends showed up, Krystina & Laura & the stories & the showing off of purchases began again. We ended up on the bed downstairs looking through the plethora of photos. At around 1am we finally were showered & going to sleep...
Today we woke up at 5am. Damn jet lag!!! And the day was spent unpacked, doing laundry, napping, planning. My dad was in town and he came to pick me up for dinner. We got my car back on the road, so tomorrow there are a few things left to do regarding the car & the cell phone...and then I'm officially back in business in Canada.
Thailand & Southeast Asia in general were beautiful. It was an amazing trip. Crystal & I are still on speaking terms. I got to see Spyros again & meet his family. It's been a top 3 months!!! Now I'm home. I'm finding a job & going to get some money happening. It's time. Soon Spyros will be here & things will be changing again! Exciting!