Saturday, left our house a bit after 8 AM. Three hour drive to Macau. Afu dropped us off at the Zhuhai border,where you walk across the border to Macau. Go through Immigration and Customs. At Macau immigration, there were about 20 lines each with about 500 people in each line. The wait at Immigration took about one hour. Line 17 was the only line designated for "foreigners". After going into Macau, we went to an ATM and got some Macau Patakas (cash). Then to the bus terminal to catch bus "AP1" to the airport. Uneventful, except our bus fare was only 15 patakas and the smallest bill that came out of the ATM was 100 patakas. Fortunately, the bus driver helped us find a fellow passenger who had change. Then lunch at a horrible airport dive waiting for our plane. Nice Pleasant three hour flight to BAngkok. From the air, we saw a lot of jungle and the mighty Mekong River.
Upon arrival at Bangkok, went first to ATM to get out Thai BAht, then walked to train station to purchase train ticket. Slight glitch. We arrived in Bangkok planning to take the overnight train to Chiang Mai, but the train was fully booked. Walk back into airport and contemplate Plan B. We parked the kids in an airport restaurant at 5:30 PM and began looking for air tickets for Sunday plus a Bangkok hotel room for Saturday night. Procedure: First we purchased the air ticket then got on the internet and got phone numbers for several guest houses, and then we purchased a Thailand SIM card for our cell phone so we could make phone calls. But after calling about 20 cheap guest houses on our own, which were all full and getting a bit nervous as time approached 8 PM, we covinced a security guard to let us go back into the "arrival" area where there were some hotel booking agencies. Got a hotel with Quality Suites Airport, which also sent an airport Limo to pick us up and then deliver us back to the airport in the AM. 1800 baht per room per night (about $45 US). Relief. At about 9 PM supper in the hotel restaurant was pretty good, especially the green curry. We got to sleep around midnight. I’d say that was a long day!
Next morning, kids to breakfast while we checked out of hotel. And, made a hotel reservation in CM. After the Saturday fiasco, we want to have a place to stay when we arrive. When we went downstairs, the kids’ breakfast looked so good and I was jealous! A real western breakfast! We simply can’t get that in CHina unless we cook it ourselves. We’ve never seen it, anyway. I’m so proud that everyone actually packed in ONE backpack each and is carrying their own stuff (except for J who is sharing a big backpack with D). Everyone was in the airport shuttle by 9, to airport by 9:15, getting worried about flight but we get checked in and on our plane for our 10:10 flight to CM. ARrive at 11:20. Catch a taxi to hotel, check in and take long nap. IT has a pool and J loves swimming all afternoon while mom and dad watch.
Monday is another lazy day. For Tuesday, we signed up for a one day trip arranged by our hotel. Van to hot spring for breakfast, then raft on river to Karen (long neck) village, then ride by elephant 2 hrs to another village, then out again, car tour of "golden triangle" area near Burma / Laos border, returning home at 10:00 PM. Our hotel is old and reputable, River View Lodge inChiangMai (contact info is in Lonely Planet Thailand). Details to follow on Wednesday or Thursday.