Friday, January 2, 2015


We are away again! After the last winter spent in Goshen, we were eager to escape the cold and snow. We visited Thailand at Christmas 2003 and always thought it would be nice to go back, so we decided to do it. We have taken a room in a suites hotel in Chiang Mai and will be here through January and February (except for a short trip to Cambodia and Vietnam you'll read about later if you follow along).

We spent the week from Christmas to New Year's Eve in Spokane, WA, with our son Dirk and his family. It is always so good to be with them. All three of their kids and a special friend were there, so we were a household of eight. Lots of games and laughter all around. It was very cold and turned icy so I didn't get out of the house very much. I am still a bit tentative about walking and somewhat fearful of falling. So ice and I stay away from each other as much as possible.

We got up at 4:00 AM on Dec. 31 to head to the airport for our 6:00 flight to Seattle. Maya had decided to stay up (she is a college student!) and take us, then go to bed. She is a very careful driver and safely got us to the main roads which were clear. It is a short trip to the airport, so we had plenty of time. At Seattle our bags were the first ones on the carousel (that's never happened before!), so we picked them up and headed upstairs to the Korean Air checkin. Unfortunately, it wouldn't open until 9:00, so we found a cafe and had some breakfast. Once we were checked in, we had passes to the Delta Lounge and settled in. It was great to have wi-fi, snacks, and drinks freely available. The view out the window of the plane was over the Olympic Mountains, and we could see Port Angeles, the town nearest to the Makah Reservation where Dirk and family lived for eight years (and the ferry port for Victoria, BC). We both slept for about 6 hours after they fed us lunch. We only had about an hour at Incheon-Seoul Airport, but the gates weren't too far apart and it wasn't a long wait. I was unhappy that we had to go through security again, as I lost the bottled water I had with me.

We arrived at Chiang Mai about 10:30 PM. We got through immigration quickly and our bags again were in the first batch to arrive. It was quite a long walk to the taxi stand, but we got there and the driver brought us to our hotel, the Smith Suites. It is just south of the Old City of Chiang Mai, a brand new 7-story residence. Our room is spacious and includes a kitchenette, small desk area, eating table and chairs, and a king-size bed. It's going to be very comfortable, and there is lots of storage space. The place is very high-tech; they use facial recognition to unlock the door into the elevator area.

Linens and kitchenware are supplied, but nothing else. So Dan went out to a nearby 7-11 and got drinking water and toilet paper. This morning we went out to the Chiang Mai Gate Market and got a few more things. We also had breakfast at a small coffee shop on the way. We'll be doing our own breakfast in the room once we get set up. It can be a bit of a challenge to figure out what to buy. Most labels are in Thai, with occasionally a word or two in English to help.

View inside Chiang Mai Gate Market

Stall inside the market

View along the Old City Gate – part of the old moat

Breakfast menu at P&B Cafe

Muesli with yogurt and fruit (delicious!)

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