We’ve now completed all our Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) travels and started back to work on March 4. We went to the states for about 16 days in late January and early February. We arrived in Jacksonville, FL where we had a great seafood dinner with cousin Craig. The next day, the Bowdish’s picked us up and took us to Savannah, Georgia for my annual Coca-Cola group reunion which was hosted by the Grady’s this year. We had 3 days of great friends and great food while seeing the sites of Savannah. We then went back to Tampa with the Bowdish’s and stayed 1 night with them before heading off to Orlando and Disney World. We went to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and the Space Center and Bonnie enjoyed EPCOT the most. We went back to Tampa for a few more days at the Bowdish bed and breakfast and enjoyed visiting old friends and former co-workers, going to the beach at Fort De Soto in St. Pete, and a Superbowl party hosted by the Bowdish’s. We were fortunate to have very nice weather in Georgia and Florida during our time there.
We then left the sunny south and headed to Indiana and snow on the ground. A couple hours after arriving at my parents home in Richmond I helped Bonnie make her first ever snowman. It was pretty ugly but at least you could tell what it was supposed to be. We enjoyed about 5 days with friends and family before heading back to Nanning. On both ends of our trip we had to spend a night in Hong Kong as we couldn’t get connections that would allow us to arrive at the final destination without an overnight stopover. I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing back an extra suitcase filled with stuff that either I can’t buy in Nanning or is very expensive to buy there; mostly canned foods and dessert mixes (no-bake cheesecake, brownies, cookies, etc.). In fact, we took an empty suitcase with us to the states that we used last time to bring stuff back to Nanning.
We arrived back in Nanning just after Chinese New Year day so we were lucky to miss most of the fireworks. We were in Nanning about a week before we packed again and left for Thailand. We flew to Guangzhou then on to Bangkok. We spent a day and a half in Bangkok seeing the sites before going to Chiang Mai in the north. Two days in Bangkok is enough to see the sites such as the Grand Palace and some temples. Bangkok is a bustling city with pollution and high temperatures that can leave you longing for cool nights in a quiet place. Chiang Mai comes close to providing that. It’s a city that’s big enough but not too big with plenty to do and all at an affordable price. We spent about $27 for a pretty decent room in a hostel located within the old city walls. Dinners for two cost between $7 and $15 in most restaurants.
The first day in Chiang Mai we did a tour that included an elephant ride (see pics), a hike to a small hill tribe village, and a rafting trip on bamboo rafts complete with water fights that included our 9 and 10 year old raft guides. I don’t know about labor laws in Thailand but the kids seemed to enjoy their work. The second day we went to a zip line park and enjoying zipping from tree stand to tree stand. The park did a nice job including some other interesting ways to get from one place to another (see pics). The third day we did a tour to Doi Inthanon National Park which was the least exciting of our activities. Then we went to the beach resort area of Phuket where we enjoyed Simon’s Cabaret lady boy show, a snorkeling trip to Phi Phi Island and various kinds of foods. Then we returned to Bangkok for a day before heading back home to Nanning.
There were so many tourists in Thailand. It seemed that most of the tourists we saw in Bangkok were Chinese, Chiang Mai had a mixture of tourists and Phuket seemed to have lots of Russians although our snorkeling trip was with mostly Chinese. Well that’s all for now……….until next time.