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OMG! Thais Are Crazy To Drive You All Over Thailand!

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Tina at her home In Chom Thong

Bottom of Waterfall

Doug, my son, and I have been here nearly a month and to get out of busy Chiang Mai for a day we were supposed to be driven to Tina’s home in Chom Thong about 3 hours in the countryside. Tina is the gf of a friend of Doug’s. But oh no, as if this wasn’t enough driving, she had to take us to a waterfall up a winding road on the way! Doug got sick and with my back and leg I couldn’t even walk up to the waterfall. There were hordes of people because tomorrow is Father’s Day and this was a long weekend. Then she wanted to take us all the way to the top of the mountain! Noooooo Doug and I yelled!

Then further on the way to her home she wanted to take us clear to the top of another mountain where we could see a temple at the top! Noooooo! We yelled again!

We felt bad. Tina was just trying to pleasure us! What made it worse was that she, a Thai, only paid 30 baht for her entry fee and Doug and I, foreigners, had to pay 300 baht each for our misery! That is about $8.50! Dual pricing for foreign visitors all over Thailand! I’m surprised they didn’t make us pay for taking photos. But without cameras, thank goodness for superphones! 😉

We were so relieved to get to Tina’s home town outside of which we walked among the houses of all her family members. She pointed out all the different interesting fruit trees and herbal plants they use in cooking and healing. Took a photo of her holding a huge Jackfruit hanging from a tree.

I remembered a friend of mine in Salem who was in the Peace Corps in Thailand in the 70’s and who visited good friends on a subsequent trip to Chiang Mai. She said she spent almost the entire time being driven around in a car!!! What is it??? I shall remember this when people come visit me! 😉 An hour is the max!

OMG…70 Hours From BKK To PDX

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The flight back to the States from Thailand included a transit through Tokyo, Japan. But it snowed in Tokyo and the Narita airport closed. Waited in Bangkok airport 12 hours for an alternate flight to Hanada airport. With her Thai accent, I kept hearing the agent say “Canada Airport.” What??? Well finally got that straightened out. Unknown to me, Hanada Airport is also in Tokyo. But if it was snowing in Tokyo and one airport was closed wouldn’t the other airport be risky? Oh well. She must know what she is doing…I thought…

The minute we landed and I looked out the window of the plane, I knew we weren’t getting out anytime soon. Inside at the ticket counter a Canadian woman was yelling that she refused to spend 9 hours in the SF airport waiting to get to Vancouver. The husband shrinks. This goes on for an hour…the agent with very little English staring at her computer terminal. With no place for us to sit. Finally they left. I have no idea what the outcome was.

We tried to be nice…Doug is better at it than I am. They could see he could hardly stand with his psoriatic arthritis so they brought a wheelchair and wheeled us up to a Delta lounge, thank god. Personnel kept giving us updates…one agent comes up to us and says “we have an update for you…the airport will open soon.” A different agent soon after…”we have an update for you…the airport will open soon.” Then 3 agents at once. “We have an update for you…the airport is closed indefinitely.” So Doug and I joined a few hundred others on the airport floor where they at least they gave us blankets.

The next morning an agent said..“Narita has opened. You must take a bus to a different terminal and then another bus to Narita.” Doug could hardly walk with the arthritis much less help with 4 big pieces of luggage. Can I get a taxi? “No taxi today. And you must enter “Japan” and go through immigration and security again because the airport is not in “Japan.” Huh?

Upon questioning I began to realize this was one of their many ways of saying “no” without saying “no.” The part of it I could understand anyway with the heavy Japanese accent. I said “We cannot! “See…I learned this from the Thais! ha!  They got on the phone with someone…the supervisor I suspect. Three times they came back and three times this happened. When they returned again they finally got up the gumption to say “No. The plane to Los Angeles is at the Narita Airport right now…you must go!”

I began to realize they were frantically trying to empty the Haneda airport lest we start living there. After all…all the snacks and drinks you could eat! So the three tiny women went with us to the bus helping carry the bags…bless their little hearts. “You are strong!” I said. Then we tumbled off that bus and onto another bus to Narita. Thankfully, other bus riders helped us off that one.

In contrast to little Haneda, these Delta agents at Narita were incredibly efficient, didn’t charge for overweight luggage, and the line went quickly. Whew! Even though we were originally booked for a flight direct to PDX…we got onto a plane for LA.

In LA we had missed the flight which was transiting San Francisco to Portland of course. Planes from hell to breakfast had been backed up for days. We stood in line (first a wrong one misdirected by a worker) over 3 hours to get rebooked and drop our bags. Only three Delta agents for a few hundred people! I was losing it! Then suddenly two more agents appeared. One woman wasted no time handling us and two other customers at once…and at the same time noticing Doug’s physical situation. Another airport worker suddenly appeared with a wheelchair and she bulldozed us through security and immigration. I will write Delta. These women need some kudos!

But my plane woes were not to end there. After a week in Salem Oregon, and a night waiting in the PDX airport for an early morning flight out to Houston through San Francisco, my transit through SF was cancelled. So I have a choice of going through LA or Las Vegas. Las Vegas! I quickly texted my son there and asked if I could spend a few days there. Yes, was the answer!

On March 3, from Las Vegas I was to fly to Oaxaca through Houston. Yes, the flight out of Houston was delayed two hours! Poor Andrea and Jose were waiting at the Oaxaca airport for me! I am taking them out to dinner Saturday at the Casa Oaxaca rooftop restaurant.

Surreal Senility Or Sneaky Sane?

Sunday, June 13th, 2010
3brashinappropriate.jpg This cartoon originally appeared on  Check out more of the New Yorker cartoonist's work at ("How I Do and Don't want to be Helen Thomas.") and on her [Continue reading this entry]

Almost Didn’t Make The Plane To Kunming

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Hard to believe I was in Beijing for two weeks. But you know what they say about stinking guests if they stay too long. So today I flew to Kunming in Yunnan Province in the south ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, April 10th, 2006
Never come to Northern Thailand or Lao during the dry season which is now. Slash and burn fires send smoke against the mountains and beyond. You won't see anything and the Mekong River will be down to a trickle.

Post Christmas in Bangkok & Escaping The Tsunami 2004

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004
1wXSp3CkNsDoJl3s0SgHmw-2006171170004499.gif A month in Bangkok On the morning of December 26, 2004, after a bowl of spicy Thai soup on the street outside my Bangkok hotel, I returned to my room and flipped on the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Queuing In Russia

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
Urr0g6ZfQ7ttYL19duYJfg-2006170133924757.gif Back in Irkutsk we watch women walking swiftly always carrying a plastic shopping sack or two (ovoiska from the Russian 'ovois' meaning 'just in case') of varying brands that have to be purchased)...a hold-over ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hot Train Carriages

Monday, September 20th, 2004
7yBXvp82X2gVlMeZe25DiM-2006198051115673.gif Most carriages are of East German origin solidly built and warm in winter. Each carriage is staffed by an attendant whose "den" is a compartment at the end of the carriage. She ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jet Lag

Friday, July 30th, 2004
After twenty hours sandwiched in a pressurized cabin in the air we drift down through darkness...time and space dissolving down long corridors and up and down escalators. We change money and language. We are different persons now. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Off The Boat…Where?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2003
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Back on the boat from the little gorges tour, a woman appears at our cabin her little English she says "I have a hotel for you...a bus will pick you up and take ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Merry Christmas Wish 2002

Wednesday, December 25th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Today, Christmas Day, we will take Jana's Blessing and a van back to Tengchong and catch a bus for Ruili on the China-Burma border. While we sit here at 7:00am bleary-eyed waiting for the water ... [Continue reading this entry]

Domestic Fight in Baoshan

Thursday, December 19th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif The Lonely Planet description for finding Huacheng Binguan was difficult...the hotel name was the same but the street was different...two Dutch travellers sitting in the lobby with their backpacks told us we were in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pissing Match In China

Friday, December 13th, 2002
jWLtBzsBGHTUmbHjYHypj0-2006185073225366.gif When Bob took a box of purchases to the Old Lijiang post office they asked him to take everything out one by one. This had not happened when we sent boxes from China before. ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, November 30th, 2002
YUqE3FCf1Hd9CjfG1qqmt0-2006171132705308.gif Friday November 29 2002 The annual Fish Festival began today. The fish festival celebrates the Cormorant fisher birds who dive for fish from fishermen's boats they perch on but because of their small throats ... [Continue reading this entry]

New Delhi

Saturday, July 27th, 2002
July 27-30 The hotel arranged to have us taken to the railway station in their car for the 6am train to Delhi, so at 5am the streets are full already and workers are queued up at the tea stalls for breakfast. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jaipur City Tour

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and sits on a dry lake bed surrounded by barren hills at the top of which you can see fort-like edifices and the surrounding fort walls. The all day city tour bus with ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pushkar India

Sunday, July 21st, 2002
The driver has to ask 5 times for directions to Pushkar (no male pride here). Upon entering the village a guy sitting at a table lets down a red and white pole barrier and asks for a 15 rupee ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, June 8th, 2002
t5vdleC6v9bjElbi1QdXwg-2006193172914229.gif June 6-8, 2002 How are you today mommi? George and James do a pretty good job looking after me-making sure I'm happy so I don't unglue on this trip and make a problem for ... [Continue reading this entry]

Yainguaz Camp Near Gobabis

Saturday, June 1st, 2002
t5vdleC6v9bjElbi1QdXwg-2006193172914229.gif June 1, 2002 Yainguaz Camp near Gobabis, Namibia The countries of Botswana and Namibia are very different geographically from Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. The topography is flatter even than Botswana and much of Namibia ... [Continue reading this entry]

Maun & Sitatunga Camp

Tuesday, May 28th, 2002
t5vdleC6v9bjElbi1QdXwg-2006193161808725.gif Tues May 28,2002 To Sitatunga Camp near Maun Botswana Up at 5:30 again. Had wieners, eggy bread (French Bread) with honey and canned spaghetti for breakfast. James is doing his usual antic-body stuff ... [Continue reading this entry]

Danger in Nairobi

Monday, May 6th, 2002
We were advised to go nowhere in Nairobi on foot at night. The downtown area is poorly lit and muggings are common. When Bob was here six years ago his trekking outfit arrived late at night. He  had ... [Continue reading this entry]

Diplomacy Egyptian Style

Sunday, April 28th, 2002
As westerners we are not used to the constant demands for "baksheesh" (tipping) that make you want to blow your stack...and then they want you to be happy about it! Salaries and wages are so low that baksheesh becomes ... [Continue reading this entry]

Bob And The Greeks

Tuesday, April 9th, 2002
How to Develop Your Patience by Traveling On the plane to Athens the stewardess came by with a refreshment cart and Bob, who was on the inside seat and couldn't see, asked for coffee. She told him he couldn't have coffee ... [Continue reading this entry]

Barri Gotic Barcelona

Monday, March 25th, 2002
In Barcelona we stayed in the Lower Barri Gotic area at Hotel Peninsular at Carrer Sant Pau, 34. Two single beds; sink; window opens into central court; very clean and nice bathroom and shower down the hall; towels, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Night Train To Marrakech

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172104421567.gif The night train to Marrakech really gave us an opportunity to stretch our cultural boundaries! You have a 9 foot by 9 foot compartment with three "beds" or platforms on each side with ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tangier $40 Taxi Ride

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172104421567.gif I think it is more difficult to ignore your own cultural filters when in a country similar to yours-for example-Europe as to America. There is a tendency to want to think that everything about ... [Continue reading this entry]

Chunnel Tickets in London

Tuesday, February 19th, 2002
When Bob went to the train station in London to buy a train ticket through the chunnel to France, they did not bother to tell him that if he had a Eurostar ticket for travel through Europe his chunnel ticket ... [Continue reading this entry]