Well, instead of writing this on the beach, I am actually writing this on an airplane back to Randy’s house! We have had a slight, well actually major, change of plans. After waking up this morning and checking the weather which still showed 100% chance of rain for the next week for every place we were scheduled to stay on the ocean, we decided that a good attitude was not enough. It started as a joke that maybe we could just fly to Africa to get the sun that we needed, but then we actually began to seriously consider changing our plans. It was one of those things where we were all thinking about it, but someone just needed to bring it up. According to weather.com, there is a chance of sun at the ocean where we were going to stay in two weeks, so we decided to see if we could afford to switch up our plans to go to the ocean at the end our trip instead of today. We figured that if we have already spent thousands of dollars to get here, it would be worth it to pay a little extra for the chance that we would have some sun at the beach. Plus, it wasn’t just a chance of showers, it was a chance of thunderstorms which could mean that we might not even be allowed to go out onto the water.
After deciding that it was a possibility, we decided to calculate the cost of buying new flights, canceling reservations, and making new reservations to decide if it was worth it. After just a few hours on our phones and iPads, we found our four new flights, booked two of them, and rebooked all of our hotels! The amazing thing is that with four new flights and all of the cancellation fees, it will only cost us $250!! I think this is one of the only places in the world where completely switching our itinerary was even a possibility.
One thing that Beth and I do for fun is find really cheap plane tickets and then get really excited that we might possibly go, and plan the entire trip to just see how expensive it would be. Usually it takes a few hours and we find where we would stay, what activities we would do, and what transportation we would need. After it is all planned, we ask ourselves if it is really a good idea, or if we were just getting caught up in the hype. Usually, it doesn’t work out, but we were joking that planning all of those trips was just training us for this day! Now we can think of it as a skill instead of a really expensive hobby.
It ended up working out nicely for us to switch this week with our last week. So, instead of doing Chiang Mai for the last four days of our trip, we will do Chiang Mai the next four days, and go to the beach at the end. We didn’t even have to move any of the flights or reservations for the middle week of the three which was really nice! So, it turns out we got to see Phuket for about 24 hours! We were definitely not in the tourist area of town, so we decided that we were lucky to be able to be fully immersed in the culture. (At this point, we are trying to recognize all of the good things that we can be thankful for). Needless to say, we are really confused why anyone would want to come here. We were trying to have a good attitude and say that at least we had 24 hours somewhere beautiful, but it really wasn’t pretty at all. We read that it is known for the beaches and the bars, and we didn’t see either, so maybe that is why. At the end of it all, we were happy to leave.
After we finished planning our “new” trip, we had about an hour to just relax before we had to leave to the airport (again). It gave us the chance to catch-up with our boyfriends, so that was another thing we identified as good! We then had to walk about 4 blocks to the local bus station for the airport shuttle. Just imagine four foreign girls walking down the road with their suitcases in an area that never sees tourists. We got so many funny looks and all of the taxi drivers were really excited to see us. One even ran across the road! Luckily, they were all pretty nice to us and left us alone when we said we were taking the bus. One of the taxi drivers in front of the bus station told us, “Bus 2-3 hour! Me 40 minutes! Only 50 baht more!!” Luckily the lady at the hotel told us that it only took an hour, so we knew! We were able to brush him off and get onto the bus and to the airport in no time (another good thing!). It also wasn’t pouring at this time which was another good thing!
While on the bus, all we could do was just laugh at the past few days. Beth said it best when she said, “I am excited for my vacation to actually start!” Yeah, these past two days have been a buzzkill for Laura and I, but we have already had a super fun week(s) here! Beth and Paige have been on an airplane everyday for the last 5 days!! Besides a few sarcastic comments, you would never even know! We continued to try have a good attitude saying things like, “Well at least it is not raining!” And then it would start raining in like 2 minutes. We just had to shake our heads and be thankful that we had enough time left here to switch things around. We also were saying that we were so thankful that we are all pretty chill people and similar travelers. We all could have been justifiably annoyed and mad about the weather and things not working out (especially Beth and Paige), but the fact that everyone was able to just laugh about it made the day so much better. It only takes one person for everyone to jump on the pity party train. (We did have a two minute pity party for ourselves and then decided that we just had to deal with it and see what we could do. We are not saints!!)
When it came down to it, we decided that the purpose of today was to learn a few things. We were trying to think of all of the things God is trying to teach us through this experience and this is what we came up with:
1. There is no such thing as a cheap international trip. We were all excited about the fact that we weren’t actually going to have to spend very much money here. Not anymore!!
2. Beth and I especially like to be in control of our situation, so we must have needed a little reminder that we cannot control and plan everything. This is what we get for planning the trip over 6 months in advance!
3. Going along with that, we all must have needed a little lesson of the importance of being flexible. We definitely have needed that and will probably need it in the next few weeks if they go anything like the last few days.
4. Good friends make everything better! These past few days could have been very different if we didn’t have such a great group!
5. People really are right when they say attitude is everything! We are trying so hard!
6. You can’t appreciate the ups without a few downs! We are hoping to get back to the up part sooner rather than later:)
We definitely had our patience tested today! Beth and I were joking that we just need one thing for our luck to change! Luckily, we called Randy with our new plans and we were able to get Pim back as our driver for the next three days! Even if it is raining in Chiang Mai, we are determined to get Beth and Paige a good experience. One good thing is that we don’t have to be on the airplane or at the airport for 4 days!!! Also, we all got to sit next to each other on the plane and Beth even got her own row, so we are thinking that that our luck may be changing!
We are now back at Randy’s and are SO glad that we decided to rearrange our trip. When we landed in Chiang Mai there was some blue sky and we were all so excited!! Also, I am not complaining about coming back to the mountains! Randy picked us up from the airport and of course made some jokes about us not being able to handle being away from him. It is such a gift that we even had the option to come back! He then treated us to pizza for dinner (and we had Subway for lunch) so the girls have had more American food than Thai food so far! We have time:) It is pretty amazing how much better we feel about the outlook of our trip now compared to this morning. We are glad that we made the switch, but realized that we can only take it literally one day at a time here.
Laura and I then showed the girls around Moo 2! If we thought that people stared when there was only 2 of us, people were almost gawking over all four of us! Plus, we went in the evening when everyone was at home, so there were more people to look. We ran into one of Randy’s friends, Mr. Boone, that Laura and I had met last week. He was so excited that we remembered him! The only two English words he knows are Mr.Boone and Randy but he just repeats a bunch of Thai phrases over and over again very excitedly, and we just nod and smile.
He rode away on his scooter, but then we walked past his house a few minutes later and he was waving us into his yard with his hands! Luckily Laura remembered the Thai word for wife because we then realized what he was telling us. Randy told us the week before that his wife was really sick, so we realized that Mr. Boone wanted us to come see his wife. He lead us back to his very small house to his wife, and we got to meet her! She didn’t really speak any Thai either, but we were kind of able to communicate some phrases. She had an NG tube, or a tube that is inserted into your nose and down to your stomach and they demonstrated how they feed her through the tube and she let us know that she had been sick for 8 years with her fingers. We think that she really enjoyed talking to us, so maybe that is why we had to come back up north for the few days. Otherwise she was telling her husband to get these foreign girls out of her house in Thai the entire time. We really have no idea what they were saying, we just smiled and nodded and tried to be respectful. You definitely don’t get that experience as a typical tourist!
When we got home we planned out the next few days! We will be in Chiang Mai until Sunday when we will fly to Bangkok for a few days. Again, we will have a driver for the next three days! Pim was going to do it again, but it fell through (weird!), but we got another one lined up. We are excited to actually do something other than go to the airport and eat American food as an entire group!
I am so glad that everyone has been enjoying the blog posts so far! It has been good to know that people are reading them, so I am kept accountable and make sure to write something every night! This has taken the place of any journaling I would do, so it will be how I remember this trip which helps me make sure that I make it is pretty detailed. I really enjoy writing, so it has been really fun to have an outlet to share our adventure with so many people at one time! Also, with our many, many plane rides, it is fun to have something to do. I must be a pretty hardcore blogger if I carry my portable keyboard around in my backpack 🙂
Side note: There is literally a nationwide number for pizza here! It is like calling 911, except you want pizza instead of the cops or an ambulance. When they answer, you tell them where you are and what kind of pizza you want from what company. So crazy, but kind of awesome!