Hello again, this time from Chiang Mai! Notice the corrected spelling in the title. I entered the previous Thai expressions in spellings that made sense to what I was hearing, but I have actually seen the words written now. "Sawasdee" is the greeting, and "kob koon" is the thank you. Female remains "kaa" but male address is "krup", which does not at all jive with the way it sounds, but I'm going for accuracy in reporting here.
We arrived yesterday to a bit of a rude awakening. Staying in four star extreme splendor while in Bangkok did not do us any favors for our arrival here at a much more normal-for-us place. It just took one night to correct our expectations. Baan Orapin is exceedingly lovely. It's a bed and breakfast we found through TripAdvisor, and it is beautifully appointed. The setting is a traditional Thai family compound with what must be considered a mansion house at the center. The family converted it to a B&B. It is quite a serene, peaceful setting amidst much busyness just outside the front gate, and we are enjoying it thoroughly.
Last night was our first night, and it was a rough one. Markus had his sickest day yet with the cold. Sore throat, endless coughing...then the inevitable fury at the endless coughing. The girls tossed and turned and moaned in their sleep as we left behind our canned air-conditioned tower and traded it for wall units in a very humid place. And while beautifully appointed, there is no escaping the fact that mattresses are generally CRAP in developing countries, no matter how nice the place. I don't know that any of us slept much. But by day, that all melts away.
This morning, we enjoyed a perfect, simple breakfast put on by the staff, and then we were off to see Stephanie's elephants! Opas, the owner here, arranged for us to have a taxi attendant for a half day, so he drove us about 30 minutes out to the elephant farm. Of course, we rode one! And watched the show! But first, the elephants were bathing. We got close to watch and one very playful, cheeky big boy sprayed us down! The girls were stunned and then started to cry. Poor things! It was very funny. Markus somehow avoided the worst of it, but we were drenched. Good thing it's summertime and quite warm! We were dry before too long. Later, we fed the elephants and one elephant posed with us and did some little tricks for the camera, including one shot where he wrapped his trunk around my waist in a hug. I was holding Stephanie at the time, and she was not expecting his trunk on her legs. Again, she cried and cried. Poor girl. I think it was the suddenness of it all, because we talked a lot about it and laughed later about how fun it was that the elephant splashed her and gave her a bath and she got elephant snuggles.
On the way back to town, we stopped at a butterfly farm, but there weren't many butterflies out today.
Markus took the girls to play in the pool while I passed out cold on the bed for about 20 minutes. Then, we walked about five minutes down the road to have lunch at Regina. It was so low-key and PERFECT because they had pet kittens! Markus and I enjoyed a delicious lunch in total peace and relaxation while Ellie and her sister Jungle Jane chased and pet and loved the kitties to pieces. I'm thinking this may be our daily lunch spot for the week.
I don't know what to think about the colds that have taken hold of Markus and Ellie. At about 1am, I was ready to call Thai Airways and change our return flights. I know they are just colds, nothing to write home about, but they feel big and frustrating when you are on a special holiday that you may never repeat. Unfortunately, I also heard Stephanie coughing in her sleep (which is how it started in Ellie), so I'm not looking forward to bedtime tonight. I'm hoping the days will continue to be full of enough goodness and happy memories to help us shrug off the nights once the sun rises each day.
Now, I'm off to the grocery store. This being a B&B means there is no food outside the set breakfast hours, and even those start almost two hours after our early risers wake up. I need healthy snacks and munchies...and maybe some cough suppressant.