T minus 25 days

Travel itinerary is starting to shape up for the trip home. Here’s your first look at our plan. The only things written in stone other than our arrival-departure schedule is the dental appointment, and the flight to Chiangmai.

Thu. Nov. 18 – Depart LAX at 11:30 p.m. 2.5 hour layover in Taipei.

Sat. Nov. 20 – Arrive in Bangkok around 11 a.m. Dad should be back from an urban design conference in Beijing that same day if not the day before.

Sun. Nov. 21 – Brandon’s dental appointment in the morning. Yes. Dentist. Dental works in Thailand is as good (if not better) than the US and a lot cheaper. Brandon needs to finish up some procedure his American dentist neglected to tell him about.

My dentist back home takes care of our whole family, and has been looking at our teeth for the past 12 years. He usually only works at this office on Wednesdays, but he’ll come in especially for us. So this Sunday appointment is for my family dentist to evaluate and determine further procedures. Last year when I was home, he postponed his vacation one day so he could come in to see me…and clean my teeth. That, my friend, is the kind of relationship you just don’t have with the dentist in the states!

That same evening, I’m planning to get my Mater Dei classmates together for a dinner. Brandon may have to make a brief appearance.

Mon. Nov. 22 – Take it easy day. We either going to lounge around, getting manicure/pedicure or take Brandon out to get a traditional Thai massage. Either that or one of the following tour packages mom wants us to go through out our trip:

  • Bangkok tour: Temple of Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. Temple of the Dawn (across the river). A few more temples and tourist attractions along the way.
  • Floating Market tour: A van ride to the Floating Market, just outside of Bangkok. Lunch and a show there. Make pit stops at the Rose Garden and possibly the Golden Pagoda.
  • Ayutthaya tour: A van ride to Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thai kingdom. (See my old Thailand trip pictures.) Take a 3-hour barge ride back to the city down the Chao Praya river.

Tue. Nov. 23 – Tour package day.

Wed. Nov. 24 – Oakley’s dental appointment. Yep. My turn to get my teeth checked. If Brandon still needs work done, he’ll be in there too.

Thu. Nov. 25 – Head up to Chiang Mai, the northern capital. Dad has to go up for a meeting, so he’ll be working most of Thursday and a part of Friday. We will commission a cab from the hotel, and be taken all over town to paper umbrella factory, etc. Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the temple on top of Mount (Doi) Suthep is definitely on the list. This is the temple featured in Rambo III. We have to hike up the 300-step stone staircase to the temple to complete the experience. Of course, mom will beat us riding on the hillside scaling trolley.

Thanksgiving will be celebrated at a traditional northern dinner, Khan Toke dinner. Khan Toke dinner serves up sort of like Moroccan food. Everyone sits on the floor and eats with your hands. Dinner which consists of sticky rice, curry dip for pork rinds and fresh vegetable, and other entree is served in this round tray. And of course, for the tourists, a show of traditional dances while you enjoy your meal.

After dinner, we could go crazy at the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar after mom’s lead!

Fri. Nov. 26 – November, full moon night is Loy Kratong festival. Thais head out to the nearest body of water to float their kratongs, lotus shaped small floats with incense sticks and candles. It’s a way to thank the goddess of water for the bountiful supply from the past year. The northern folks call the festival Yipeng Festival. In addition to the water floats, they also celebrate with floating lanterns, or Khom Loy. They look like upside down luminarias that float like rogue mini hot air balloons.

Once dad is done with his meetings, we plan to head out to Aunty Sida’s house in Chiang Dao, a mountain village in Chiang Mai. I’m not sure how or where we would go float our kratongs while we’re at her house though…

Sat. Nov. 27 – Spend the morning in Chiang Dao. Head up to Chiang Rai, another northern province, for more adventures. Mountain tribes. National parks. Myanmar (Burma) border. And, of course, the Golden Triangle. Spend the night in Chiang Rai.

Sun. Nov. 28 – Head back to Chiang Mai to return to Bangkok. Oakley will be desperately searching a newspaper or internet cafe to check on USC-Notre Dame score.

Mon. Nov. 29-Fri. Dec. 3 – The follow week so far is fair game. Nothing has been planned.

We’ll be taking more tour packages so Brandon can see everything. We’ll be going shopping with mom for whatever else she hasn’t bought for us already. (Yes. My mom pre-shops so we don’t have to spend too much time in the malls.) The Aunties will be lining up to see us. And our friends too.

Joy will take a day off from work to take us around town for most of the day. Then we’ll visit her new office, the family business’ brand new production plant and business headquarters, and have dinner at her house. The adventure continues as we will be riding the Sky Train home. Oh, I hope my friend Tong can play hookie that day and join us!

Sat. Dec. 4 – Depart Bangkok at 12 noon. Arrive back at LAX at 2 p.m. Hopefully we’ll be home in time for me to catch the last few minutes of USC kicking fucla’s ass.

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