As you may have read in my previous post, we are now traveling with some very good friends of ours from back home. Actually this past week we have been with FOUR families. We have all been exploring Chiang Mai together and let me tell you, we are quite the crowd. Can you imagine a group of eight adults and nine children exploring a city together? Everyone seems to stop and have a double take when our troupe arrives. Waiters rush to put together tables for us at restaurants, people stop on the street and stare, and we even have people take our photographs all over the city! One of the families has since moved on to other travels and we are now back to traveling as three families including us. Even though our group is now smaller we still feel a bit like movie stars as people are so often asking (or not asking) to take pictures of our gaggle of children!
I have found that I have needed to adjust my expectations for our time together with our friends. It has been hard, logistically speaking, to do very much with such a big group of people. Even just getting everyone up and out in the morning can be a task in itself and everything takes longer when you are doing things with so many people. Add that to the fact that some of the children are still quite young and need a lot of down time and the older children are more than happy to just hang out and play lego together, it has meant that we have not been able to do or see as much as I expected.
Our time in Chiang Mai has flown by and is almost at a close. We have taken our friends to our favourite dining spots, explored the amazing sticky waterfalls at Buatong, visited the 3D art museum, the bug museum, introduced the grown ups to Thai massage, got our feet ticked at a fish spa, explored numerous markets, had a day with elephants, and we even caught a movie at the theatre. Still I feel like we have only brushed the surface of Chiang Mai with our friends.
It has been SO good for all of us in my family to be surrounded by our friends. My boys have had constant companions to play with and they rush out of bed every morning eager to start their day of play. They have been acting as tour guides to our troupe and have been sharing their knowledge of Thailand. We have had lovely nights of grown-up conversations with our dear friends while our kids entertain themselves. We have even been able to share the child care duty so that some adults could run errands, go get a massage, go out shopping at a night market, or go hang out and play pool.
We will be starting a very big adventures soon. We have decided to rent a van and drive from Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand to the beaches in the South. THAILAND ROAD TRIP!!!! The cost to rent the van ended up being slightly cheaper than getting flights so we have decided to take Thailand at our leisure and drive ourselves to where we want to go. This way we will get to see more of Thailand, explore some more sights, and always have our own wheels to get us around instead of relying on public transport for our very large group.
Wish us safe and smooth travels!