Monday - Chiang Mai to Sharons (aka Chiang Mai to Pai)
Monday January 30
We got up a bit later than we wanted to, because of the late night.
We had a lot to do, packing up and getting ready for the adventure to the border.
Jon left to get the van detailed before returning it, and the kids and I got the laundry and breakfast and finished packing. He finally found a place but they said it would take an hour and a half, so he went to get Chris and the kids and take them to the bus station, then come get us.
Traffic was heavy, so by the time he got to the bus station with them, it was getting late. So Mary Ann and I went and flagged down a songtaeow to take us and all our luggage. James help load us up then was going to follow us, but as soon as we turned on a main road he got pulled over by the police. He didn't have his helmet because it was in the van. Red hair, white skin, sitting duck... He got a ticket for a 400 Baht fine for no helmet.
He finally got on the road again, then was pulled over again. Thankfully he didn't get another ticket.
We finally arrived at the bus station and the minivan driver kind of freaked out when he saw all the additional luggage! He had to take down a bunch of stuff he'd had on top so our big ones could fit up there. He finally got everything g and everyone loaded and we took off. We had the seats in the far back.
After we got on the road, Chris told me about their morning. Jonathan had also been pulled over twice. The first time because he had Sarah and Luke with him, and he learned it's illegal for more than two foreigners to be on a motorbike. The next time he got a ticket for 400 Baht, for not having a Thai driver license.
Our ride was pretty good. After a couple hours, the driver stopped for lunch, which gave us an opportunity to go to the bathroom and get some snacks to eat since we were beginning to get hungry.
Once the driver finished eating, he called us and we all piled back in. One of our suitcases had to be take out and put back in to let people on and off the van. :). We have way too much luggage! We're looking forward to off-loading some gifts!
After another little bit, we really got into the mountains and it became very curvy road! We had to watch outside so we wouldn't get car sick. It was beautiful jungle and rice terraces out there. We saw a few villages from the road, sometimes a school or temple.
We had gotten a text from Lilyann saying they had just passed a cobra in the road! The rest of the story we learned later was that the cobra reared up and flared when Jon and Lilyann went past, then James and Mary Ann went way around it. Another vehicle stopped and blocked traffic until it had gone on its way. There is respect for life here, at least to some degree. The GoPro battery had just died and they hadn't gotten to change it yet, so we have no footage of this, by the way.
Finally we arrived at Mae Sariang. Lisa and the girls were there waiting with the head woman's pickup. We piled out and collected all our luggage. Then piled it all in the pickup for the trip to their house. We didn't pack it, we just piled it. Which meant that those riding in the back had to stand up! We should have packed it!
We discovered later that we had left Luke's neck pillow in the van, so are bummed about that!
We had to stop at a couple places because Lisa needed more blankets and we got Sarah some flip flops since hers had been left at the resort in Mae Taeng.
Then we began the curvy drive to their house. There are some very steep roads on the way! It is beautiful country though! Up in the mountains.
We had a last few texts from the motorbike team before we lost service. They had 100 km to go to get to Pai, but they had gotten oil and food and were doing fine so far.
It was amazing to arrive at their house! To finally see it for myself!!! And to see Lisa and the girls is wonderful! All the girls have grown so much!
We got all the luggage settled in and then had supper. Tasty fruit salad with sugar free oat cookies (There are some food allergies in the house which are a challenge to deal with). Apple, mango, strawberry, pineapple, I think that was all. I love all of it, but having mango so freely available is so wonderful.
We had worship and headed for bed. She had beds enough to share with us, since we are "only" four extra and part of the family is gone.
LeRoy is at the refugee camp teaching and Becky is with Jason and Shoshana and Ivana at the dental training at Sunshine Orchard. Dr. Jack and Katie Hamilton are over from America teaching the MBT students dental skills to help the dear people nearby. So many have poor dental health because of lack of dental hygiene, poor diet, and chewing beetle nut.