Just as magnificent was Chiang Mai in the very north of Thailand. It was a relief to be in cooler, mountainous air after the humid heat of the south. There were similar beautiful sites to see, but what I remember most was the passport dilemma.
We settled into a hotel and within half an hour decided we didn’t like it and left. Once we found a different place to stay, my partner realized that he’d left his passport at the previous hotel. We rushed back, ran into the room and he raised the mattress to find his passport was no longer there. I was immediately in panic mode because his passport was Tanzanian and replacing it would be a challenge. As well, even with a new passport the next problem would be getting it restamped with an Australian visa. We raced to find someone in the hotel office and luckily the cleaner had the passport. What had he been doing checking under the mattress? Was it a hiding place that lots of other visitors used?
It’s certainly a hiding place I’ve never used. Have you?
Our last Thai destination was Hua Hin, not far south of Bangkok. Back then, there were no tourists and as we sat on the beach, a group of friendly Thai teenagers joined us. I had been so engrossed in their conversation I didn’t notice my youngest head into the sea until her sister screamed. We had planned to stay longer, but on the fifth morning, it began to rain and by ten o’clock it didn’t appear as if it would let up.
We caught a bus back to Bangkok, booked our flight on to Penang and before we left managed to spend the afternoon at the famous palace. I remember gazing at the Grand Palace in an art magazine years ago, but of my actual visit I remember little. It is only in a letter to my sister that I can write the following—Inside were many different buildings for different occasions. There was a huge gold pagoda and an emerald Buddha made of jade. About six buildings were surrounded by a wall that was painted with stories of Thai history. Everywhere the eye fell was ostentatious and like a fairyland. My oldest daughter loved it.