Day 16 -Back to the Big City

Woke up at 6:45a.  We ate breakfast and broke camp.  We needed to be on the road by 10am to be sure we got to the airport on time.

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Group photo just before our drive to the airport

The drive took us over passes and through valleys.  For a long time there was not a road to be seen.

We arrived at the airport about 2:30p.  Our flight was at 5:30p.  It was the only flight for the day which meant the airport was pretty much empty.  So we wait for the employees to arrive.  Once they do, we weigh our luggage and carry ons to be sure we are under our allotment.  We are.  We also become aware of how much we stink.  It’s time to board which means it’s time to say goodbye to the drivers and the translators.  They will make it back to Ulaanbaatar in the vans.

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Boarding for our return to Ullaanbaatar

We arrive in UB about 7p and head to dinner.  We have a great Indian meal and then head to the hotel.

At the hotel I say goodbye to Jenn, our trip leader.  I won’t see her again before I fly out.  Once I get settled in my room the only thing I want to do is hear from my family.  It takes a while to get connected to wifi, but once I do I send messages to everyone and then I hop on a hot shower.  A hot shower is amazing!

It’s difficult to sleep, the room is hot and there is a lot of street noise.  I keep checking for messages on Facebook and finally hear back from Michael and Aly.  I fall asleep about 2am.

and we’re back – here, not there

the train arrived early.  we boarded.  we were excited.  we ordered dinner.  the train left the station for chiang mai.  we ate dinner (which convinced me not to order dinner on the train again.  it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either.)  we ordered breakfast (only because by that time the train was running an hour behind schedule and i didn’t figure the kids would like waiting until 11 in the morning to eat).  the nice train employee came and put the beds down for us.  we got into bed.  we were curled up nicely with our ipods and we (or at least i) was ready to be put to sleep by the swaying of the train.  and just as i was beginning to understand how someone could possibly be swayed to sleep by a train they came and told us we wouldn’t be having breakfast.  or chiang mai.  that we were headed back to bangkok.  flooding again so we shouldn’t count on the overnight train on thursday night.

now we’re back at the bangkok christian guest house with tickets for an overnight bus tomorrow night.  s11 has a vote in that we do nothing tomorrow.  he’d like a day to hang out around the hotel and fill every available minute with whatever might be showing on cartoon network.  and as tempting as that is – check out is at noon.  that leaves us several (like 7) hours to fill.  a13 mentioned that cats and dogs: the revenge of kitty galore comes out tomorrow and we’re not at all far from the mall where the ginormous theatre is and maybe we should go there.  right now, my vote is for sleep – and blogging, obviously.

and while we’re figuring out how we’re gonna fritter away a few hours before we can begin our journey home, michael’s hearing reports that super typhoon megi is due to arrive where he is somewhere in the same time frame as when he’s gonna be attempting to leave.  it seems he always has to one up me.

you follow me and i, i, i follow you

*i would have titled this post alive and kicking, but i’ve already used that title – and it wasn’t all that long ago – so i’m just going with another line from the same song. given enough time i’ll eventually have a post for every line of the song.*

where have i been?  around.  (funny, aren’t i?)  no, actually i’ve just been recovering.  i spent several days in quite a bit of pain and then several more days really, really sore.  but, for the most part, i’m now pain free.  except for the headache i’ve had pretty much nonstop since i was put under.  oh, and the fuzziness i’ve been feeling. which is very frustrating. i feel like i shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions right now because i can’t think clearly enough to make a good choice.  but those things are supposed to go away – in time.  and i would say the headache is not as painful as they were, now more of a dull distraction as opposed to a constant hammering.  oh, and the itching.  which is a good sign.  the doctor was overjoyed to hear that my scalp was itchy.  he was so excited to tell me all about the cell factory i’ve got working away on top of my head healing up that scar.  and he gave me a very clear warning.  “don’t scratch the factory and no swimming.”  wednesday the stitches come out.  and then another 5 weeks of healing after that and i’ll be good as new.  sort of.  and bonus – it seems i’m a wee bit younger looking.  i’ve had more than one person say that i look younger.  i’m thinking that in order to accomplish the removal of the “dangerous tumor” the doctor couldn’t help giving me a bit of a face lift.

what else has been happening?

we’ve also had a birthday party for s(still)10.  he’ll be 11 next friday saturday (i’m blaming that little error on the fuzziness.)  his birthday is totally on friday.  (i was right the first time, but the fuzzy seems to have won out.) but michael leaves for the states the day after his birthday and s10 figured that if we wanted to get maximum benefit from him being here we should party a little early. but don’t worry, i’m not cheating him out of a birthday post.  i’m just gonna wait until he’s actually s11 to talk about it any more. (my own personal denial).

a13 has started futsal.  it’s a super short season.  started somewhere around the 20th of aug. and ends like the 17th of sept. she’s playing under 16 this year. which seems impossible.

c16 is impatiently waiting to get his motorscooter license.  the whole head thing derailed our plans just a little.  but we’re back on track now and soon enough he’ll have it.  and want to use it.

michael’s leg still isn’t 100%, but it’s closer.  i’ve got to find him some compression socks this week before he heads over the ocean.

and my coolest thailand story to date – at least i think it’s the coolest.  i was headed home from a friend’s house on the motorscooter the other night and stopped for a red light.  the elephant that i was stopped beside patted me on the helmet with his/her trunk.  how cool is that??  (i mean, like it’s not cool enough to say “the elephant i was stopped beside”.)

getting from point a to point b

i hate greatly dislike our car.  it’s big.  too big for the neighborhood streets of chiang mai.  it guzzles gas.  it’s in poor condition – even after it’s had a new engine and a new radiator (although i question the use of the word new.)  and there are alot of places that it’s an absolute bear to park.  just the idea of having to use it raises my heart rate.  so we’ve decided to change our main mode of transportation.  we’re going motorcy.  (in america we’d call it a scooter.)  right now we’re renting a really cute motorcy – but really cute probably isn’t really practical for our family.  it works for me, but the menfolk aren’t so excited about it.  when you rent a motorcy here they aren’t so big on making sure you know how to ride one.  they showed me how to start it – that was very kind of them – and then they sent me out on my own.  and i’m loving it.

we’ve decided that we’re gonna let c16 get his license and have some usage of the bike.  and when we told him that, apparently he heard “we’re buying a bike for the family, but mostly for you!” because he has been negotiating the when and where he gets to use it since we mentioned it.  we’ve got a ways to go before we come to an agreement.  i figure by the time we come to an arrangement that makes us all happy a13 will be ready to drive it, too.

and…

if my blog had a ticker that ran across the bottom of meaningless posts with the real news here is what it would say (you know, like the news.  the newscasters talk about all the not really news stuff and the important stuff you really need and want to know about is run across the bottom of the screen so you have to read it, while listening to the unimportant stuff) –

  • michael’s leg is doing better.  or at least not worse.  he has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to check it out.
  • the kids are situated in school.  the first full week begins today.
  • i’ve actually been using the gym membership i committed to.  if you count 10 visits in 20 days as a commitment.