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Adventures in ThailandAdventures in Thailand
Part Five: Reflections

By Gyn Gerhardt

Back in Bangkok, it just wasn't the same without our comfy bus and of course James and Kop. Our new driver and bus seemed to be lost as we waited at the airport. We thought about Kop and James making that long drive back to Bangkok. Finally Nu called for a replacement bus and after a quick lunch we were back to our sumptuous hotel and a last fitting of my silk suit (which was elegant). Repacking all my treasures was in order and a second look at the water buffalo hide lacy sculpture of the mother elephant with her baby
took first place in my heart (a $10 find that cost $180 to frame).

With just 2 more days before we headed home, Nu still had places on his list for us to see. The morning came and we headed out the door for our adventure of the day to the Grand Palace and the floating market. There before us stood Kop, James Bond and our bus for the past two weeks, all shiny and clean! While they were scheduled for a couple days rest, they wanted to be with us once more just as much as we appreciated them. Smiles and hugs all around and once more we were on our way, I might say, with bigger smiles for
our good fortune.

I sat in the waiting area for my plane to arrive that would take me home to Las Vegas. I felt so rich in spirit to have had this experience. While having been on many tours, I couldn't help but think that this one ended much too soon. I wondered if it was the Thai smiles and the air of respect that transformed us tourists into such a compatible group or if we would have been the same in any country.

Our ages ranged from the mid-fifties to the early eighties. We traveled from as far away as the east coast and from the west. Two of our group were avid photographers and must have shot well over 40 rolls of film. I manage to do 9 rolls. Only one member of our group was not too fond of the food,
but as in most countries, there is always MacDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut.

I like to think it was Nu, James, Kop, the Thai people with their smiling faces and the beauty of the country that made me a bit sad to be going home. I wasn't tired and exhausted like I have been on other tours, yet our schedule had been very full of adventures.

A few last items I would like to share with you. We traveled in a nice new air conditioned bus through out the country. We also traveled many times by rice barges, long tailed boats, rafts, canoes and the beloved trishaws (bicycle version of the old rickshaw). While all our first class hotels offered the western commode, the countryside retains the typical hole in
the ground (always clean) accommodations, requiring a bit of agility. A tub of water and a scoop next to the facility are used for flushing. Westerners must drink bottled water (which was always provided to us in abundance).

For those of you who have been visiting Thailand through my eyes, I hope you have had a good trip. If you would like to do this tour, it is available through Overseas Adventure Travels (1-800-955-1925) for under $2,000 from the West Coast including 16 days of all hotels, meals, touring and airfare. OAT's parent company, Grand Circle (1-800-221-2610) offers a 15 day extended-stay vacation in Bangkok and Chaing Mai from most cities in the US for under $1,200 including airfare, hotels and some tours and meals.

One may think that our guide Nu was an exceptional young guide. I have traveled with OAT and Grand Circle before and while Nu, James and Kop were responsible for much of our joy, I have found all their guides are exceptionally well trained and personable. I have never been disappointed. On that note I thank you all for letting me share my adventure and I look forward to traveling with you again.

Part One: Bangkok
Part Two: The River Kwai
Part Three: The Golden Triangle
Part Four: Saffron Robes and Elephants
Part Five: Reflections