Okay... we had NO idea what we were in for... I mean, absolutely NO idea. As usual, we were totally last minute and didn't plan well enough. We were hoping to meet up with my former student Top, whose family lives in Bangkok. We had no idea that we would be treated like royalty by his entire family for the duration of our trip!
Top greeted us at the airport and drove us to our hotel, picking up his mother along the way. Then, his mother immediately began to make our travel plans for us, fussing over us and worrying because Thailand is so full of tourists this time of year. Yesterday, our first full day, she met us, took us out for breakfast, arranged a tour of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (a temple) for us, took us on a long-tailed boat ride, out for lunch and then to a market. For dinner, we met Top's whole family at the Emerald Hotel for a buffet. Oh, and did I mention that they wouldn't let us pay for anything all day???
Then, today, Top left to return to Canada. No problem. His sister picked us up and drove us to the most incredible market I have ever been to my entire life. We were there ALL DAY and we didn't even see half of it. We bought so many clothes. I don't think I can ever justify paying full price for anything again! Then, for dinner we were taken out AGAIN to another buffet. The coolest thing is that we met up with Giacomo... a guy I worked with at Brock, and his girlfriend Nancy. They have been living in Japan about the same length of time as us, but we never connected. Well, it just so happens that they told Top they would be in Thailand... so of course, now Top's mother is taking care of them too! So we all met up at a Japanese-style buffet in Bangkok... my gosh, what a small world.
Tomorrow, Top's uncle is driving us south-east to a beach where we will stay for at least two nights. I can't get over the treatment we have been receiving. We have not had to do anything. This is the most amazing vacation we've ever had... and I haven't even begun to tell you about the amazing things we've seen! So I'm off now to get a foot massage and have a drink. Cheers!