Final Preparations for our trip to Asia

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May 19th 2009
Published: May 19th 2009
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China, Thailand and Vietnam trip in 2009

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Me and my Mom at Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
I just confirmed our last hotel in Lanzhou; holding off in hopes that the Chinese authorities would lift the travel restrictions in Xiahe (Labrang) where we had hotel rooms reserved. Our hopes were dashed, so we won't be able to visit where my parents were married 60 years ago. However, Plan B is just as good; we will stay in Lanzhou, and take a day trip to Minxian, where my parents lived for five months from January to May 1949 after they were married, and before they evacuated to Thailand, where I was born.

Today was busy settling as many details as possilble that may occur during the month we (my 87 year old mother, my son Will, and myself) will be away...listing the bills that will come in so that my wife Linda can anticipate what checks to send out, making sure my kids college loans for summer school are on track to be deposited while I am away, making sure that all my prescriptions are filled for the entire month I am away, listing all the other items I need to take (sunscreen, immodium, sleeping pills, a good book, flip flops, digital camera and video camera with extra
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Wife Linda, daughter Rosanna, and dog Bonnie at Rampart Resevoir beneath Pikes Peak.
batteries and SD cards, sunglasses, a hat, swimming suit, enough clothes to last between laundry dates, etc, etc). I have packed my backpack and carry on bag and weighed them to ensure they are under the weight limits (20 kg for flights in China on China Eastern, 15 kg for flights in Thailand and Vietnam on Air Asia...I'll have to leave some things in Bangkok to stay under 15 kg)

I also put together a three ring binder with all the paperwork for the trip...flight reservations, hotel reservations, pertinent emails. One thing I haven't done is prepare a detailed itinerary with written description of all the sights (with openng times and entrance fees), and transportation details from the airports to the hotels, etc. I did that for our trip to Thailand in 2007 (see previous blogs), but found that I rarely referenced this information...which was mostly for the others going with me so that they knew what to expect and provide input for deviations.

The itinerary is as follows:
21 May - fly from Denver to Chicago, meet up with Will who is flying in from Roanoke, and stay overnight near the airport (this is
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Wife Linda, son Will, and daughter Tamara making hot chocolat in kitchen
preferable to getting up at 2 AM to drive to Denver to catch a 6 Am flight to Chicago just in time to catch a 14 hour flight to Shanghai)
22 May - 23 May - fly from Chicago to Shanghai Pudong terminal 2 and meet Mark at the Burger King just outside of the bagge claim area; drive to our hotel, relaxing evening before konking our at some early hour after my sister Carol arrives from Bangkok
24 May - tour Shanghai with Mark (Bund, Yuyuan Gardens, Nanjing Lu Street, Shanghai Museum, church, etc).
25 May - catch noon flight to Lanzhou, taxi to hotel
26 May - drive to Minxian, try to identify my parents' former home, and return to Lanzhou.
27 May - catch noon train to Xian, arriving 9 PM, and taxi to hotel.
28 May - tour Terra Cotta Warrior museum, Forest of Stelle museum, Shanxi Museum, City Wall, Drum Tower, etc
29 May - tour in morning what we missed the day before; catch 4 PM flight back to Shanghai, and meglev and taxi to hotel
30 May - fly to Bangkok via Hong Kong, arriving 4PM, met by Steve and taken to guest
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Our house in Woodland Park
31 May - church then lunch at a mall, some touring.
1 June - root canal (much cheaper than U.S.), and then some touring. We don't want to repeat sights from our 2007 visit, but there was a lot we missed.
2 June - fly to Krabi, and then catch a long tail boat to Railay Beach and our hotel. Dinner on the beach watching the sun set.
3 June - snorkel trip to the islands (Phi Phi, Maya Beach, etc). More dinner with sunset.
4 June - rock climbing...Will, not me! I will laze a round by the pool or on the beach. Did I mention sunsets!
5 June - more of the same...
6 June - catch noon flight from Krabi to Bangkok, and then a 4 PM flight to Saigon (HCMC if you prefer, but everyone still calls it Saigon) and taxi to hotel, meeting up with Barb, John, and Ruth.
7 June - church followed by Ben Thanh Market for shopping and sightseeing in the District 1 area (it's been 35 years since I had a drink on the roof club at the Rex Hotel), and evening dinner cruise.
8 June - drive to Dalat. I haven't done this since 1960, after which it became too dangerous with Viet everyone is friends!!
9 June - visit former Dalat School, where I attended from 1956 to 1964 (minus 1958 on furlough in U.S.)
10 June - tour other Dalat sights, lakes, waterfalls, gardens, markets, etc.
11 June - fly from Dalat to Saigon and Saigon to Bangkok.
12 June - tour Bangkok, and get to work on Linda's shopping list.
13 June - tour Bangkok, and complete Linda's shopping list.
14 June - fly home! Find out that I missed several items on Linda's mental shopping list!

Now you know why my blog is named Insane Itinerary. Backpackers have time and no money, so can take forever to get from one place to another by the cheapest means available, while I have little time and some money, so must minimize travel time, and pack the other days to the gills. Most hotels have internet so I hope to be able to blog in the evenings, including downloading pictures. So join me vicariously!


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