GTL-GMA Chiang Mai Thailand

Well, this is a bit over due. We’ve been back for a couple weeks now and have a ton to report. Our newsletter about the trip to Thailand should go out in the mail today. (I really need to get out of this habit of sending them out on the last day of the month.) But we have much more to share than would fit into one of our letters.

So we’ll have lot of material here to supplement what went out. We have lots to report, pictures to show and some videos as well. I think I’ll kick it off with a few words about Thailand itself and some photos. In the coming days I’ll put up more about the conference itself and the people that were there.

Thailand is a beautiful country. There are very good reasons that it is a top tourist destination for people from all over the world. Chiang Mai is a great example of this. When we were in the hotel or out in the city, most of the Thai people we would see were working. Most everyone else was a tourist. Every ride in the elevator up to our room was an opportunity to hear a different language and meet someone from a different place. Ingrid got to use her German on more than one occasion.

Matched up with the natural beauty is that things are much more inexpensive than in the states. At night we usually ate at a food court near the hotel for roughly three dollars a person. That’s dinner, a drink and some sticky rice with mango for desert. Along with the visa situation I mentioned in the previous post, these all add up to make Thailand a great place for us to hold a conference.

You can read up on Thailand in quite a few places. I recommend wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. They both have tons of good information, maps and pictures.

Getting there and back, from Orlando, takes almost exactly 30 hours. That includes the time in airports. Actual flight times vary as coming back is somewhat faster due to the jet stream.

While were there on this visit it was very warm and humid. This wasn’t too much of a problem as the vast bulk of our time was spent in a conference room anyway. When we were out, even at night it was pretty hot. And right now is the time of year around Chiang Mai that they use fires to burn clear land for farming. So there was a constant haze in the air. I’d guess visibility wasn’t more than 2 or 3 miles at most.

The people of Thailand are exceptionally friendly and polite. They are soft spoken and show great deference and hospitality to guests. It really is a wonderful place to visit. Getting their from the U.S. is a little bit expensive but I’d wager that the savings once their make it very worthwhile even if one was on a purely recreational visit.

So there’s a very brief summary of where we were. Next post I’ll share more about some of the people at the conference and what kind of work we were doing. Below are some photos. Click on them to see more about it, and clicking again will get you the full sized image.