More travel!

The whole family was SO excited! Thailand then Singapore! Seeing Clare! Then Tim and Jen in Singapore! Elephants! Legoland! Singapore zoo! We found a someone to house-sit, got packed up and went to the airport for our 9:40pm flight. We started the check in process only to find that the kids couldn't travel on their passports because they only had five-and-a-half months validity. Apparently they would have just flown us all straight home once we got to immigration in Thailand. Now it's one thing to have a 9 hour flight, 4 hour layover in the early hours of the morning in the KL budget terminal then another couple of hours on a plane before reaching one's holiday destination, it's a completely different kettle of fish to be sent back after that kind of ordeal. We called the passport office, we pleaded with the airline, we looked at Asher's face as his big eyes flilled with unshed tears. We then caught a taxi home. The passport office was monumentally unhelpful, telling me that the quickest they could guarantee a passport was a week away (her: "we can have it done quickly at extra charge, which will take you two days from the interview but the soonest I can book you an interview is Friday, so you will have the passports on Tuesday" me: "WHAT?!?")

After we accepted that we were not going to get on the flight (and I stopped arguing tearfully with the passport office at 8pm) our luck changed. The kind lady at the airport post office stayed open to take passport photos, and we got the passport forms, the kind Air Aisia supervisor told us we could change the flight to the next night for free, our house-sitter is the director at Kiran's preschool and she and I sat up til midnight filling in forms and using black humour to take the sting out of the situation. We didn't really tell anyone (except to let Aunty Clare know at the other end) because we were so unsure of what was going to happen next, and to be perfectly honest I was mortally embarrassed that I hadn't seen that one coming and organised around it. The next morning a lovely, lovely woman at the passport office took pity on us and we had the kids passports within five or so hours. We picked up the passports with luggage in tow and caught the train to the airport. The kind supervisor booked us in (no queue) and gave us express passes so there was/will be less queueing at every airport. Even the hotel was very accommodating and changeged our booking without charge.

So after what felt like two and a half days in transit we arrived in Chiang Mai and we are having a fabulous time. More to come about our great visit to Baanchang Elephant Park later....