Month: September 2009

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DAY SIX Right now we are on the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. There is so much to say, but yesterday was very interesting as well. We took the sky train to go to the weekend market in Bangkok. Charles and Jo’s friends met us at the hotel to accompany us on this journey. This market was bigger than any one I have seen before. It was very busy and crowded, which made it slightly difficult with all the kids. It was extremely hot again today and a little hard to shop with everyone, but we managed as our new friend, Chaiyuth, led us through the maze of the market to begin the first of many shopping trips. Andy, the kids and some of the others stayed behind in an air conditioned restaurant. That night we all went to dinner at a restaurant that served the best food I’ve eaten since we’ve been here. Chaiyuth ordered for everyone and did a perfect job! It was all amazing and we all loved the duck, which was served with a lemon sauce and fresh limes on top. Even the boys liked it! And now the train…talk about adventure. When I think of traveling by train I picture the train from the movie ‘White Christmas’. This train is slightly different. It is old, and I do mean old. Let’s just say it is a little rough around the edges. And I won’t go into details about the bathroom situation. The boys think this is the best thing we’ve done yet. They slept great. I wish I could say the same for Josie. But the landscape is so beautiful and I am so glad we had this experience. We are ready for a shower and our first day in Chiang Mai! P1030896  The ride on the sky train P1030936 Suriwan, Sarah and Jo P1030935 The spot where Josie wanted to spend most of her time P1030923 Our fearless leader, Chaiyuth, leading us through the market P1030897 The remote helicopter that Coleman never forgot about P1030916 Coleman and Charlie have mastered the chopsticks P1030952 Josie plays with Suriwan P1030960 Judah takes a walk with Uncle Chaiyuth P1030917 Enjoying some shrimp with fried noodlesP1030966 The train…at night P1030971 The boys are ready! P1030972 Our sink P1030997 The ‘toilet’ down the hall P1040024 Yes…the beauty after a night sleeping on the train sharing a bed with Josie P1030975 Josie loved it. I believe this is at about 5am P1040001 P1040008 P1040063  Hanging out in the dining car P1040057 P1040052 P1040044  P1040040                P1040068 The train…by day P1040072 Good news…a Starbucks around the corner from our hotel!

DAY FOUR (OR FIVE, SOMEWHERE I HAVE LOST A DAY. LET’S JUST SAY FIVE) Thank goodness Judah woke up back to his normal self. We had to get up early…and I was so worried about sleeping in…definitely has not bee a problem! I woke up at 4:00am again. At least this time I felt well rested. After breakfast we met at a different hotel to get on a tour bus. This bus took us to a city called Ayutthaya. It was really cool to see other towns and places. We stopped a few different times to look at different temples. It really was fascinating. Then we ended up on a boat to travel back. The boat was great and they served a huge buffet with very good food. The kids loved all of it. When we finally reached the hotel we started at, we split up into two taxis. One had Andy, Charles, Edmund, Judah and Josie and the other one, the rest of us. Well, we didn’t check to see if our driver knew where our hotel was and we really should have. What should have been a five minute taxi ride ended up being about an hour and a half. Our driver had no idea where we were going and he didn’t speak any English. Sarah and I felt like we were on The Amazing Race. It felt pretty helpless. Our driver stopped and asked three different people for directions and then at one point he just wanted to let us out to find our own way, but Sarah said no, you need to take us to our hotel. I think ‘no’ was the only part he understood, but he stopped one more time and this time found the way. Of course we finally made it to a very worried Charles waiting on the front step of our hotel. Well, we had an adventure and the boys and I composed a little song called, “we’re stuck in a pink taxi…” I’m sure it will be a hit one day. The boys were excited to eat at McDonalds for dinner, as was their dad. They are doing so well and I am so proud of them. I am exhausted and it is only 8:45pm! P1030746 “…we’re stuck in a pink taxi…” P1030751 Granny and Charlie on the tour bus P1030754 P1030757 P1030807 P1030760 Riding in the back of the golf cart. Charlie was very excited he got to drive it, until we realized there was a fine of 1,000 baht for kids under 16 driving. P1030763 P1030771 P1030774 Sarah and Jen have to wear sarongs before going into the temple P1030790 P1030804 Enjoying my mango shake and some mangosteen P1030805 A break for ice cream P1030841 The boys climbing on the temple ruins P1030855 P1030858 Judah jumps to Aunt Sarah P1030859  …the calm before the storm…  P1030862 Taking shelter P1030860 The view from the pool at our hotel in Bangkok. P1030865 P1030869 The rainbow after the downpour. P1030880

DAY TWO

Yes, it is 4:15am and Josie and I are hanging out in the bathroom at our hotel. I have no idea what time it is in Seattle, but it is clearly a time when Josie is usually awake. And so we sit on the bathroom floor while I try to keep her quiet so she doesn’t wake up the boys. Oh how I wish we were all soundly sleeping right now. At least all the boys are. I am both excited and nervous about the day…mostly nervous about being so sleep deprived. I am so excited to see things! The ride from the airport was interesting. Josie was on my lap sharing my seat belt. The boys all had seat belts. It was so nice being greeted with smiling faces at the airport. As soon as we got in the van, Judah set his eyes on Sutthida, who is from Thailand and a friend of Charles and Jo’s and now ours. They played peek-a-boo the whole way to the hotel. Judah steals yet another girl’s heart! I am off to clean up messes from exploded shampoos. There is a reason my grandma always told me to pack everything in individual bags!
DAY THREE
(I have this entered as day three, but it might just be a continuation of day two.) Anyway…
This day had its rough moments. After barely sleeping the night before, we all got up ready to go bright and early. Every morning at this hotel we have a huge breakfast with lots of great food. We had a van come and pick us up to take us to the palace. Now I am thinking “palace” probably inside…air conditioning…no problem. I wasn’t quite prepared. I have never been in such heat. I literally thought I might pass out at one point. No sunscreen, no water, long pants… yep, this American had no idea. So most of this tour was outside in the sun. Poor Judah got a fever. He felt so hot and was so out of it, it started to worry me. Everything we saw was beautiful and our tour guide was very gracious and brought us water and tried to shade us from the sun with an umbrella. We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant and the AC felt great! Judah slept through the meal on Aunt Sarah’s shoulder, Josie ate her first of about 50 bowls of fried rice, and Charlie and Coleman learned to use chopsticks by Suriwan, another friend who took great care of us. We all came back and took a nap and then headed out to dinner with a whole big group of friends and colleagues of Charles’. I felt bad because we were all so exhausted. Judah was still miserable, Charlie and Coleman were falling asleep. Fortunately Josie kept everyone entertained. Everyone was very understanding when we left early since we were so jet-lagged and falling asleep.
Arriving at the airport in Bangkok.
The van we traveled in.
Judah and Aunt Sarah, sleepy after long travels.
Travelling pretty light for 10 people!

Jo checks out the fruit at breakfast.

Let the sweating begin!
The shorts didn’t work so Andy got to wear pants for the tour.

Josie loves fried rice!
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Suriwan enjoys watching the boys learn to use chopsticks.
Sarah and Judah try to stay cool.
Edmund and Sarah in front of the gold temple.

Thailand…

So I have been debating about how to even begin to sum up a 2 week vacation to Thailand with four kids, amazing stories, interesting experiences and the list goes on. It seems like just too big of a task to begin. We only took 1700 pictures, flew on 6 planes, rode on an overnight train, 2 boats, some buses and vans and taxis all with no seatbelts. And here I sit with a wide-awake little girl on my lap at 2:00am wondering when our sleep will return to normal and where to begin.

I kept a journal while we were gone, writing about all of our different experiences, quotes from the kids, and adults. So I decided to break it up by each day and share a little with some pictures. I will spare you from all 1700 pictures as I’m sure you really aren’t interested in 25 different pictures of orchids. So I hope you enjoy and I will try to update as I can.

DAY ONE

Tokyo – I am sitting in the ‘Premier Executive Lounge’ in Tokyo, Japan. WOW! Everyone is exhausted. Judah is fast asleep, but everyone else is trying to stay awake. Andy is looking at U2’s website on his laptop-things aren’t too different in Japan than in the USA. I have amazing in-laws. What an incredible journey we get to be on because of their generosity. We are so blessed.


Charlie gets settled in on the plane.


Judah loves the window seat.


Watching Tom & Jerry in Tokyo in the lounge.


Enjoying the free food and drinks!
Judah can’t keep his eyes open.
Is U2’s website the same in Japan?
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