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! The ride on the sky train Suriwan, Sarah and Jo The spot where Josie wanted to spend most of her time Our fearless leader, Chaiyuth, leading us through the market The remote helicopter that Coleman never forgot about Coleman and Charlie have mastered the chopsticks Josie plays with Suriwan Judah takes a walk with Uncle Chaiyuth Enjoying some shrimp with fried noodles The train…at night The boys are ready! Our sink The ‘toilet’ down the hall Yes…the beauty after a night sleeping on the train sharing a bed with Josie Josie loved it. I believe this is at about 5am Hanging out in the dining car The train…by day 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! “…we’re stuck in a pink taxi…” Granny and Charlie on the tour bus 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. Sarah and Jen have to wear sarongs before going into the temple Enjoying my mango shake and some mangosteen A break for ice cream The boys climbing on the temple ruins Judah jumps to Aunt Sarah …the calm before the storm… Taking shelter The view from the pool at our hotel in Bangkok. The rainbow after the downpour.
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.
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.