So my goal was to finish writing about Thailand by Halloween and I am sticking to it. So here it is, the wrap up. DAY FOURTEEN We had to wake up early to get our flight back to Bangkok…the last leg of the trip. Now I am ready to go home. The flight was easy, only a little over an hour! We stayed at a hotel on the other side of Bangkok this time. It was right on the river. We had a beautiful view. We just relaxed when we arrived. I took the boys swimming and Andy started feeling crummy so he stayed behind and slept. We went to dinner at Apichat and Surriwan’s house. Pramote, Chaiyuth, P’Noo, and Tok were all there also. We were treated like royalty! Apichat had a dragon fruit tree and was waiting for the kids to get there to cut off the ripe ones, one for each of the boys. Their house was beautiful. And they had a stream in the backyard full on fish. They had a bunch of bread for us to feed the fish with. They had presents for everyone. There were lots of appetizers, wine and amazing food. This dinner was so special and unfortunately Andy missed it since he wasn’t feeling well. They even ended the evening with a cake that had the Space Needle on it. This was one of the best times of our trip. They all went out of their way to make the whole trip great for each and everyone of us. Our plane we took back to Bangkok Judah and Josie get a nice ride Sarah shows Josie a cool fountain The view from our last hotel in Bangkok Josie and Uncle Edmund hanging out at the hotel Everyone unwinding with a drink…fruit juice that is Beauty Charlie and Coleman with their dragon fruit Presents from Chaiyuth Feeding the fish Josie in her new outfit Our special cake The whole gang…minus a few DAY FIFTEEN This was our last full day in Bangkok and what did we choose to do? Go shopping of course. We went to a mall that was five levels. Anything you could think of was there. As if we didn’t have enough stuff already! It was all lots of fun. Judah wanted to be held the whole time by Sutthida aka. senorita, and Jongjit aka. Gi-Gi. When we got back to the hotel it was time for dinner and all the packing. We are going to attempt to be in bed by 8:30 since we have to get up at two to get to the airport on time. What an amazing trip this has been. We will all never forget this experience! (Well, maybe just Josie). Judah and his girls Donuts!
DAY THIRTEEN Today was our first day with just our family and no agenda and it was wonderful! After breakfast we went straight to the beach. This time we were prepared in our swimsuits, sunscreen and our beach toys that we paid way too much money for. We played in the sand the then we all got more daring and swam. Even Josie went in a little. I say daring because it is monsoon season and the signs warn people not to swim. The beach was full of swimmers though and we didn’t go out very far. The water was so warm and so great. Judah didn’t like it as much because of the waves. We saw lots of fish and Coleman even caught a few with his bare hands! Eventually a storm set in again so we headed back and the kids did more swimming in the pool Sarah and I went to get a Thai massage. I was a little nervous about it, but it really was nice, for the most part…I only yelled once as the lady on the table with me tried to twist my body into a position that just was not natural. We had an early, mellow dinner and headed back to pack up for our flight back to Bangkok…the last leg of our trip. A stop for coffee before the beach Ready to go! Let the digging begin Charles and Jo keep an eye on everyone Josie loves the sand Coleman in the pit Josie disappears into the pit I love this picture of Sarah. She spent all day out there and she had the sunburn to prove it. The digger Chicken fried rice Mangosteen…I couldn’t get enough Displaying the inside of mangosteen
DAY TWELVE Today was a much more mellow day, which was nice. After breakfast we all couldn’t wait to head down to the beach. It was a little cloudy, but there were some sun breaks here and there. It was so beautiful. We mostly just played in the sand and put our feet in the water. Everybody loved it. Then we came back and swam in the pool. It was the first time I was actually cold. And none of the hot tubs are hot. They are usually the same temperature as the pool. After we all changed the whole gang piled in the van to drive around the island. It was so amazing. We had lunch at a place right by the sea. After lunch, Apichat asked if we wanted to go on a boat ride. We all couldn’t wait. The boat was a 3 story yacht. We went out into the Andaman Sea which goes into the Indian Ocean. The water was turquoise and beautiful. We kept going out more and more and it was sunny and gorgeous, but then it got stormy. The boat was rocking like crazy! Judah didn’t like it and it made me slightly nervous too. But it quickly passed. We stopped for a bit as the sun came back out and sat on the back of the boat and dipped our feet in. We were hoping to see some exotic fish or shards or something…but not that day. The ride back was just as beautiful and we even saw a rainbow. By the time we got back we only had about an hour until dinner. The boys swam again and for dinner Charles and Jo took the boys while Andy, Josie and I stayed behind. Josie was so tired. Sarah, Edmund, Andy and I all split a pizza and sat out on the deck and just relaxed. Josie playing out on our patio Judah, hard at work A lookout point A little frog we found outside the restaurant Just a little lobster Enjoying banana and strawberry shakes Judah and his Papa Just enjoying a fish ball Feets!
DAY ELEVEN We have spent the morning packing and trying to fit all of the stuff we have bought here in Chiang Mai in our suitcases. And somehow we were successful! And now we are on our way to the airport to leave for Phuket. The flight was great. Only a 1 hour and 45 minute flight and they served lunch. It was nice and quick and before we knew it we were landing in Phuket…to pouring down rain. Apparently it’s been raining for about 5 day straight. We were all a little bummed. We went on a walk anyway down to the beach which is so beautiful. We are really hoping for some sun while we are here. But when Charles asked Chaiyuth if there was any chance of sun for tomorrow, he said, “No, 0% chance. Only 100% chance of rain!” I guess it is the rainy season. We had dinner at a restaurant right on the beach. Too bad it was dark so we couldn’t see too much. But the food was great and they keep all the seafood live in concrete tanks and then cook it up to order. Coleman got to hold a live lobster and drop it back in the tank. Andy at the night market in Chiang Mai A stop at 7-11 for some baby wipes Some 7-11 goodies Josie helps Granny pack The boys work on a new puzzle A random tree of goodies in the middle of the airport The lap of luxury Josie’s special spot on the plane Our hotel in Phuket The bathtub…Josie’s favorite place to play The stormy beach My accidental-super-artsy picture (that’s Sarah in the background) A serious downpour, but Judah wants a sword, not an umbrella The boys loved ordering soda in bottles Hard to see, but a ginormous prawn Coleman and a lobster
DAY TEN This morning started out with Judah not feeling well and then getting sick at breakfast. We took this as a sign that his little body just couldn’t go at the pace we were going and he needed a break. Andy stayed behind at the hotel with him. We went to 7-11 and got him Gatorade and the rest of us went to an orchid farm and the botanical gardens. We didn’t stay out for too long. We were all very tired. Poor little Josie got so upset on the way back she was crying and screaming and wouldn’t calm down. When I changed her diaper I saw that she had a horrible diaper rash. Everyone was ready for a rest. The boys had McDonalds for lunch. Judah slept most of the day and Josie had a long nap too. Everyone else went to get noodles and brought some back for me. The boys got to spend longer at the pool which they were very happy about. The night ended eating at a Chinese restaurant at the hotel and one more night at the market for more shopping of course! To enter the orchid farm they gave us a pin with an orchid on it. Coleman wasn’t too excited about wearing a flower. Sarah coming out of the butterfly exhibit Josie enjoyed her nap at the orchid farm I love this picture! Charlie, Sutthida, Jongjit and Coleman Coleman’s favorite treat The Venus fly trap. Sarah and I convinced the boys that if they stuck their fingers inside it would chomp down and they would lose their finger. Don’t worry, we later told them the truth. Cooling off in the mist
DAY NINE We went to see the baby panda today. This panda is pretty special to the Thai people. Everyone was talking about it and wrote birthday card to it and took lots of pictures of it. And after all of the excitement to see the baby panda we only got to see it on a video screen because the baby didn’t feel like coming out to see its visitors. We did get to see the grown panda chew on bamboo. We also went to the aquarium which was in the Chiang Mai zoo. I have never seen such amazing fish. We saw creatures that we never knew existed. We spent most of our time there and probably could have stayed there all day long. After the zoo we went to yet another great restaurant with amazing food. After lunch we went to the umbrella shop and the woodworking market. We saw such beautiful things. We did some more shopping. The umbrella shop was very interesting because all the workers just sat outside at different stations working on each part of the umbrella. The boys really liked this and they each got to pick out an umbrella. We went to a very nice restaurant where you sit on the floor and try different foods from different areas in Thailand and then watch several different dances that they perform while you eat. This was really nice, but a little rough because the kids were so exhausted and the dinner started around 8:00. But we all enjoyed watching the different dances and were more than ready for bed when we got back to the hotel! Josie gets a little nap before the zoo The boys on the shuttle at the zoo Sutthida and Sarah I have no idea of the name of these creatures One of the strangest little things we saw Josie loves looking at the fish Some kind of pizza? The panda enjoys some bamboo Andy’s artsy shot of Edmund Judah loves seeing all the motorcycles! The random display outside of the panda exhibit What good boys I have…fanning me in the heat! I love this picture! Outside the restaurant One of the dances Judah says hi to the dancing goat The restaurant was beautiful and opened up to the outside
DAY EIGHT The breakfasts at the hotels here are giant buffets with all kinds of foods, not just what we would call breakfast foods. They have rice, chinese food, thai food and then all the american breakfast foods also. Whenever you order eggs you just go to the ‘egg station’ and they fix them however you want. As soon as we get to the room for breakfast Charlie and Coleman hit the ground running and love picking out all of their favorite things. We headed up the hills…way up the hills to see the Hill Tribes, a little village all set up to see how the people up in the hills used to live. The drive was beautiful and long and bumpy and windy. It was much cooler up there, which was nice. The boys enjoyed climbing and exploring again which was great. We bought some souvenirs and gifts as well. We all held a praying mantis that Andy found. We saw lots of interesting plants and flowers growing…some poppies and even some marijuana…very exciting. On the way back down from the hills we stopped at a palace which had beautiful landscaping. We ate lunch at a little place that was just cut out of the jungle. This was one of the best meals we had. And another day was ended with shopping at the night market, one of my favorite activities here. I took Charlie and Coleman this time and I think they liked it for about the first ten minutes. They did find some cool toys. This market was a little bit different and was under cover. It was so hot. We were all sweating. I was pretty proud of myself this night since I bargained with a man who was selling the toys that the boys bought. I thought I did quite well, although when I looked over at Sutthida and Jongjit they were just laughing at me. A little market up in the hill tribes Granny Josie and baby Josie Coffee up in the hills The whole Hirschman gang The little market built into the hill A mock village was set up here An attempt to get all the kids on the ladder which was about 6 inches wide Coleman just taking a little rest All that’s missing are some s’mores The praying mantis A temple under constuction The boys look down as we head down in the gondola A cool coffee shop we found called Wawee Coffee Blue cat Coleman and his back float. He learned to swim today!
Day Seven We were met at the train by Sutthida and Jongjit and were off in a big van and all of our other luggage in a taxi to our new hotel. I’ve never wanted to brush my teeth and shower so bad, but…no time! We had to get to the place to eat so we would be done in time for the elephant camp! The restaurant was a vegetarian thai buffet. It is my opinion that vegetarian food is way better here than in America. After lunch we came back to the hotel so anxious for showers, but we had no towels in our room and the elephants were waiting! The elephant camp was really incredible. We watched a whole show and got to pet the elephants and feed them bananas and sugar cane. The kids loved that part. I couldn’t believe their power as they just snapped those pieces of sugar cane in half! We had dinner at the hotel and they even had a little italian food, not that great, but something a little different. The kids were sad because swimming did not happen. Everyone was way too exhausted! But Edmund, Sarah, Sutthida, Jongjit and I all went to the night market. This is a huge market that goes for blocks. We looked around for a bit and then Sarah was enjoying looking so much that she didn’t see the step in front of her and tripped, twisting her ankle. Poor Sarah! So that was the end of the night market for us. We were all tired anyway, and after all, it was our bedtime…8:30! Jongjit and Sutthida are ready to play with Josie Cool vegetarian restaurant The elephants get their bath Coleman pets the trunk Elephants can paint…who knew? The elephant puts a hat on Edmund …mmm…sugar cane and bananas! Sarah gets to pet the elephant …and gets a strong squeeze also. Josie loves it! Papa and Judah walk back after seeing the elephants