We just got back from a week in Phuket, Thailand. IT WAS WONDERFUL! We met some dear, dear friends of ours who we worked with in Peru, that now live on our side of the world... Brunei.
We haven't seen them in about three and a half years and it was great to relax and catch up with them. They are friends for life, not just because they are great people and we enjoy their company, but because Kate and Ceri, their daughters, are the exact ages of Maximo and Lola! Yippee! So it's easy - we understand demanding children and their schedules, and then we all fall into bed (Not together! We're not that kind of friends!) by 9:00 pm.
We had a yucky overnight flight to get to Thailand. The kids were fine, but we didn't sleep much, so we were exhausted when we arrived. We met Rich and Linda and the girls in the airport and hired a van to take us to Friendship Beach Hotel about 40 minutes south of the airport.
It was a great find (thanks, Trip Advisor! and Linda for doing all the bookings!). We had an apartment and another hotel room between the two families so it was easy to put the kids to bed and hang out a bit. It was a low key hotel with friendly staff who doted on the kids. The beach wasn't that great, but we had read that in the write-ups. There was glass, and it was a bit rocky, and windy, but the guys took Kite Surfing lessons, and we brought the kids down to the beach in the mornings to watch the guys have lessons before heading back to the pool.
The food was really, really good - and there was a huge menu, which was good - as we ate almost every meal there. We ate almost everything on the menu, but my consistent lunch order was the delicious wide rice noodles stir fry with kale and shrimp. I could eat Thai food every day! Unfortunately, some of the heat and spices was too much for the kids, and I often shared dishes with Lola, so I had to compromise.
Max and Lola have changed our travel a bit. It's a whole lot easier to just stay put and relax by a pool, rather than drag the kids all over the place. I only left the hotel twice - once to go to the dodgy Elephant ride place:
and the other to go to the Night Market, which was great! It was surprisingly clean and vibrant - Gilles and Elle (more friends from Peru!) were very adventurous in trying foods, so I followed suit, and hoped I wouldn't get a funny belly. Luckily I didn't and tried a few new things!
Unfortunately, we didn't do a whole lot of sightseeing. We didn't make it to any small villages or really get into Thai culture, but it was a great trip and rejuvenating after a busy semester. We'd really like to go back to Thailand again sometime, and really would consider it as a next "living" destination. We aren't going anywhere in the next couple of years, as long as everything stays fine here in Japan, but it is fun to think about where we'll have our next adventure. We also realize that Bangkok is another world from the small beach we stayed at in Phuket, and living in a big city, in a developing country, has its pitfalls. But, we'll see!
Hopefully we'll make it back to Thailand again for a vacation in the next few years, especially because it's a close, tropical destinations to Japan. And you if you know us... you know we're always looking for sun and water to relax on vacation.