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Thailand Holiday Rest and Recuperation

Sol: 134

We have been in Thailand for over three weeks. It’s a bit of a struggle these last days as its been hard travels in a way. Now, I am not complaining as I do know that what we are doing is amazing and I am incredibly grateful that we have been able to make this happen.

However, when you do something, even something amazing, after awhile it can lose a bit of it’s shine. This blog is all about the honesty of our travel and experiences. Today, I’m writing a bit about that.

The struggle really started in Vietnam. I really feel in love that country, however, it was hard travels at times. I had been struggling with some physical ailments (back pain, sleep issues, digestive challenges) Then I got pretty ill. Headache, fever, chills, throat pain. You know that feeling that you’ve swallowed broken glass? I was there. I was going through Ricolas like cigarettes for a heavy smoker.

We had to travel to Thailand as our Vietnamese visa was expiring and we had plane tickets. It is relatively easy and cheap to buy airline tickets in SE Asia but, they are also non-refundable and changeable if you buy them as cheaply as we had been. Then if you have four tickets, it is a larger cost. So, to Thailand we came.

We landed in Bangkok. Nothing like a city of over 8 million, humidity, a smaller hostel room for four to emphasize your discomfort. For our entire time in Bangkok’s Chinatown (where our hostel was) I saw the inside of a hospital (twice) and a 7/11 (they are everywhere in SE Asia) to get supplies.

Oakley came down with my flu and bronchitis a couple of days after arrival. Canyon and Kelvin running errands to arrange food and supplies and holding their breath when near to avoid our plague.

We came to Pattaya for our house sit which has positively saved us. I gotta throw out the biggest kudos to   Trusted Housesitters again as they have made this trip possible for us. We are taking care of the sweetest, mellowest dog I’ve ever met all while staying in a home, a real home with a big kitchen (great for chef husband) and two big bedrooms, living spaces and the added bonus of a swimming pool. Really, really luxorious and grounding.

And when we slow down other things often catch up to us. I have found that I am feeling a bit lonely and depressed as of late. The holidays are always a hard time for plenty of folks. For me this is no exception.

We are in a beautiful place in warm weather. The dream of many folks, especially with all those winter storms happening in the States at the moment. Yet, I am feeling a bit rudderless. I think this is the longest place we have stayed in the last 4+ months of travel.

I was really worried about making it a wondrous and memorable Holiday for the boys. Knowing they would be missing so many traditions and experiences. I think we pulled it off as we were able to find strands of Twinkly lights to put up where we were, found a Star Wars Lego Advent calendar which can do wonders for little boys psyches. We even found a 5 ft plastic tree for $10. A bargain!

Seeing the Christmas celebrations here in Asia is different as it is a lot about the decorations in public. The holiday trees, lights, reindeer and sometimes Santa but, rarely him. Also, I haven’t seen any nativity scenes anywhere.

We did manage to find the coldest place we could on Christmas Eve. Frost Magical Ice of Siam which consists of sand sculptures on the outside and a glorified meat locker on the inside. You walk and slide among ice sculptures. You even get an ice drink made from ice and get to gleefully throw it against an ice wall as you depart. How very satisfying!

The most entertaining part of that visit was watching locals shiver through the place in about a minute. We spent about 25 minutes inside (they have a requisite three minute acclimation period going in and out of each side). Many people spent more time in the acclimation room than in the actual ice room.

I am currently on a two day trip on my own. It is a little reprieve for my soul to have a bit of totally me time. You may not realize how much time you spend away from your family when people are going to work, school, playdates, babysitters, shopping or trips around the neighborhood.

It is completely different when you cannot leave your kids by themselves. Kelvin and I haven’t had awake time  alone in months, especially in daylight. I am enjoying not thinking about when we eat next, what to do next, thinking about how everyone might react to the next choice.

I am carefree for a couple days and loving the solitude. I’ll be be back soon and then we send Kelvin out for three days/two nights on a fishing trip. He too needs his recharge time. These are the Christmas presents we gave each other.

And so, now we are appreciating our place, our temporary home before we embark into the new year and the next travel adventures. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Happy Holidays! Happy 2018 or 2561 if you are following the Thailand calendar.

Check out the 31-12-61 reference. The Thai Calendar.

My favorite isle in the specialty store we found. So many kinds of fizzy water.

Wine from Oregon costing a princely price.

We got a flat tire and people showed up to help and really weren’t gonna let us fix it. Very, very kind. It takes a village and then there is Canyon reading his kindle in the background.

 

Would you like some meat for dinner?

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A Lush, Green Paradise, a 15 Year Anniversary and 20 things I have noticed.

We have arrived in our first country during our round the world journey where English is not the mother tongue. Even more than that, the surroundings are unlike any we would encounter in our home in Oregon.

We had a few hiccups to get us here. I spent so much time sorting out the information about the visas I missed that tiny line about how you must have a proven departure plan before they will even let you on the plane.

So, we were at the Brisbane airport Jetstar check in counter (for the first time) and I hurriedly bought four tickets on a ferry to Singapore. I was punching the details of all our passports into my iPhone screen hoping that the credit card I am using would work to buy the tickets. And what’s more, that we will be able to use them.

The port is a place about 1000 miles from where we were staying but, it IS in Indonesia! Thanks so much to the airline representative who helped me do this rather than be forced to buy another airline ticket. Times four!

Earlier, we had already experienced not being picked up by our pre-scheduled Uber ride and frantically had to book another taxi to get us to the airport. I dislike that kind of scramble to the airport.

While we were checking into our flight (after I bought my ferry tickets) they had a lock down at the JetStar check-in counter. I felt like we were at a cooking contest as they yelled out for everyone to step away and hands up from the computers.

For several tense minutes, we all stood around and scrolled through our phones to see if there was some new information about Mt. Agung, the aged volcano currently smoking in Bali. Nothing. Just a false alarm and after a short while we all got ticketed and sent to the gate. The duty free gin never looked better!

It was about a 5 and a half hour flight and the pilot said he was getting updates on the volcano every five minutes and we would ‘act accordingly’. No sure what that means but, okay. He’s in charge.

Onward, a flight with some movie watching and an occasional peek out into the darkness with the hope to see a glimpse of the magical land we were winging toward.

We arrived in Bali and the humidity hugged us like a damp sweatshirt. Wandering through the airport to the immigration hall that had ceilings about four stories high I knew we had arrived.

My Dragon Fruit Smoothie

A friend arranged a pick up (thank you Drew!) and we were mesmerized by the steady of stream of motorbikes that swarmed around us as we motored down the narrowest of roads in the dark. It was like being with a bunch of ants. You just went with the flow.

Asking for prayers for the people in evacuation camps from the Mt. Agung volcano watch area

The next day we headed up to Ubud, known for its rice patty fields, cultural dances and, most recently, the popularly of Eat, Pray, Love. And currently, a spat of downpours that wipe the humidity from the air and feed the rice.

In Bali, tourism accounts for about a third of the economy so, there is always someone to help you with your questions, desires or plans. That is certainly the case in Ubud.

We are staying at a place I found on Airbnb as I wanted to have something set for the celebration of our 15 years of marriage! Whoo-hoo! This home is a dream, it feels palatial. It was a splurge to our budget at $42 a night. 

So much swimming around my head. More to process and share.

Here’s my my list of 20 things I have noticed after arriving in Bali in the first day and a half.

Three Little Monkeys Sitting on a Bench.

 

 

 

20 things I have noticed since arriving in Bali.

1- There are scooters everywhere and they hold such a variety of people carrying a multitude of things.
2- A rice field walk with Drew was awe-inspiring. We saw people working, rice-growing, ducks, giant spiders.
3- The spiders can be very, very, very big. With bodies as big as a hummingbird.
4-People are very, kind and helpful.
5- The roads are very narrow and have various surfaces, rarely a sidewalk and gaping holes about every 25 feet. Makes for an interesting stroll.
6- It is very humid and the rain comes in downpours.
7- Butterflies, moths, are frequently flying around. They are black, blue and many colors.
8- The beds come with mosquito netting and it looks so romantic.
9- People carry loads on their heads to free up their hands.
10-Geckos, lizards are all over the place. We counted 24 outside our place last night.
11- Ducks can be pets and hang out in the rice patties during the day and get walked home at night by following a flag on a pole.
12- Our place has a little pool and it is delightful.
13- The dollar to Rupiah exchange is 13,435. So you can feel like a millionaire when things cost 60,000 Rupiah and you can buy it with ease. That is the going cost of all four of us getting a ride to the center of town, equivalent of about $4.45.
14-It is hard to figure our what everything costs with such big numbers.
15-There are offerings nearly everywhere for most everyday activities. You find these beautifully folded offerings and incense in the most delightful places.
16-If you order Western food it will look differently than you expect.
17- It is really quiet when you get away from the roads.
18 – There are chickens everywhere. They are like wild mice (aka rats).
19-Alcohol is rather expensive.
20-You need to drink bottled water. Even to brush your teeth.

More to come. We will be here for at least two more weeks. More adventures to be had. More plans to be made. Let’s hope that volcano behaves.

Family Commute

Cooking oil for sale at grocery. Makes a lot more sense to take it home and put it in your own container.

Local boys using a fish to fish.

A Royal Bathroom

Happy, jet lagged boys in a field.

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The Golden Coast of Australia is Magical.

Sol 14 for the Gurrs currently on the Gold Coast in Australia. We have gone through some ups and downs over the last days. All good in the life of adjusting to being location independent and living our dream of round the world travel/living. 

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Canyon staring down the pesky birds at Surfer’s Paradise

The time travel time warp of travel from Hawaii was a doozy. The journey to the airport was a mess of traffic at 4:45am. At one point, we even had chickens that were strutting by us faster than we were moving. But, we made it and our host the rented us their car from Turo was a complete angel by meeting us at location near the airport and dropping us off. We couldn’t have done it without him.

He and his family was amazing to us in Hawaii. Meeting us on his day off and hosting a wonderful afternoon at the beach. Never undermine the binding power of families loving travel. We have already been helped out a couple of times that is amazing and I count that in my gratitude list every night!

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Pretty good for a 4am wake up and harrowing trek to the airport!

Australia is 20 hours ahead in time so, we lost a whole day but, I thought we might be okay with the time of day being only four hours different from Hawaii. However, it took a bit of an adjustment for all of us. We are still ironing out the sleeping and eating. Little Oakley had such a hard time of it he got sick the first night and vomited all over without even knowing it, waking only when he had a bloody nose. Poor lad. Whew!

On Sunday, Kelvin got to have his second Father’s Day this year and we celebrated by wandering around the local mall to get first day supplies….sim cards, groceries, adapters, notebooks for schooling and a tasty lunch.

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Kangaroo Patties anyone?

The children helped us shop in the local grocery store as we searched for staples while eyeing some unique options, like Kangaroo patties (we passed this time).

We have been sorting out our world-schooling schedule with the boys. We touch on: Math, Writing, Journaling, Free-Draw, Research on a Local Subject and, what’s that? Lego building? Well, some things need to have special billing in order to stave off homesickness.
Canyon researched the Red Kangaroo and now we are all hoping to find one hopping nearby. However, they don’t really live near here due to their penchant for drier climates which we learned from the research. All is good in a day’s work!

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Oakley during Free Draw in Hawaii

Both boys have talked a lot about what they miss now that they know their friends are back in school. We had one FaceTime with a couple of dear friends and that helped. We are currently planning the Skype with the class. I sprung out the secret stash of Legos I had for such a homesick occasion and now furrowed brows are relaxed. At least for this moment.

House and Pet sitting is going wonderfully. I can’t say enough about the magic connector of Trusted Housesitters . We are currently on a house/pet sit taking care of three furry kitties of various temperaments. One lets us love him all day, the second on occasion and the third has come out only at night and being jet black makes for a ghostly encounter. We love being able to be in a home, cooking our meals, bathing when we need, feeling relaxed and having space to write, study and rest.

Today, Kelvin had is first stage at a local butchery. He worked alongside some local folks breaking down lamb and beef. You can follow his own process on his blog at Degrees of Kelvin. It is a great way for chefs to make friends and contacts. Also, he got paid in meat product so, that is a great bonus as well!

We are figuring out our schedule as we not just traveling around. We are trying to ‘live’ each place we are at. We go out to explore but, also setting time for learning, living in house and playing. We realize that finding playgrounds is an important part of our plan. IMG_4064Yesterday, we found the giant bouncy pillow and it rocked! Also, made quick friends with  a local lad on the zip-line. These are playground toys that would likely be inaccessible in the US due to our litigious culture. It was fun to watch the boys bouncing all over the place.

The surprise of everything thing feeling ‘normal’ for familiar then trying to drive a manual transmission on the ‘other’ or left side of the road, drinking some tea outside and then hearing the most amazing bird calls. It’s early days for us here and so far. Magic.

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Surfer’s Paradise

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Oakley having lost the plot at the airport as we sort transportation.

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Loco Moco in Oahu!

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Midnight Flight Purchases to Bali

Well, it is not slowing down. This week we had a whirlwind of events. The school camping trip over last week, the last day of school, OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) two day school camp in Fossil, Oregon as well as the end of swim team, swim classes and little league baseball. All in the last seven days. That doesn’t even take into account the regular work/life responsibilities that Kelvin and I are doing; work, house up keep, occupational therapy for the boys, our jobs. You know the drills.

So, the countdown continues towards our departure date and I am, quite honestly, getting a bit freaked out anxious. The pace of folks interacting with us to start saying good-bye has increased and that feels like this all has  gotten really, really REAL!

l had a crazy interaction with Kelvin in the middle of the night when I was looking at travel information and stumbled on cheap flights from Australia to Bali. stil-251826There was a sale on JetStar and I was clicking around thanks to Scott’s Cheap Flights (woo hoo). I found an amazing rate but, in a 36 hour window that was a different departure date than we originally planned.

I wasn’t sure when the rates would expire so, I nudged Kelvin to ask him what he thought.

Picture this, he is sound asleep next to me and I am stage whispering, “What do you think of these dates? And look at these rates!”

“Uh-huh”, he said.

“Do you think we should do it?!” I asked in another loud stage whisper.

“Okay,..(big pause).. whatever you think….” he mumbled.

“Whew”, I exhaled. And I grinned!

So, I bought tickets after double checking the rate in Australian dollars to US Dollars, the timing for our Australian visas, places to stay for the extra days, etc. My first card declined.  This was a fraud alert that card was concerned that someone was buying airline tickets in the middle of the night in Australian Dollars for departures and destinations that were nowhere near where the card was being used. So, I used another and no problem, purchase made.

I was literally standing in our office pacing around, recounting all the calculations in my head and then pushed ‘Click to Purchase’ and jumped back to see what would happen. What happened was, we now have four tickets to Bali that cost about $160 each. Not too shabby!

sebastian-tiplea-271948The next morning as I danced around Kelvin as he drank his first cup of coffee I smiled brightly. We have an agreement that I don’t ask questions that I want answers for until he has consumed his first cup of coffee. I was impatiently peeking in his cup and he said, “What is up”.

I burst out, “Are you excited!?”.

He cocked his head and squinted his eyes, “For what?”, he asked.

“Our tickets to Bali!”, I exclaimed.

His eyes narrowed as he said, “Does this have something to do with the conversation you were trying to have with me while I was asleep?”

“Yes!” I beamed, “We’re going to Bali!!”

He slowly smiled, “Well, Okay…when do we arrive?”

That is not the way I should plan most of our steps but, it worked out this time. With all the steps to get ready that sieze my stomach in cramps, these moments make me feel like it is all worth it.

The check list will continue…and I’ll get you up-to-date on our progress. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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