Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thailand Day 3

Didn't get any pictures today because we were so busy doing things. They have a kids club here for Vika and she played there in the morning while the rest of us went out sailing on the lagoon. Jonny and I were on one boat; Gavin, Rachel, and Nicole were on the other. Jonny had just gotten his merit badge in scouting for sailing this last summer so I thought I was safe since I've never sailed before. He did fine until we got stuck way out in the corner of the lagoon. We couldn't get any wind to take us forward so they had to come out and rescue us. The guy then gave us some tips as he took us back to the marina. We were fine after that and had a great time. Gavin has a dream of someday getting a huge sail boat and sail around the Caribbean. I'm not quite sure about that yet. A little boat on a small lagoon was fun but being on a big boat out in the open ocean seems a little scary to me right now.

After that we spent the afternoon just playing at the pool. Later that night Gavin and I took the scooter into Patong. It took us about 30 minutes but was a pretty scenic ride. I did a little shopping and found my favorite Thai purses. Then as we were leaving I stepped off the curb and twisted my ankle. It was pretty painful and I had to get back on the scooter and ride 30 minutes back to our hotel. It's not as bad as I thought it would be but it's sore enough that I can't walk on it. I'm determined to not let it ruin my vacation though.

Thailand Day 2

We went down to breakfast and while we were eating a baby elephant came by. They bring it down every morning and you can feed it bananas. He was just the cutest little thing. He would do handstands and give hugs.
Vika has always been a little leary about animals but she warmed up to this little guy. She finally gave it a banana giggled the whole time.

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Just hanging out by the pool all day. This pool has an upper and lower level with a huge kid slide down at the bottom. This level has water polo and basketball standards set up to play in the water. Water and sun are always a good thing.
Vika and her princess floaties. She is quite the princess herself.
Nikki just floating around.
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We are here with two other families from our branch in Shekou and we wanted to go into town for dinner. Of course we always are looking for a good deal and fortunately one of our friends here is from Laos and speaks Thai. Her husband served a mission in Thailand so with the two of them speaking the language we can get some pretty good deals. We went out in front of the resort to get a taxi and she was able to talk a guy into taking us into town for half the cost of us getting taxis for all of us. The only glitch to it was that we had to all pile into his small seven passenger van. There were 14 of us going. It was quite the cozy fit but we did it. It was like those clowns at the circus who all pile into the small car but it was for real. Without seatbelt laws we can do anything.

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Thailand Day 1

After 24 hours or traveling (with an overnight stay in Bangkok) we finally made it to Phuket. We were quite the bunch of weary travelers.
This is a shot of the lobby of the resort. Quite the tropical setting.

This is right out the glass door of our room. Lots of space to run and play. We are really looking forward to this week. The weather is a little questionable this week with wind and storms rolling in but we will make the best of it. The resort has plenty of things for us to do. They have a private lagoon where we can take sailboats and kayaks out. They also offer windsurfing lessons. Most of the activities are free for guests. We are a little secluded from the town though so things are pretty expensive around us. We will be renting scooters though and we can explore the town more then.
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We walked down to the beach and were greeted by an elephant. He was just strolling along. They aren't as big as the ones we rode on last year in Koh Chang, but they sure are cute.
This one would give you hugs and kisses. It would actually pucker up and kiss your cheek.
It felt a little creepy to have this long warm trunk wrap around your neck. His breath didn't smell too good either.
Of course our animal lover Rachel wasn't bothered at all. She gave a hug right back.
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Jonny and Nicole posing with the elephant.

The elephants walk around the resort all day. They are quite the attraction when they are out and about.
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This is the view from our room. It's so humid here that my camera fogged up so it looks a little hazy but it's a great view to wake up to each morning.
Right now the surf is really strong so we can't go out in the water but it makes a beautiful walk. There are little hut like restaurants all along the beach. For about $30.00 we can feed our whole family and have the ocean just a few feet away from us. Pretty cool.
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Our Journey to Thailand

We are on our way to Thailand. We tried to pack light so that we don't have to carry so much stuff around. It started by us leaving our house around noon on Saturday. We had to walk out to the street to catch a taxi to the ferry terminal.
We are on the ferry to Zhuhai. We are flying out of Macau to Bangkok because the flights are really cheap. Macau is the Vegas of Asia so the airfares in and out of the city are really inexpensive. We decided to go a little early so that we could see a little bit of Macau. We had to take a ferry to Zhuhai which is on Mainland China and then walk across the border into Macau. Then we took a taxi to see some of the sites.

Macau is a very interesting place. It was once under Portugal rule until 1999 when it was given back to China. This was two years after Hong Kong was given back. As you go around Macau you can still see the Portuguese influence here. It's pretty cool. Makes me want to go to Portugal some day.
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This is part of a cathedral that was built in the 1600's and then burned in the 1800's. All that is left now is the front wall of the church. I'm sure it was a very beautiful place when it was all intact.
The statues and gargoyles around the the front are pretty impressive. A little scary looking but the details that was put into this is amazing.
Looking down from the cathedral you can see some of the casino buildings in the background. This leads to lots of little shops and markets.
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Very festive area. Didn't even feel like we were in a Chinese area except for the signs being in Chinese.
Since Macau was once under Portugal rule, they have most of the signs in Chinese, English, and Portuguese. Where in the world will be able to see those three languages all together on one sign.
The architecture was beautiful. Makes me want to go to Portugal if it's all like this.
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Once again Chinese, English, and Portuguese. These egg tarts are sooooooo good. It's just a little pie shell filled with a sweet egg custard. They have them in China as well, but these were the best ones I've ever had.

The money in Macau is so cool. I'm curious how many people really need it printed in Portuguese still.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally...News from China

We made it to China to find that our Ayi did a great job in moving us to a new house. We love our new place because it is in the same complex as our kids friends. Our place is very open and bright which makes it nice to just relax and hang out at home. We never felt that way last year and seemed to always be looking for someplace else to go which in China is never an easy task. This year we just like staying home as much as possible.

Our new place has a patio on the roof. Right now it is a little hot to be up there but it'll be nice in the winter time.

I know this is nothing like the kitchens back home but this is luxery here. I finally have space to move around and actually cook. I've shown my Ayi how to make flour tortillas, fajitas, calzones, and cookies. She's gotten pretty good at it and I actually am spending more time in the kitchen this year.

Our living/family room is large and open. We have great views of the bay. We are right next to Sea World Plaza and the ship in the background is an old ship they have changed into a hotel and restaurants. At night it's all lit up and looks really cool.

We also have a golf course and driving range right behind us. I love the views we have.