Well, we're back safe and sound. We hope you all had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
I'll keep this as short as possible, because as they say, a picture is worth a million words.
We started our trip off with a 3 hour flight to Hong Kong, where we were met by Bob McDonald, the family with whom we spent Christmas. The McDonalds were such fantastic hosts and we really had a great time there. We did lots of visiting, relaxing, eating, and hanging out at the beach. I even got to go for a run on the beach. Bob and Dianne have a flat that looks out onto the ocean. On clear days, it's beautiful.
While in Hong Kong, we went shopping at Central and Stanley Market. We spent a half day in Disneyland. We went to the beach for a BBQ and played some beach volleyball on Christmas day, and just in case we did not stuff ourselves enough at the BBQ, we had a delicious Christmas feast.
Next, we were off to Bangkok. Upon entering the city, we noticed that most buildings were quite shabby looking and everything looked very dirty. Once we stepped out of the van and onto the sidewalk in front of our hotel, we realized... it WAS indeed, very dirty. The air pollution was overwhelming and for most of our stay in Bangkok we ended up trying to keep the girls indoors as much as possible. We did check out MBK (West Edmonton Mall is nothing compared to this indoor market). We had lots of fun haggling - this happens to be Jeff's favorite past time. We went on a day tour to the floating market, the elephant village, and a snake farm. It was pretty sketchy. That night, Danika became quite sick and had a high fever, so Jeff ended up bringing her to the hospital. Fortunately, the medical care in Bangkok is VERY good - depending on where you go of course. She was in the hospital 3 more times for tests and follow-up appointments. It turns out she had Roseola - nothing serious, but scary nonetheless. The doctor said Danika was too sick to fly, so we ended up having to change our flights, cancel 3 nights at our resort, and stay 3 extra nights in Bangkok.
Kayla and I went on a tour to Kanchanaburi, 3 hours north of Bangkok. We went to a war memorial cemetary and museum, to the River Kwai Bridge, on a country train, to lunch on a floating restaurant, and finally to a waterfall. We were originally supposed to stay in Kanchanaburi one night to take in more of the waterfalls, but that had to be canceled too. Kanchanaburi was pretty cool.
Jeff went out on New Year's Eve with Kenny and Andrea, two teachers from our staff who happened to arrive at our hotel the day we were supposed to leave originally. They had only intended to find a small restaurant to get supper at, but as luck would have it, they ended up being smuggled into an exclusive New Year's Eve Bash. Two Thai girls exited the party and proceeded to put their wristbands on Jeff, Kenny, and Andrea, pushing them through the gates. Once inside, they realized that a VERY popular band was playing (judging by the mob of fans rushing the musicians for autographs and all the security) and drinks and food were free. Turned out to be a nice night after all.
For Jeffrey's birthday, I bought him a very small piece of cake and put 28 candles on it (just to make him realize how old he really is). I then lit the candles and sang a very rushed happy birthday song... so that I could blow out the large black cloud that was forming, before it set off the fire sprinklers. That was the extent of his birthday celebration. Of course, flying into Krabi and staying at a resort isn't a bad way to spend your birthday.
Our resort was beautiful. We spent a lot of time lazing around and swimming. Yes Lexi, Jeff did actually pull a muscle once while picking up his beer... I kid you not. Krabi is beautiful, but the islands of Thailand are even more so.
We checked out Krabi town and did a little shopping. We went to AoNang Beach for day, where I got a Thai foot massage and Kayla got her hair braided (don't feel sorry for Jeff- he got a Thai massage AND a foot massage while in Bangkok). We went on a PhiPhi Island tour which was incredible.
All in all, our Christmas vacation was very relaxing and we are happy to have ventured to another country.