Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Weekend Trip to Bangkok

I suppose if we lived in the States, we would take weekend trips to visit our parents or go up north to the lake. Since those options aren't available to us, we'll just have to be content to continue our weekend jaunts off the island. :) This past weekend we joined Erik in Bangkok, where he was in the middle of two back to back conferences that are keeping him away from us for 11 days.

I was a little nervous about my first flight alone with the kids, but they are stellar travelers so we were fine. I was even pleasantly surprised by my first taxi ride ever in Thailand where I didn't beg the Lord to spare our lives. Usually they drive like they're in the Indi 500.

We arrived Saturday, and my ever-gracious servant of a husband took the kids swimming so I could relax in the hotel, eat something claiming to be Mexican spring rolls, and watch Stars on Ice. Does it get any better than that?

Sunday we went to Safari Park, a drive through zoo recommended by friends and internet folk alike. It was raining, so we didn't want to buy the all-inclusive package that allowed us to wander the Marine Park, but the drive through was only 40 minutes. We had hoped this would be an all day activity. We didn't understand why they wouldn't let us just walk through the park on our own. Once we took the drive, we understood why - the animals are wandering freely, and probably would either eat or trample individuals roaming through their territory. We enjoyed the ride so much that when we were done and realized they hadn't taken our tickets, well, we'll admit it, we went again.

Since we still had half a day to spend and no immediate plans, we threw our taxi driver several curve balls. "Take us to the Center Pointe mall." Wait, I don't think he understands. "Ok, take us to the World Trade Center. Yes, this place on the map. No, use your meter. No! Meter! Ok, we'll pay highway, but use your meter!!" (They don't like to use their meters, prefering to charge you twice as much as it would be if you did use the meter). Then halfway there we decided to go back to our hotel instead. He vented his frustration on us by driving like a maniac.

After lunch and a rest, we discovered the "weekend market" which sounded promising. It was! It would have been even more fun if we'd had more time, more money, and fewer children. They were troopers though, since we did walk around for about 2 1/2 hours looking at everything from clothes to silverware to beads to Buddhist idols galore. (If you're in the market for idols, this is the place to go). I bought a bunch of used kids' books for about $7. We had two fruit shake breaks, and a unexpected "listen to what we suspect is the Thai national anthem" break. At 6 p.m., we were walking and chatting, and we realized that everyone around us had stopped talking and gone absolutely still. We did the same, not wanting to look like insensitive idiots. After the song was done, everything went back to normal. It was eery.

Monday morning we'd planned to go to the river and float around, but we decided the kids had endured enough of Thailand (Thai hands are magnetically attracted to Megan's hair) and would be happier just swimming. I got a wonderful Thai massage for mother's day. In the afternoon Erik had meetings, so I took the kids to a shopping mall with an indoor playground where mom and kids enjoyed themselves.

This morning we flew back to Singapore. My favorite quote from the weekend was when we were taking off for Thailand. Megan said, "Mommy, are we getting ready to blast off?" I love my life. What a blessing to experience so many cultures around us all the time. So how was your weekend?

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