Monday, March 31, 2008

Krabi Vacation

The kids had a four day weekend so we flew down to Krabi in the south of Thailand. Krabi is a small beach town located near Phucket and Pee Pee Islands. The sea in this part of Thailand is full of small islands. These islands were used in a boat chase in a James Bond movie.

We left Bangkok at 8:00 a.m. and arrived in Krabi at around 9:30. The airport sent a car to pick us up, but unfortunately they were late so we waited about 15 or so minutes before we took our 30 minute ride to the hotel and the beach. Our rooms at the Pakasai Resort were not yet ready, so we took a stroll down along the road with the shops on one side and the beach on the other. The shops mainly consisted of vendors selling clothes, sunglasses, and beach gear, massage parlors, restaurants, travel agents/tour bookings, and bars.

We had lunch at a Thai Seafood restaurant which was decent. After lunch we checked in and spent the afternoon at the pool. The hotel was nice, but it was spread out. There were a series of buildings with 4 rooms each. It took us about 5 minutes to walk from the lobby to our room. What made it more challenging was it was an uphill walk.

We were all pretty tired, as we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to the airport by 7:00 a.m. For dinner, we went to a seafood restaurant on the beach which was decent.

On Friday, we rented on a long tail boat and visited four islands. A long tail boat is a wooden boat powered by a gas powered propeller. There are pictures of the long tail boats in my pictures from the trip.

The boat ride is absolutely beautiful. The contrast of blue sky, white clouds and the green islands dotted around the blue sea were just gorgeous. Even though it was quite hot, the wind over the swift moving boat (had to put a verb between swift and boat to avoid any political commentary) made it quite cool and comfortable.

Our first stop was a beach that is only above water during low tide. It was a strip of sand between two small rocky islands. This was a national park which cost 100 baht for me and 20 baht for Tim. When the tide comes up, the sand bar is under water.

The next stop was an island with a small restaurant. Jacob was the first to comment on the topless woman sun bathing about twenty feet away from us while we ate. I think we only saw two or three topless sun bathers the entire time that we were there. While I generally have no issue with topless sunbathers, its not something that the Thais do or care to have on their beaches, so I think its a little bit rude to do it. Its unlikely that they would say anything to you, but think about it this way, there is only one profession of Thai ladies that would go topless on the beach.

Our third stop of Friday was a nice beach where the kids swam and played in the sand. Jacob asked me to bury him in the sand, which I was happy to do. He did not ask me to give him the form of a mermaid, but I was happy to do that as well. Jacob was not at all pleased by the boobs that I gave him. Fortunately for him, I didn't take any pictures.

The final island was not as nice as the third. I can't remember that much about it.

On Saturday we rented another long boat and went to Hong Island. The highlight of our four trip stop was a bay where kids could feed fish, snorkel and play in the sand. Jacob made a friend there and was building a sand fort. Aleena got bitten by a small crab and did not want to get too close to the water after that.

The long tails are supposed to be in by 4:00, but of course we pushed it until 5:30. Tim had asked why they needed to be in so early, and we found out why. The water on the way back was a lot choppier than the ride out in the morning. The waves really weren't that big, but the boats don't sit that deep in the water, so you could definitely feel them.

Aleena was being a real trooper all day, but at the end of our boat ride she was just exhausted. She really tries to keep up, and we help her by carrying her sometimes, but its not easy for her to do everything like her older brother and sister. She felt kind of warm when we got to the hotel, so we decided to just eat at the hotel restaurant so we could get back and put her to bed.

It turns out that this was the best meal of the trip. They had a seafood buffet, which we were the only guests at for about 45 minutes. Aleena slept through the entire meal. I think one other group joined later.

The food was pretty good, particularly the grilled shrimp, but a few things made it really fun. At one point Tim sent Nalin over to ask the waitress for something. Now, if I haven't mentioned it, Nalin is getting very good at speaking Thai. When the waitresses learned that she could speak Thai, four of them came over and started talking to Tim and Nalin. They were asking Nalin questions and doting over her. You could tell that Nalin was enjoying being the center of attention. They asked if they could braid Nalin's hair, which Nalin eagerly accepted. They took her over to another table and one of them braided Nalin's hair. Nalin told Tim that she was very happy because she had wanted the pretty girl to braid her hair, and she had.

While Jacob was not particularly impressed by Thai waitresses, hair braids, or the woman singing in English with a strong Thai accent, he was thrilled by the fire show. While we ate desert, we were entertained by a performer who breathed fire and had spun two flaming pots. My description doesn't do it justice, but it really was a pretty neat show. He spun the pots like flaming nunchuks. Jacob moved up to the chair closest to him and watched in silent rapture. At one point, the performer spun the flames closer and closer to Jacob who let them get within a foot of him and never flinched.

Our flight out was at 4:30 on Sunday. We spent the morning and early afternoon doing some shopping and hanging out at the pool. As we were getting ready to board our return flight, we noticed that we were flying into a different airport. Domestic flights here can originate out of either the new or the old airport. We had left from the new airport, but would return to the old one. Unfortunately, this was one of the few times that we had driven to the airport (we are usually dropped off), so Tim called Top who sent his driver to pick us up. There is a free shuttle between the two for ticketed passengers, but we didn't want to the kids to be up too late.

Overall the trip was a lot of fun. My pictures didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. I accidentally changed the auto focus setting on my camera so that it didn't lock focus. I thought it was broken, so I was manually focusing. Tim was using auto focus, and while it would focus, it wouldn't really lock. While we have some nice pictures, there are a lot of ones that would have been good if I hadn't screwed up the focus. Of course, I finally figured out what I had done when we got home.

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