|Off to Thailand ... yay!|
I thus spent the nights of my last working week getting myself organised for Thailand. Yep, finished work on the Friday, and was flying to Thailand on the Saturday. Whoo, hoo!
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go and I had just over two weeks to do it. Alex and Dad took me to the airport, and before I knew it I was off. In usual Ombi style, I introduced myself to the guy sitting next to me, and Daryl and I had ourselves some pretty decent conversations over the course of the flight. A brief stopover in Brunei and we were in Bangkok by 8pm. I would be spending my first couple of nights with my dear friends Link and Pong and their family. I met Pong in the early noughties when she was studying in Australia, and Alex and I attended her wedding to Link in 2007. They have since had two children, Grace (Nu Deang) who we met when we were in Thailand in early 2012 and Sean (Singh) who was only a couple of months old, and whom I would be meeting for the first time.
|With Nu Deang at the local market|
Luckily it did not take me long to get through passport control and Link was waving at me as I came through the doors and into the arms of my second home; a country I love, enjoy and feel so comfortable in. Ah, Bangkok! You either love it or hate it. I love it! Yes, it's crazy, frenetic and muggy, but perhaps it's the sensory overload that I find so appealing. Bangkok, you and I have the same personality, which is perhaps why I love you so!
It was quite late by the time we arrived at Pong and Link's house, which is in the south of Bangkok, but at the glass door was Nu Deang waving, the adorable not quite yet one year old baby I had met last year, who was now two and a half. Bright as a button, she was not going to miss out on the action. She knew I was coming and was waiting up. It was so lovely to see Pong and Nu Deang again, and I was greeted with big hugs from both of them. Nu Deang introduced me to her baby brother Sean and took me up to my room and told me that that is where I would be sleeping. A bit of chit chat all round and then we went to bed. At least tomorrow was Sunday and I would be able to spend some time with the family.
|15 minute haircut ... love it!|
Pong helped me map out what I would do over the next couple of weeks. A few days on the island of Ko Samet, back for a night with Pong and Link, some time with her parents north of Kanchanaburi near the Myanmar border and then back to Bangkok for a few days shopping before flying back to Melbourne . Sorted! Link has an IT background like Alex, so I was technologically wired, so to speak. In my lifetime I have travelled so extensively alone but the boys made sure that I was contactable 24/7!
Thanks Link and Alex.
|See you soon Nu Deang|
On the ferry to Ko Samet
|My little bungalow, Tubtim Resort|
It did indeed rain quite a bit and although I did not get much sunbaking in (one two hour session with sunshine and another two hour session with clouds, but at least no rain), I did go on a couple of hikes and did a lot of walking. I met a lovely Dutch couple called Monique and Davey who were staying in the bungalow next to me, but as it was low season there were very few people actually around.
My Ko Samet masseuse, Aida
Monsoon season ... baby!
Before I knew it, I was back with my Thai family who surprised me with an early birthday cake (I would be leaving Thailand on my actual birthday). What a lovely surprise indeed! I was only there for a night, as the next day I was going out to visit Pong’s parents two hours north-west of Kanchanaburi, near the border of Myanmar. I would leave the next morning. The next adventure awaited me.
Next: Hot springs, amazing homemade food and visiting the Myanmar border in and around Kanchanaburi province with Pong’s parents, Chai and Ta.
Dedication: To my wonderful friends Pong and Link. Thank you for your hospitality and warmth. Thank you for making me feel like part of your family and for allowing me to ‘adopt’ Nu Deang and Sean as my niece and nephew. Thank you for caring and looking after me. You are very special to me and I have adopted all of you as MY Thai family! Kap Khun Ka.
|With Pong, Nu Deang and baby Sean|
|Some birthday cake Papi?|
|Nu Deang wants to go with Ombi|
|One of the many 'sturdy' piers on Ko Samet|
|Ko Samet National Park|
|About to catch the ferry to Ko Samet|
|Nuan Thip Pier, leaving for Ko Samet|
|Welcome to Ko Samet|
|Link at the local market near his house|
|Pong and Nu Deang|
|Pong and Nu Deang|
|Baby Sean and Grandma (Link's mum)|
|With Link's family|
|Green Thai curry and Asian greens on Ko Samet|
|Hello Baby Sean (Singh)|
|Ko Samet 'roadhouse'|
|The random things you find on islands, Ko Samet|
|Another gorgeous Ko Samet beach|
|Mummy and Nu Deang|
|L to R: Nu Deang, Pong and Link|
|Happy Birthday to Ombi!|