Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It has been a while

The kids are still here. This month has been wonderful. To see them. To have them see us in our lives here. To have down time together. Just live together. A luxury of time. At this stage in their lives I know how precious this time with them is. And I have so yearned for this for a year. I am hoping it will be easier to be without them , knowing they know how our days go.

We have had some AMAZING vacations.

Railay Beach was all I had hoped it would be. We each, Tim and I, and Alex, Heidi, and Elizabeth, each had a villa. That is, through a gate, behind a tall fence is a patio with loungers, a shaded area with chairs, an outdoor pool with jacuzzi pumps, an outdoor shower, and then the big room with beds and a bathroom. We hung out together, and separately, and it was perfect. We had a day trip, actually a sunset snorkelling trip. Left mid afternoon, and went snorkelling to two locations. I managed to do one time. With the restrictions I STILL HAVE, URGH, the bottom rung of the ladder out of the water, and it  took me about 10 minutes to do. I could not get my knees to bend enough to get to the rung. I had a little 80 lb long tail boat driver asking if he could help. I finally got my feet through the bottom rung, and pulled myself to sitting on the rung. Then it took ALL the strength I had to pull myself up from there. I had gone back first, all others were still swimming. I was glad this awful exit from the water was only viewed by one. When the others returned I saw how tough it was for able bodied people and, and that made me feel a tiny bit better. But I was not going to try it again, so missed the second location.

But then we went to a sand bar, between 2 islands, for supper and the sunset. It was absolutely magical. Just perfect. Actually the day had been overcast, with the water not that bright turquoise, but also not the blinding sun. But for the sunset, it was a fiery red ball falling of the edge of the horizon. Magic.

On our way back, in the long tail boat, the wind had really picked up, and we were getting splashed. But strange, in the dark , and the wind, it should have felt cool, but was warm! At one point the boat scraped along bottom. In the dark. Way off from any shore. We slowed right down, and scraped along for quite a while. We wondered if he was off course, if he knew where he was, or if the tide was lower than he expected. But a little excitement for the end of a fabulous day. Actually the boats are designed with a very sturdy bottom, and the draw on the motor is like nil, so they can be in very shallow waters.

It was a holiday just like I had hoped for. Down time together and time separate. Perfect

Back to Singapore for an overnight. Elizabeth and I went off to Bali, Alex and Heidi went off to Bangkok, Chiang Mai , and Sukathai (Thailand.

Elizabeth and I loved Bali. I think of beaches in Bali, and with that wild Aussie partiers. But we went to Ubud, a city of much culture. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, had lots of touring, great meals, some mean shopping (E a beautiful bathing suit for $15, me two tops for $25). We hired a car and driver one day and saw woodcarving, silver jewellery making, painting, art gallery, gardens (we saw coffee growing, cocoa beans, and spices. We bought some excellent Bali coffee. We went to two temples, and the zoo. Elizabeth was like a kid in the zoo, very excited. Fed the elephants! Turned down feeding the lions and tigers.

Tim's sister Maribeth and her Greg arrived from a house sit in Australia. It is wonderful to have them here. We are all off to Cambodia, tomorrow, to Siem Reap, and we will be 7. How cool is that?

So more to follow.

I will now try to post some hopefully self explanatory photos.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

another quickie

Well, Malaysia was wonderful. We landed in Penang on the island of Penang. Penang is a district, and a city and an island. When we first came here, and Tim said we were going to Penang, and I had no idea where it was.
To be met at the airport by the hotel is the easy way to do it. Just look for your name, or the name of the hotel as yu exit baggage area. A long drive through the town and through Georgetown, to our hotel, a small hotel (90 rooms) only three stories, quite private from the road. They remembered me from our visit. (I had inquired about renting an apartment for the 6 of us. That was prohibitively expensive). We had two adjoining rooms, which worked very well. The beach is lovely, filled with tourists, on banana boats, seadoos, and kite flying. Elizabeth and Steve went for a kite ride. They loved it. We swam in the ocean, which was only a few degrees cooler than the warm air. The pool had an infinity pool, surrounded by these "pine" trees. The hotel is misnamed. Some Englishman thought these casaurina trees were pine. Tall, majestic, very long needles. We hired a car, actually a van, for the 6 of us. We toured around all day- spice garden, fascinating, butterfly museum, fabulous, dam for fresh water, historic Georgetown, a great day. We did a cooking class, all 6 of us, at the Spice Garden, and that was fun. Much hanging around, reading in hammocks in the shade of these majestic trees, lolling by the pool, walking the beach. All wonderful. The kids did some snooping around by them selves, sometimes we were 3X2, 4+2, and sometime  all together.
The hotel wants the guests to feel like they are at their second home. I have to say they are successful. We so wanted our kids to see this. Quiet elegance, not a big busy hotel on the beach. Our last night they had a cocktail party for all the guests, full bar, as many drinks as you want, and never ending food. The staff was there, having drinks with us. Irene, head of housekeeping, wanted to know if we were happy with our rooms, and she wanted to know if not. Assistant manager Khoo, was a name on the email correspondence, and a charming man who was very eager to get me a 2nd and 3rd G&T. I met a couple, Scottish, that spend 8 weeks at The Lone Pine, and then 6 more weeks at the E&O Hotel in Georgetown. E&O is a very very fancy hotel. What a way to spend your winter. They think the hotel a second home, but find the dinners very expensive so eat at the food court next door, for $5.
Back to Singapore. Alex and Heidi went to HCMC (Saigon) for the weekend. We had a weekend with Steve and Elizabeth.
This morning we 5 head off to Railay Beach. It is a one hour flight to Krabi (Thailand) and the hotel takes us to a marina and on a long boat, around a point of land, to Railay Beach, which is not accessible for vehicles. We 5 will have 4 days there.
I will have time to attach some photos next time maybe.
Oh ya, when we get back Thursday, Elizabeth and I are flying Friday-Monday to Ubud, Bali. Not the beach, but inland, a city rich in Indonesian culture. I tell you, the fun never stops!

Monday, January 7, 2013

I am so happy

A short post to say that I am so happy. My kids are here, and I am doing what I love to do most, to be a Mom.

We are having a wonderful visit. Alex and Heidi came Dec 30th and had no problem with jet lag. They had very anxious moments, on their flight over. They strated in Fredericton (where they had been for Christmas with Heidi's Mom Jill) and a huge winter storm caused chaos with flights. They were late in to TO, missed their connection to NY where their NY/Hong Kong/Singapore was not renegotiable (gift from A's Aunt Skip). All's well that ends well and Alex worried well enough that it all worked.
They have been troopers and I think they might know Singapore better than me now. They walk the city. I travel by MRT, so I have no idea how places join together above ground. They do.

Steve, Elizabeth's boyfriend , arrived with his family, New Year's Eve afternoon from HK. After they settled in a hotel we spent NYE together. We had folks here, had champagne, shrimp, salmon, and a lovely evening, highlighted by not only fabulous fireworks from all over the city, but also flares from the ships that sit out in the Strait, off our balcony. It was magic.

Elizabeth arrived 2 days later, and the troops were amassed. We are having a wonderful time. The kids go off, I meet them, maybe not, we have had wonderful meals out, and in. They are cooking supper tonight.

Tomorrow the 6 of us are off to Georgetown, Malaysia. The Lone Pine. Tim and I were there in June or so, and we loved it. An old Colonial hotel, on the beach, Ferrenghi Beach (foreigner's beach), fabulous service, a free shuttle in to Georgetown, lots of beach activities on the beach, and a night market outside the hotel. 4 Days there, back for 2 days, the 5 of us off to Thailand, Railay Beach,(again where Tim and I were and loved it), Steve off to Taiwan and home.
The rest of the month is TBA. I am ready to put together any trips, Tim is back at work, so it all remains unplanned.

Just wanted to post so you won't forget about me.

I hope 2013 is as kind to you as it looks like it is going to be to me/us.
With wishes for good health, and being surrounded by the love of family and good friends,