The Rambling Family



Last day

It’s our sad final day in Ko Samet.  Spent the morning playing at the beach, building mountains, swinging and swimming. It’s a beautiful warm morning.

I would be remiss to omit pictures of the most loungey cat I have ever met.  Zoe could pick up this cat she dubbed Friendly and it would keep its eyes closed, purring, and kneeding while she carried it around.  It layed on her lap,  sat at our feet and was super nice.  We weren’t able to find it anywhere this morning as we left, so Zoe was sadly in tears as we hopped in the back of a pickup truck that took us to the ferry a few beaches up the island.  It was a tough goodbye. 

The rest of our travel day has gone well.  Our slow ferry off the island was on time and an interesting assemblage of new-age followers said a nice long meditative prayer as we took off, while the German guy beside me downed 3 beers in as much time, and the French dad across the way chain smoked a pack during the 1 hour trip.

In the town of Ban Phe we popped into a food stall for some cheapo Pad Thai lunch before buying our bus tickets and getting some last minute souvenirs at the market.  Avi got a surfboard keychain and Zoe chose a fake pearl necklace.

The bus ride was fine.  Avi slept most of the way – we gave him some Thai motion sickness meds this trip. Zoe read and then she and I napped.  We passed cocoa, pineapple and sugar cane farms on the way. The bus goes all the way into Bangkok, but we needed the airport which is fairly out of town, so the bus driver stopped on the side a busy street and let us off.  It was near enough to the  airport that a taxi was about 3 bucks.

Got to the airport very early and passed an hour finding and eating at the food court in the basement –  with basement prices!  We checked in and spent a while waiting at immigration before getting into the terminal where we have found a kid playland to pass the next two hours before our flight boards.

Not really too excited to go back to the cold in Korea, but it will be good to return to our proper schoolwork (I bring some work, but not all), and see how our own feral kitties have fared the winter.  We left a big bag of cat food in a box for them.  

Ko Samet

Well this place hasn’t changed!!! They did get an ATM, but that’s about it.  Service is still slow, food a bit pricey,  hit or miss wifi only at the restaurant, and too-thin curtains.  But,  it’s the best beach ever!

Sametville has it’s own awesome stretch of beach that is perfect for a family.  It’s not wide, which means we can relax or even build castles in the shade of some lovely natural trees… Even jump out of the tree swings into the water when the tide is in.  I know people like huge wide beaches, but not me.  Much better a small beach with plenty of shade AND sun and nice super soft sand.

So that is where we have been for two days.  On Sametville beach…Ao Wai. We wake for the yummy breakfast buffet, pocket a few pancakes, and claim a spot in the sand.  The place is far from crowded. This morning Avi and Bryan went out to work on a project they were whispering about all day yesterday and came back with hand made shell necklaces for Zoe and I!

Yesterday we parked ourselves by the low trees; today we are near the tall trees with a big swing.  It’s relaxing… Building castles, going for a swim, jumping off the floating dock out in the deep part.  

We have taken a few walks around to the rocky points on either side.  The tide pools seem empty now,  and there is lots of coral washed up which seems unhealthy.  Still, it’s gorgeous.  Around the south headlands we even found a smaller beach Avi dubbed Sea Glass beach because he found lots for his collection.  Zoe likes to gather shells and make intricate waterworks in the sand.  
In the late afternoon we head back to our little cottage for some school lessons, reading and a nap.  

Evenings are much the same, though the water isn’t quite warm enough for night swimming (for me). Maybe the kids take a dip in the pool. We get dinner at the restaurant, walk around and look for the kitties, find some shells, whatever.  Our first night there were some boys (like 12-14 year olds) doing a great fire twirling show for donations.  It was the best we’ve seen – even at more formal places.


We have two whole days here plus the evening we arrived and half day when we go.  It’s a good amount of time but as always I wish it could be longer.  Love Sametville; even with its weird quirks. 

Wait wait wait

Today we stood in THE LONGEST immigration line ever!!  Going into Thailand from Cambodia at Poipet was insane.  It was organized but so very slow.

Our driver came to get us promptly at 7:30 this morning and we wound our way out of Siem Reap to the north.  The road was nice and smooth thank goodnes as there were lots of obstacles to go around … Giant trucks, bikes, kids, dogs, all kinds of stuff.  And he drove at 60 the whole way;  keeping the lanes as more of a notional thing.
Sadly Avi could not handle such driving and we needed to stop three times so he could puke… Once because both he and I needed a change of clothes.  Yuck! He sat with me up front. 
At the border he was still so car sick he threw up in a bag twice… Once even while in line to get stamped out of Cambodia.  Luckily no one saw as the line was thick. 
From there we walked down the road and into the line from hell.  It took us just over 2 hours to get past the Thai immigration.  The line was so slow moving the kids watched The Goonies.  
Our handler met us on the other side and walked us down the road to our Thai driver.  The kids got some ice cream and we were on our way again.  This is another 4 hour drive to Ban Phe.  The driver was very speedy!  We had Avi sit on my lap up front from the beginning, but he still eventually got sick and threw up a couple more times before falling asleep. Then he woke when we stopped for gas and had another puking bought before sleeping again. Poor kid!!  I had grabbed a bunch of  tiny bags from the first driver (seems he was prepared for car sickness), so it was kept clean and we didn’t have to stop… Just kept the AC blowing on his face and he slept.
At Ban Phe we checked in and arranged our boat – pricier with no other people arriving this late to share – and speeded out into the water to Ko Samet.  Zoe was beside herself with excitement over going back.  We pulled up to the beach of Sametville and jumped out into the water to wade in. 

Sametville Resort hasn’t changed much – got an ATM, that’s about it.  We checked into our little bungalow in the woods and headed out to the beach for a twilight swim. Bryan took the kids out to the jumping dock.  The water was still pretty warm for being sunset.

Dinner was kind of a fiasco.  We ordered food and waited and waited and waited,  watched the cool fire spinning show and still no food.  45 minutes!  Bryan asked about it and I think they forgot…. But didn’t really fess up and brought some food another 20 minutes later.  Mine was later still and poor Zoe had waited a super long time for a potato!  Ridiculous. We were just tired and hungry and mostly exhausted from waiting in lines and cars all day that another giant wait was a bit much. 
Otherwise it’s nice to be back to Sametville – it’s quiet and has its own beautiful beach.  Now if only Bryan’s runny nose and my sore throat would clear up.

The Cats of Railay

Here is a post that Zoe helped me with.  We went through our pictures to remember all the kitties we befriended in Railay, Thailand on our trip!   So,  here they are:

Midnight liked chicken!

Kaya, who we met at the fire show

Kaya loved her chin rubbed

Cupcake, who was named by Avi

Fuzzy – obviously.


pukka – named by Avi

Cloudy and Sweetie, the only caged cats we saw

Marshmallow, the most adorable kitten ever.

Mama Cat and her 3 kittens: Star, Starbright, and Starlight. 
Mama and the kittens lived near our hut, so we saw them a lot

They liked to play by the construction site.

Zoe brought the littlest one back a few times.  It is named Starbright

more kitten love

They were all brought to our hut one morning

Black Kitty we saw only once.

Stripe who lived in the bag shop

Avi fell asleep at the chicken stall with this cat that lived their.  We’ll call it Ms. Chicken.
And everyone’s favorite!!! PATCHES.

Patches seemed to live at our hut.

Nicest cat ever.  Slept on my lap during school and purred.  so sweet!!! 
Wish we could have brought Patches home, but I think she would hate the Korean winter.


Mid-Winter Getaway 6 – Travel day

Spent the morning packing up our sprawl if stuff around the cabin. It’s amazing how much we can spread out from just two backpacks. The kids had some leftovers for breakfast and looked for the kitties to say goodbye.

From there we walked back down to Railay West beach and hopped in a boat for Ao Nang.  People just wait around until the boat has enough passengers; doesn’t take long in the mornings.  Another forum was waiting, so we filled the boat and took off.
In Ao Nang we bought bus tickets for the airport, got some lunch (my belly is still funky after the food poisoning a few days ago), and played in a tree along the beach.  The bus ride was double the time of coming to town; it stopped a ton of times and crammed people in. 
The airport check in was easy.  Kids were sleepy, so we got then some lollipops to tide them over.  Tiger Airways is a pretty no-frills airline… Small leg space, no food, drinks, luggage, or assigned seats without extra cost. It was fine, though, for a short hour and a half flight back to Singapore.
Here in Singapore we got on the train and some food before walking to our hotel.  It’s a chill out movie night tonight.  Lunar New Year starts tomorrow, so we considered briefly going to Chinatown.  But we need to wake early and we are all exhausted.  

Mid-Winter Getaway 5 – Laid up

Welp, I felt like crap yesterday morning.  Bound to happen sometime with all our traveling .. I got some bad food.  After numerous trips to the toilet it was obvious I was going to spend most of the day in the fetal position.

I did help Zoe with school and then she started to feel uck as well.  So she and I took a mid morning nap while Avi and Bryan explored.
We felt a bit better by noon and ventured to the beach for a couple hours.  Zoe didn’t seem as affected as me, thank goodness, and played in the sand and water.  Avi had a blast swimming around and messing with the tiny crabs.  But, after that it was right back to bed… Zoe and I were feeling yuck again.  Especially after smelling all the food in along the beach. Avi joined Zoe and I for a nap and Bryan ran some errands getting Tylenol and water.  He also had some nice quiet alone time, I think.
 In the evening we played with the kitties around our hut and then watched a movie.  
Today was different.  Zoe seemed completely better and I was OK.  Still can’t eat much or smell food, but I’m not exhausted anymore. So, after some school time we went to the beach area again for the kids to get themselves a souvenir.  Zoe selected a stuffed monkey with a baby on its back.  We only just discovered this evening that it screaches when squeezed.  Avi picked out a tuk tuk made from a can.  
That outing was enough that I needed a nap, and so did Avi who had been up with Bryan from early. They had gotten up and taken some man-time exploring the local caves again. 
In the afternoon I knew I must feel better as we had booked a boat trip out to the local island national park for some snorkeling and rock climbing!  I’m glad I felt fine enough – not 100% but still adequate.  The kids loved the boat.  It’s a small long tail wooden boat with a glorified hand-motor on it. Our first stop was a neat beach to explore, and then a snorkeling spot.  Zoe threw some apple in the water and attracted a ton of pretty fish! Both kids got in the water.  Avi wasn’t interested in trying on the snorkel – he fussed that the mask was too tight.  So mostly he went up and down out of the boat and hung out with our boat driver.  Zoe got the hang of snorkeling really well!  She and Bryan and I found all kinds of pretty fish swimming around!  We also saw a gigantic swarm if huge bats circling the island. 
From there it was a short hop to another island for some climbing.  This was our first time free climbing !  Seriously, no harness, no rope, no security. All because it’s over the open deep water, so if we fell it was into the drink. Super fun. The cliffs were huge and we had to climb a little rope ladder to get started.  Both Bryan and I went quite a few times. I didn’t go as high as I coul normally clim simply because I knew jumping was the only was down, and we got pretty high up!!  The kids were funny and would yell “you can do it” when it came time I jump off. Both of them jumped in the water and climbed up the ladders a short way to jump in. Mostly they enjoyed the boat. 
From there it was back to some relaxing with sunsetting time on a beach and packed dinner. I’m so glad I felt well enough for our excursion!  Still can’t eat more than a few bites, but generally getting better. 
After showers we went to beach at night to enjoy our final night here.  There were some folks putting fire lanterns into the sky, and nice cool sand. 

Mid-Winter Getaway 4 – Some changes

Whew we had a rough night.  Neither BRYAN nor I slept well, and the kids even woke and complained.  Our hut near the beach was just too close to the party beach. It was loud late at night and then top that with no hot water, evening-only electric, and a simply run down vibe.  Meant we were ready to change, but all the nicer places in our budget range were booked full. So, we ended upgrading!

Actually, the morning started before dawn when we had all been too cramped and miserable to sleep any longer.  Avi encouraged us to get up when he heard roosters, so we did. It was worth it!  All the party crowd was still asleep and we had the beach to ourselves….though the corse sand and rocky water is grating all our feet.  It was gorgeous, however. Bright blue sky and water, thick green forest, and huge gray and orange cliffs stretching up.
We wandered Tonsai beach and found a rough trail over the headlands to the next beach Railay West. Well this one has amazing soft white sand and a few fancy resorts. The kids played in the sand with the mini crabs and enjoyed the solitude before the crowds awoke.   By now things were finally opening, so we got some breakfast and explored.  
As we wandered, we happened to ask another couple about their hotel and got rave reviews with a good rate.  The trouble here was the lack of mid range options – when I was looking to book a room I found lots of cheapie backpacker places and a handful if super pricey ones.  So, we visited the Phutawan resort the couple had recommended, and booked a room!  So nice to have a real shower, huge bed, and electricity all day. Plus there isn’t trash and trashy people everywhere. 
More exploration led us to the shoreside village here at Railay East with neat shops and food.  By lunch we were hiking a forest trail back to Tonsai to get our stuff.  Avi fell asleep and the two if us took a nap while Bryan lugged our goods to the new place!   Zoe busied herself with her journal; she is authoring a book. 
It’s all so gorgeous here with huge cliffs ending in the blue ocean or green jungle. It was hard to be tired and grumpy.  I think we will be much happier at our new hotel. In fact this evening we explored the end of the peninsula to see a third beach with caves along the way, and even a cave we swam in.  
The kids were troopers with all the walking around the place and loved exploring.  They especially like the nice kitties that are everywhere; and the crazy monkeys.  Avi was crazed by the caves, too!  He was pooped out though and fell asleep at dinner.  
So, but of a rough start is coming right round. 

Mid-Winter Getaway 3 – Another airplane

Of course we couldn’t sleep in this morning, so we packed up our goods – kind of a hassle carrying around winter clothes – and found a park.  Out of town past the end of the line is Pasir Ris park.

It was a nice and huge green space full of open land and jungle.  Avi and I walked the boardwalk trail in the mangrove. He was adorable whispering so we didn’t disturb the crabs that hole up in the muck or the giant lizard we saw running off.  Zoe spent her time gathering plumeria flowers from the grove and stringing them into a vine that Bryan shaped into a crown.  Her backpack now smells wonderful!
After an hour or so, strategically avoiding the beach on the other side of the hill, we wandered back to the train and rode to the airport.  It’s gigantic!  And fancy with restaurants and shopping and a spa and free little carts.  Wonderful lunch of veggie Indian food and an easy walk on our Tiger Airways flight to Krabi. 
You know the one thing that makes Singapore pretty darn cool compared to all he other giant Asian cities is the variety  of people.  Everywhere else we finis pretty homogenous, but Singapore has so many different peoples!  It’s been fun to spot Indian women in sari’s, Muslim women in various pretty head coverings, and lots of Chinese folks.  We hear all kinds of languages but all signs are in English.  Pretty fascinating. But big. And a city (though it is pretty clean). So we are off to Krabi. 
Th flight was only an hour and a half.  Kids slep on Bryan the entire way – seriously fell asleep before takeoff. I tried to sleep but kept getting distracted by the couple beside me who bicker – fought – bantered practicing their English. Apparently he is a horrible packer, breaks things, and needs to shop around because he got ripped off on his lunch purchase and probably that blow up neck pillow and eye mask. She, on the other hand, gets pissed off easily,  feels tired to much, and loses new purchases readily. No offense or argument about all this, just the most matter of fact kind of discussion.  Must be German. Now they are sleeping. 
Once we arrived in Krabi, it was easy to find a shuttle bus to Ai Nang pier and a boat ride to Tonsai.  This is supposed to be the relaxed rock climbing area of Krabi.  Seems a bit crowded with young college age folks to me.  The place is awesome though!  Huge cliffs tower around the crescent beach.  The beach is kind of rough, though, with sharp crumbled shell sand.  Ouch. 
In the evening we had cool entertainment.  5 base jumpers launched off the highest cliff and landed on our beach!  Then there were fireworks and a fire twirling show at a bar near our bungalow.  
We are staying at a cheap hotel in a grass hut just off the beach.  It’s not nice but the price was good and it was available… Lots of stuff was booked when I was looking last minute.  Should be just fine for sleeping and showering. 
So some pictures….

Watching the demolition out front of our hotel while Bryan figured out how to get to a park. 

Crossing the street in Singapore

On the train spotting buses, bikes and backhoes

Pasir Ris park

On the mangrove boardwalk

Changi Singapore airport
My neighbors on the airplane when they finally shutup.
Boat to our beach
One if the numerous kitties around the place!

Post Trip napping

Well the red eye flight back from Bangkok was uneventful except for Avi puking. Something he ate didn’t sit well. He was so restless rumbling around as we all tried to sleep on top of each other in our 3 seats. I was getting super sleepy and tired of his inability to get comfy and then he puked. So compassion won over as I realized it must have been his belly hurting. After that he wanted to sleep sitting up so I propped him with my sweatshirt.

Back in Seoul he still felt yucky and threw up a couple more times (luckily not in front of the quarantine officers), and even on the bus ride home. We all slept on the comfy bus back to Songtan. Then he was fine! So it must have been food. I suspect the weird little salmon croissant we got in the Udon to Bangkok flight because only he and I ate them. My belly was yuck this afternoon with bathroom calls. Zoe didnt eat the croissant and is fine.

The big excitement on getting home was the bunnies!! Hey were great and the babies have grown big and fluffy!!! Absolutely adorable. We spent most of the day playing with them and then taking a long nap.

It’s always nice and comfy to be back home from a trip… Of course Bryan already asked me where our next plans are ?! Hmmmm….. That will have to wait.

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