Thursday, June 2, 2011

Adventures in Thailand: The Journey

Well, I've decided to do my posts about Thailand in parts because I want to document our trip there. I'm starting from the very beginning, beginning with our long plane ride all the way to Phayao. I feel like that is just as much part of the memory as well so here we go. If you could care less about this than feel free to exit out now but since my brain and abilities can't handle scrapbooking and I rarely print pictures this is how I want to document our fun times. :)

Rick and I have been saving our air miles for oh...the past eight years! I'm not kidding. So, all four of our tickets were bought with air miles so all we had to pay for were the processing fees! Unbelievable, we were so excited that after eight years of saving it actually worked to redeem them because there was a small fear that it might not work. So great! Alright, so we left for DFW airport on May 6th, veeerrrry early in the morning. We somehow made it from remote parking onto the shuttle to our terminal with just Rick and I, the girls and all seven of our bags. Ridiculous. Now, Rick and I both admit neither one of us are known to be light packers but don't think that all of these bags were just for us. We only had two bags for our family and the other 5 and every little space, pocket and crevice was jammed packed with goodies for The Reese's and their team. I'm telling you we had everything from Ranch dressing, Dr. Peppers and Cheetos to cooking utensils, ipod speakers, homeschool curriculum and a carseat base. You name it we had it tucked into a suitcase somewhere. We were packed to the gills and just hoping the nice people at the American Airlines counter were in a good mood early in the morning to let a couple of L-beez slide on the scale. Each bag by the way weighed around 50 pounds and a few were a little over the weight limit. So that's what? Around 350 pounds we were taking? Yeah, so our luggage pretty much took up most of the shuttle getting us to the terminal but there were some nice people on the shuttle who helped us with our luggage. Really I think they just felt sorry for us struggling with two small children, carry-ons and 7 huge pieces of luggage at 5 am. They jokingly at one point offered to pray for us. Really? Did we look that wheels off?

Anyway, we got checked in and they even let us go to the front of the line to go through security which was awesome because the line was a mile long! We had plenty of time to get to our gate, eat some breakfast and just let the girls play.

Waiting at our gate at DFW to head to San Francisco

Watching for our plane

Awww, sweet Rick entertaining the troops. Mom is not so fun early in the morning so Rick gets to be the one fun one. For the record, I am not a morning person. I really want to be and I thought that once I became an adult I would automatically like coffee and getting up early but that has yet to happen. I am better though than I used to be and I can say that I don't have quite the foul attitude I used to have when having to get up early but I am still sllooow to wake up.

So, we had a 3 1/2 hour flight to San Francisco then a 3 hour lay over there. Enough time to once again eat and play. And, Rick got us some fabulous neck pillows that saved our life on our 14 hour flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong. He looked like a pack mule walking around the airport with his backpack, carrying Eva's backpack and the two neck pillows clipped to his pants. Hysterical, he has no shame. Why didn't I get a picture?? Oh, yeah, probably because I was still trying to wake up.

I mean, look at my eyes...hello, am I sleep walking? Tired eyes!

Eva and Ella waiting to board our HUGE Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. I'm telling you this plane was enormous, one of those ones with an upstairs!

Yeah, in case you glossed over that gem of info back there, 14 HOURS! Wow, it was long folks. BUT, I have to say that the girls did exceptionally well! Eva and Ella are very laid back and flexible anyway but this is just the ultimate test and they did great! I cannot complain at all. They watched movies, colored, took several trips back and forth to the bathroom to play in the sink and Ella played with her seatbelt for a good 45 minutes so that helped. :) Plus, our sweet, thoughtful and amazing friend Suzanne packed the girls a super fun bag FULL of crafts, stickers, books, magnetic stuff, finger puppets, etc. She tried to think of 28 things for our 28 hour flight! Is that the best or what?? The girls loved their goodies and it helped to pass the time, thank you Suzanne!! And really, they also slept alot. I slept alot. I didn't watch one movie or read one book. I don't know, it's like when I get on an airplane I suddenly feel very tired. I don't know if they were blowing something through the air vents into the cabin to make me sleepy but all I wanted to do was sleep. Good thing I had my incredible neck pillow eh? Thanks babe!

Here we are on our own row at the VERY back of the plane ready for a fun 14 hour journey!

Finally, we arrived in Hong Kong and had annnoother 3 hour lay over there. I did not get any pictures there for some reason. Oh yeah, I was pretty much asleep for most of that time. Ok, I know it sounds like I'm sleeping alot and you're probably wondering if poor Rick was left alone to watch the girls. It does sound like that! Ha! I WAS very helpful and was taking care of my children but I also was able to sleep. Anyway, so quick random and funny Hong Kong airport story for you besides the one where as soon as we deplaned in Hong Kong a security agent wearing a mask pointed her thermometer gun at Ella's head to take her temperature before letting us to our gate. Besides that, here's the other funny story and again, I wish I would've taken a picture of our "friends" we made but I was not functional. Ok, so picture this. I am layed out on a bench, I mean LAYED out, with my trusty neck pillow, Eva's blanket, shoes off asleep. ASLEEP. Next thing I know Rick is waking me up with this weird smile on his face and is saying, "We're going to take a picture." I could not figure out what he was saying or doing but he was helping me sit up and telling me we were going to take a picture. What in the world? I'm doing the whole one-eye-open-half-asleep thing still and out of my open eye I see two little chinese ladies, one is holding Ella and the other is ready with her camera and is nodding and smiling at me. I was soooo confused! Rick is still looking at me with his weird smile that says "I have no idea what's going on" while I am literally rubbing my eyes and trying to smooth my hair for a picture with our "friends." Oh man, hilarious! These two sweet ladies did not speak English and of course we do not speak Chinese but apparently they both had daughters around Eva and Ella's ages and they wanted a picture of us to show their families. They wanted to video tape the girls speaking in English but after being held, pinched and having their tummies rubbed(not kidding) by two strangers speaking a different language I think a video was just too much to ask. So, somewhere floating around Hong Kong are pictures of the Carder family with me doing my one-eye-open-half-asleep bit and two nice little Chinese ladies. Love it! Sorry I don't have a picture to show you, I'm kicking myself, the whole scenario was hilarious.

From there we got on our flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok which was I think maybe an hour and half to two hours. We arrived in Bangkok at around 10:30 pm or so I think, went through immigration, got all our bags and went to find our shuttle to the hotel.

Happy to be off the plane and finally be in Thailand!

Heading to go find our other 7 bags

We stayed at The Grand Convenience Hotel in Bangkok, don't you love that name? I think it's so funny especially because it's not like it's super convenient to the airport. It was a 20 minute shuttle ride away. Love it! But, I will say that other than that it was great, the hotel was nice and the shuttle service was on time and it was a great place to just spend the night if you're needing to get up the next morning to catch a flight.

All of our bags at The Grand Convenience...after they smashed them in the elevator a few times trying to get them all in. Only a few things broke on the suitcases but hey, at least they got them all to our room in one trip right? Good grief.

We all slept great and got up the next morning, headed back to the airport and got on our flight to Chiang Rai where Ann and Derran would pick us up.

Mother's Day picture with my girls in the Bangkok airport waiting to board our last flight

We made it to Chiang Rai and after days of traveling finally got to see our sweet Brynn and Meg!

The girls were so excited to see their cousins! They held hands all the way to the car.

Derran loading our bags into their truck and covering them with a tarp for the hour long trip to Phayao

We stopped for lunch in Chiang Rai and then drove an hour to Phayao to Ann and Derran's house. It was so fun to FINALLY be in Phayao in person and see where they live.

Ann and Derran's house

Ann and I's Mother's Day flowers waiting at their house for us when we got there. Sooo sweet!!
That night we went to their house church at the Fikes house (one of their teammates) where they did a lesson for the kids, shared a meal together and then had a lesson for the adults. It was all in Thai and it was so neat to even see the kids singing and reading the Bible in Thai. They are doing such an amazing job!

This is just the beginning and I'm impressed if you made it to the end. I have lots more to share so get ready!


JG said...

I love that you matched your girls in every picture. My favorite is you and your cool babies all in black, ready to travel like a hip Euro family. Love the the trip details!


Specks said...

I giggled out loud at your story about being woken up for the pic....I love your stories!!!! What an awesome trip and such beautiful pics~ I cannot wait to hear more :). BTW~ your Mother's Day pic with your two little beauties is gorgeous!

Jodi said...

OH my goodness... LOVIN' the trip details! I will admit, my blood pressure went through the roof just reading about all that traveling with littles... and your littles are AMAZING! I think it would have done me in, for sure, since just reading about YOU doing it put me in a tizzy. Kudos to the four of you!!! Can't wait for more Adventures in Thailand!

PS. my fave part of the post... how you phonetically spelled L-beez. You make me smile. :)

Nancy Giurlanda said...

I love hearing the stories about your trip, especially told with your sense of humor !! I am so glad you had a great time. I love looking at the pictures, cannot wait to hear more !! I love you all!!