Friday, July 27, 2007
You can see the massive tiger prawns and up in the right hand corner with kind of a grayish tint is a huge Phuket Lobster!
We went with the Tiger Prawns...
and a red snapper!!!
Here we are after our feast! We were stuffed!
While were in Patong we walked up and down one of the streets seeing what type of entertainment that they had. There were tons of bars and lots of Cabaret shows. We decided to take in one of the Cabaret shows because of the gorgeous lady boys that we saw on the streets inviting us in to their shows. I have to say I have never in my life seen so many women who were actually men! They were absolutely stunning and almost flawless! Another feature that most of them had actual plastic surgery. Unfortunately we had to leave the show half way through because we had to get back to the babysitter, but it was extremely entertaining.
I walked down to the beach the other day and took some pictures of the gorgeous blue skies and the colorful water. Here is what I found...
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Gemma not so tired.
Angus and Jonny waiting for their dinner.
Angus, out for the count!
Maybe he had one too many Singhas!
As you can imagine we were quite weary of the trip at this point. We were told that we needed to bring our belongings on the beach and rent chairs for 150 baht, so they would make sure that our things weren't stolen. We very frustrated with all of the add ons. We arrived at the first beach and put our gear on. We got in the water and Gemma began to snorkel, but then saw a fish and decided this wasn't for her. Then a boat came in and Angus and I got caught in its tide and a very rocky, shallow area. By the time we got out of it we were thoroughly scraped up and Angus was bawling. We were unable to console him and walked him up and down the beach until he calmed himself. Here he is after his ordeal.
After a quick stop on the first island they took us about 5 minutes out from shore and let us jump off the boat into the water. Angus was definitely having no part of this and Gemma didn't want to either, but she did go in with me for a minutes. After a very short stop we went to our 3rd and final stop. Here are some photos of this beautiful little beach.
The kids playing in a little cove. We saw little fish and big black crabs here.
Gemma enjoying some sand time!
Jonny getting a little snorkeling time in.
The kids and Jonny building a sand castle.
Gemma and me enjoying the water!
Our last stop ended up being really great. The kids were in better form and their fears of the water and fish seemed to go away. We didn't get much snorkeling in, but we didn't really care. We had a great time paddling around and hanging out on the beach with the kids.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Gemma sitting very still for her braids.
After her braids we decided to hang out on the beach for a while. The water is quite dangerous in our area this time of year, so the kids just played in the sand and got their feet wet a bit. Here are some of our photos while we were there.
Our kids do NOT know how to smile for the camera to save themselves! I think they take after me!
While we were at the beach we booked a couple snorkeling trips. More pictures from our snorkeling trip today!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Our first day we had breakfast in the Villa part of the hotel and instead of the normal Asia breakfast buffet we were able to order off the menu. I have to say the breakfast was excellent! I swear if I eat as many croissants as I think I eat before I leave this place, they will have to role me out of here! We spent most of the day in the pool or taking much needed naps! The hotel also offers happy hour for the villa guest, which were very nice and gave you the opportunity to meet other guests.
Our Sunday was spent doing about the same thing minus the naps for everyone except for Angus. We have also been extremely lazy about pictures, so I plan on taking more pictures soon!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
We are leaving today for an 8 day hiatus to Phuket, Thailand. This will be our 4th trip there in just over a year. There are many reasons we love going to Thailand: the white sand beaches, the crystal blue waters, the gorgeous food, the people, Thai massages, and the list goes on. This will be our first trip to Phuket, but we have heard really great things about it. There are quite a few great snorkeling and diving spots off of Phuket, so we are looking forward to a little snorkeling. Gemma is actually going to try it for her first time, so that should be exciting for her!
I hope to blog while we are there and share pictures of this paradise.
Here is a picture of our little man getting in the van the first day of school.
A new International school called Eton House opened up in Chengdu and they offered a summer program for children between the ages of 2-6 for 4 weeks. We thought that we would send Angus just to see how he would do in this type of setting.
Angus is really enjoying his time there. He has made quite a few new friends and has only had one incident where had to stay in from recess.
On the Mommy front Gemma and Angus were both in summer school for one week and I had lots of free time. It was very nice and peaceful around here. I have been able to get caught up on quite a few things and feel very well rested. Gemma finished school last week, so we have had a lot of Mommy/Gemma time.
Gavin is from New Zealand and his family came from Scotland, so he wore a kilt for the wedding. Unfortunately it was about 100 degrees and sunny.
But actually I felt even more sorry for this poor piper!
Here is Lily and Mark with Angus.
Gavin and Xiao Mei toasting to their special day.
They also had some amazing entertainment at the wedding. They had a changing mask show, Chinese opera singer, and an amazing girl group playing string instruments.
Here is the incredible opera singer.
Gemma had the time of her life dancing up a storm.
I came in a little earlier than Donna so that I could meet up with some Chengdu alums and do a little shopping. We had a great time and ate at some of my favorite places.
The next day I met Donna and her friends at their hotel first thing in the morning. There were about 5 of us in the group coming from Malaysia, Ireland, Vietnam, Chengdu, and the US. There was another woman that was hosting us who had lived in Shanghai for 3 years, so she knew where to take us.
Our first stop was Yuyuan Garden and the area around it for a little jewelry shopping along with a tour of the 400 + year old garden. We headed over to an area called Xintiandi, a trendy little place to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Simply Thai which was as yummy as ever. (This was actually my 2nd visit there on this trip!) After lunch we headed to Dragonfly for a little pampering. If you ever have a chance to visit China you definitely have to indulge in this little pleasure! I always get the Top to Toe which is a foot massage and a neck, shoulders, and arm massage done simultaneously by two therapists. It is absolute heaven! After our massages we stopped by the Kade Club for some DVDs and then headed back to the hotel. At the hotel we met with a guy called David Yang who makes custom made items such as purses, jewelry boxes, picture frames, photo albums, etc. with Chinese silk. His items were absolutely beautiful and I was able to purchase a jewelry box, a couple of picture frames, and a couple of decorative Kleenex boxes.
Donna and I at Yuyuan Garden.
After freshening up a bit we all decided to have dinner at 1221, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Shanghai. We had an assortment of yummy Shanghainese dishes, but my favorites are their lemon chicken and the shrimp over crispy rice. We also had a new dish that I have never tried which was spice Sichuan beef with this delicious bread.
We headed back to the hotel and had a bottle of wine and chatted until some of the husbands came back from their dinner. Anita and I polished off our bottle of wine prior to her husband arriving and a few of us decided to head back out to Xintiandi for a few drinks at the Paulaner. It was great to go out with Anita and her husband. They were so much fun! The other thing that was great was that I was able to see our friend Bruce, who was in great form!
The next day we spent the day shopping at the Pudong Xiang Yang Market and the Xiang Yang Market which are both knock off markets. In the evenings most of the couples went to dinner at this fabulous tapas bar called Azul. The food was amazing and the sangria was yummy! After dinner we headed to the Bund and checked out
Me, Donna and Mike
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I couldn't talk Brian into kissing the Buddha like Jeanette and I did in the past.
Brian amongst the bamboo.
We must have been there at feeding time because the teenage pandas were eating and getting ready for their naps.
Here is a little video of them...
The most exciting part of our trip to the panda base is to see the panda babies that were born last late summer and early fall were finally outside in their play area. Here are three of them at play...
And some video!
We also got to see one of the old timers eating his lunch.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
We went over and had a fabulous dinner of chicken drumsticks, long beans in garlic, roast duck, shredded potatoes with chilies, etc. Jonny and Brian phoned and said they were exhausted from their hike and would just stop at Xiao Yang's house to say hi and then go home and shower and go to bed.
Brian and Jonny showed up around 7 pm and there was still plenty of food to eat. They had both ate, but in Chinese culture it is impolite to refuse food and drink, so they nibbled away on the food that was in front of us. Xiao Yang's youngest brother arrived after his work and insisted on have a few beers with Jonny and Brian. The funny thing about the beer was that there wasn't actually any beer in the house, so Xiao Yang sent her 12 year old son down the street to pick up a few bottles. After they had finished a few beers and their food, Xiao Yang's brother insisted that they drink the famous Chinese alcohol called Baijiu. Baijiu is like doing a shot, but it can be either 38% alcohol or 52% alcohol. I am not sure what they were drinking, but it was strong anyway. After a couple bottles of baijiu (they are not huge bottles) they were all in the 'spirit' of things.
Jonny with our ayi, Xiao Yang.
Jonny with our driver, Liu Bin.
Xiao Yang's brother, Yang Feng Lei and Brian ganbei(ing)(cheers!) some pijiu (beer)!
Gemma having a laugh at Uncle Gingar!
Xiao Yang's boyfriend, Dong Min De, Yang Feng Lei, Jonny and Brian with another ganbei. The Chinese are all about ganbei!
The boys (Liu Bin, Dong Min De, Xiao Yang's son Bobo, Angus, Jonny, and Brian) with their shirts off, otherwise known as Chinese air conditioning.
After our fantastic dinner and entertainment provided by Jonny and Brian I dropped the two of them off at the Shamrock. I heard later we weren't the only ones to be entertained by these two!
Jonny and Brian, a perfect Baijiu couple!
The previous week-end our friend Sam introduced Brian to a woman named Connie. She is quite the sweetheart and a good sport. Brian called her and asked her to meet him at the Shamrock. Here is a picture of the happy couple.
Rumor has it Connie and Brian spent the rest of his time in Chengdu together and they are still in contact.