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Hi everyone, it is Thursday today and my wife's birthday. She awoke to a plethora of Thai ornaments and presents and cards, she loves her birthday! It has certainly been a busy week for the crew. Whilst I have been at work all week the kids and Bec have been riding elephants (yes Gus too!), rice farming, garland making, bamboo dancing (Mags was the best), martial arts (Gus' favourites), pottery making amongst many othert things. I arrive home to work to a million stories and very happy kids. We have some great photos of time here in Thailand. The hotel is situated on a very large site with plenty to do. It is home to an amazing orchard collection which the girls are loving. We are right by the river also. There is an amazing park on site for the kids to play in and the room is incredibly comfortable. There is a buffet breakfast which starts the day with a large feed for Bec and the kids. They go down after I head to work and the restaurant is pretty empty and all of the staff are taking special care of them. The kids are also fast working their way through the room service menu although India is on to her 17th club sandwich! Maggie enjoys the chicken in a basket, which to our surprise was a whole chicken in a basket (Auntie Kate would have loved it!). Over to Bec!
Hi all! Yes my beautiful family did spoil me this morning. It is lovely to spend my Birthday it such a lovely place. I wasn't sure how today was going to pan out as last night I retired early with some nasty tummy pains, but old iron guts 2 made it through ok and awoke feeling better this morning.
Thailand is certainly much easier going for me with the kids than Timor. Timor is a very beautiful country in an Indonesia meets India and Cambodia kind of way, but it is also very basic which meant disease and hygeine were a constant priority for me, especially with Gus and his constant penchant for all things disgusting and interesting! But as Nick said he is totally oblivious to all of this and it is just another adventure for him! The girls enjoyed aspects of Timor but I think there were certainly some confronting sights for India with a number of very small children in either rags, or nothing at all, playing on dirty, busy streets or living in slum like lane ways, sometimes in the company of scrawny monkeys in cages! Mags is still at the age where she is able to see what she would like to see and appears to remain largely oblivious to other more distressing sights. This is a good thing I think until she is able to "process" these images.
Together with Nana and Poppa we certainly did our best to get out and see as much as we could of "city" and village life. I always try to ensure the kids get to see beyond the relatively comfortable environment of their hotel and see how life is for other children in other countries, just so they can experience first hand how fortuneate we all are with our lives in such a beautiful country like Australia.
Thailand is certainly easier with kids, especially Gus. The Rose Garden Hotel is about 1 1/2 hours out of Bangkok and set on 50 acres of magnificent botanical like gardens against the backdrop of the River Chine. There is plenty to do here as Nick has explained. The girls are regulars at the Thai Cultural Village now and are well known to the staff there, as is the "little Master" who has given bamboo pole dancing and martial arts his best efforts.
Apparantly you are able to give "offerings" to the local monks here as they come down the river on their wooden boats, and given my enthusiasm for the Buddhist way of life I am particularly keen to have an opportunity to do this, maybe when Nick finishes his program.
It has been long working days for Nick who leaves at 7am and is often not back to the room until 8pm, this of course also means long days for me and the kids! Mornings are easy with lots of activities, breakfast, swimming etc then Gus will have a sleep which is lovely down time for me and the girls! The hard hours are between 4 and 8 when generally we need to stay in the room so we don't intefere with Nick's program or breach the Policy of "no families" for participants. Those afternoons where we don't have the correct adapter to be able to watch DVD's, as there are no kids channels, are the most challenging. You can only get so creative in a hotel suite with a packet of Dinosaurs, 2 trucks and a few books! However, our accomodation is luxurious and for this I am very grateful, and considering how many live I have nothing to complain about!
Well it's back to Bangkok on Saturday lunch time to meet up with Nana and Poppa after their adults week, do a bit of shopping and hopefully fit in a massage! We fly out to Chennai on Sunday night at 9pm, only a short 3 hour flight, where we will visit the children and Premela at the Orphanage and hand out 60 lovely Tshirts that Kate so kindly had donated by some of her suppliers. We are all loooking forward to this, Nick especially as he will actually be on holidays with the rest of us in India after working the whole trip thus far. From Chennai we will all catch the Shatabdi express to Bangalore and the Mysore. This is about a 6 hour trip so should be interesting with Gus!
Thanks to everyone who is following us and sending us emails. It is lovely to know that you are enjoying our adventures with us! Take care all and we will update you soon.