Fixing to land in Taipei after a thirteen hour flight that started 1am our time.
This is the single part of the trip that was dreaded the most (we also worry about the return flight and the oppressive heat) but the red-eye with Wren had disaster potential. Glad to report that everyone did pretty well. Emerson slept like a boss (and I think Derek did too). Our kids stayed up for the first meal and eventually (and reluctantly) fell asleep probably around 3am Pacific Time.
Sleeping on a plane is hard but I think Robyn and I both managed around 5 hours before the kids woke up. Berkeley was enthralled by movies and Wren wasn't too bad, just a lot more hands on. Maybe they'll both nap on the next flight.
The Taipei airport was fairly uneventful. We let the kids runs around a play structure but otherwise sat around like Zombies.
On the airplane to Bangkok I assume all white guys are going so they can be creepy (myself and Derek excluded, of course). I watched some not great movie on the plane about the story that supposedly inspired Moby Dick. The crew were shipwrecked and spent months listing at sea starving and eating one another. When I told Wren there was no more airplane for the day as we were landing she repeated, "no more airplane?" with great relief and she had the same wild look on her face that those stranded men did when they finally found land when.
First day in Bangkok. Lingered at the hotel trying to figure out what we should do. Then took a super brief walk around the block at like 3pm to realize that a) lots of food places weren't opening till four or b) had pork in every dish. Temps were in the 100s; trip around the block wrecked the kids.
We asked the hotel for food suggestions and they directed us over to the river. We traveled via tuk tuk. The kids loved that best, especially Wren who later cried when we used a Taxi rather than a tuk tuk. Temps were a little lower by the water and the food was good. The first pad Thai I've had that I actually like, Robyn too. Probably it was over priced, but still cheap by our own standards. We hopped on a commuter boat and head down the river a little ways. Then Berkeley was done (probably Wren and Emerson were too). Berkeley informed me multiple times we needed to go to the hotel "right now." Though she did see a lizard at one point so that made her forget the heat for at least a few minutes. We tuk tuked back to the hotel (which the kids loved again). We took showers and were suppose to make plans with the Wrights for the next day but me and the kids passed out.
Friday the 29th. We rolled out of bed around 6am local time. We ate at the hotel restaurant. It has lots of American food (boring) but I ordered the traditional Asian breakfast which was a delicious pork broth and rice.
At breakfast Berkeley threw up. So we dreaded the idea that she'd gotten food poisoning by the start of the second day but after she chucked, she downed a hug breakfast and said she felt fantastic. So we rolled with it. She didn't throw up again either. She later told me the orange juice was disgusting and had made her gag. They have weird ideas about fresh squeezed orange juice in Thailand, I think they might add salt to it.
Tuk tuked to the grand palace and made the kids stand around in the heat. Poor things. Had we charged people when they requested a picture with Wren we would have been millionaires. The place was beautiful but a little hard to take in with the kids in the heat. Looking at some of the murals it was interesting that the palaces they depicted where the Gods/demons/angels lived were less impressive than the one we were standing in.
The Wrights wanted to do some more sight seeing but I wanted to get the kids out of the heat so we tuk tuked back to the hotel while they did their own thing. I purchased some local junk food and water from 7-11. Kids cooled off. Wren and Robyn attempted a nap while Berkeley and I wandered a couple blocks and ate some delicious street food (fish and the most delicious spicy sauce). Berkeley spent the meal pulling out the fish eyes but not eating anything.
I could never drive in Bangkok. That being said they're streets are the politest bit of chaos I've ever seen. No one honks, no one screams. I wonder about American road-rage and what is wrong with us.
If your life were a fantasy novel the Bangkok heat would be a thousand pound ogre repeatedly beating you over the head with a club.
Went back to the hotel, cleaned up a bit and met back up with Rebecca and Derek. We decided the ladies would take the kids to a water park and the guys would go get massages.
Derek and I walked to the metro station which housed a very clean and modem looking underground rail, so much nicer than Bart, or any other transit I've been on in America. We marveled a bit on how nice it was yet their waterways were so gross.
We walked another few blocks after exiting the train and found ourselves across from a convent and a hospital at a small massage parlor. The plan was to do a full 2 hour deal but they didn't have any available spots till an hour later and we were on a time budget so we signed up for an hour massage which left us with an hour to kill. We wandered a few doors down and eventually found a place that had an hour opening so we we fit in an hour foot massage before our hour Thai massage. It took about thirty of our sixty minutes for my body temp to drop enough that I could fully enjoy the massage. The second massage was a traditional Thai massage and it was the most intimate massage I've ever had. It was more like someone else wrapping your body in theirs and them forcing you to do yoga. So much stretching. Luckily I had already cooled and I could enjoy the whole painful experience; though I still do stress thinking about what they might do to my left shoulder, especially since I couldn't really communicate with the masseuse. But all was well.
After two hours of various massages we walked over to the the sky train and took it to the Siam Paragon Mall! Here we met Spencer, an Internet friend from SWAB who I'd never met prior. We ate at the food court (which was great) and he introduced to chilled jellies with ice and coconut milk (which was delicious). Eventually the girls and the kids met back up with us and we all ate there.
To Wren's delight we took another tuk tuk ride home. She was so tired but still pointed at every other tuk tuk we passed and said "tuk tuk!"
The next day we got up early (maybe the first time we've had to force Wren out of bed before she was ready) and took a taxi out to the floating markets. The taxi driver was clearly in cahoots with some of the local boat operators; he dropped us off at the most expensive place, but we were on a limited time budget and had no recourse so we went with it. The water was super gross. I gagged when a saw an old dude swimming in it. But the food was delicious, probably the best friend rice I've ever had was acquired from an old lady cooking it directly on her long paddle boat. Everything here was over priced, food and trinkets but again we just rolled with it. I was wrong about the trinkets in retrospect. We should have bought more there.
Afterward we taxied back to the hotel. We had to checkout of one room so we packed everything up in the remaining room and let the littlest two nap for an hour. While this was happening the rain fell outside, the temperature dropped and it felt as if God had literally forgiven the world its sins.
The girls went off to another bigger market and Derek and I took the kids back to the mall. We ate some food (more iced jelly thingies and food court food). And I finally had my first Thai iced tea here. It was ok, but not extraordinary. Most importantly I was glad just to see it wasn't an American invention. We then wandered downstairs and entered the mall's aquarium. This is an aquarium that was about ten times nicer than it had any need to be. Honestly for the variety and set up of animals it rivaled what we've seen in Monterrey. It wasn't quite as educational, but still a great way to entertain the kids for an hour (plus the mall is air conditioned). We rushed back to the hotel to get all of our bags, stuffed them and the kids in a single taxi and headed to the train station.
At the station we met back up with the ladies and boarded our overnight train to Chaing Mai. We had some sleeper seat with AC which made us feel like we were privileged but half way through the night we were all freezing. Also they never tired the light off; I think the only one to make a good nights sleep if it was Berkeley. It was supper fantastic to wakeful on a slow moving train creeping through the jungle, terrain we're not use to seeing. It felt a little otherworldly and romantic.
The train arrived about an hour late but we didn't have anywhere we needed to rush off to. So we taxied (this time in the back of a pickup, which were more common than tuk tuks here) over to our hotel and dropped off our bags. Then we wanders the city a little and ate some vendor food. Here nothing was over priced, we got way too much food for pennies. It was still blazing hot.
After eating we took a pickup back to the hotel because we needed to meet up with the elephant tour people. We ended up late because our driver took us off in the wrong direction. It ended up not being a big deal but added a little stress to the trip.
The trip up the hill to the elephants was mostly uneventful. But the visit itself was a lot of fun. We started with feeding a baby elephant. Then we got a break down of some elephant facts and then broke off into smaller groups. We met our group of elephants and fed the large ones individually. We learned how to tell if an elephant is healthy. Everyone's favorite part of this lesson was when our guide picked up a fresh elephant turd and had us examine it. He let us smell it (it smelled of fresh cut hay) and then he squeezed all the liquids out of it with his hands (to show us the elephant is not dehydrated) and finally threatened to eat it to the delight and horror of the kids. After that we were allowed to dust the backs of the elephants and then walk them down a hill to a watering hole where we had a little snack while the elephants relaxed in the water.
We were then allowed to join the elephants in the water. We threw water on them, and scrubbed them down with brushes. The baby that was with us was the best, he just rolled and rolled around in the water. We finished the watering hole portion of the trip with the elephants blasting us with water, much to Wren's chagrin, but everyone else's delight.
We ended the tour with a short lesson on climbing onto an elephant. You can either crawl up the side using its front leg as help or up the front of its face using its trunk as support. Everyone else got on their elephants via the side way but I crawled up the front. I'm slightly nerves on horses, my unfamiliarity with elephants and their great height made me more nervous than a horse ride. Adding Wren into my lap one-upped it further.
But we ended up perfectly safe. Riding one was harder on my legs than I had imagined possible, especially when my guide (who walked beside the elephants) convinced my elephant to pick up the pace or when the elephant decide to dip its head from time to time to snack on something or other it found appealing in the bushes on the side of the road. We rode them for about thirty minutes and Wren slept through the last ten or so of those. We had the half-day experience but felt like it was more than enough time and we couldn't have been happier with it. They even took some very nice pictures and put them an a CD for us. We kind of thought this would be something they charged you for extra but they just handed them over to us.
The other interesting part of this day was that Robyn was bit by a giant ant on her foot. She said as she looked down she expected to find she had stepped on a piece of glass or a knife and for blood to be gushing it hurt so bad. Luckily the pain subsided after a few minutes but it sounded ridiculously painful and I was mostly glad it had been one of the adults and not one of the kids.
We traveled back down the mountain and to our hotel where we bathed. (Side note: it's kind of amazing that an animal as big as an alphabet doesn't put off much smell). We walked over to the night market but Berkeley started complaining about the heat almost right away. And about being too tired to walk and then crying and complaining about everything. At the market she didn't like the first juice she picked out and so cried a lot about that. We told her to relax and we'd get her another one but she was inconsolable. As I stood in line with her to get the second one she broke down because Robyn had wandered off, I assumed with Wren because she wasn't with me. When she came back there was no Wren with her. I asked where she was and Robyn said she didn't know. So I grabbed Berkeley's hand and we ran across the very crowded row of people back to where Robyn had come from to only realized Robyn had left her in the Wright's care. She's not sure how she forgot that detail, but that was the worst 20 seconds of our trip (maybe lives?)
But we didn't have much time to rejoice because Berkeley went crazy about the fact that we lost our place in the juice line. Then she pushed Wren when she got close to her and Robyn and I reached our limits as so we called it a night.
Of course half way back to the hotel we realized the kids hadn't eaten in a while. We fed them at a little street food place and Berkeley was almost immediately transformed (she's told me on the way from the market she hated me and at dinner she told me she loved me). Basically we were fools for not realizing she just needed to eat. I thought she was tired and hot, but it was food. It was our parenting lowlight for the trip.
I also had my second Thai iced tea at dinner. It was better than the first, Robyn said she liked it more than any other she's had in America but I thought it was on par for what I'm use to.
Back at the hotel we read some books and Wren put herself to sleep she was so tired. I took some deep breathes and gave thanks for the littles in my life. They've been major troopers on this trip.
Our final day in Chaing Mia proper involved us tuk tuking over to the women's convict massage center. This might not sound like the best idea but it was the most relaxing experience we've had so far. It was like a spa ran by inmates learning a new skill that they're suppose to use on the outside once they are done with their sentence. The food was cheap and delicious. Here I acquired the most delicious Thai iced tea of my life. It was so good. Meanwhile the ladies did a two hour massage while Derek and I watched the kids, which was easy because the female prison guards did it for us. They did Berkeley's hair and any time one of them seemed to be doing some mischief a guard would come over and help with competing the mission. It was shaded and early so the weather was fantastic and the kids drank juice after juice after juice. The kids also got massages. Wren did 15 minutes and claimed to like it. Then Emerson went in but came right back out, Derek said the woman touched his foot and he was done. And lastly Berkeley enjoyed a 40 minute massage. This might sound excessive but it only cost us about $10 bucks for the three of them (and Robyn and Rebecca only paid about $15 each for their two hour massage). The massage price is so cheap in Thailand you're crazy not to get one every day.
We then checked out of our hotel but let the kids swim in the pool for an hour before having one last meal of Chaing Mia street food and headed off to our tree house adventure.
On the road to the tree house we stopped at a more traditional market. I stayed in the car with Berkeley, Derek, and sleeping Emerson, but Robyn and Rebecca went in and bought some various treats and even samples some grubs. After that we also stopped at a water fall. This time everyone but Emerson (still sleeping) and Rebecca got out. We were somewhat worried that the waterfall was going to be a silly tourist attraction but it turned out to be a pretty rad limestone fall that you could climb up and down. The rock was coarse enough we could even climb it while carrying Wren. One just had to avoid the slippery algae parts. We walked down some steps along the side of the falls and then up the falls themselves. We also visited the little spring source where the falls originated and a handful of makeshift shrines had been placed. Wren and I lit incense and gave thanks to our ancestors.
It was around this time we took note of poor Berkeley's face and arms. She had three mosquito bites an her face and four or five along one arm. They all itched and welted up pretty large and red. Wren had some bites of her own but none of them grew in size the way Berkeley's did. No one else seemed to have gotten any at all.
Once we arrived at the tree house we unpacked our stuff into the little house of three levels all nestled nicely into a single large tree. There were domestic cats and dogs there so of course that was the most interesting thing to the kids. Though later there was a storm of flying bugs that lured out the lizards which also held great interest to the kids. Before dinner we took some bikes out to the sunset path and watched the sunset over the jungle hills. Berkeley sat behind me on one of those little metal "seats" you find on some bikes. I think they are for groceries or something but I mostly only ever see kids sitting on them. Anyway I had a bike with one when I was growing up and I had major nostalgia feeling her little body behind me as I rode around.
We had dinner at the tree house and it was a nice sit down affair. That's when the bug storm hit and another guest was stung by a scorpion. We were on heightened alert after that but weren't lucky enough to see one in the wild.
Every night we spoke as if we'd stay up after the kids went to bed but every night that didn't happen. Everyone was always exhausted. It wasn't the most restful night of sleep since the various roosters on the property started cock-a-doodle-doing around 2am off and on until the sun came up.
That morning we packed up and took the hour van ride to the airport and flew two hours to Phuket. The Phuket scenery was immediately different: coast line with many small but high islands. This began the part of the trip Robyn most looked forward to. We took a van three hours north to spend a day and a half as family guests to a village of indigenous coastal people.
Indigenous isn't the right word. They've been in the area a very long time but they are still basically Thai. This is a group of Muslims, around 150 people, a quarter of which were killed by the tsunamis in 2004. Their village was destroyed and they moved inland a kilometer or so.
We stayed the night prior in a small hotel and left for the coast around 9am. We drove 45 minutes and viewed the old village where trees have regrow (they are rather tall for only being 12 years old) and then met our host family for lunch, little two year old Nada and her mother. The kids quickly enjoyed each other's company, Berkeley communicates about as well with Nada as she does Wren since Wren speaks more Vietnamese than English.
We had one of the better meals there. After lunch we wandered down to the soap making coop and handcrafted some soap while it rained outside. We returned to the host house and had Wren nap while Berkeley and I wandered the small village looking for Derek and Rebeca's host house. We never found it.
The rain continued, as did a great amount of thunder. We were scheduled to try our hand at fishing with the locals and almost talked ourselves out of it since it was raining but Berkeley and I went with the Wrights and it was super awesome. By time we walked to the beach the rain had completely stopped. We drug long nets out about chest high in the surf and slowly wade back to shore with them. We didn't catch much, mostly some tiny fish but the process was fun nonetheless. And the water! Turns out we wasted too much time on this trip not being in or near that fabulously warm and gentle water. I took Berkeley out into the surf a little and she loved it until her and I were overran by a wave a little bigger than I had expected it to be. She swallowed a bunch of water and I nearly lost my glasses but we survived.
Robyn and Wren joined us in the end (they had hitched a ride in the side car of another random village woman's motorcycle) and we all watched a brilliant sunset. With the sun gone and being all wet it was the second time we approached feeling cold on this trip. Derek, Emerson, Berkeley, and I took the side car (I actually sat side saddle behind the driver) back to our homes and had bucket showers to clean the salt off us. The houses we stayed in were not modern. They had toilets, but not that flushed (you had to manually add water after going). There were cracks between the wooden floors, the roofs were made of tin--this lead to the best sounds when it started to rain--and half the home was really just a giant slab of concrete. Water is slowly collected from wells and rain and if you want a shower you scoop buckets of this collected water out of a giant basin and dump it on your body.
All cleaned up we sat in the kitchen while dinner was made and watched the geckos eat the night's flying insects while the kids played together. Once dinner was prepared we walked over to the Wright's host family's home. On the way we finally saw cats (they came out in force to pounce on all the night insects). We also saw the hugest beetle and a handful of large frogs.
Dinner was consumed on the floor and consisted of a bunch of locally caught fish (including the really small ones we caught), squid, crab, and locally raised chicken. It was all super good. The squid in particular was probably better than any I've ever had. Maybe it was the certainty that it wasn't pig anus.
The night was capped by everyone trying on tradition Muslim garb and discussing Islam a little. Berkeley caught a giant toad in the process and had the local teenage girls running scared when she took it out to show them. She also preoccupied herself with a giant moth while Wren fulfilled a dream by keeping track of two little kids that had just learned to walk. She made sure they didn't go up the stairs and that they didn't pick up anything too interesting. She was in heaven shepherding them around the little room. We slept in mosquito netted beds with all the windows in the house open.
Around 2am the goats came round and bleated at our window. Not to long after that the roosters started their business and before we knew it the rest of the village was up making noise and I had to question the old adage about how noisy city life is. My house has never been so loud so early.
We woke officially around 7:30am. I reached into our backpack to fish something out but yanked out just my hand and some red ants biting it rather than the battery I was looking for. We had left one little piece of food in the bag and it officially became a feeding farm for the ants overnight.
We had another delightful meal cooked for us by our host: rice soup, sticky rice with egg custard, boba and coconut jellies, coconut crepes, and Thai iced tea.
After breakfast we walked over to an old woman's house where they laid out a mat for us to work on and she taught us how to weave roofing based on the leaves of the Palm plant. It was blazing hot but in the shade everyone was enjoying the activity until the very end when Berkeley was bit in the arm by a large ant. It wasn't the same kind as the one that bit Robyn but a lot more tears were shed.
We walked back to the host home where I watched the three kids and everyone else went to look at the local elementary (which apparently doubled as a gym for adults in the evenings). When we were all back together we were shown the proper way to break into a coconut, were treated to its fresh water/juice and then shown how to scape the meat out. With the meat we made fresh coconut milk (add water to the shreds and squeeze and squeeze and strain). With this coconut milk we made a traditional Thai dessert: sugary coconut milk and sticky rice flour balls. It was really tasty but we were reaching our sweet limits. Man, the Thai people love themselves some sweet food.
It was about this time that temperature in the kitchen just about killed me. It was a hundred degrees outside, the stove was on, and there were a dozen bodies piled into that little kitchen; I could feel the heat off the tin roof so acutely on my back I kept thinking somehow the sun was sneaking through the ceiling. I had to take a mid day bucket shower to cool off and even then I was feeling on the verge of passing out. When lunch was served (and the stove turned off) I pretty quickly felt better. Probably my favorite meal of the trip was had, glass noodles with local crab, soy sauce fried egg, yellow fish curry, and deep fried fish balls. Fish balls are still a thing I haven't really acquired a taste for. But those glass noodles were the best. We topped it off with watermelon and our coconut dessert and then had to leave the village.
A four hour drive took us to a boat at Ao Nang. The boat we took to our hotel at Railay Beach was a "long tail boat." These look like old boats from another era, but with a giant motor on the back attached to a very long handle that ends in the actual propeller. Boarding one of these boats is probably normally a fairly easy process but when we arrived the wind had picked up and the waves with it. What does that have to do with anything? Well, rather than getting on a pier and stepping into the boat we had to wade into the water and crawl on the boat. The "boatman" who claimed to be eighteen but who was probably closer to sixteen took our bags aboard, barely keeping them over his head and above the waves (the practiced grace with which he boarded with our baggage in the bobbing boat was quite impressive). Derek carried Emerson aboard and the boat was hit by the biggest wave of the night as he scurried up but they both boarded safely. Then the boatman took Berkeley and finally Wren. He had to pause for a huge wave before getting aboard with Wren and the propeller on the boat nearly hit her in the head. It was maybe the second scariest event of the trip (it's a toss up between that and the few seconds when we thought we'd lost her at the night market).
Once everyone was comfortably on board we traveled the ten minutes to the beach in some moderately choppy water (which the kids loved and loved). At the beach, which was nestled into a little enclave, the water was much calmer and so even though we had to disembark in the surf it was a much less hazardous processes.
We located our hotel (Railay Bay Resort), checked in and then headed straight to the pool! It was dark and lightening was starting up. It was still hot out and the kids loved the water. We quickly realized (yet again) we'd spent too many days in Bangkok; a day and a half here just wasn't going to be enough.
We had to abandon the pool after an hour because rain joined the lightening (as did super ominous thunder). It was warm enough to still swim but we had to get our dry clothes and electronics out of the sudden downpour. The plan was to head back to the rooms and change into dry clothes but the Wrights got stranded at the covered bar so we were the only ones to shower and dry off. The rain gradually died down and we head down to dinner. We ate at the hotel grill; prices and quality were what you might expect for a captive audience restaurant, but Wren loved the pasta.
The hotel offered the best beds of the trip (we hardly woke and no sore backs in the morning). The next morning we had the included breakfast (also sub-par). Then it was pool time, but only after we forced the kids to enjoy the ocean for about half an hour.
At the pool we got the snorkel gear out and Berkeley quickly took to that and played by herself for probably an hour, which is probably the longest she's ever entertained herself in a pool and she was even willing to swim around in the deep end. I think it would be easier to teach her to swim if we had snorkel stuff at the pool all the time. Emerson was briefly sad about not being able to get the mask on and be a diver but reverted to his favorite game of turning any long object (in this case the snorkel tube) into a weapon for hitting inanimate objects and was satisfied enough.
The Wrights went and got massages on the east side of the Peninsula where the beach isn't nearly as nice but the prices for everything reflect more closely the rest of Thailand while Robyn and I watched the kids. Even with two applications of sunscreen we both managed to pick up some healthy sunburns on our shoulders after just two or three hours in the Thai sun.
We briefly returned to our room to drop off some swim stuff. While there we saw a monkey wandering around, which made Berkeley just laugh and laugh. But still, they all seemed more interested in the cats we saw throughout the day. Kids are so weird.
We met back up with the Derek and Rebecca on the east side and had lunch there. We order probably ten different smoothies to battle the heat. The food here too was relatively forgettable but the smoothies were great.
After lunch we all went back to the Wright's room and the kids watched Frozen (Berkeley) and napped (Wren and Emerson) while Robyn and I went and got massages. I ended up with the prettiest girl in the parlor giving me a massage but she also had the most Y chromosomes of the the girls. We didn't get deep tissue massages but rather an aloe Vera treatment. It ended up being super cold and relaxing for me but too cold for Robyn to fully enjoy. I freaked the masseuse out with my shoulder as she kept trying to push it flat when I was laying on my a stomach and it just wouldn't go. It was hard to explain to her, but eventually she gave up on her efforts there.
After our massages we wandered to the end of the peninsula where we watched the rock climbers and then cut across back to the west side. Here we ran into a pack of monkeys and a cave full of penis carvings (you read that correctly). We also found a very nice restaurant half on the beach and half in a cave that we planned to return to that night.
We met back up with the Wrights but quickly made two smaller groups. Derek and I ran off to climb a steep hill via ropes to see a vista before I got too dark and the girls took the kids to see the monkeys. Derek and I made it up the hill before it got too dark and we couldn't manage to find the vista before we decide we didn't want to climb down in any less light or if it started to rain. The kids also failed to see the monkeys as they had all moved up the hillside and out of sight.
We sat on the beach a little and enjoyed the sunset (Derek and Emerson even took a little dip). The Wrights then took the kids back to the pool while Robyn and I had appetizers and dessert at the before mentioned restaurant, The Grotto. The food was much better than we'd had else where on Railay Bay, and more expensive. It was nice to have a meal without the kids.
We then went back to the pool and relieved the Wrights while they went to visit the same restaurant childless. The pool closed and we ordered room service for the kids. They ate and Berkeley zonked out while Emerson watched Shrek and Wren played with toys and showered. Robyn and I showered as well and packed up to leave in the morning. At some point I also managed to even read twenty pages of the book I'd brought along.
We had another great night's sleep, too great, in fact, as we overslept waking at 8:10 when we needed to be at the east side pier by 8:45. We rush packed, checked out and caught a little cart to the pier. The Wrights woke up earlier than we did but had the poor luck of Emerson locking some items in the room safe and no one knowing how to open it.
There was a lot of rushing and stalling at the pier but we eventually all got on the boat a little after nine and officially on our way home (minus some small items that may or may not be in the safe). The long tail boat we rode this time had a pier for us to board from so entry and exit were much easier this go round. After it dropped us off we vanned over to the Krabi airport and caught a flight back to Bangkok. Before we knew it we were well on our way home. The last highlight was that we knew the pilot on the flight from Taipei to San Francisco, her youngest daughter shared some time at the Sunset Coop with Berkeley. So we got a little extra special treatment and were able to visit the cockpit.