After a great five weeks in New Zealand it was time to bid farewell, load up and head off to Thailand to continue our trip.
Loading up was easier said then done. Apart from the usual paraphernalia that you need to take when 2 adults, 2 kids and a baby go travelling for three months we also had a few extra bags along for the ride.
When we moved to live in New Zealand for a year during 2007/2008 we had brought with us a lot of belongings as well as purchasing more during out stay. While I tried to sell as much as I could there were a lot of boxes left behind in my Dads workshop down stairs which although he didn’t say much you could tell it wasn’t all that welcome!
During this trip we went through every box that we had stored and managed to throw out about 25 % of it. Along with that I managed to sell all the larger items that we had like a TV cabinet, chain saw, office chair and a vacuum cleaner. What we had left over we repacked into proper storage pods and managed to reduce the space used by over 50% as well as keep the mice out in future.
During this clean up Seerung decided she wanted to bring a lot of stuff back to the village to either use ourselves or to give away. This meant we had 28 kilograms and two extra bags then what we were allowed and I was not looking forward to the shenanigans that would perhaps play out at the check in desk at Auckland airport.
The majority of flights I have been on when travelling with my family have been no frill airlines and leave at the most awful times of the night and early morning. This flight was going to be different and I was looking forward to it. It left at a great time (3.30pm) and arrived at a good time (9.30pm local time). Sure it was a 12 hour (exact) flight but at least it was direct. It was also on an airline with a fairly good reputation, Thai Airways.
The two and a half hour drive from my parents place to the airport went without a hitch. The check in process, all things considered, went amazingly well. I played the Jacob card and right on cue he flashed a thousand watt smile at the lady checking us in and she said she would go and talk to her boss about all the extra luggage. Five minutes later she was back and said no worries, no charge and checked it all in! 9 checked pieces totalling 132 kg! She even blocked off the seat next to Seerung for a little extra room.
The flight was on time, the service was brilliant and the best thing was how smooth it was. So smooth that for the first time in many flights Seerung did not get sick at all and quite enjoyed herself. We kept Jacob to his routine and he responded well. Sure he did not sleep as long as we would have liked but while awake he was as happy as Larry and the only noise out of him was lots of giggles and laughter.
Jacob was almost too long for the bassinet and to fit him in he had to bend his legs!
After a few cartoons and dinner I put Marisah down to sleep at her normal time (NZ) laid across two seats while a little while later I put Ariya down on the floor under Jacob’s bassinet. Marisah slept all the way to Bangkok while Ariya managed about four hours. I even managed two movies plus an hour sleep as well!
So we landed in Bangkok right on time feeling pretty good and went off in search of our hotel transfer. Time now for a plug for our hotel for the night as they deserve one. As we had a 18 hour layover before our flight to Ubon Ratchathani I booked on line a place called Grand Four Wings. It looked nice, the reviews were good but most importantly they had a free shuttle service with a large bus. Without that we would have had to take two taxis (perhaps even three due to their small boot space (gas takes up half the room) to get where we wanted to go and then repeat the same process back again the next day.
The shuttle was waiting for us and the driver helped with the bags, the kids, everything! We had him again on the way back to the airport the next day and he even helped us check in. Needless to say he got a good tip for his excellent service.
The hotel was really good. Very new so everything was clean and in excellent condition. The breakfast while not 5 star was certainly very good with a wide range of choices. The swimming pool was perfect for kids and the free wifi worked very well. We had connecting rooms which was a bonus as I had not requested that when I made my booking. The only negative (common for higher end hotels) is that there was no bum gun!
The rooms were quite large and as it was so new they even looked the same as the promotional photos!
We settled in and got Jacob off to bed. The kids had a bath, played a little and then ate some food before settling in for what was left of the night.
After breakfast I took the girls for a swim which was cold but still a lot of fun.
A friend of ours, Yee then turned up ready to join us for the trip to Ubon. We have been friends with Yee for years and she has been a great help for us on many occasions. When I heard that her place of work had been affected by the recent floods in Bangkok and that her hours had been drastically reduced I offered to buy her a ticket up to Ubon and to hang out with us for a week at our expense. She jumped at the opportunity and we ended up having a really good time with her.
Soon after her arrival it was time to pack up again and head back to the airport for the short hop up to Ubon Ratchathani. Thank fully we were flying Thai airways again so managed to also convince them to take all the extra luggage. Having Yee along with just a carry on bag also helped a lot!
The flight was fine and soon we were back at our old stomping ground, the Sunee Grand Hotel. The next three days seemed to disappear way to fast as we rushed around town completing as many jobs as we could while still managing to catch up with a few people and eat way too much fabulous food. I even took the girls back to our old house which friends are now renting which they loved racing around remembering all sorts of stories.
Before I knew it my car was delivered from the village and full of excitement we pointed the car south and headed of back ‘home’ to the village.