Friday, November 4, 2011
Back in Bangkok!
I apologize for going AWOL for a few days...
Since school was cancelled for the week, a group of friends and I were thinking about taking all of our kids to the beach for a few days. However, we were waiting until the very last minute to make our (non-refundable) bookings in case the flood waters entered Nichada and we couldn't leave. Sunday night, we all felt comfortable with the (non) flooding situation in Nichada so we made the bookings and left for Pattaya early Tuesday morning. Caitlynne, Christopher and I rode with a friend and her two girls and followed three other families to the resort. There was a total of 5 moms and 12 children ranging from 4 years old to a high school senior. The Embassy re-opened on Tuesday so all of the dads had to stay and work.
Pattaya is about a 2 hour drive southeast of Bangkok and is located on the Eastern Coast of the Gulf of Thailand. We stayed at the Centara Grand Mirage Resort (http://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/cmbr/cmbr_default.asp) which was absolutely fabulous! There were lots of swimming pools, a lazy river and several water slides for the kids. The hotel was right on a very nice beach so the kids alternated between going in the pools and the ocean. Pattaya is quite a dump of a town and has a very sketchy reputation in Thailand. Pattaya was a quiet fishing village until American soldiers fighting in Vietnam arrived for some R&R. Things changed quickly and I shall leave it at that as you can probably very easily guess the rest. However, the resort had plenty for us to keep busy with so there was absolutely no need to venture into the town itself.
While we were there, we were notified that school has now been cancelled until at least November 15th. Yikes! I was not all that surprised given that the flooding continues to worsen and more districts are being evacuated each day. There really doesn't seem to be an end in sight (although the government would have you believe otherwise!). Last Monday, ISB implemented their "e-learning" system - each teacher posts the daily lessons and work on the class website. The kids complete the lessons and the assignments and then submit everything electronically for review and grading. Caitlynne and Christopher have spent about 4-5 hours each day working on their assignments - not much fun while at a resort on the beach! At least they are doing something academic during this break but the "e-learning" certainly doesn't replace actual classroom time. The "e-learning" program will allow ISB a "credit" for some of the days that school is closed so we won't have to make up all 12 days and, while the school has already identified the "make up" days, I don't know what will happen if school stays closed past November 15th.
Kevin left for Washington on Thursday so we did not get to see him before he left. Usually, I am envious when he gets to go "home" but, after looking at the very winter-like temperatures in D.C., I am quite happy to be staying in Bangkok!
We really don't have that much going on this weekend. I am working on my final exam (2 essays) for my class that is due Sunday night. I also hope to get another post or two written about the rest of our Chiang Rai trip. I have it all in my head, I just need to write the posts! Also, we are going on a big expedition today to try and find toilet paper! So far, I have been to three grocery stores and no toilet paper is to be found. In fact, all of the shelves are very close to bare. I heard of one store (right on the edge of a very badly flooded area) that MIGHT have some so we are headed there right after breakfast. I lead such an exciting life.
Have a great weekend everyone!