Saturday, 21 September 2013
Sometimes you need to leave the "mundane" to find the "extraordinary".
Do you ever close your eyes and take your mind back to a time that was wonderful?
Have you ever risked inconvenience and money to experience something memorable?
Below I speak of something indescribable but amazing.
It really happened for us and I am so proud we made the LEAP.
Last year, I booked for our family to go to Thailand.
We all needed something to look forward to.
Or maybe just I did.
Originally, I looked at Fiji.
People that wanted to join us wanted more "night life" so we moved the investigation to Penang, Malaysia.
Unfortunately Penang was not recommended to be "wheelchair friendly", so Scott and I decided to stick with what we knew.
After travelling to stay at a particular resort in Thailand, 11 years ago, we knew this place would be suitable for Amelia and her chair.
It had 5 restaurants, 3 massive pools, large rooms and the whole resort was flat.
Amelia was not to be excluded (and nor were we, because we would not leave her side).
With a massive contribution from a family member, we paid the cost of accommodation and flights.
Accommodation was only $1200. That is so cheap for 10 nights, considering that it included a full buffet breakfast daily. Flights is negotiable for anyone. What are you prepared to forsake to get there?
Amelia, Tom and us are not "easy plane passengers" so we chose one of the best.
Our Limo service insisted on getting us to the airport.
It was a midnight flight, and in hindsight, something we will never do again.
Even though the kids (and us) were excited, 8 hours is a long time to "handle" when you are absorbing minute by minute.
That was just to get to Kuala Lumpar!
Then we needed to wait 3 hours before our flight to Phuket.
Kuala Lumpar is divided into two separate terminals. It took 2 hours for us to realise that we needed to catch a train over to the other Terminal to board the next aeroplane! What a mad rush that was!
I found myself reminding everyone, FOR 14 HOURS, about what we were going to (including myself).
When we finally arrived at our destination, the relaxation began.
Unfortunately "Flight Centre" had not notified the hotel of our disabled passenger, but that did not matter.
Our room was easily accessible and quite large.
The walk was long from the elevator but I told Scott we would appreciate that distance for weight loss with all that we planned to eat and drink!
(I have returned slimmer!).
On the third floor, our view was stunning. Much better from the supposed "disability room" on the ground floor".
The reason of our holiday did not take long to arrive.
MEMORIES. HAPPINESS. APPRECIATION.
As we all gradually awoke on the second morning, we realised where we were.
As a family we ventured down and observed the abundance of food on offer for breakfast.
Omelets made in front of you, pre-made bacon, stir fry, fruit juice, croissants and coffee (just to name a few).
Breakfast was to become an exciting part of each morning and something we would miss when we returned home.
The return to our room each morning only meant a yearning to get down to the pool (one of 3!). We would all recover from the massive breakfast and get our bathers on. Many days were spent swimming. That is all. We did not want for anything else.
The kids loved it for separate reasons so much that we were able to stay there all day.
Many of you know my lack of being able to "just stay", but it was easy here.
Time passed by quickly. Lunch/snack was eaten beside the pool and so were the numerous cocktails!
The cocktails had no alcoholic affect on me.........just the sugar. It enabled me to keep going and have energy for the day. They were only $5 each so they were easy to order!
Amelia was full of happiness in the water.
The freedom of being able to move and just enjoy.
We lost count of how many times Tom went down the waterslide....on the first day!
He made so many friends with both children and adults.
The Thai men adored him.
From the moment we were picked up from the airport (with a prebooked transfer) I was uncomfortable with the way the Thai men "looked" at Tom.
The smile, the looking up and down and the questions they asked him.
Unfortunately it made me extremely uncomfortable.
Within 20 minutes of landing in Thailand, I told Scott that Tom was never to leave our side.
It did not take long to realise they just loved his look and personality.
The fascination with him continued throughout the whole holiday and many commented on "his looks". We got used to it but it gave us a chance to talk about stranger danger with him.
Many of you know about Tom's intellectual ability with "number". The learning experience he received about the Australian dollar compared to Thai Baht was fascinating to watch.
On the second day I had no choice but to use the mini bar "evian water bottle". If we were going to brush our teeth, I needed to open it, until we got to a supermarket.
Tom looked at the mini bar pricing list. He saw the number 150 and proceeded to get very cross that I had spent that on a bottle of water. After explaining that it was only $4 AUD he became fascinated with the whole currency conversion policy.
I even had to download the currency conversion app to the ipad so that he could always know amounts being spent!
Amelia was not as popular as she is at home. I do not think they knew what to do around her.
The staff and Thai citizens were never disrespectful, but over the top helpful.
Looks of concern and assistance towards Scott and I.
As time went by they began questioning her whereabouts. They called her "Mill-ill-a".
Getting Amelia in and out of the pool was a task in itself, but the other holidaymakers and staff around the pool were more than kind in their offers of assistance.
There was a kids menu for the children at every resturaunt in the resort.
They occasionally tried the delicious meals that Scott and I devoured but preferred their fish or nuggets and chips.
It was difficult on banquet nights. The kids struggled to find food they liked while Scott and I had our eyes popping out of our heads.
One evening at 5pm, Tom and I left our room to make the short walk to the beach.
Amelia and Scott chose to rest before dinner.
As the tide went out we decided to venture on to the rocks in the water and go on an "adventure".
As we stepped on to the sand, Tom picked up a beautiful shell, commenting on it's shape. Suddenly claws starting coming out the opening. He screamed and dropped it!
I explained to him about "hermit crabs"and then began pointing out how many there were on the beach in front of us. We marveled at families scurring together and big and small shells moving across the sand.
As we began the adventure on the rocks, the animals caught in the low tide were unbelievable.
It is a special moment I will enjoy with Tom forever.
Amelia loved shopping in town.
It was difficult because the paths and entry into shops was not easy, but there was no way she was letting me go alone.
With handbag ready in her lap she would be waiting.
It was hard on this fat body of mine but we made it fun and always celebrated our bargains!
Amelia and I shopped at least 3 times over the 10 nights and it is a memory I will treasure forever.
It was fun and a time that she relished.
Our holiday was amazing.
It gave Scott and I time with each child and as a family that we will treasure forever.
Everybody is different on "holiday" and I can definately confirm that the enjoyment and stress free time was something shared between us all.
(The Day-spa and many other activities included).
I can understand why people take out bank loans for a family holiday.
The memory of this time will last with me forever and ever.
When I picked up Amelia yesterday for her 2 weeks school holidays, someone said "are you going away?".
She answered "Yes. I have to work out how to get back to Phuket!".