Two 2am alarms set. Two long flights. Two longer road trips. Too many toll roads. Two days on the beach with two toddlers.
Two sprinkle-covered ice cream cones, too many french fries. Two overpriced matchbox cars purchased from two night market vendors who realized that two dads carrying two toddler boys will pay a premium to prevent two simultaneous tantrums.
Two normally intentional and fairly strict moms who said “To hell with it! Let’s give the kids another show on the ipad and order another round of this gorgeous grilled seafood.”
Two life-affirming Thai iced coffees ordered beachside two mornings in a row. A two-coconut per day habit. Two bags of sweet pineapple on the way home from the beach. Too many plates of crab fried rice to count.
Two kids building sand piles together. Two dads drinking Singhas out on the patio. Two moms taking pictures of their toddlers posing on 2-meter tall roosters at a gas and pork-curry pit stop on the way back to Bangkok.
I had wondered whether we were totally nuts to wake our kids up at 2am to catch a 5am flight to Bangkok to rent a car and drive 3 hours through a foreign country to a beach-side condo for just two days of fun in the sun before heading back the way we came.
And we were probably totally nuts. But its a really wonderful thing to have friends willing to be as nuts as we are. Friends who are willing to put up with a bit of parental hassle to take our kids out to the night markets and who also believe that a little–ok a lot–of dirt never hurt anyone.
Our kids cried and threw tantrums but they also squealed with delight playing in each other’s company and traveled incredibly well considering how much of the 4 day trip they spent strapped into their car seats.
Will was terrified of the beach ponies and Sam did not like riding in the car. We probably doled out far too many emergency Hershey-kiss bribes. We had multiple “Look kids! Parliament!” moments both leaving and returning to the Bangkok airport.
But we came home sandy and happy and with well-restored iodine levels. We ate fantastic seafood and street food. When Will woke up this morning he cried because his new best friend Sam wasn’t sitting in our living room waiting to play with him. I can’t imagine a more fitting and sweet ending to a vacation than that.
By the by, if you’ve ever been to Ko Samui or Pukhet (etc) and been turned off by the slightly seedy and overly touristy vibe, take a look at Hua Hin next time. Hua Hin is a 2.5 hour drive from Bangkok (once you know where you are going) it is the preferred getaway spot for both the royal King of Thailand and middle to upper-class Thai alike. To us, it felt like the Thai version of a quiet, very chilled-out Outer Banks beach town–except the water was warm and the waves gentle and shallow enough for even the most timid of toddlers. The food was great, the people were nice and we found a great little 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo, 2 minutes from the beach that cost less per night than our rental car did. I have no doubt we will be back to Hua Hin next time we’re posted in Asia.