Hard to believe it is almost 2 years since Turkey but time for the watson5 to hit the road again. Of course we all know Matt would have us travelling full time with no fixed abode and little in the way of possessions but common sense prevails on that front. Anyway we're off to Vietnam and Cambodia - neither Matt nor I have been before. We had a trip booked 13 years ago but 2 days before we were due to leave Matt's Dad was diagnosed with cancer and we have just never quite got back there so add 3 kids to the mix and I'm sure we'll have a very different trip. It should be easier travelling with the kids that bit older. We don't need a portacot. We have no searching for goats milk and whilst Bellie is now bigger and louder she is also more able to communicate her needs. Hopefully not too many people will be offended when she stomps her foot and exclaims "this is yuk!!". Packing was easier, having remembered the Turkey lessons I haven't bothered with running shoes and have stuck to the 3 outfits each rule. The staff at Nelson airport were suitably impressed at how light we were travelling with only two backpacks for the 5 of us. In a bold move we have brought with us no toys other than the kids favourite soft toy for bed time. They have a daypack each sized correctly so they can actually carry them this time. These contain a book for writing and drawing and a pencil case each. We'll no doubt pick up the odd toy on the way but by in large they'll make thier own fun out of whatever is around, and for us it's less to loose. I'm already somewhat paranoid about losing Bellie's bunny after trying to ween her on to a more generic and replaceable bunny to no avail - it is the dearest thing to her in the world, apart from us of course - I had even thought about having it microchipped. 2 ipads are an addition to our packing this time. The advantages being they are lighter and easier to carry than the laptop, you can watch movies and read books on them and we felt they'd be useful for the kids to do some school work and learning apps. Though they are not without their frustrations as I am having difficulties uploading pics to this blog hence the delay in publishing it.
So anyway on to the flight. I'm afraid it's all a bit of a short tale this time. Nelson to Chch was a piece of cake and the 10hours to Singapore passed without incident. We got the usual "I hope they're not sitting by me" stares as we boarded followed by lots of compliments about our quiet, well behaved kids" as we hopped off. So Matt is saying he can't possibly write another book after such a mundane start to the travels.
Our three days in Singapore have been busy to say the least. We are staying on Santosa Island in a big resort hopefully an opportunity to adjust to the time change and get used to the temperatures before hitting the bustling sounds and smells of Hanoi. And hot it is - Holly and I are walking around with our usual beetroot red faces feeling as though we are leaving a trail of sweat behind us. I regularly catch Matt laughing at us. I'm looking at it like a sauna and imagining the kilos dropping from me. We've had a couple of nights with thunder storms - typical for this time of year. The other night we were eating at a little cafe on the beach and got caught in a huge downpour. Torrential rain and the biggest clap of thunder you have ever heard. Every person in the cafe jumped about two feet.
Our accomodation is very flash but not so roomy. We have interconnecting rooms which were to have a double and three single beds. We arrived to find 1 King and two king singles. So we've had a few different plans that have been tried and failed and have settled on Holly and Toby topping and tailing though Holly finds Toby somewhat "active" in the night. We've been enjoying the buffet breakfasts which really are something to be seen. The restaurant is arount 150 metres long and packed with so many choices. From fried rice, soup, freshly baked bread and pastries, every tropical fruit you can imagine (family consensus is Dragon fruit is yuk! though Toby loved the name) smoked salmon, a cheese selection, bacon, omlettes and eggs to order. We have never seen anything like the amount of food presented each morning so the idea is stock up at breakfast then head out for the day. The kids eat for free and ours certainly seem to get there fill with Toby appearing to devour a whole watermelon every morning. The hotel is also full of Korean's - mostly women apparently attending a leadership conference. They have been fascinated by the kids especially Bella - who with practise has now perfected her "humour me" smile and royal wave. Matt asked one of the staff who said the Koreans in particular just never see white kids - hence their interest. One even stopped and gave Bella 1000 Korean Won - sounds alot but I googled it and it works out to about $1.50.
So our days here have been taken up with lugeing, swimming, watersliding, and just having a good look around. A bit of a treat for the kids before we hit the "real travel" We had a fun day at Universal Studios which seemed to mostly consist of us going on rides which we were lead by the attendants to believe were "tame family fun" to twice find ourselves on rollercoasters with Matt and Toby petrified. Funnily enough Bellie seemed to take it all in her stride she just shrinks down and puts her hands over her eyes when it all gets too much. She was more peturbed by being sneezed on during the the 4D shrek movie (all part of the show that is). We also had a fun visit to Underwater World an awesome aquarium where the kids got to feed sharks with a bit of fish on a stick and Holly volunteered for and got picked to feed, pat and kiss a Dolphin. She had a ball and in true Holly fashion she hasn't stopped talking about it - wondering if she is the "first person to have ever done that". After 3 nights we all seem to be adjusting to the 6 hour time difference. Being asleep by 8pm and wide awake at 4am is not really a winner. Onward tomorrow to Hanoi, Vietnam - fun times ahead!!