Dan, Guest Blogger: By preparing I really mean - "Another day, another mall." This particular one, Mid Valley Mega Mall, was the largest mall we visited during our stay and quite possibly the largest I've ever been to - period! As an aside I have to say that the Malaysian mall has taken the concept of the "food court" to a new level. They are everywhere! Every mall has food courts - on various levels, inside and out. They seem to sprout like weeds from the bowels of the lowest parking levels up to the highest floors of the mall. If a food court isn't your pleasure, you can choose from the myriad of restaurants interspersed among the stores and shops. To shop or to eat? That is the question.
|The triple jump - Violet landed off the end|
of the mat and had to re-jump to get a measurement.
Brian and I used an airport ATM machine to get some Thai currency (Baht) before we all took a short taxi ride to our hotel. Kathy and I had reserved a two bedroom villa at the Marriott Beach Club for the whole family. It was magnificent! The concierge gave us a tour of the room. It had a full kitchen, two large bedrooms and a living room area. When she opened the sliding doors of the master bedroom and revealed a private pool, Violet and Tyler gaped, immediately stripped and jumped in. (In this picture, Tyler still has on his school uniform, but just a few minutes later he found a new love -- skinny dipping!) Brian and I went to a section of the property called Turtle Village to buy some "essentials" to stock the refrigerator. We then all had a late dinner at an English pub on site. Unfortunately it was a Buddhist holiday and no alcoholic beverages were served (so we had to break into our stock of "essentials" upon arriving back at the room). The next morning we took advantage of the free breakfast included in the price of the room. The restaurant offered a buffet containing one of the largest assortments of breakfast items I've ever seen. [Editorial note from Mary: Including my favorite, a noodle soup bar. Yummm.]
After breakfast, we walked a short distance to the beach and swam in the beautiful turquoises waters of the Andaman Sea. While waiting for our late lunch, Tyler and Violet went to the slide pool. A short while later, they returned holding hands. But something was wrong! Violet was crying and holding her chin. She had slipped on the slide, fallen, and split open her chin. Brian and the medical staff at the hotel agreed that she needed stitches. After a brief visit to Bangkok-Phuket Hospital, Violet returned, patched up and in great spirits. On Sunday, in an effort to keep Violet's stitches dry, Brian and Violet borrowed bikes from the resort and had a blast checking out the local area via bike. [Editorial note from Mary: Violet has never been able to bike ride. So this was a really big deal -- and has the makings of a pretty cool story. "Yeah, I learned to ride a bike in Phuket, an island in tropical Thailand."] We found plenty to keep us busy all Sunday. Monday, we had a 6:00 PM flight back to Malaysia, so we had breakfast, packed and headed for the pool. Brian and Mary convinced me and Kathy to join them on a bike ride to get lunch by the beach. We found a great little outdoor seafood restaurant where we selected our lunch from a live tank out front on the street. All of our choices were grilled to perfection. Even Kathy's chicken and fried rice was quite good.
|Ty loved the jump seat on the back on Mary's bike!|
Our mini vacation in Phuket, Thailand was extremely relaxing. The weather was great and the Marriott was so accommodating. Kathy and I agreed that the beach here is now our third favorite after Aruba and St. Maarten. [Editorial note from Mary: Now this has totally become an international beach throw down challenge. I really wish we could have taken them to Pulau Redang but the whole monsoon season thing got in the way.] Once again, Malaysian Airlines - short flight - dinner, two glasses of wine - complimentary - amazing!!
|Book week: Violet, not really sad, just in character|
as Ping from The Empty Pot. Tyler, as the Man with
the Yellow Hat, won his class award for best costume!
|Final KL dinner (for this visit). Tyler is DJing|
and singing Dust in the Wind to us.
Kathy and I were, after a month's visit, ready to return to New York but not ready to once again miss Brian, Mary, Violet and Tyler. Skyping and messaging are great but not as good as "up close and personal". Hugs and kisses don't feel as well on a screen thousands of miles away but I guess they'll do until our next visit. And I'm sure there will be a next visit! Before we leave, Kathy and I want to thank Brian and Mary's friends and colleagues for welcoming us into their homes and sharing unforgettable memories with us. Our trip has shown us that this is indeed a small world, and who knows, we may cross paths with some of these wonderful people again. Finally a farewell to our family in Malaysia - Brian, Mary, Violet and Tyler. We love you guys and will miss you dearly. These past four weeks have been unbelievably fantastic.
We leave you now with this promise - WE'LL BE BACK!!!!