After a fun Halloween in San Rafael (and some wonderfully fortifying chili and social time at the Pletcher Hessel residence), we set off for Thailand on Monday night. Seventeen hours in a plane, a complete skip of Tuesday, and a quick stopover in Hong Kong later, we arrived yesterday (Wednesday local time) in Phuket, Thailand. The journey was happily uneventful besides the 11 movies we watched amongst us.
In Phuket, we were greeted by an impressive wall of humidity. A quick cab ride brought us to Juliana's parents on their boat, Quantum Leap, docked on the bay. That initial cab ride in a new place is always interesting as you soak in some of what is new, perhaps have a conversation with your first local, and begin the acclimation process. There was little conversation this time as we have no clue about speaking Thai (I have since figured out a close approximation of "thank you") and we were able to gather minimal information from the "writing on the walls" as it is all in Thai which does not use any alphabet we know. But we could gather that the vegetation is tropical and the feel is reminiscent of developing Latin America. Though Thailand is about 90% Buddhist and we saw some ornate and beautiful temples during our cab ride, the marina where the Quantum Leap is docked is in a distinctly Muslim district complete with mosques and traditional headscarves (hijab). There were no obvious signs of flooding here or even the devastating tsunami of 2004.
We only had a bit of time yesterday afternoon to explore further, but we did manage to check out one of the beautiful beaches and sampled some amazing food before I crashed out for the night at 5pm local time. It is morning now (we all woke up extremely early and read for a while) and the kids have been spending most of their time at the back of the boat checking out the marine life.
Our plans are fairly amorphous (ah, the luxury of staying on a boat on the coast), but ideas include island-hopping, swimming, visiting local markets, riding an elephant, seeing a show, eating lots of Thai food, and observing the wildlife on land and sea. And those of you out there concerned about the kid's homeschooling education, don't worry, they will stay busy! We've already had lessons on currency exchange, tropical fish species, mangrove "sprogules", and Thai demographics.
While in port, we have internet access, but we will set sail tomorrow, so not sure when we will be back online. Nevertheless, your comments and emails are welcome if you have any input or questions. We will update and reply when we can.