Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A week on Koh Samui

Our week in Koh Samui was relaxed, unhurried and mostly we avoided any sightseeing in contrast to our week in Chiang Mai. We all needed to recharge our batteries, and we found the perfect place to do it.

For most of our week we lazed by the pool, alternating with splashing around in the waves, eating a lot of tasty food (us Thai, kids western) and little walks here and there.

We were really happy with our accomodation and the awesome views at Samui Beach Resort.

In true summer holiday style the boys enjoyed at least one icypole a day!

We had two adjoining rooms which gave us ample space.

Remy enjoyed building sandcastles.

What made our week really special was catching up with an old friend from university twenty years ago - Russell, who has lived here for ten years with this Thai wife Naa. They now have two sons, Jarin (6) and Kovie (2) which worked out perfectly as together our four boys had a ball.

Russell came and picked us up and drove us to his home, far away from the touristy parts of the island. Set among a lush green garden that Naa has nurtured over the past ten years, Russell's house is a typical Thai home, with an outdoor covered kitchen area which is perfectly suited to the climate.

Xavier and Remy were so excited to have some playmates and a house with toys and a tv to explore. We were really happy to have a chance to see another side of life on the island.

The boys drew a stack of pictures.

It was a good example that kids don't need to be able to speak the same language to communicate - lots of squeals and screams were all that was required (and a mutual love of Gangnam style!).

After catching up over a beer or two (Russell and I hadn't had a proper chat for about 16 years!), and sampling some of the tropical fruit that grows in their backyard, we all walked the short distance to the local beach.

Xavier and Kovie running to the beach.

It was quiet, peaceful and beautiful, with only a few local kids splashing in the shallows. Being a hot afternoon we sank into the water and carried on catching up on all the news while Bob entertained the kids. Russell explained to me how he is managing to avoid the 9-5 grind and still support his family in Thailand. He has time for 'going down the rabbit hole' (I love that expression!) of his passions - music, books and movies and having a daily late afternoon swim out towards the horizon and back. It sounds like a good life to me - not without compromise, but a relaxed pace of life that many of us aspire to.

Russell and Bob with the boys.

Naa went and bought us some more drinks and as it approached sunset we sat by the water's edge and talked more, our discussion turning to observations of tourists in Thailand, differences between western and Thai culture, and thai language which Russell seems very fluent in and speaks with his wife, kids and locals. 

As parents of young children, we also compared child-raising practises and schooling in Thailand and Australia, finding some things similar, but many things different including the way we sleep separate from our babies and toddlers. It was really nice that Russell and Naa could answer the questions that had been building up inside us to make sense of modern day Thailand.

Having a drink with the girls.

After we returned to the house, Naa served all the boys a crowd favourite, spaghetti bolognese - who would have thought this would be a favourite of Thai kids? Remy loved it so much that he asked for not one but two extra serves! He loves his food, but this was a record, so compliments to Naa on her excellent cooking.

Compliments to the chef!

We were fortunate to try some Thai dishes, a yellow chicken curry and an asparagus and prawn stirfry, all in all a very delicious meal and a lovely afternoon and evening filled with good conversation, music, food and drinks.

When travelling, it has always been a highlight to be invited into a local home and offered the hospitality of a local meal - and we feel really fortunate to have been able to get an insight into Thai life at Russell and Naa's place.

Later in the week we caught up with them all again for a swim at our hotel pool after Jarin had been at school for the day. While the boys entertained themselves, we enjoyed more drinks and talking - so nice to have some adult conversation as the kids have been quite demanding of our attention night and day since we've been away!

An afternoon beer with Russell and Naa in our hotel garden.

It would be lovely to pop by for another visit in a couple of years time to see the kids all growing up, and catch up. I wouldn't say no to another visit to Koh Samui!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds lovely! We have been lucky in our travels have local friends (in particular in Poland) and it certainly makes for a great holiday. Glad you are all enjoying yourselves xo