Monday, December 28, 2009

Family vacation

Rim Talay Beach, Hua Hin

It was SOOO nice to be able to breathe clean air, out there in the beach paradise that is Hua Hin.

(Not too mention the unblocked Internet sites.)

"Chat Chai" or Night Market

Hua Hin is less touristy (and less pricey) than Phuket. Walking through the streets of central Hua Hin feels a lot more local than Phuket. "Chat Chai" (or the night market) in Hua Hin not only had the usual t-shirts, shorts, & Thai crafts that seem to appeal to tourists, but also had numerous seafood restaurants, and a good variety of local street food. It was interesting to see the Thai versions of familiar yet different hawker food: wanton noodles, roti prata (known as Rotee - available with different kinds of fruits + condensed milk!),fried kuay teow (pad thai), and rojak (lots of raw vegetables with suspicious looking sauces that looked like ground up raw seafood!).

For me the best part of the holiday were the walks on the beach with my younger son, wading in the sea waters at low tide, and looking for sea life in the receding waters. Also, nothing beats a good exfoliation of dry, cracked & chapped heels like walking barefoot in the sand!

Of course, I can't go to a beach resort without visiting the spa. I certainly felt like a well-seasoned wok after all the massage oil treatments I received...a very relaxed well-seasoned wok.

On the way back from Thailand, I saw a family traveling with a toddler of about 2 years old. It made me reflect on how much my older boy has grown (he turns 18 today). I still remember how he would fall asleep on my chest during similar flights to various destinations. It also made me appreciate how I do NOT have to carry around bag loads of diapers/formula/extra change of clothes/baby food/toys etc! Bittersweet memories indeed.

So now we are back in the frigid cold of Beijing & it's coal-laden winter air. I am already missing the beach, and the warm sunshine, and the sound of the ocean waves.

And starting to think of where we should go for our next beach vacation...

Thursday, December 24, 2009


We fly off to a seaside resort Christmas day (tomorrow) to enjoy some sun, sea & spa. We miss the beach so much, being in landlocked & currently frigid Beijing. It used to be an annual pilgrimage to a beach resort when we were living in Singapore with its central location & easy access to places like Bali & Phuket & Langkawi.

So, adios for now, China, & see you again next week!

And to everyone, a happy Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009


I should have realized this long time ago: a sure remedy for a fridge full of leftovers is to invite a house full of teenagers over. They'll work like Pacman through all that food.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Season

Been bloody busy - that's the reason why I have not been updating as often as I would have liked. Who woulda thought that a non-working person could be so busy??? No complaining though, as I am thoroughly enjoying my "work" as a parent volunteer in school. And no, I don't miss clinical practice at all (I have been asked this question ad nauseum when people realize that I used to be a doctor in my previous life:)).

The boys are in their finals week & are off for 3 weeks. We are heading towards tropical climes, where I am looking forward to Sun, Sea, Sand & Spa (not necessarily in that order). I don't mind the cold here in Beijing but I really do miss the sounds of the waves & the salty smell of the ocean breezes. We leave Christmas day, so will celebrate with a Chinese-style Christmas feast of "huo guo" (or hot pot) that is so popular here in the winter. Mmm...good.

This is Z's "last" Christmas with us before heading to college, his first step towards independence. Certainly, I hope that he will be able to spend Christmases with us, as long as we can afford the air fares back here (or wherever we may be!) But I know it will be different somehow, once he has flown the nest. Our nuclear family unit will not be the same again. Oh dear, I am starting to sound morose.

Anyway, on to happier topics, at least one college application has been successful, I am happy to say. Whew. The others will take another four months or so before we find out.

Well, here's wishing everyone a happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwaanza/New Year!