Memories of 2013: Part 3

2014 has been off to a wonderful start, not only here in the blogosphere, but in our lives, too. I cannot wait to tell you all about the things we have planned in the coming months and the things we have already discovered and are doing so far this month.

Thank you again, truly, for reading, following, and sharing our blog. Our aim is to keep in touch with those we love, help fellow travelers, and to connect with people from all walks of life around the globe. Here’s to hoping that in 2014 all of these things will continue to flourish and thrive! xoxoxo

This is the final portion of our travels in 2013. We spent the last three months mostly in Hua Hin, Thailand, with some trips to Bangkok in between. These are my favorite pictures from October through December. I have linked the corresponding posts about Thailand under the pictures. If you want to read more of my posts on Thailand, type Thailand in the search box on the right hand side of your screen.

1-IMG_8559We made it to Bangkok and Z loved hiding in the apartment we rented off airbnb.com. Can you find her?

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Chad after one of our first Thai meals in Bangkok. He refuses to wear a flower behind his ear anymore, I don’t know why… I think it’s very handsome!

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Hanging out on our balcony during our stay in Sea Harmony Guesthouse Hua Hin, Thailand. This was by far our favorite guesthouse in Thailand!

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Our pool at our villa here in Khao Tao near Hua Hin. We can’t actually swim at night as the mosquitoes will eat us alive, but it sure is pretty.

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My mom (Zoë’s Nana) came to visit us! Woo Hoo! (She wrote a guest post here. Thanks Mom!)

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After picking up my Mom in Bangkok, we returned to this in Hua Hin. A massive storm hit the town and flooded the whole area. It also knocked our power out for two days and left us without running water for 12 days! It was a great welcome to Thailand for my mom.

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On an elephant “trek” with the whole gang!

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Pranburi Mangrove Nature Trail. Our little trail guide, Zoë. This was one of the most beautiful places in Hua Hin in my opinion.

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Santa came and filled our stockings! One part of Christmas in Thailand meant using our (clean) socks for stockings.

Thank you again for reading and following us along on our world travels! Happy 2014!

Wednesday Write-Up: Water and Other Wonderful Things

I will never take washing my hands, flushing the toilet, clean dishes, or showers for granted ever again.Of course I know that there have been other things that I have had to do without for a bit and made the same promise, only to completely forget what I was never going to forget to appreciate. Hmmmm… Maybe I should start writing these things down…. Yet another reason to write a blog!

We have had water now for one day after living without running water for 12 days, that is right, the whole time my mom has been visiting we have been without running water. I am sure that she will want to return post-haste after roughing it for so long. Luckily she is still here for another 6 days, so I have an opportunity to make her fall in LOVE with Thailand still.

My sister was supposed to be here this evening, but unfortunately was struck down with kidney stones this week. Poor sister, she seriously got a bum deal this week. The good news is that I am now going to harass persuade her to visit us for Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas that will be! Please pray for her if you can, I know that she is very disappointed that she couldn’t make it here, not to mention the amount of pain she is in.

We are settling in here in Hua Hin. We are trying to figure out if it is the place we want to be for the next couple months. It is a very relaxed town, and our villa is amazing, but there are not many things for Z to do. Of course she can play on the beach or in the pool, but as far as having other children to play with, I am having difficulty finding other English speakers with kids her age. I will keep trying though. I know there are tons of kids here, it just comes down to meeting other parents, whether they speak English or not. She just needs some friends to play with.

We are going to Bangkok early next week to show my mom the tourist sites, which I am actually very excited about. It has been a long time since I have made the effort to see the Golden Buddha, the Bangkok night markets, or the Grand Palace. The last couple of times we were there it was all mall shopping (YUCK!).  I am excited to be a tourist for a couple of days, instead of a traveler, and write about what we see for you guys.

Until then, we will do some touristy things here in Hua Hin and I will tell you all about them on Friday! Thank you again for reading and please keep my sister in your thoughts/prayers!

Monday Montage: Survey Shows

My mom is here!!! My mom is here!!! This is my first experience having a family member visit us while we have been so far away from home. As you can probably tell I am a little excited ecstatic that she is here. It has been like a hypnagogic hallucination (now that’s a phrase I will be using more often…Thanks thesaurus!)  being able to visit with her in person, well when I get my five minute turn at least. Z has not let Nana out of her sight, in fact this morning I told Z, “I love you” and Z responded, “Nana”. Hilarious!

On another note, I wrote a post recently about promises to myself. One of them was to remain positive even when a situation makes me want to throw in the towel, throw up my hands in despair, or lay on the floor and throw a huge tantrum. Hmmm… I will think of other clichés to use later, I know there must be some more. This week I have encountered many opportunities (like how I phrase that? So positive right?) to put my gumption to the test. I am going to write more about that on Wednesday, but if you follow And Three To Go avidly (who wouldn’t, am I right?!) then you probably noticed that I did not do my usual post this past Friday. When we arrived back in Hua Hin from picking my mom up in Bangkok, a huge storm left floods and fallen trees in its wake. We came home to our villa with no water or electricity. We roughed it for two days and one very hot night before the power came back on. We are still without water, which has been giving us so many more excuses to hop in the pool. I am so thankful that we have a pool, it has been our bath, our reservoir and a wonderful way to cool off. See, these tests to determine my fortitude are nothing (just kidding…please no more tests!!).

Last Wednesday, I asked you what you would like to see and read about on And Three To Go, and I received some great ideas and suggestions… Thank you all for your help! Okay, enough of hearing about my week, I want you to see it too! Here are this weeks pictures…

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Some signs that I saw along the road that appealed to me for some reason… I think it was probably the added tire sign, adds some real flavor to the advertising opportunity.
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Sorry to all the men reading, but the fact that they have maxi pads out for you to feel and see before you buy them makes me laugh.
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This blew my mind when I first saw it in our travels years ago… Eggs are not refrigerated anywhere that we have been except in America. I wonder why we Americans need to be different? (That’s a rhetorical questions..haha)
1-IMG_8773The flood as we drove home from Bangkok, quite the adventure! I felt especially bad for the scooter drivers, but everyone seemed to have a good attitude about the river that used to be the road.

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Zoë really wanted her picture taken with this guy. He was the welcoming committee at the Tokiya restaurant in a mall in Bangkok.

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Nana and Zoë on their first day together! They haven’t been separated since.

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80’s Flashback! Amway is alive and well in Thailand, except you don’t get invited to dinner with friends so they can give you their pitch… Here you can just go to the Amway store.  Nice!

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There are even knock-off trucks in Thailand. Here is an “Isusu” work truck.

If you all have something that you would like to see here in Thailand, let me know and I will try to include it next time! Thanks again for following along on our trip!

Two Days in Bangkok

We just spent two days in Bangkok and I have to say, I had a great time!

I have been to Bangkok numerous times in the past, it has never been my favorite city. I used to think that it was overwhelming in pretty much every way. It seemed seedy, dirty, and smelled like raw sewage. On top of that all of my senses were overloaded as people pulled at me whether physically or verbally, asking me to buy their wares trying to use the accent of the English they thought I spoke (most of the time they thought I was Australian, that’s okay with me!). I always would spend as little time as I could there.

This week my opinion about this thriving metropolis changed. I realized that the reason I have disliked Bangkok for so long may have been because I wasn’t giving it the chance it deserved. On our previous trips here, Chad and I were two young fun-loving married people with no kids, staying in the backpacker mecca called Khaosan Road, only venturing out of that area to see some wats (temples) and golden Buddhas on our first trip to Bangkok together. Every other time in Bangkok, we would eat, sleep, and drink only in the neighborhood around Khaosan Road. And yes, that road is filthy and gross, it smells like acid diarrhea (sorry if that’s too descriptive, but at least you didn’t have to smell it). There is more crime due to there being so many travelers in one place, carrying their big backpacks around with everything they own. It’s a pickpockets paradise and an overall unpleasant place to visit.

Fast forward to this week. Chad and I are still young, fun-loving married people, but now we are also parents. Zoë has changed the way that Chad and I travel. We no longer have a real night life, but my goodness, how much better our days have become. I confess, I often miss sleeping in until noon (or later), but getting up at the crack of dawn has enabled us to see so much more of the places we have been on this trip so far. This is not to say that I will not be remembering these early mornings and repaying her when she is a teenager by making her arise at dawn when she wants to sleep in. All’s fair right?

We chose an apartment on Airbnb.com in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, honestly because it was close to the shopping malls and I really wanted to go to H & M and Forever 21. I know it seems silly and mundane, but when a tall girl like me is somewhere in Asia that they sell clothes that fit, that girl makes a concerted effort to take advantage.

As it turns out, the apartment was amazing, on the 25th floor of a slightly older building. The building had convenience stores, a few laundresses, a gym (no I never got a chance to use it, I feel so ashamed), a pool, and the best Thai food restaurant that we found in the area. The place had everything you could possibly want… it made me want that in every place we lived, so I may be ruined for travel now.

We spent much of our first day shopping at Central World Mall, giving some of Chad’s hard earned money to H & M as they were having an excellent sale, and we legitimately needed some new clothes (traveling long term seriously wrecks your clothing).

Later that day we met some friends of a friend at a restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms which was within walking distance to our apartment. I won’t go into details about the place, but you can find out more about it here. It was actually fairly good, with normal Thai cuisine, just at a little more expensive prices because the touristy and gimmicky aspect of the restaurant. We had a great time with our new friends and agreed to meet up again the next day.

We spent much of the day before hanging out with our friends searching for our next meal, which is always my favorite thing to do in any place, but especially Thailand.

I think I probably have eaten myself into a larger size of pants since being here. The food we ate in Bangkok was delicious and I would leave a meal with a full stomach, but with an addiction that made me want to order more and more. I am always reminded of the Monty Pythons’ Mr. Creosote skit as I sit and eat my meals in Thailand. You can watch that here  if you like, but it is a little gross so be prepared…

Anyways, so far I have eaten chicken with cashews, pad thai, papaya salad, green curry with chicken, red curry with chicken, spring rolls, fried rice (with spicy fish oil), spicy seafood salad, pork satay, sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour fish, and tons of steamed jasmine rice. All of these meals have been exquisite in their flavor and presentation, and all of them have been inexpensive.

Oops… I got a little off the topic there for a minute, but you know how I get about food…*drools.

Back to Bangkok, I felt like I was actually enjoying the time there. We never once went to Khaosan Road and I am happy about that. We spent time as a family walking around the Sukhumvit neighborhood and enjoying seeing the city in the daytime.

We plan on going back to Bangkok periodically for shopping, and to pick up anyone that comes to visit us at the airport (keeping my fingers crossed, Mom!) as it is a quick trip from Hua Hin to the capitol of this wonderful country. And I am looking forward to more time in Bangkok, not only for the great food and the new clothing, but to be able to experience this massive overwhelming city in a new way. I am glad that we gave Bangkok another chance.

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Do you have a favorite Thai dish that you think I must try? Do you have good, or bad, things to say about Bangkok? Leave me a comment, I love to hear from you!

Wednesday Write-Up: Bangkok

I cannot believe that our time in Bangkok, Thailand is almost over already. We leave for Hua Hin, Thailand tomorrow morning.

It has been a whirlwind couple of days of shopping, food, and new experiences.

I have to start with the shopping because there are numerous H & M and Forever 21’s (named XXI Forever here) and we only had a chance to visit one of each. I have found it difficult to understand the clothes that the stores are selling presently though. There are racks upon racks of winter clothing. no I do not mean just pants and long sleeve shirts, I am talking wool sweaters, lined pants, down filled coats with fur lining… Is there something I have missed here?! Is this Thailand or Minnesota? Maybe we entered some sort of worm hole as we thought we were entering Central World Mall in Bangkok, but actually traveled through a hole in our reality to the Mall of America? Or have we deceived ourselves into thinking that Thailand is a tropical climate and everyone here is laughing at our belief that we have read on the internet is real…. I am hoping that everyone shopping here is just preparing to travel to snowy climates and what I hold true in my heart is real, that Thailand is warm year round and never snows, we shall see, and you, my wonderful readers will be the first to know if I see a snowflake fall.

I have quickly forgot about the apparent blizzard that is on its way every time I have sat down to eat. Yes, I am in love with food. I am sure that Chad and possibly every one else I know gets sick of the amount of time I talk about food. I cannot help it, it’s my obsession. I wish that I had more of an obsession with cooking food instead of eating it though. It would be much easier keeping svelte. I plan on writing more about the delicious fare on Friday.

We consciously decided when we were booking this part of our trip, that we did not want to spend too much time in what is, admittedly, our least favorite city in Thailand. I do have to say though, I do not feel like we have done enough here so far. I think that a few  short trips will be necessary while we stay in Hua Hin the next couple months.

Hopefully the winter weather will not keep us from returning soon. I hope to see you soon Bangkok!

Wednesday Write-Up: Changes Are Always Welcome

I have never been one to stay in the same place for very long. I not only like change in my life, but I crave it. Many people do not understand my need for new or different places and circumstances. I have had people question my happiness and have often gotten the statement “You take yourself with you” from people that are more desirous of a sedentary life than me. I have had people tell me that I should stop running away from my problems… which yes sometimes I did have problems, and sometimes I did run from them… but I do not think I could have enough problems (at least I pray that I never have enough problems) to make me want change as much as I do. I just love change. And just as I struggle to understand someone wanting to live in the same town, working the same job, or even eating the same meals day in and out, I know that there are those that have a hard time understanding me. It is really just a part of my personality.

On that note, another big change is coming for us in the next few weeks and I am so excited!!! Although I have loved our time here in Taipei, and will miss our friends here very much, I am looking forward to our next destination. THAILAND!!!! We just bought our plane tickets (boy, have they gotten more expensive in the last 5 years, who would have imagined?!?!) and booked our apartment for Bangkok and our hostel in Hua Hin.

I can practically taste the delicious street food already! Oh, did you think I wanted to see the beautiful beaches, maybe do some shopping, and enjoy the amazing climate? Well that is part of it, but honestly since we booked our flight, my mouth has been watering for the best food in the world. I really need to take up jogging, because I can see that this may become a problem.

Until we are off on that jet plane, we will continue to experience all we can in Taiwan. Next week we are going to Hualien and checking out Taroko Gorge. We also are planning on a visit to Wulai and the gondola trip there (Lord help me, why do I do this to myself), and some night markets here in Taipei.

Is there anywhere else you can think of that we should visit here in Taiwan, or maybe foods I should try? Leave a comment and let me know, I always love hearing from you!