A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Pinned to the Map


We have just finished watching The Deep End of the Ocean.

It’s on HBO, one of three channels in English here at our serviced apartment in Bangkok. We watched it fully engaged in the drama and at times with tears in our eyes. But I’m worried about us and here’s why: this is the fourth time we’ve seen this movie.

We’re positively stuck in the doldrums, counting the days until we can move on.

We arrived in Bangkok after a grueling bus trip over bumpy dusty back roads from Siem Reap. (I think the only roads in Cambodia are of the “back” variety.)

Thirty-eight travelers in a vehicle built for 35, plus the driver, plus at least one huge backpack for each person crammed into a retired school bus with no shocks and open windows pulling reluctantly at the thick dirty air whenever we lumbered over 10 mph.


One man sat in a child-sized red plastic chair placed in the aisle near the front door. He got the best breeze since the door stayed open for the entire ride.

All the way back, lumpy duffel bags and unwieldy suitcases took the walkways. In the final row, people sat five across under a tottering roof of stacked packs threatening an avalanche with each slam on the brakes.

Perhaps, after several squeaking hours you might doze: a small mental escape. But whining, invasive honking would pull you back in to the reality of the journey. Hand on the horn, foot on the gas careening toward and then away from bikes, tuk-tuks, oxen, schoolchildren, goats over the powdery red dirt roads.

Nothing could have been more pleasing to see than the “Welcome to Thailand” sign.


Another four hours from the border to Bangkok and we made it to the absolutely wonderful Sivalai Place. These serviced apartments rank with the best places we’ve stayed on our trip.

Our comfortable apartment has two bedrooms, a sitting room, internet, a couch, air-conditioning, and a big TV with three channels in English. On the grounds we have access to a beautiful pool, tennis courts, a karoke room and a restaurant.

And the staff at Sivalai Place is incredibly welcoming and helpful – letting us borrow DVDs, driving us to the nearby mall, offering to take the kids to the movies.

But we’ve been here 10 days now.

We had expected to rest here a few days, then head on to China. Instead, we are expressionless on the couch, bent over the keyboards, hypnotized by the HBO movie.

We are stuck here waiting for the visas we will need for India. As luck would have it, the week we applied had not one – but two – Indian holidays. That turned a five-day wait into ten days (counting weekends). It’s a long time to spend in a place where we’ve already seen the sites.

Even though we’re in air-conditioned comfort, we are losing our minds. We’ve done hours and hours of schoolwork, written in our journals, taken naps, surfed the internet, swum in the pool, eaten at the downstairs restaurant. It’s time to move on.

We are ready for China. We are ready to fill our minds with scenes from a train window, great walls, and (in)famous squares. Ready to feel bewildered in Tokyo, overwhelmed in Delhi, and amazed in Israel. We are ready to go.

Goodbye HBO, hello world.


1 Doug Spiro { 04.06.09 at 9:07 am }

I hope by now you are on your way . I am sure it will be Terrific in Tokyo, you will be Dazzled in Delhi and Israel will be Incredible! You all deserve it after 4 viewings of the Deep End of the Ocean. I watched that movie 4 times as well on what turned out to be a 32 hour flight from South Africa. (it was the only movie they had) it still makes me cry… the movie i mean…well the flight too now that I think about it.

Save travels!

2 Neil { 04.06.09 at 10:42 am }

Hope you’re feeling better. Long term travel can be a killer like that sometimes. It’s full of its ups and downs.

And even on a short trip, delays in cities that you’ve seen can be killer. I had a 3 week holiday in Ecuador this year, and we got stuck for 3 extra days in Quito after our flight home didn’t take off in time to make our connection, which only goes 3 times per week. We basically spent 3 days watching sitcoms, as they were the only english TV available, and only left to hotel to go to airline offices to sort out our tickets.

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