When you’re expecting twins, you do some things that you might not otherwise do before they are born; for example, crying out of sheer joy and terror at the same time. For us, it suddenly became imperative to take a beach holiday. I’m not saying that we won’t go on vacations after the twins are born in September, but taking one child on a trip is certainly easier than taking three. Thus, we headed for the airport on an early Friday morning in April with our minds full of thoughts of sand, sun, food, swimming, and moist skin (Beijing turned me into a desiccated handbag this past winter).
Our biggest surprise of the trip happened when we were in line at the Beijing airport. We heard a familiar young voice yell, “Reina!” It was one of her best friends, Ariana. Unbeknownst to us, our good friends Melissa and Bamdad had booked a trip for their family of four to Thailand too.
At the resort in Phuket, Reina had a great time with the other two kids playing on the beach, frolicking in the sea, and swimming in the pool. On Monday, Savvy, Reina, and I went to an international hospital on the island and found out that our twins are most likely boys. That was a big surprise for all of us, especially Reina who is still holding out for a least one little sister.
Later that day, after both families went on an elephant ride through the jungle, we were all just settling in for dinner at the elephant camp when a few of us felt the raised structure we were dining on briefly shake as if one of the elephants had bumped it. To our surprise, there had been a 4.8-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Although there was no tsunami warning for the island, the brief shake was enough to send some of the islanders and tourists running for high ground. As we were on top of a mountain, we sat down to a filling, if not satisfying, dinner and all was basically back to normal by the time we got to our resort.
Although having great friends on the trip was a nice surprise, there was another one around the corner. When we checked into Phi Phi Island Resort and Spa for the final four days of our trip, we were offered an upgrade: a single hillside pool villa with its own pool for both families. Naturally, all the adults suspected that this was a ploy to isolate our noisy kids from the rest of the resort visitors, but she had us at “free wireless Internet access.” As the villa had two floors, each family received a private room, so it worked out quite well.
Typically when I plan a holiday, a lot of thought, research, and planning goes into the whole trip, but this time I took a couple of recommendations and just booked the entire trip with hardly any expectations. In the end, both families enjoyed two truly unique island and resort experiences. The kids never wanted to leave each other, or the pool, and we have already started discussing the next time we will all return to Phuket and Phi Phi Island for another amazing trip full of surprises; only next time, there will be nine of us.