Friday, January 9, 2015

Flying: The good, the bad, and the ugly. The family edition.

We fly a lot.  And while we're getting pretty good at flying with young children (and our kids pretty much rock at it), there are those times when you reflect on the bad moments and appreciate the good.  This post is a result of some ups and downs on our last journey to Kathmandu from the states, one that took 57.5 hours, a 16 hour flight leg, 1 missed flight, 1 night in the airport, and 7 pieces of luggage that didn't arrive with us.  I give you my musings on the good, bad, and ugly of flying (with kids in particular):

The good is sleeping children.

It’s an empty seat next to you.

It’s a lounge with good food, a playroom, and showers.

It’s airport seating that doesn’t have an armrest between each seat preventing you from laying down.

It’s an outlet near a comfortable seat. 

It’s a USB charging plug on the plane.

It’s an in-flight children’s meal.

It’s the stewards and stewardesses that love babies and kids (and will entertain them for awhile, even hold them while you go to the bathroom!).

It’s an upgrade.

It’s flying without children when you regularly fly with children.

It’s getting comments at the end of a flight saying how well your children did (all that work – packing snacks and entertainment, constantly supplying those said snacks and entertainment, monitoring seat kicking and volume of speaking, and special privileges [ipad for hours at a time, sure!] and wonky sleep schedules you’ll later have to cope with – paid off).

It’s being met at the gate by family or friends.




The bad is being awake at 3am in the airport trying to sleep on tile floor next to your toddler in case he wakes up and tries to wander off.


It’s airplane food.

It's a baby that won't sleep.

It's flying pregnant.

It’s a pen exploded in your bag.

It’s trying to sleep on the tray table in a desperate attempt to get comfortable.

It’s overnight delays.

It’s lugging around too much carry-on luggage (packing a diaper bag for 30 hours of travel requires a LOT of stuff!).

It’s sitting under an overhead compartment when someone is trying to put a piece of luggage that is too big.

It’s a baby on your lap and no room to put your tray down to eat.

It’s a seat that won’t recline.

It's luggage overages.

It’s a budget airline flight.

It’s headphone jacks that require the silly 2 or 3 prong headphone plugs so you have to use the airline headphones.


The ugly is waking up realizing you either: drooled or were in your neighbor’s space… or worse – both. 

It’s being the neighbor.

It’s the Kathmandu airport bathrooms.

It’s when that crying baby is your own.

It’s dealing with a child who has to pee “really really bad”  right when the seatbelt sign goes off after the plane has landed (you know that moment, when everyone instantly jumps up and gets their bags down as if they might not make it off the plane if they don’t).

It’s coping with upset stomachs and the inevitable traveller’s diarrhea.  That line for the bathroom after a meal has been served is a nightmare.

It’s being the only woman on a flight.


It’s the vomit bag and needing to use it.

It’s sitting next to (behind, kitty corner, in the general vicinity of) a person who needs to use the vomit bag.


Here's to hoping your next flight has more of the good than the bad and none of the ugly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rafting at Pokhara

Pokhara is a very popular spot in Nepal, and despite this being our third year here I had yet to go and Jeremiah was only there for a stop-over.  We ate, shopped, rested and rafted.  Jeremiah stayed behind with the kiddos and I went with the group.  A short van ride and we were at the river.

The following are a sequence of one rapid from start to finish:






And let me tell you, no doubt about it, that water is cold!  Pokhara was definitely warmer than Kathmandu has been (long sleeve shirts versus heavy coats) but that splash shirt did little to keep us warm.  Though the rapids weren't as intense as at Last Resort it was tons of fun and over way too quickly!


Friday, November 7, 2014

Fevers

We've had a sick house the last couple weeks.  Two of us with fevers that wouldn't quit. 

The nurses and receptionists at the clinic we go to are starting to remember me, and at a travel clinic with expats in and out all the time they NEVER remember you.

Yesterday, day 4 of my fever, I went into the clinic and the doctor described fevers as such: Fevers back home are usually telling you something like, hey - slow down.  Rest.  Take care of yourself.   Most of the time not so serious.  Fevers in Nepal, however, can mean nasty business.

Thanks for speaking my language doctor.

And nasty business it is...maybe.  Turns out typhoid, which is what they think I might have, is a tricky bugger to culture as a definitive positive test.  It's sitting down in the lab still growing.  But it's no good to just sit and wait for some bacteria to grow on a petri dish before doing something about it, so treatment it is.  Daily trips to the clinic for at least 4 days for IV antibiotics.

The good news is, I'm feeling better (as demonstrated by my ability to put together a coherent blog post)!  Fingers crossed (on those freshly washed hands) to better health!


October festivities

Dashain, Tihar and Halloween, plus Tegan's birthday, have meant it was a busy month!

We traveled to Krabi, Thailand for Dashain, and while it rained most of the time we were there it was a restful and fun vacation (check out the pictures of the super kid-friendly hotel we stayed in, not our typical hotel but with a group it was perfect).

Making pancakes with Nutella and banana - yes please!

Rain!  Still Beautiful.

View from our hotel room, yes, the adults did try the kids-only water slides

Kid's play room with all sorts of toys, activities and a ball pit!



Kathmandu got spiffed up for Tihar with mandalas, twinkle lights and strings of marigolds.
Food from a Tihar party

Mandala at our house leading Laxmi (goddess of wealth) into our home




We got in the Halloween spirit with pumpkin carving, caramel apples and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood and via a cab ride at our friends' houses.  Definitely an expat Halloween.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

When visitors come

When visitors come it immediately pulls you back to a time when the sights, smells and experiences you have everyday were not everyday.  Back to when it was all fresh and raw.  

There are cows in the road.  So much poverty.  Sight-seeing.  Mountains.  The saris are beautiful.  Pollution - garbage, air, noise.  Trekking.  Temples.  Namaste.  

It's exciting for awhile, but it is also comforting when you settle back into your norm.  The familiar, routine.  And once again the city is not a tourist destination, it is home.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Snakefruit

I'm a sucker for fruit and am always game to try a new variety.  We spent this Dashain holiday in Krabi, Thailand and at breakfast one morning a weird looking fruit was set out.  I thought at first it was a type of lychee, but wasn't.  After some googling I've decided it was Salek, or snakefruit.  No one else in our group wanted to try it.  I wasn't going to be put off by the chicken foot appearance and decided to go for it; it was not good.  I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't ripe and next time I run across it I'll give it another go, but more hesitantly and with less anticipation.