Vacationing with the Greatsbys

Posted on December 26, 2012


The Greatsbys spent Christmas in Phuket, Thailand. After dinner with friends, Mrs. Greatsby and the children retired and I spent a lovely Christmas Eve evening on our hotel balcony overlooking the dark ocean while enjoying the distant strains of house bands entertaining Christmas Eve galas all over the island. A little known fact about Asia: whether you travel to China or Thailand or Indonesia or Korea, every house band is required by international law to hail from the Philippines. I wouldn’t be surprised if house bands are the Philippines’ chief export. And it wouldn’t surprise me to learn every band is trained on the same playlist as I was privileged to hear three different bands sing U2’s With or Without You within the space of an hour.

Last time we visited Phuket, we ended up in a neighborhood dominated by Scandinavian tourists. This time we’re in an area packed with Russians. We don’t mind the language barrier so much since it allows Mrs. Greatsby and I more freedom to discuss which beachgoers are pressing their luck with the topless look.

Vacations are supposed to be a time of relaxation, although when planning two weeks together as a family, we forget that teachers are paid to deal with 80% of our children’s questions. The sudden jump from 20% to 100% can be overwhelming, although alcohol can help manage this barrage by turning many questions into compliments.

We’ve already spent a week here in Thailand and have enjoyed a variety of activities such as swimming, sightseeing, dining and taking bets on how long it will take to leave the hotel room each morning. This is our first vacation with two adjoining hotel rooms, and when I tell our 11-year-old and 8-year-old sons to be ready to go to the beach in five minutes, it’s always exciting to spend the next five minutes guessing what they’ll forget to bring when they show up at our door.

Me: Okay, kids, we’re leaving for the beach in five minutes. Get dressed, put on your sunblock, bring your towel, and grab a book.

(Five minutes later our 8-year-old The Fonz shows up at our door)

Me: Where’s your swimsuit?

Fonz: You didn’t say put on a swimsuit.

Me: Yes I did.

Fonz: You said get dressed.

Me: I said get dressed for the beach, put on sunblock, and bring a towel. I figured the wearing of a swimsuit instead of pants would be assumed.

(The Fonz leaves and our 11-year-old Optimist Prime appears)

Me: Where are your shoes?

OP: You said we were going to the beach. I didn’t think I needed shoes at the beach.

Me: You’ll need shoes to walk to the beach. It’s a ten-minute walk on pavement. We’ve done this walk every day for a week. You should know you need shoes.

(OP leaves and The Fonz appears)

Fonz: I’m ready.

Me: Did you put on sunblock?

Fonz: You didn’t say put on sunblock.

Me: Just put on sunblock now.

(The Fonz leaves and OP appears)

OP: Where’s Mom?

Me: She’s waiting in the hall.

OP: Can I ask her something?

Me: No.

OP: I need to ask her something.

Me: Just ask me.

OP: Nevermind.

(OP leaves and The Fonz appears)

Me: Where’s your shirt and shoes?

Fonz: I took them off to put on sunblock.

Me: Well, put them back on afterwards.

Fonz: Where are they?

Me: You just had them. Go to wherever you were when you took them off to put on sunblock.

Fonz: Can I ask Mom something?

Me: No.

(The Fonz leaves and OP appears)

OP: I have to go to the bathroom.

Me: You don’t need to tell me. Just go. And don’t take your shoes off.

(OP leaves and The Fonz appears)

Fonz: Where are we going for dinner?

Me: It’s 9:30AM. I have no idea what we’re doing for dinner.

Fonz: Can I get red Fanta?

Me: Are you ready to go?

Fonz: Where?

Me: The beach. If you’re ready, go out in the hall and wait with Mom.

Fonz: Can I bring a book?

Me: Of course. I told you to bring a book.

(The Fonz leaves and OP appears)

OP: Where’s Mom? Can I ask Mom something?

Me: Where are your shoes and shirt? Did you take them off in the bathroom?


I love Thai food and browsed the local bookstore for a Thai cookbook I might take home. The book title below convinced me there might be more to Thai cooking than I want to know:

Cooking with Poo

I don’t know much about the Thai language, but I’m hoping ‘Poo’ is a term of endearment for the author.

Posted in: Family