Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Even my vacation/dreams have a sound track!

The LoudAmericans ventured out with the Wacmillers and Wherearethefischers for a long weekend in Kerala. Not sure that I would call 6 adults and 6 kids 6 and under in a TT bus a “vacation”, but it was an adventure. We had 4 days and 3 nights planned to cover the whole coast of Kerala – Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Alleppey and finally Cochin. When I told this to my friends at work, they all said “YOU ARE CRAZY”. Well crazy we are, so off we set.

Now to set the stage, this trip is meant to be a final going away trip with the Millers before they head back to MN and for an added bonus, Bob turned 38 while we were together. Too many things to celebrate and not enough time. However, I was not feeling good and I think I win the “bitchiest Mom of the year” award for at least 2 if not 3 of the days of our trip. However, the kids were in heaven, they each had another kid their “same” age and Kay even had a girlfriend to play withJ The bus we were in had a TV and CD system. Our music/movies of choice? Since we are Americans, the greatest hits of ABBA, Brian Adams and the BackStreet Boys, played over and over and over again. After 6 mind numbing hours of this, we decided to watch a movie or two… Our choices here? Old James Bond, including Dr No and the Man with the Golden Gun. I have to admit, I have a new found respect and appreciation for the Austin Powers movies now. Wow, I really missed a ton of the jokes in that movie. Needless to say, I used the time on the bus to fight with my kids, sweat and sleep.

I digress… back to our adventure… Trivandrum is the very tip of India where the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and The Bay of Bengal meet, southern most point in India and a hell hole. We basically drove for 3 hours to get out and realize, there is NO beach, NO parks, NOTHING for 6 kids under 6 to do other than roll around in the grubby dirt. We did climb the tower to look out over the oceans but the wind was so strong it blew Grayce’s hat off and caused a crying fit because “her grandmother gave me that hat and even took it to Thailand with me”. I don’t blame her at all actually, I was feeling like crying at this point too. Bob, however, was the hero, fighting waves and wind and garbage floating by the shore to save the day and save the hat. After an adventurous 30 min’s site seeing trip and restroom break, we packed it back into the bus for the 3 hr + trip to our 1st overnight stop Kanyakumari. How was the stay you say? I honestly cant remember and don’t have any recollection of our room. Not sure if this is a good sign or not… Too much fun or not enough…Did I mention that I wasn’t feeling well this day, or is it obvious in my description?

We got up early on Sunday and off we went to Alleppey, now this is WAY more our speed. The cabin’s were very quaint Kerala style (open air bathrooms, sort of cool) with mosquito netting and the like. It sat on a peninsula overlooking the backwaters and had gorgeous flowers, great food and a pool. We spent the day on a houseboat, slowing moving past more flowers, villages, villagers, eating fresh seafood, drinking white wine/beer and “fishing” with the kids. Think of it as India’s version of a day on the pontoon in MPLS summers. Relaxing, fun for the kids, great conversation and family bonding time. We docked in time for some serious swimming in the pool an early dinner followed by kids passing out and adults sharing a cocktail while we watched the lightning bugs. I was feeling better this day and was considerably less bitchy (Angela and Chandra, feel free to disagree if you’d like). I awoke, during this blissful peace and quiet to the sounds of a full on orchestra/chorus calling morning prayers for about 30 min’s at 4:30am. My 1st thought… wow, even my dreams have sound tracks now….

Monday morning we had a leisurely breakfast which included an off key rendition of Happy Birthday follow by chocolate cake for Bob. While the setting was beautiful, the ever present lake with 4 kids who don’t know how to swim was starting to take its toll on me. Plus, I wanted to get to the other resort in Alleppey as it has A BEACH!!
After chasing butterflies in the butterfly garden, we pack it up into the bus for more ABBA and our quick trip to the next resort.

This resort ROCKS!! There is a sand beach, large swimming pool, 2 beach side bars, badminton, tennis and a SPA. I am in heaven already and wonder why we just didn’t come here 1st and save all the trouble… Next time. The girls ran off to make Spa appointments, Tom and I ventured to the local munie for wine and the boys “supervised” some controlled chaos. We met up for lunch and all hell broke loose. Kay and Billy refused to eat, started to squirm and basically be as naughty as they could over lunch, in front of 20 other adults trying to vacation. I lost it. Kay was on 3 separate time outs during lunch including one in the bathroom. I finally gave up force feeding my kids and took Kay back for a nap. Billy soon joined. I had the privilege of fighting them for 2 hours to take a nap. Finally Kay declares “I have to poop” and boy does she ever. I get her back into bed and Billy announces “I have to poop” and boy does he ever. I am not even back from my 2nd pooping trip and Kay is passed out cold. Followed 5 min’s later by Billy. I guess when you have to poop, you not only have a pain in the ass, you are a pain in the ass. So, while Tom was with Jimmy at the beach riding the waves, I was sitting in our room doing Suduko. Did I mention that I don’t feel good this day either? Her royal bitchiness has arrived.

In case you think the whole weekend was a bust, things do get better. Kay and Billy awake, happy, go lucky, cooperative and ready for dinner. All 5 kids eat without so much a peep (Caden has passed out on his own at this point and is enter hour 2 of the next 12 hours he’ll sleep). There is a HUGE swing and they are playing tag, giggling and basically being really fun to be around. Jimmy and Grayce had their 2nd date – dinner by candlelight by the poolside. We tried to ease drop on their conversations and they were quite cute. As it turns out, this is all part of Grayce’s master super secret spy plan that she has hatched and tried to recruit Owen into. We found this note in her backpack “Super Secret Plan – Have Owen help me to make sher Jimmy falls in love with me”.

We get the kids tidied up from dinner and back to the room for the babysitter. Yes, its our last night, Bob’s birthday and we are at a great seaside resort with fresh seafood, DAMN IT we are getting a sitter and having an adult meal. Even though this resulted in a call to our table from the sitter, with a confirmation from Jimmy “yes we are very wild” it was well worth it. Chandra exclaimed it was “the best meal I’ve had since I’ve been in India”. It was fun, relaxing and the music divine. The guitarist was channeling Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, Bob Denver, Judy Garland and the most romantic of all … The Monkeys. At one point, we were all singing along and I’m sure the other guests where hoping we’d bring the kids back out just to round out the experience.

The next morning was a challenge to figure out how to squeeze as much time as possible in at the pool, order lunch to go and leave at the absolute last minute for the airport. I should have known the plan was inauspicious when the sandwiches “to go” showed up on china plates. But, this is India, so you adjust. And we adjusted our bill, our lunch, our bus and our payment until we finally reach the airport early only to find our flight delayed. UGHH!!! The silver lining… The Kerala airport is impossibly clean by Indian standards and has a TV dialed into Cartoon Network and Discovery Channel. I love TV!!!

So, we are back, home and grateful for my own bed and choice of music. I do think the kids had a great time and I hope that the adults can forgive me for being a bitch.

And, no, I don’t think Jimmy is “in love” with Grayce, but he sure loves having her as a friend. I cant wait to pull these photos out at their rehearsal dinner….