For some reason, my kids have always loved going to the beach. And what they love the most, even more than the usual swimming or sandcastle-building, is combing the shore to collect shells. They were doing the same thing in Boracay while I was simultaneously trying to get a good open water swim workout in, when I went ashore and out of the corner of my eye saw a small shell moving by itself. When I stood over it, it stopped. It was obviously a hermit crab and I picked it up and deposited it into one of the kids’ collecting pails. Needless to say, the kids were super excited about the latest find and Julia wanted to take it home to Singapore as a pet. My father-in-law and I patiently explained why she shouldn’t (and couldn’t) do that as it was illegal by law to take any shell from Boracay’s shores out. Finally we made a deal that we would keep the quickly-named Hermie as a guest in our hotel room for the next two days, and release him back on the beach before we went home.
On our last morning, everything went according to plan as we had breakfast with Hermie then ceremonially released him back into the wild after thanking him for spending a couple of days with us. It rained very hard pretty soon after, so we hope he is safe and thriving somewhere in that tropical paradise.
Merry Christmas from the island of Boracay, Philippines!
Goofing around in Changi Airport terminal on our way home to the Philippines!
My darling daughter enjoying a light moment with her neighbor and good buddy
We chose the Doubletree Phuket by Hilton because: a) it was walking distance to Surin beach and was close to my Ironman 70.3 race site (Laguna Phuket); b) the price was right and included breakfast and an extra bed; and c) it came highly recommended by two good friends of ours who work at Hilton. To our pleasant surprise, it had other perks as well, such as a great breakfast buffet with bacon (very important), a ground floor room with balcony exit to the pool area, where I could assemble and keep my bike instead of inside the room itself; and the best of all a huge, kid friendly pool area with two huge slides, animal inflatables and plenty of lounge chairs and beach towels, surrounding a very nice and well-staffed kids’ daycare center called Kids’ World. Even though we never actually used Kids’ World, we loved the option it afforded us if we had wanted to go out exploring on our own. I would highly recommend this hotel.
Went on an early morning ride in Phuket the day before the Ironman. It was hilly, windy and dangerous because of the twisting roads combined with unpredictable traffic. It was still a great experience though as you get to see so much more on a bike than you would on a car. Rode until the end of Surin Beach and couldn’t resist taking the bike all the way to the beach, even though I knew I would have to power-wash it afterwards.
Was walking around old Phuket town when we stumbled upon this old Thai typewriter in a streetside cafe. My daughters asked me what was that machine and then I realized that neither of them had ever seen one. They were both so curious about it that they came back to the cafe a couple of times to try to use it. They said the sound it made was ‘kinda cool’.
After a delicious (and cheap) dinner at a fantastic torch-lit beachside seafood restaurant called Pla at Surin Beach, we were surprised when fireworks started exploding over the water, for no particular reason. Luckily again, I was there with my ever ready camera…
Had a short swim in Surin Beach with the surfers. Nice strong waves, clean waters but quite a lot of invisible jellyfish. Emerged from the water with quite a number of stings on the chest and back. After going ashore, there was a fleeting moment with the sun, sea, sky, sand and my kids and I count myself fortunate to be there with a camera to capture it.