Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Vacation Ever

We arrived here at The Pines in Prachuab Khiri Khan over a week ago, 3½ hours south of Bangkok. We are staying at a holiday home that hasn’t stopped surprising me since we got here. Our lodging is simple but comfortable, and a very adequate place to stay. It doesn’t have air conditioning but there is a ceiling fan right above our double bed. Our sons are in an adjoining bedroom with a bunk and a single bed. The best thing about our rooms is that they’re the closest to the beach so we can hear the soothing waves of the sea when we sleep at night. Hot drinks (coffee, tea, or Milo) are freely provided just outside our rooms. Laundry is done daily, and our clothing, pressed and clean, is available for pickup in the laundry room by the afternoon. Three bountiful, delicious meals are served every day with a special Sunday dinner of roasted chicken (or meat loaf), potatoes, stuffing, salad, fresh biscuits, and a sundae for desert. There is a freezer and a fridge which are filled with ice cream and cold drinks; a container with leftover deserts is kept in the fridge for those who may want a snack in between meals. Some of the available facilities include a trampoline, a ping pong table, a basketball hoop, a soccer field, a volleyball court, a swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, and a pathway for cyclists (or skateboarders). Bicycles for various ages are available for free use. Their library is small, but contains lots of books for everyone. A lounge area provides an excellent place for anyone to relax and read a book, crotchet or knit, work on a puzzle, chat, play games, or use the computer. Internet access is available at any time for the mere cost of 10 baht per day (a little more than a quarter). Jigsaw puzzles of varying difficulties and sizes are available as well as board games; they even have Settlers of Catan (with an expansion set!). Last, but not least, they have the Movie Room, the only air-conditioned room in the accessible areas. Stocked with numerous DVDs available for free viewing, there is a whiteboard used to reserve a time so that everyone gets a chance to watch. Aside from the comfortable chairs, lots of cushions and comforters are on hand for family viewing. Often this week, this room has provided a place for folks to cool down while watching, and it is often filled to the brim.

We’d gone fishing, viewed a nearby aquarium, shopped in town, gone swimming, kayaked, (the men played golf), walked on the beach, played ping pong, played sports and card games, eaten until our tummies bulged, watched movies (including "The Sound of Music" and all 3 "Lord of the Rings" films!), line danced, listened to musical talent (violin and singing), sang, had a bonfire, and simply visited with friends.

What a surprising place! It has been talked about as a great place to go to, and I’ve often wondered why people would rave about it. A friend envies us because we would never get bumped off our reservation if we indicated we wanted to stay here. Since they don’t belong to our organization, they have lost their reservation in the past when people in our group signed up to come and stay here. It is a very popular vacation spot and now I understand why. This place has a tranquility about it that promotes rest and relaxation. The friends you come with or meet start to become like relatives over the course of your stay. You walk in the lounge and feel like you belong there. Lying down on the comforters in the floor of the Movie Room along with the rest of the crowd becomes the most natural thing to do. Yes, The Pines is a great place to go to because of the beach and everything it has to offer, but most of all it’s because of the love and camaraderie that is in the air. The Lord is here and He is not just giving us rest and solitude, but comfort and enjoyment with His own. It is good to live in harmony with brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re living out our best vacation ever (except that we’re missing our oldest son Evan who is not with us). I’m so grateful for the 12 days we’ve been here. We are blessed.