Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer hols 2010 - Itinerary to date

July 4 Cecile leaves for Geneva for the annual UNHCR Resettlement powwow

July 6 Us boys head to London with a quick stop in Paris which went very smoothly because the flight transfer was in the same terminal!
Lengthy wait for the bus to get to the hotel, Night spent in a Travelodge without the planned rendez-vous with our friend Annabel. Quel dommage!

July 7 Bus to Chepstow and pick up by Auntie Margaret soon to be 87 and still whizzing around in her Rover.

July 8 - 10 Builth Wells, Wales with visiting Grandpa Canada now 85, took in the Zippo’s circus which was quite fun and with no animals involved (but the humans seems to be trained and treated quite well). Boy's and Daddy-oh got their new scooters which I'd ordered online. Micros.

July 10 Grandpa Canada and Auntie Margaret to Manchester by train for Dad to take his plane back to Alberta (with escort)

July 11 Auntie Margaret returns, the boys and I spent the day in Brecon browsing a second hand bookstore, lunch locally, chasing sheep and hide-and-seek in the ferns on the Beacons.

July 12 Drove to Bristol with my 2 illiterate navigators to pick up Cecile, her flight from Geneve arrived an hour late but not too late to make a quick tour en famille round Bristol Zoo on the way home. Arrived back to find sister Felicity, Malcolm, Tabitha (celebrated her 13th birthday!) and Timothy had arrived. Full house! Went to the pub up the road for dinner.

July 13 A morning kicking around Builth with the sister and the boys loving being around their cousins taking in the Grow, the ‘swing’ bridge (that doesn’t swing since renovation in the ‘80’s sometime!), Zaki had the oddest allergic reaction and took him to a doctor when his finger joints suddenly started swelling although originally was taking him to see the doc because of the return of the family diarrheal curse that started with a bout of salmonella 10days ago. The Royal Welsh Show, the largest annual agricultural show in the UK was about to kick off under rainy skies but we escaped that yet again. Worthy to note is that in 2004 on our tour du monde with Zaki we were also in Builth at the same time as Felicity so this was a bit of a ‘déjà vu’ only this time we had two boys.

July 14 Packed up and said good-bye to Auntie M. (who at 86 insisted she would sleep on the couch in a sleeping bag while we were all there!!) and headed to the Cotswalds and a visit with cousins Jean and Douglas in their new (1yr ago) home in Fairford where the Royal International Air Tattoo was getting underway with the sonic blasts of various jet planes overhead practicing whatever it is they have to practice in preparation for the show. The UK in the summer… big festival.

July 15 Visit to the Cotswalds Wildlife Park.

July 16 Visit by cousin Marian who I apparently hadn’t met since I was 2yrs old!

July 17 Early departure with the rental car to London and to Hackney to stay at Peter Kessler's place backing onto a great canal across from Victoria Park where the LoveBox concert weekend was kicking off.

Brunch with Cecile's friends Evan and Bernard who we haven’t seen together since mid-Malaysia years and picnic with now Londoners Cathy (Mulloy) and Tony and Frank at London Fields with the kids whizzing along on scooters. Late dinner with Peter and his new wife Rachel.

July 18 Another early departure to St. Pancras International for the Eurostar to Paris, Staying at Ariane and Alain’s place in the 13th.

July 19 Picnic in the Park Floral with Ramon and his kids, Vietnamese dinner with Joseph and Beatrice who are on holiday from Nepal.

July 20 - 23 Train to Orleans and St. Pryve for time to relax, eat and sleep with the Fradot’s

July 23 - 26 Weekend at Center Parcs water park with the whole Fradot clan. Les cousins (Geoffrey, Anthony and Samuel, Zaki and Kasem) swam like seals and thoroughly enjoyed the slides, the jacuzzis and the wild river!

July 26 - 30 More eating and sleeping some shopping at the Fradot’s. Saw two movies, Inception and a chick flick , visit to Zoo Beauval and a nice Thai dinner with Cecile's friend Miriam, the only one of our mutual friends to have ever slept in the Vilcabamba house!

July 30 Cecile and I to Geneve on TGV to stay with Tilman, Lucia and Leo who are all waiting for the arrival of their new brother!

July 31 Vespa buzz for a a hike and BBQ with erstwhile humanitarians Sally and Jeremy at their place in the paysan then returned for a BBQ with Tilmann, Lucia, Leo and their friend Ursula.

August 1 Cecile returns to Beirut, I spend the day with Terra Mack meeting up with Kahin and his friend Judith in the Park who provided a picnic then dinner with Sri Lankan former expat Meriel and her kids in Crozet, a wet and wooly vespa ride away from Ferney!

August 2 Return to Paris-Orleans to reunite with the boys

August 3 Repacking for the phase 2 of our Summer Escape from Beirut

August 4 Departure to Ecuador via Orleans – Paris (train, met Kavita for the station transfer)Paris – Amsterdam (3hr fastest train in the world (TGV) Amsterdam – Bonaire (Plane 8.5hrs, boys slept 7hrs!)Bonaire – Guayaquil (Plane 4hrs, boys watched vids) Guayaquil – Cuenca (25minute air-hop) Cuenca – Vilcabamba (4hr taxi, boys were amazed to hear Daddy speaking his bad spanish...slept 3hrs!) 3 planes, 2 trains and a taxi in 29hrs AND NO MELTDOWNS!

August 5 - 29 VILCABAMBA! First week was getting over jet-lag, second week building a new playhouse and tenant Christina and baby Keola returned from Quito, third week learning how to not have a plan, last week chilling, being and leaving party.

August 29 Vilcabamba - Quito - Panama City, great time spent with former Beirutis Pablo, Clara, Melena, Maya and greeting baby Iago.

September 2/3 Panama City - Amsterdam - Paris - Orleans, what to say. we made it, again without meltdown, the last trip by auto-navette which is definitely the way to get to Orleans from CDG!

September 3-5 Orleans

September 5 Orleans - Paris (again the auto-navette)Paris - Beirut (4hrs) Finally home, Kasem had his only transportation meltdown of the entire trip getting on the plane to but probably a total emotional release since he had been talking about going home to Beirut for 3weeks. Cecile there to greet but then returned to Pakistan on Emergency mission for the floods.


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