Friday 24th February/Saturday 25th February
We finally departed RMS at 11.00am, taking a taxi to Heathrow where we met up with the boys from John Lyon School and their staff, Sue Drake and James McNaughton. The girls were very organised but there was a little "preening" in front of the boys which calmed down when they realised that the boys were probably terrified of them!
The usual "can I change seats? Do I have to sit in the seat I have been given…"occurred. On the whole, the seating was reasonable. The flight was long, boring and uneventful and I was able to remind myself of why I so much dislike flying! Even though it was BA, and the staff were brilliant with the children, and there appeared to be more space, it is the constant noise of the plane which is disturbing. Definitely better if a pair of headphones are stuffed in the ears!
The girls settled themselves down to hours of electronic games, some homework, and DVDs. Eleanor W seems to have a full electronic games centre being lugged about in her backpack, along with a laptop and a ton of '"Gray's Anatomy"DVDs. They were all polite, and organised and a credit to the school.
Had the weirdest breakfast – a yellow cakes slice of what looked like an omelette style thing, with baked beans and mushrooms. Interesting!
Arrived safely at Bangkok airport. Got through security but had to take Bisola through Health Control – one goes, we all go!. We were, as a consequence and a desire for the loos, later through security than the John Lyon, which allowed the boys to make comments about having to wait for girls!!
We met Phil Alexander, the co-ordinator from HIS and climbed onto a coach. Boy was it warm outside of the terminal! Add that to the general fatigue of everyone I was pleased that no one was too grumpy about the forthcoming 3 hour journey. The journey by coach was generally quiet with all parties attempting to get some sleep. We travelled along massive, four lane motorways and the traffic was heavy leaving the airport and getting out of the city – I had a vague "M25 moment" as I watched the commuters dodging in and out of the lanes, and there were cones!! Lots of them!
We soon got through and eventually arrived at the harbour. Nobody really knew what to expect. We were unloaded from our coach and back in to the pounding sunshine. Kept pushing Rosie and Ella towards the shade to hope to preserve their fair skins as much as possible.
We hauled our bags along the pontoons, ably assisted by the drivers. I have no idea what was in their bags, but those with wheels suffered somewhat on the steps and the ridged surfaces. Having breathed soggy air again, the journey on the boat was so refreshing! We drove at speed for about 20 minutes to the island. The warning about changing into shorts at the airport proved to be correct – the boat arrives on the beach and you have to walk in the sea to the shoreline. But the water! It was so warm and clear under the bright blue sky. Apparently the temperature was a "cool"29 degrees…..
The first thing all the girls wanted to do was to get into the sea – so bags were dumped, costumes donned and in they went. I sat on the shore watching them, wading into the sea up to knee level. It was very refreshing and I was delighted that the girls wanted to play in the air, in the sea, under the sun. Everyone slathered on sun cream band I kept telling them to put more on, put more on! The boys' first request was for the wifi! They then proceeded to spend a few hours trying to get on line. It was a very poor signal and apparently the band width is very narrow, so it was slow and did not keep up with the speed of the equipment that the children have.
The girls are a delight to be with. They are polite, enthusiastic and willing to try absolutely anything. Everyone was happy to fall into bed after dinner and to sleep……