Despite his request for a quiet, inexpensive birthday this year, I couldn't let Daz's big 50th pass without something a little special even though living on our boat in Mexico is certainly that every day! We had a little dock party with our cruising friends on the actual day, but the big stuff was yet to come!
It all started months ago. I was thinking about places that were different from anywhere else we'd been and wracking my brain to come up with a location he has mentioned in the past that he'd like to visit. Macchu Pichu? Africa? Tahiti? All sounded fabulous but so expensive and while we'll make it to all those places one day, this is year was not in the cards. As I was thinking about it, some of our friends started asking about plans for his birthday and I'd surreptitiously ask him about what he'd like to do. There was talk of people coming down here for a long weekend, that didn't look like it would pan out, so he came up with Vegas (the location of his 40th) and invited everyone to come along to that. He got it all sorted, booked, let everyone know and no one could come - it was Mothers Day weekend! I can't even describe how dejected and sad he was about it (but secretly I was breathing a sigh of relief) - it was truly heartbreaking, but little did he know, I had come up with Thailand as a location, invited friends and before 24 hours passed the entire thing was booked and paid for!
I was tempted to tell him because he was so despondent, but for once I kept my mouth shut and just sympathetically let him mope about for a few days. But then I couldn't help myself. So I told him we were going to Nova Scotia. Yes, Nova Scotia. Don't ask me how I came up with that because I have no idea. Of course he didn't believe that for one minute, even though over the next few weeks I'd send him fake bookings for the Anne of Green Gables Museum and lobster fishing. It became a fun game, but after a while I couldn't come up with anything more exciting for Nova Scotia, so I changed the location. I said we weren't really going to there - we're really going to....Belize. Or Lithuania. Or India. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Nova Scotia would be a lovely place to visit with lots to see and do, it just wasn't the place for a tropical beach/pool type vacation.
Lovely Nova Scotia...just not the vacation spot this time!
Darrin is always very good about getting secrets out of me and he does this by asking me questions that on the surface may not mean much but, wily devil that he is, invariably he'll figure out what's going on and a week before whatever it is, tell me all about it. I was determined not to let that happen this time! So, being a bit wily myself (although nothing on par with his wiliness), I started by planting a little seed about...Ibiza. I did lots of research on hotels and clubs and touristy things. Made sure I knew what the weather was like. When he asked what airline we were flying, I told him Iberia. A flat out lie (granted he did accuse me of lying about this but only because he didn't know the airline!). I looked up flights and connections, what movies would be on the flights, food....all sorts of stuff so I could feed him little bits of information and he'd think he guessed where he was going. As it turned out, that's exactly what happened - he guessed Ibiza and started researching things there himself but of course I wouldn't confirm or deny his guesses.
Yeah baby!! Ibiza!!! W00t W00t!!
Off we went to LAX to check in and we walked straight past Iberia of course, Darrin saying "I knew it! I knew it!" as I strode purposefully to...China Eastern Airlines. "China? We're going to Shanghai?" he asked with more than a hint of puzzlement in his voice. "Well yes darling, we are - we have to go there to get our next flight to Phuket". "Phuket? THAILAND? We're going to Thailand??" The puzzlement turned to excitement!
After a long and somewhat arduous few flights to Phuket (but really - who's complaining? Climb into a metal tube, hurtle all the way to the other side of the earth, 28 hours later land said metal tube safely back on Terra Firma and step off into a tropical paradise. No complaints here!) we arrived at 2am local time to the sweltering mugginess of 98% humidity and a thousand lily white tourists from all corners of the globe searching frantically for transportation to their hotels. Lickety-split we found ours and were on our way to the resort. We were really tired by this time, but still had the mental capacity to count 38 (yes - thirty-eight) 7-Eleven stores between the airport and the hotel!
After a quick check-in and a 20 minute shower (such luxury!) we collapsed into the blissful sumptuousness of air conditioning and a king sized bed. Yes I know, we live a life of fabulousness all the time, but I can't even describe the giddy excitement we feel when we have a shower with unlimited hot water and not having to climb over each other to get into the bed!
I didn't sleep very well actually. Darrin crashed immediately but I was too excited because there were more surprises to come. Unbeknownst to the birthday boy, Kelly and Petrina, along with Andrew and Maria had arrived at the resort the previous day! We've been vacationing with them all for many years and have been everywhere with them from Jamaica to Whistler and now Thailand! Our plan was for Darrin and I to walk past the gym on the way to breakfast at 10am, and the others would be running on the machines in the windows! That didn't work out though...Daz woke up earlier than anticipated and would not be persuaded by any means to dally in the room until I could safely usher him to breakfast at the appointed time. In his defense, he was famished - none of the food on the flights over had been edible (all mushrooms and unidentifiable Chinese things that we were too scared to eat). And so, while he had a quick shower, I frantically messaged the others that we were on our way down to the restaurant and the plan would need to be abandoned. We sat at our table and were discussing the menu when they all crept up behind him and yelled 'Happy birthday!!" at the top of their lungs!
You should have SEEN the look on his face!!!
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