Eric wakes first, and heads to the lodge for some morning coffee and to take advantage of the quiet. One by one, the rest of us crawl out of bed, and head to the lodge. The boys order a set breakfast: an omelette, two freshly made rolls with butter and jelly, sliced local fruit, and hot chocolate. I order Chai.

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The boys settle into their books for a while. They are both reading the Maze Runner Series. Alex is on the third book, and Zach is on the second. (Nothing like an incredibly mellow life to encourage a boy to read.). We had the first book in paper form. But no bookstores here, so they have moved to the kindle versions of the books later in the series.

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Sometime before noon, Eric and/or I usually head down to one of the local restaurants for lunch. The boys like to have their lunch at the lodge. They usually choose fried rice or noodles, a tuna sandwich, or a burger.  We’re giving them a little “budgeting” lesson by allowing each person in our family 320 baht per day for food.  This gives them room to make decisions about what they will eat (cheaper local food, more expensive western food, extra treats likes chips or fruit shakes) within a guideline, without us having to OK every choice. And our family stays within our food budget. So far, so good.

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The boys work on schoolwork: grammar, writing, and math.

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The rest of the day is filled with walks through the village:

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Hikes into the jungle:

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Playing pingpong or board games:

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Playing frisbee:

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Doing laundry:

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Doing one of the group trips (i.e. kayaking, caving, etc.):

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Some evenings at dusk, we head to the other side of the Tham Lod Cave to watch the exodus of the bats and the mass arrival of nearly half a million swifts that sleep there. Then we hike back in the dark with headlamps.

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In the evening, everyone chooses dinner at the lodge (the other restaurants close at 5pm). And we hang out, chat, play ping pong, sit by the fire and maybe have a beer or a glass of wine or two. Then we head back to the bungalow, the boys get in a little time playing some video games, and then we turn out the lights, go to sleep, and do it again the next day.

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In case any of this is sounding too idyllic, we are also dealing with:

Bugs. Try walking into one of these guys webs:

Banana spider, 6", toe to toe.

Or finding this in your path (actually, really cool – not sure what it is, but our guess is a grasshopper nymph):

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This (See any toilet paper there? Me neither):

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Shoes that stink and never, ever, ever dry:

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And falling asleep to the lullabies of drunken travelin’ folk. Ahhh, peaceful night.

It’s a rough life. But we sure are surviving 🙂

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