28 November 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
Our last trip overseas was to the Maldives in May.
For somebody who quit a coveted position in a law firm to be a travel agent (where I met The One — so no regrets there), then put life in Singapore (and babies) on hold to realise a ten-month long backpacking trip, six grand months without a single trip (not even to Malaysia) is quite a dry spell.
Nevertheless, we have been busy for the past few months:
June — Period came: HOORAY!
Looking back, I realise now that it took us a whole FIVE months to get from the first IVF appointment to the first antenatal scan – a test of patience indeed. I feel like such an old nag for saying this yet again but to those couples who still don’t realise that IVF isn’t an instant solution that can guarantee a baby at the first try: do you believe me now?!
You don’t call the shots: Your body does. And it runs on its own schedule, not yours.
As you can see, the IVF schedule didn’t allow for much opportunity to travel. Not that that stopped us from planning a trip to Europe in October. After all, whatever happens, life must go on:
If the IVF failed, what the heck, at least we would have a wonderful vacation to look forward to to help us get over the disappointment of failure.
If the IVF succeeded, I would be travelling only after my 12th week of pregnancy, when the pregnancy had stabilised.
With that in mind, we took advantage of some hugely-discounted airfares and booked a trip to Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
What we didn’t expect was to conceive twins, the discovery of which threw our plans into complete disarray…
Because twin pregnancies are considered high-risk and twins tend to arrive early, Dr S advised against any overseas travel. The main concern was whether I would have access to fast medical intervention should any emergency arise.
While we had utmost confidence in the quality of medical care in Scandinavia, we decided not to risk the long flight time and distance, just in case anything happened on the plane.
We made the painful decision to cancel our much-anticipated vacation. Thankfully, the airline was kind enough to give us a full refund of the airfare upon production of a letter from the doctor stating that I was unfit for travel. We also received a refund from the hotel that we had booked, through an online travel agent, in the form of travel vouchers.
Thereafter, it was Sentosa to the rescue! With the vouchers, we booked ourselves a staycation at the Hard Rock Hotel and the wonderful husband treated me to a luxurious stay at the W Sentosa on my birthday. We had a GREAT time on both occasions.
The demise of Twin B freed us up to travel once again. We got wind of news that some friends were planning an impromptu just-for-fun trip to Bangkok and decided to hop on board. We were in luck when Singapore Airlines launched a $288 all-in fare to the City of Angels and we jumped at the chance to travel in comfort for a lower price than usual.
Now, Bangkok really isn’t my top choice for a vacation. I think it’s a depressing mass of dull, grey, ugly concrete (sorry, occupational hazard at play) and I would much rather be relaxing on a beach. But we had chosen to join our friends for their company, rather than the destination, and in the end, I actually found the change of environment rather refreshing.
As the title of this entry suggests, it was a very lazy trip indeed. Hazy too, not due to the weather or poor air quality (well, not entirely), but because my memories of what we did are already foggy. I put it down to the fact that it’s because we really didn’t do anything much at all!
The highlight of the trip was digging into curry crab at Somboon, eating at the popular trendy Greyhound Cafe at Siam Paragon and taking the free water taxi service down the river to the Asiatique night market.
Since we didn’t bring Coco along for the trip, we really enjoyed having uninterrupted adult conversations with our friends (a couple without kids), on ‘adult’ topics like finances, investments, housing, and our plans for the future. With friends who are parents, conversations tend to inevitably steer towards talking about our children, so it was a nice change from chatting about playschool, childcare, meals and diet, etc. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about the latter but there needs to be a balance, and a time and place for everything.
The rest of the trip was spent hanging out as a couple. The time together brought back memories of our last trip to Bangkok together — all the way back in 2005 — when we came to tailor my evening dress and Dan’s suits for our wedding! Since then, we have been back to Bangkok, but separately with our respective groups of friends. So we really enjoyed just going around the city together, just like old times.
This time, however, we constantly had Coco on our minds! The Thais seem to like the name Coco very much. She was everywhere: in the names of bubble tea stalls, eateries, fashion stores, food products. EVERYTHING. EVERYTIME. EVERYWHERE. Our daughter is an omnipresent being in Thailand.
We kept our eyes peeled for toys and clothes to buy for her. Our conversations were peppered with “Coco might like that”, “Do you think Coco would like this?”, “How about this for Coco?” throughout our stay.
We were grateful for our freedom. Yet, we missed her terribly.
We consoled ourselves that our other baby — “Kenobi” — was benefitting from the time away from his/her sibling. We soaked in the luxury of sleeping in every morning. We ate slowly, without rushing through our meals. The cheap, twice-daily foot and body (for Dan only) Thai massages left us happy and relaxed.
One thing we felt really bad about, however, was forgetting to bring along the Babyplus unit (aka That Tok-Tok-Tok Thing)! Kenobi had turned 18 weeks in-utero a few days before the trip but I had been so tired and busy with Coco that I hadn’t started with the “lessons” at all. With Coco, we were raring to start and never forgot a single Babyplus session! The Bangkok trip offered a great opportunity to focus our attention on and bond with our second baby (he/she has been kicking!) but we kinda slacked on that even. We feel like horrible parents to No.2 already!
Despite my lacklustre attitude towards Bangkok as a babymoon destination, I really quite enjoyed myself. We came home with an interesting tale to tell:
During the trip, we had become ardent fans of Happy Massage, located across our hotel on Silom Road. The female masseuses were very attentive, polite, and friendly and gave REALLY good foot massages that sent us into a peaceful slumber by the end of the hour-long session. All for 250 baht (approx S$10). They even noticed that I was pregnant and took great care to be gentle with my feet (“Mam, you have baby? I give you soft massage. No poking your leg with stick okay?”)
But we were very puzzled as to why they kept saying that they were fully booked whenever Dan asked for a full body Thai massage. This was despite him trying to book a session in advance for the next day. It was also very strange that no other customer emerged from a full body massage the entire time that we were there and the girls would be sitting outside the parlour eating banana chips and drinking bubble tea. So how could they possibly be full? Furthermore, the staff kept insisting, “No sir, you cannot do Thai massage. Your wife is pregnant.” even though we clearly said that the body massage was for Dan only.
It was only during our last foot massage session that we noticed only single male customers being escorted upstairs… Dan’s young, pretty masseuse then nonchalantly left him in the good hands of her colleague and casually followed the male customer to the second floor.
AHHH. ONLY THEN DID IT DAWN ON US THAT THIS WAS NO ORDINARY THAI MASSAGE PARLOUR.
It’s no wonder then that their, erm, hand skills were so good! (I just hope that they washed their hands well before running them all over my legs!)
So that was what they were subtly hinting when they gently, but firmly, insisted “No sir, you cannot do Thai massage. Your wife is pregnant.” and were hoping that these two clueless tourists would get the double meaning behind that phrase.
Well, no matter what they say about Bangkok being a city for vice. The girls at Happy Massage displayed good service and professionalism in (both) their trade(s), and showed that their values and principles were in the right place. Call-girls with a heart indeed!