Unable to sleep in Seattle..

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Met the mother of all jet lags in Seattle. Sleepless in Seattle; what a cliché! Coming to the US from Japan and crossing the date line is never fun, jet lag vise, but we have done it three times before, and never had this trouble sleeping afterwards. Three nights the whole family was up and about until 3 or 4 am, and feeling tired  the rest of the day.  On our way to Seattle we flew from Osaka to Tokyo with Jetstar, just to put our “flying with carry on luggage only project” to a test. Jetstar has a 7 kg carry on allowance only. We made it to Tokyo and further with Singapore airline to LA. (We checked in two of our carry on so we did not have to carry them around at the airport. Is that cheating?).

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This is our entire luggage.

The plan was to fly directly from LA to Seattle on July 3. But we were late with the airline ticket booking so the price skyrocketed and we decided to stay one night in Los Angeles. Traveling to Seattle one July 4. via Phoenix. The 4.th of July we were invited to join Bjørn´s american relatives in Camano Island for independence day celebration. Since we were already one day late and got further delayed when we arrived Seattle and all the rental cars were gone, we were not sure we were able to go up north to Camano Island. But it all works out in the end, we finally got our pre booked rental car and joined the family up in Camano. We got there before sunset and had a lovely evening with the relatives.

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Sunset at Camano Island

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Genealogy

On Sunday Bjørn 2. cousin and his wife took us for a sightseeing in Seattle. The line outside the Space Needle was to long so we enjoyed the view from the ground.

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We visited the famous Pike Place Market fish market, where they are throwing the fish around. And had a lovely lunch at The Pike Brewing Company.

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Pike Brewing Company with Bjørn´s 2. cousin Terry and his wife Julia.

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Lucas outside the first Starbuck café in the world.

We were staying north of Seattle in a wonderful AirBnb house. The house was close to a Premium outlet, so I think the plan of traveling with only carry on got crushed in Seattle.

It’s time to contact Norwegian airline and buy some checked in luggage.

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The first rule of shopping: Do not buy more than you can carry.. All and all we loved Seattle and hope to come back one day!

Kobe – a nice surprise

2015-07-01 20.11.13Checking out of our kimonos and hopping on a train again, this time to Kobe City. About 30 minute train ride west of Osaka. The reason for picking Kobe for our last two days in Japan was that the hotel prices was half of what they were in Osaka. Again we arrived the city without doing much research beforehand. And what a nice surprise. Our hotel, Hotel Crown Palais Kobe, were located in a great shopping area. We could walk inside to several of the big shopping malls in the Higashikawaskicho area. Right next to the Kobe train station and a lot of great restaurants by the sea. Our friends from the NoMadFamily are going home soon and got to do som serious shopping. Us traveling with carry on luggage had to hold back a little. 2015-07-01 19.06.16Going out for dinner, lots and lots of nice restaurants close by the hotel.

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On our way to the Kawasaki World.

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The Kawasaki world was a Eldorado for big and small children.

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Both Bos and Lucas tried the flight simulator. Robots and train simulators made the day for the kids.

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One for the great restaurants by the sea.

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Last night in Kobe. Hope to come back to this place one day.

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Goodbye dinner with the NoMadFamily in the Oyster Bar. They are traveling to Singapore, we are heading to Seattle. Thank you so much for wonderful days in Japan Stine, Paul, Leon and Jack!

Fushiokaku our stay at a Japanese ryokan.

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June 29.th we left Kyoto and traveled to the Osaka region. North of Osaka, close to a town called Ikeda, we checked in to a Japanese traditional spa hotel. Fusiokaku has several indoor and outdoor hot springs, divided in a men and women section. A lot of rules apply to use the hot tubs. No clothes what so ever is one of the rules. (No cameras of obvious reasons, so the picture is borrowed from trip advisor). No tattoos is allowed either. You have to cover them up with tape. The hotel was rather old and in desperate need of a renovation, but the food was delicious and after overcoming the first moments outside our comfort zone, we rather enjoyed the wandering around in morning robe and the hotel slippers. The spa was so nice and Lucas loved all the spa products provided for you. We stumbled upon a beautiful Japanese garden a few blocks from our hotel, were we spent our day hiking. Turtles, butterflies, koi fish and toads made the children’s day.

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The outfit we wondered around the hotel in. Notice the slippers..

2015-06-30 19.10.52We manage to convince the waiters in the restaurant that foreigners was able to sit on the floor to eat, and got our own Japanese style dining room.

2015-06-29 17.42.01We even slept on the floor.

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Kyuanji Temple is a Buddhist temple that was first established by Gyoki priests who came from Nara in 725.

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Beautiful park by the temple.

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Turtles and toads in the ponds kept the kids busy.

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We also went hiking in the forrest nearby the temple.

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Outside the hotel.

2015-07-01 10.09.08When we left the hotel staff bid us farewell with a banner. Have no idea what it said. English was not a language widely spoken in the hotel. They did however have the words “no can do” nailed down to perfection. A great experience to have been there.

Next stop Kobe! Stay tuned.

Kyoto

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We had not done much research on Kyoto before we came. We knew there were a lot of nice shrines and temples, but not where they were located and we chose the lodging after what was available on AirBnb. Again our luck was on our side and our gorgeous AirBnb house was almost next to a shrine and in walking distance to one of the more popular temples. The AirBnb host met us at the house and took us on a guides tour in the neighborhood on our arrival day. 2015-06-25 16.13.47
Our huge Japanese house, had room enough for our two families and room to spare. Four bedrooms is luxury for people that are used to cramp together in a small hotel room.

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The Kitano Tenman-gu shrine. Our host Kazunori took us on a guided tour to the shrine and the walking street near our house.
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This shrine enshrines Michizane Sugawara, is famous for his great learning during his lifetime is worshipped as the patron of learning. Not the wrong place to bring the kiddos.

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Bos in front of the shrine gate.

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Prayers hang up wood prays go get more intelligent.

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Sunday we went to the Toei Kyoto Movie Park. Toei Kyoto Studio Park is the only theme park in Japan where you can observe the filming of period dramas (jidaigeki films). The place is packed with samurais, ninjas and geishas. This set depicts a street from the Edo period, and is used to shoot more than 200 films per year. Enjoy the atmosphere of ancient Japan by taking in a ninja show maybe even dressing up as a geisha or samurai.
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In the evening our host took us out for dinner in a local “hole in the wall” restaurant where they served squid balls and other local delicacies. A great night out.

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Kinkaku-ji temple were also on our list. The kids trying to trow money into a bowl. Temple of the Golden Pavilion (see head photo).
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On our last night we ran into these lovely maikos and a geiko on our dinner at the local restaurant. Their training facilities were in our neighborhood. They were such nice people. Not many geishas left in Kyoto. What a great finale to our Kyoto stay.

Next blog post from our stay at a Ryokan in Ikeda.

Tokyo🇯🇵

   On the road again. First stop Tokyo, where we checked in to a nice AirBnb house with our friends from NoMadfamily. So nice to meet them again. We are staying in Tokyo for 3 nights before we move on to Kyoto.  

  Getting around in Tokyo is quite easy with the metro. 

  First day we spent in Akihabara the “Geek city” lots of anime and manga.  

  Sushi for lunsch and dinner, no problem! 

  Lucas, Jack and Leon checking out all the different vending machines. 

 We even went to one of the many Maid Cafés.  In these cafés, waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants, and treat customers as masters in a private home, rather than as café patrons. (Wikipedia) Really gets you out of your comfort zone. 

 You can dress up and pay to take a picture with the maids. Dressed up our own rugrats instead. Great spot for people watching. Watching grown ups dress up as kittins and taking pictures with the waitresses is just something else.  

  Wednesday we spent the day in another cool part of Tokyo, Harajuku. Also known as the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Lucas’s favorite part of town. 

  We had lunch at a small motor cycle cafè. 

  Ralph Lauren store. My impression is that a lot of the chic second hand stores in Harajuku are being replaced by chain stores. The area seem more mainstreem than last time we were here. 

  When in Tokyo!  

 Food again. Snack time in this little Airstream cafè. 

 In the afternoon we met up with the NoMadFamily again in Shibuya. Shibuya is another one of Tokyo’s many shopping areas. Dinner at a Japaneese barbeque restaurant. Lucas took over as the barbeque chef. We have had so many lovely meals in Japan. This was one of them. The meat on the grill in this picture is tuna fish.  

 

Thursday we changed city again. From Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen the bullet train. 540 km in two hours. More on Kyoto in the next boring blog post! Stay tuned! 

 

Moments from May the end of our Koh Lanta stay

Writing this on Krabi airport. We are on our way home. 10 months of sun, sand and meeting new friends are over. Looking back on all the moments of joy with a smile on my face. We are staying in Norway until June 21, then we head out on our next adventure. Going around the globe againg but this time we only have 5 weeks to do it, so we had to cut down on the number of stops.  Japan and a road trip on the west coast of USA is waiting for us this summer. Meeting up with friends bought in Japan and America. Something to look forward to! 

May is definetly low season on Lanta, few tourists and most of the long stayers have gone home. We have had great weather almos the whole month. A bit more humid and a bit higher temperature but sunny with the most beautiful sunsets on the year.  Bjørn came down and stayed for 10 days. Lazy, lovely days. 

 Sportsday at the beach, long jump, high jump, and 60 meter amongs the activitys.  

 Warming up!    

 Celebrating Lucas’s birthday at Banana Beach Resort.  

 Birthday celebration for Max on Banana Beach Resort. 

 Finally Bjørn arrived!  Happy boy!  

  

May 17.th Norways constitution day. Lucas held the main speach.  

The May 17.th parade from school to Lanta Villa. 

Happy Norway day!

    

 Games on the beach. Lot of celebrations on May. 

 Still enough people to play volleyball. The beach changes a lot now, some days it’s big holes and a lot of rubbish on the beach. 

 

All the children gets a speach from their teacher when the leave school. Lola and Lucas.  

The last week the monsoon has set in. Heavy winds and tropical rain. Difficult to have dinner at the beach.   

 End of the school year!  Tears and laugther. Happy and sad at the same time.  

 Is there a better way to end the school year in Thailand than with a pool party? 

 this movie sums up 10 months of Koh Lanta sunsets in 3 minutes.

Thanks to all the nice people we have gotten to know during our stay here in Thailand! Hope to see you all again! 

Stay tuned for more Reiseselbekk adventures! 

 

Moments from April

First half of April we spent in Norway to celebrate my mothers 80 th birthday. Back to Lanta on April 12. Just in time to celebrate Song Kran, the Thai New year. Bjørn did not come with us this time as he is working in Norway for a couple of weeks. He will join us again in May. Comming back we moved from Banana Beach to Lanta Villa, still on Klong Dao beach, but closer to school.  April is the start of low season on Koh Lanta. Almost all the restaurants on the beach closes and the beach is more or less empty. Afternoon showers are more frequent and the temperatur is higher. Still it is a rater nice season. Less people but more social. The parents and children at school hang out more. After two week at Lanta Villa we moved again, this time to an apartment on Southern Lanta 100 meters from school. It’s not on the beach but we can still see the ocean.  April is also a month with a lot of good byes, Lucas’s best friend went home to Sweden. Before they left we joined them in Bangkok for a weekend.  Leaving Norway, saying good bye to Besto and aunt Aud Marit.   Song Kran is a big water festival. Everybody gets wet! Kids (big and small loves is) Our norwegian friends Karen and Trond taking a break from the waterfight.

Water fights in the streets.   

  After Song Kran we got visitors from Norway. Trond, Vigdis and Jakob joined us for a lovely week.  When we have visitor we get around the island. We met this cheeky monkeys in the national park. 

   Jakob and Lucas right before sunset at Crown Lanta.  Lucas and Maria in Kidzania, Bangkok. 5 hours of joy!  

 Time to leave! We will meet again Maria! Pop kan mai!    

 Lately there has been a lot of poi training for the kids. The goal is to get ready to do fireshow on the beach before the season is over. Embla, Bertine and Lucas on poi training with Pong. They all did their first fireshow Friday May 1.  While the kids practis the moms hang out on the deck. Thaimout reataurant is closed now. Yvonne and Karen still enjoy the sunset with BYO Chang.  

 Safety first, soaking wet clothes before the fireshow. Mom also brougth a bucket of water, to the amusement of the more experianed parents.  

 How did it go? He nailed it! No burns, and he did not stop until the poies were burned out.  

  Very proud 11-year old boy!  

You can see some of the show here: Lucas’s fire show

  This week Sanuk school had visitors from Children of the forest. 45 kids from north of Thailand. New friends and memories for life. Photo: Lola Sahlin.  

  Loading clothes and toys. Donations to Children of the forest from parents and locals. Photo: Lola Sahlin

 You can make friends in a short time even if you do not speak the same languange. 

 April is also the start of the best-sunset-season. Enjoying everyone of them as we move into our last month on this beautyful island. 

Song Kran 2015

This is the third Thailand New Year we celebrate in Thailand in a row. 2013 in Koh Lipe, 2014 in Koh Lanta like this year. The school had a short day today, and finished at 12. All the parents came to school armed to the teeth with waterguns and buckets, in the belife that we would surprise the kids. But the kids were ready, hidden behind the rail at second floor it was the parents that was in for å surprise.  Boy did we get wet! After school the families hung out by the main road at May’s Bar and Restaurant, where they had big tanks of water to fill the water pistols and buckets. We all had the nice Hawaian shirts.. 

 

The kids had a blast soaking everyone on the streets and on tuk tuks, not a soul got past dry. The thai people greeted everyone with chalk in the face for good luck.

  

Moments from March

  

You can only stay for a limited time in Thailand before you have to leave the country and come back. We(me and Lucas) had to leave on March 4. We decided to make a small vacation out of our visarun and booked flight to Bali, Indonesia. We have never been before, so this was a perfect opportunity to se a new country. 4 days in Ubud made us longing to come back. We stayed in a small family run resort, Savira Bungalow,  close to Ubud city center. Quiet garden and pool, and the sweetest staff. Every morning when we woke up, there was coffee and hot water on our balcony table.  

 Hot coffe every morning and afternoon.

   The view from our room. 

  Reception area. 

  

  Lots of healty food and juices in Ubud. Tasted delicious.

  Friday we visited Green School in Ubud. International school buildt almost entirely out of bamboo. The school with no walls.

The bamboo bridge connecting the campus with the village where some of the students live.  

The heart of school.  

One of the classrooms for the younger kids. Want to learn more about this school, watch the TED talk with John Hardy, the founder of Green School.

Comming back from Bali more friends and family took their time to come visit us at Koh Lanta.  

  Always room for one more in a tuc tuc.

  Birthday celebration at Banana Garden Home. 

 My brother and sister i law. Enjoying the sunset.   Not the worst place to have your birthday. Lovely Lola always brings you flowers and gifts for you birthday. 

 Bos’s sister and her daugther arrived a few days before we left for Bangkok and Easter holiday in Norway. 

  Two nights in Bangkok on our way home. Lucky to have friends with a garden suite. 

 An afternoon in Kidzania was great fun, at least for Lucas. 

 Back in winter Norway.  Going to Thailand again April 11. Stay tuned.

Moments from February

IMG_3295 January 30th we moved from Golden Bay to Banana Beach Resort, a new resort at the southend of Klong Dao. A bit further from school but such a lovely place to stay. Grand mother and Grand father came to visit on the same day as the move. They had done a round trip in Vietman, Laos and Cambodia and were happy to settle down and take it easy for a while. They stayed with us for 3 very short weeks.  

 Grandfather and Grandmother arriving Banana Beach Resort.

  Onsite hairdresser! Nice view for a hairsaloon.

  Got a hammoc from Grandfather for my birthday, best birthday present ever! 

   Dinner in Saladan in the swedish (or ukranian) restaurant.

  Sanuk school 10 year anniversary. 

On February 14.th we left Koh Lanta for another beautiful island. 7 hours on Tigerline ferry and we landed on Koh Lipe. Just in time for sunset.

  Castaway Resort Koh Lipe.

  Pictionary in the walking street.

  Sunset on Pattaya Beach.

  Hammoc time.

 Snorkeling right of the beach on Sun Rise Beach. 

The mandatory sunset picture from Klong Dao.