Wedding on a Thai Island

There are some INCREDIBLY beautiful islands in Thailand! 

Son Erik and his wife Ray chose one of the best for their wedding celebration. 

Koh Munnork. Tiny. Private. Beautiful. 

It sounds pretty wild to say, 
"We had the entire island to ourselves for the wedding," 
but - it's a VERY small island. 

One resort. 22 villas. 
You can walk around the whole island in no time.

We had it for the entire weekend. 
And we filled it with some GREAT times!

Kilian, Erik & Mikey tuning up dance moves.

Ray's family comes from the east of Thailand. 
We hadn't met them before. 

And a few friends from Bangkok.

The rest of the family - ours - came from New Mexico, Germany, France. 

All of us came across together on a cool old wooden ex-fishing boat...

Erik joins Wolfgang, Carlene and Monica

- and began exploring the island, where wild peacocks roam between the villas. 

We find kayaks and snorkels and paddleboards.

The Thai family are a great bunch. 
(Actually, everyone there was fun!)

In fact, the whole wedding was more fun than I expect most weddings are. 
It was casual, but - there were definite traditional steps. 

During the ceremony, the 4 parents sit behind the couple. 
The table is covered with fruits and flowers.

There were "challenges" for Erik:
 - including doing 10 pushups - 

- and showing that he can dance - and sing - 
- and do the limbo.

Calling to Ray in Essarn, the language of her region in Thailand. 

Lots of laughing -  and hugs. 

There was a lot of string-typing - each string representing a good wish. 

Very relaxed and fun - with lots of picture-taking - 

- and of course dancing and singing later.

- and excellent Thai seafood. 

Homemade liquor from upcountry, 
plenty of Thai beer - 

Grandson Noah gets daring with a sparkler.

Sparklers - games - pool playing - speeches - 

(Some were not expecting to give a speech, 
but gave it their best -)

Kilian and Mikey give speeches

I hear the party continued until sometime after 3 am.

(Not that either Stan or I made it up that late-)

The tables were covered in white silk, courtesy of one of the guests, whose family's silk business had an extra bolt of the fabric around-! 

Everyone helped out, which was fun. 

Even wrapped a few trees in Thai silk. 

I'm 68 years old. 
This is the second of my 3 sons to get married. 
All 3 are with women I like.

That's pretty cool.

Mikey and Iris

Kilian and Aidan

It's awfully easy to get emotional about it all.
They're so young - 

"Hak Lai Der"
- I love you - 

Dawn on Koh Munnork

Skiing in Austria!

With - ALL the kids and family.

How cool and rare is THAT?

Aidan - Kilian - Mikey - Noah - Iris - Trish - Ray - Erik

First trip ANYWHERE for us outside Languedoc in 2 YEARS-! 
(I don't think I've spent a whole year in one country in my entire LIFE before.)

And - it was AWESOME. 

All the kids made it - from Berlin, from the US. 

In spite of the threat of cancelled flights, new restrictions. 
Even though Austria had just come out of full lockdown. 

And: We had the slopes to ourselves. 

Kilian and Aidan at the top of a lift, above the clouds, Innsbruck below.

Sometimes we were the ONLY people on the entire lift - or the slopes. 
No lines, no waiting. Parking lots empty.

Ray following Erik down the hill. No one else around.

Almost eerie. 

Erik and I enjoy the sun while the others catch up

We rented a big house in Igls, just outside Innsbruck. 
Where my family used to go when we were kids.

And found a big VW van that fit all 9 of us - plus skis.

Noah (5) learned to ski quickly. And fast. 
His parents are both good skiers. 

Mikey, Noah, and Iris in the gondola

Noah was pretty darn excited about the whole ski thing.

Ray was a first time skier too. (Not much snow in Thailand-) 
She also learned quickly, with Erik's help.

Ray, bravely tackling the steep slopes -

Erik, sporting cool hat from Tbilisi, Georgia

Kilian is the only one who's been skiing regularly, in Taos, New Mexico. 
He was also pretty excited. He's been teaching Aidan - another quick learner.

Meanwhile, Stan had the house to himself all day, while we were skiing. 
Which - was just fine with Stan, who was working on a big music project.

This is more his style: 

We did plenty of that, too. 

He and I took the train from Narbonne to Innsbruck, through Switzerland.
Spent time in Alsace and Burgundy and Zürich, staying in cozy hotels, eating and drinking well. 

Me? I haven't been skiing much in the past 10-15 years. 
Maybe a half dozen times, usually with Kilian.

I wasn't sure how it would go. 
But - after a day or two, it felt comfortable again.

And - I'm STILL wearing the same ski suit - the now "retro"
 onesie - that I taught the kids to ski in decades ago!

Teaching Mikey - 1989 Albuquerque Journal front page

Okay, if you go back even FURTHER:

Here I am, in Igls, at the top of Patscherkofel, in 1966. 
Exactly where we are now.
With cable ski bindings and leather lace-up boots. 

And yes, I think that's a St. Bernard beside me. 
Probably wearing the requisite cask of brandy, too.

Totally old style.

We skied every day but one, when we explored Innsbruck. 
Different mountains, including ones used for Olympic downhill and slalom events. 

Some trails had neat little huts located strategically for hot spiced wine.

Kilian, Mikey and Erik make a quick stop.

 Or a picnic and a bit of ski slope yoga in the sun.

So how was the official part -? Covid and paperwork?

This Itchy Feet Comic pretty much says it all:

Not the Swiss - not the French - not the Austrians - even the train people never checked our Senior Pass Cards. Or the negative tests. Or the entry forms. 

NO ONE was interested in all their required paperwork. * sigh *

Yes, we're all triple-vaxxed. (And Noah already had covid-)
Yes, we have to show proof - the QR code on our phones - to enter public buildings. 

Yes, we have to wear masks, even on the ski lifts, which - is kinda difficult! 
Under the goggles and the helmet, over the neck warmer or scarf? 

But - at least there's a system, and - we could go skiing.


The other half of the covid part-? NO ONE WAS ANYWHERE. 

Dijon - in Burgundy

Not in the cities. Not on the trains. Not in the restaurants.

Ok, it was January. It was cold. 

But - still. Kind of eerie. 

We took turns cooking. 

Everything from New Mexican green chile stew and homemade posole

 - to Thai ramen and Italian pasta. 

And plenty of hot spiced Glühwein.

So good to all get together again. And - skiing! 

 It's been a long time. 

SO glad it all worked out-!

Here's what Igls looked like, back in 1966:

Not too much different now.

It's still - kind of magic.