Mis Abuelos: 77-Year-Old Globetrotters

My Abuelo y Abuela island-hopping in Krabi, Thailand.

In 1954, my Abuelo (then a 19-year old ‘Andy’) left Havana, Cuba as part of a ship crew, looking for adventure and better fortune.  He did this for a few years, returning to Cuba periodically, but he ultimately settled in New York City.  There he earned certificates in mechanics, electronic engineering and air-conditioner repair during the day (while also working full-time) and at night, he attended classes to improve his English and earn his GED.  Not long after, he was drafted into the U.S. Army for a mandatory two years.

Upon his release from the Army, he returned to New York City in 1960 where he met my Abuela, (then 26-year-old ‘Concepcion’), a young woman who had left a small farming town in eastern Cuba to stay with her cousin and work as a seamstress in the big city.  Six months later, they were married.  Fifty-two years later, they came to visit their granddaughter in Thailand.

My abuelos have traveled all over North America, South America, the Caribbean and parts of Europe, but this is their first time ever setting foot in Asia.  About a month ago, I was chatting with them over Skype about how great the weather is, how delicious the food is and how cheap the massages are here in Phuket.  I heard my Abuela gasp… and then shriek with delight!  A week later, I received an email confirmation of their travel itinerary: they were coming to Thailand.

Abuelo and Abuela proudly standing in front of the 45-meter Big Buddha in Phuket.

To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what to plan for them to do.  Both of my grandparents are very active people, especially for their age, but at the same time I reminded myself that they are 77 years old.  So Morgan and I rented a car and decided to wait until they got here to see what they felt willing and able to do.

…And since the moment they arrived, my 24-year-old body is having trouble keeping up with all they they want to see, eat, and do!

Abuela, Abuelo and I at a smaller monument near Big Buddha.

They fed bananas to the elephants!

They jumped off a longtail boat and went swimming off islands in Krabi!

Abuela did stop for an afternoon to enjoy one of Thailand’s greatest gifts to women: spa treatments.

Abuela said she felt like a queen.

That day she had a manicure, pedicure and oil massage.  A few days later she had a facial-massage combo and pronounced, “That’s it!  I’m moving to Thailand.”  She took a moment to think about what she had just said and then offered the massage therapist, “Or maybe you come with me to the United States.”  When her massage ended, she kissed the therapist.

…And then we were on the move again.

Abuela went to see Dr. Fish and his associates for a foot treatment.

Karon Beach: where Abuelo and Abuela stayed for two days.

Beach time!

Abuelo and Abuela at Phuket FantaSea, a musical reenactment of Thai history performed within the Palace of the Elephants.

Sunset on their hotel balcony in Karon Beach.

Not bad for 77-year-old-globetrotters, no?

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