Just wanted to share what we have been up to on our Thailand vacation. Kind of weird to take a vacation from travel, but we needed to slow down after our nine weeks of non-stop activity in New Zealand and before a month working in Cambodia. Here are some highlights:
- Talking with family on Christmas Day–both our Christmas Day and our day after Christmas which was still Christmas back home. It was great to feel like we were sitting in our parents’ living rooms talking with them and just hanging out. Gotta love Skype! We sure enjoyed it, but it made us miss home, in a good way. It’s wonderful to have that feeling, as odd as it may seem. We have met many travelers who couldn’t be more happy not to be with family during the holidays and it makes us grateful for what we have.
- Hiring a motorbike/scooter for a day and cruising the island. There’s really only two roads on the island and we managed to take the wrong one. We realized when the water was to the east instead of the west that we had somehow ended up on the wrong side of the island, but it was a nice detour and we ran into several other tourists who had also taken the wrong road. Once we got on the right road we made it to the very southern tip of the island and then trekked back to find another place to stay for our last five days.
- Found the Sunset Bungalows on Klong Nin beach, south of Papillon, the first place we stayed on the island. Met Rak, the owner and host of the bungalows, who jokes about charging 200 baht for every service (for example: sitting in his hammocks, picking us up from our last hotel, etc). We still haven’t seen our bill so we sure hope he is joking, but he does laugh every time he says it so… fingers crossed. The people here are very nice, the rooms are super clean, the food is good, and it’s ocean front! Our room doesn’t have a view but about 10 meters from our door is the sand (and it’s half the price of the ocean view bungalows). We thought it was really easy to find a place since this was the first spot we had pulled into, but we later learned that some other guests had checked most of the resorts on the beach and found that many were quite full.
- Had our first Thai massage on the beach. Ahhhhh…. this is a combination of torture and relaxation techniques. There were a couple of times where we both wanted to cry out, “UNCLE!” but we’re sure they would have no idea what we were talking about. The real sound of the ocean versus the recorded sounds you usually hear when getting a massage really did make the experience that much better. Planning to get one more massage on the beach and probably one more when we get back to Bangkok. For $7 an hour, how can you pass that up? John says we are practically making money!
- Eating more Thai food: Panang curry, Massaman curry, papaya salad, tom yum soup, and more phad thai. We have also learned that pointing at things on the menu is dangerous, similar to raising your paddle at an auction… if you point at it, you’re getting it. We ended up with twice as much food and two beers that we didn’t order one afternoon at lunch. We keep our hands in our pockets now until we are sure of what we are ordering. We have had one guilty pleasure–homemade pizza and bread sticks from Nick’s Pizzeria. It was a needed break from 10 days of eating Thai food and it was gorgeous.
- Most of the rest of our time has been spent lounging and reading (at the moment, John: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; Erin: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and watching the sunset. Our new place has many spots to lounge, both in the sun and under shade. John has found another hammock he has fallen in love with and wants to try to bring home (for those of you who don’t know, we brought two hammocks home with us from Costa Rica in 2007). We did realize after five days of doing pretty much nothing but eating that we better start doing something so we have taken to running two miles on the beach before breakfast. It does feel good to be active, but lazy is quite nice as well.
We have three more days here before we head back to Bangkok (13 hour bus ride), have a day of rest, and then take another 13 hour bus ride to Phenom Penh, Cambodia. Not totally sure how our New Years Eve will be spent but you can be sure we will be banging some pots and pans together at the stroke of midnight and thinking of family and friends (we may even play a favorite family game, I Betcha a Quarter… or I Betcha Eight Baht, since we are in Thailand).
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!