The day before my vast stretch of days in January was to begin, I sat down next to a man on a flight from St Louis to Minneapolis.
“So, where should I go tomorrow?”
“Where should I go? I have 2 weeks. Pick any place in the world.”
And so: I went.
This time, the photos aren’t just all about me hanging out in front of landmarks. To properly share this travel story, I needed to include those that made it so grand. (But to start, yeah, it might be me in front of a few landmarks. )
Let’s start by throwing you in the Bangkok jungle and get the tuk tuk out of the way.
I only post this shot because for me, it captures the spirit.
But really: I hate these things. Or rather: THESE SCAM DRIVERS INFURIATE ME!
This particular gentleman took advantage of a poor, jet lagged, and naive KH, the culmination of which ended with me stranded in downtown Bangkok, exhausted, hungry and with no money to get back to the hostel. (To be fair, part of this was the fault of Wellsfargo.)
The end of the story: after much navigating/wandering/frantically reading road signs, I turned up at an auto parts store for help, my map clutched tightly in both fists. The boss, a small Thai woman with purple eyebrows, took pity on the crying tourist beseeching her for directions and had one of her men give me a lift back for free. I appreciate her kindness more than I can say.
A temple in downtown Bangkok.
As I was wandering the temple grounds, I found a man selling bread, and a new bucket list item was accomplished: have a bird eat from my hand.
And then I crawled around on the ground till I could catch one of the slower ones. SUCCESS! (Sorry to ruin your dinner, bud.)
Day two: I finally make it to the Grand Palace.
And it was. Completely. Grand.
I have a grand plethora of photos of me sitting on, around, and near really big sparkly things. It was more than just eye candy — this was a twelve tiered layer cake, rich with butter cream frosting.
When in Rome.
(This means there is double peace sign galore in all the rest of my photos.
Looking through these post-vacation, I want to cut off all my fingers.)
Day three and I’m on a ferry to the island Kho Phi Phi with a group of strangers. I took a spontaneous night flight down to Phuket the night before and within 20 minutes of being in my hostel, I receive my invitation. I saw absolutely nothing of Phuket in the 10 hours or so that I was on the ground… but I’m okay with that. This way was more interesting.
Koh Phi Phi. We have arrived.
It’s not a beach vacation unless you have properly photographed a pair of fruity drinks in front of a gloriously sunny backdrop.
I’ll warn you now there’s 274 more photos to come of Caroline.
(273 to go.)
Sunset on Kho Phi Phi.
Did a day trip from Koh Phi Phi to some nearby islands. One of the very best days of vacation which included swimming, snorkeling (hey, Bucket List: I’m killing you), sunning on the beach, fresh pineapple while searching for monkeys on the island, and a sunset on the water.
Backfloating around in this little lagoon without a care in the world was more than brilliant.
Next stop: Maya Beach, known as the lush and verdant island backdrop to Leonardo in The Beach.
One of my favorite photos from the trip.
For me it captures what I think is the best way to travel.
(Best way to travel: the open sea air on your face as you’re ferrying to the next island, the cabin quiet except for the iPod between you and your new amigo, mellowing out to The Beatles.)
Outside the guesthouse on Koh Lanta: our next island.
There were beautiful birds in all kinds of brilliant cages all over the island.
Just try to tell me ice cream isn’t for breakfast. I find it appropriate at all times while on holiday. (And let’s get real: even when you aren’t.)
The making of an island scooter gang.
Lunch. WIth a view of the water.
Snack. With a view of the hills.
Riding around on an elephant with my French girlfriend. No big deal.
And another bucket list item was been dominated.
We had a private show afterwards…
And let me tell you…
It was borderline terrifying.
Scootered on to a national park to watch the sun go down from a hilltop vantage point at the base of a lighthouse.
Ended epic scooter day on Koh Lanta with a relaxing meal on the beach. (Probably my last attempt at Thai food before my stomach began it’s revolt of all things spicy. Many of my next meals would be Oreos and Kit Kats.)
And onto Koh Phangan.
What better way to celebrate my 24th birthday? At breakfast I was sung to in 7 different languages. (If you know someone that can speak Dutch, I highly recommend this.)
Spent the entirety of the day on the beach, playing soccer, frisbee, and kayaking.
Posing in front of our bungalows before a grand dinner on the beach.
Waiting for our night bus back to Bangkok. It wasn’t too bad of a ride until I realized later my credit card was stolen on the journey. Here, I am going to award Wellsfargo back the points they lost for getting me my money back. Although the truly scary thing: the thief opened my camera bag, removed the card, but left my sacred Canon alone. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Day trip to Thailand’s old capital, Ayutthaya (which I still can’t pronounce,) for some monks, temples, and of course more peace signs.
This was after I told my new friend to “Hit it, bro” in Dutch.
Wat Po — another temple next door to the Grand Palace back in Bangkok. It also has a well known massage school where I snagged a traditional Thai for another bucket list item. All went well until the very end when he jammed his fingers in my ears, patted me on the head, and sent me on my way.
A rooftop snack of Hershey’s and Coca Cola to round out the adventure.
Over the course of my two weeks, I was attacked by bed bugs, got a sore throat, multiple upset stomachs, burned my foot on the beach, had my leg cut open, and weathered one tourist-tastic sun burn. Lost money, had money stolen, lost clothes, had clothes stolen, annnd had my credit card swiped. BUT: Best. Time. Ever. Thanks, Thailand.
And to conclude upon my Asian adventure: It’s not where you are, but who you meet.
(Although, yeah, we were in a pretty sweet corner of the globe too. )
PS: “I think we are bea-u-tiful!”