Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday cheer

Tomorrow I will begin a five day volunteer program in the Northern Andaman coast. I will be staying in a small village called Ban Talae Nok (far off the tourist trail) and most likely not have Internet access. I want to send my love and wish you all a Merry Christmas! Drink some eggnog for me please! <3

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Turtle Island

I spent the past seven days on Koh Tao... This is a dreamy place with a young funkiness and rugged greenery lining the white sand beaches. There are many places to lounge and meet other travelers- many hammocks strung between palm trees and open air restaurants showing films nightly. Most travelers go to Koh Tao for the exceptional diving. After taking two days of "classes", I'm officially an advanced diver. This course included five specialty dives, the night dive being the most special experience. Halfway through, our teacher instructed us to turn off our torches. We sat in a circle on the sandy ocean floor in total darkness. When we waved our hands, tiny phosphorescent particles glistened in the night. To intensify the strange feeling we began swimming with our flashlights off, glowing with each movement.

Monthly reef clean with Scuba Junction.
A pile of rubbish retreived from Sairee Reef. This is a small portion of what we found. Nightly fire dancing on the beach at Lotus Bar.
Another gorgeous sunset.
Sairee Beach. Koh Tao.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My mom and I spent the remaining five nights of this memorable vacation together sight seeing, zooming around on a vespa, indulging, and relaxing on the island of Ko Samui. Absolute paradise.
Infinity pool at the classy Anantara Hotel."Big Buddha"
Traditional thai dancers on Bo Phut beach.
Dinner at one of the many restaurants on the beach (my camera made an interesting effect with the flame)
The luxurious part of our vacation began in Hua Hin, five hours southeast of Bangkok. We literally stumbled upon the glamorous Anantara Resort. It sits on the beach shore, quite isolated from the noisy town center. We planned on only staying one night, but loved it so much, we had to extend to three nights. We spent our time lounging by the pool and beach, strolling through the Hua Hin night market, eating excellent ethnically-varied cuisine and elephant riding.

Happy arrivals in Hua Hin, the ultimate lap of luxury. Morning yoga session on grassy lawn.

Beautiful teak interior in the lobby of Anantara Resort.
Mom and I going for a ride on a 25 year old pregnant female elephant.

It's been a while since I've had any kind of connection into cyberspace... For the next few entries I will post pictures from the past two weeks spent with my mom in Thailand.... yes, she made it for a visit to "the land of smiles" afterall! Lucky for her, she was able to secure a spot on the very first plane into Suvarnabhumi airport following the closure. After much complication around planning where to meet, we decided on the Sukhumvit district of Bangkok. This area didn't appear very scenic, so we moved to the Arun Residence (in Ko Ratanakosin) with an amazing view of Wat Arun from it's rooftop bar. While in this temple district we noticed the drastic contrast between wealthy (mainly Thai tourists) and impoverished people in the surrounding area. Although culturally interesting, it was time to move onto the next city.

Photos in and around Bangkok:
Wat Arun at sunset.
Part of a mosaic wall, made up of cut plates, glass and stone - Wat Arun.
Looking down at my mom from the steep flight of stairs, leading up to top ledge.

Private long boat tour of the waterways near Bangkok - "Venice of the East"Old man playing an instrument at Taling Chan market.

Floating market just outside of Bangkok.
Orange and dragonfruit juices sold from a riverside vender.