Thanks for reading!

We had an amazing trip in Thailand in August - here are some highlights.
If you have any questions about our trip , please email me ( We'd love to hear about your travels too - or any ideas you have about where we should go next!

Some tips on reading the travel log: "I" is usually Juliana, except for Ty's two entries (which are labeled).

We entered these backwards, so you can read straight down to move through the trip chronologically. No backscrolling!

Ignore the posting dates - go by the dates in the title.

Friday, October 1, 2010

8/16 Monday: Beach Bums in Koh Samui

(no trace of the wedding, but plenty of room to relax!)

After a long night of trying not to roll over onto our sunburns, we had another enormous western breakfast at our hotel, overlooking the beautiful Lamai Bay and its aquamarine waters (and FF tourists). Then we headed up to Silavadee to join the wedding party for the day. The hotel allowed us to stay and use their facilities as part of our friend's wedding package – and the hotel is amazing! There are infinity pools everywhere, including a private one in Emily and Jens's enormous honeymoon suite (along with a private cabana, pre-loaded ipods and speakers, a beautiful room overlooking the ocean, a large bathroom with giant concrete soaking tub – an amazing suite!).

We spent most of the day down on the hotel's private beach where Emily had been married the day before. Today instead of wedding outfits, we wore bathing suits, playing in the water and lounging on the sand. The water was warm and quiet, and the scenery beautiful. It was a little cooler – although I had to wear a thin long sleeve shirt in the water to keep my scorched back from getting worse! We joked that I had taken to swimming like the natives, all covered up. Emily is nothing if not fun-loving, and it was great to spend a whole day with her and her friends (and Jens and his friends) just relaxing together. Emily and I have had very little time to just have fun together over the past 10 years since college – our visits have been a series of quick dinners or short overnight visits when she has been able to come back to California. It was also great to meet many of her friends from other places than Davis and spend time with them having fun. It didn't hurt that all of this was happening on a palm tree strewn private beach in paradise either!

Ty tried to snorkel again but the coral was dead here too, and again there were just a few species of fish to enjoy. We got to kayak a bit around the point adjacent to our beach, and saw schools of little silver fish which would leap out of the water together, like little flying fish all in a leaping school. Once in a while a larger fish would leap out of the air chasing them. They were beautiful to watch glinting in the sun and leaping in unison.

(wearing my protective shirt - no more sunburn for me!)

We also enjoyed the beautiful larger infinity pool that served the rest of the hotel, and overlooked both the ocean and the beach. It was surreal and beautiful, a wonderful day. We got to shower and clean up in Emily and Jens's cabana to save a trip back to our hotel, then went to dinner with the wedding party and couple's families in Chaweng. We had good Italian food at a very modern, beautiful restaurant – not what we were expecting to eat in Thailand! The menu was impressive for a tropical island, with pastas, pizzas, and classic Italian dishes like osso buco – I guess this is one of the perks of vacationing where the Europeans are the main target group!

We had good discussions about Europe, America, and the rest of the world with our new German friends. It is always amazing to realize how differently the rest of the world is educated and informed compared to the history and news we get at home. It seems that anyone from anywhere knows more about anyone from anywhere than Americans know about anyone anywhere! We were convicted to bone up on our geography and world news when we got home.

(really good pasta in Thailand??)

After dinner we split up – the guys went to a hotel where many in the wedding party were staying for beers on the beach, Ty gamely joining the Germans for the night. I joined the girls and Jens's mom for foot massages in town. It was fun to be girly with friends again, and of course our massages were great. Afterward the old married ladies (Emily, me, and Jens's mom) headed back to find the men at the hotel, while the young single ladies headed into town for more nightlife. It was fun to have Emily joining the wives's club with us instead of heading off into the singles world as she used to – although I think it was an interesting reality check for her.

(hanging out with the germans on the beach)

We spend some time on the beach with the Germans, Jens, and his dad, before heading back. It was a beautiful night and we go to see some tourists release the paper lanterns that are famous in Thailand over the bay. They were beautiful and I wished we could come for the yearly festival when hundreds of lanterns are released into the night sky – it must be amazing.

Although we had taken mini-buses into town, we didn’t schedule a return trip, and now had to find a songthaew to get us all home at 1am. We finally got one and stopped first as Silavadee to drop off the wedding party, then Ty and I continued on to Lamai Wanta. Our driver was very old and perhaps too old to be working. He couldn’t find out hotel and despite our knocking on the window to tell him to turn around, he decided to drive on to the next town to look for it. It was very later, we were getting a little sick from the diesel and tipsy driving, and we were concerned that the driver didn’t care to listen to our communication efforts. When he pulled down a dark side road between towns and stopped the car, I started to worry! Then a few meters down the dark road a car’s headlights turned on and I was sure that we were about to be mugged. It turned out to be a coincidence – the driver was finally consulting his map. He got us back to downtown Lamai and we jumped at out at the closest landmark we recognized, and walked the rest of the way home on foot. Again, we passed the sad, empty bars filled only with bartenders and the women they hire to attract and tend to customers. It just wasn’t busy enough to create the Vegas-style nightlife they were hoping to project with their loud music and flashing neon lights. We made it back to our hotel and crashed happily into our giant bed.

(our giant bed!)

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