after barely making the bus to get to the airport (the train was late! the trains are NEVER late in Japan, but naturally, that day they where), and then only just getting to our connecting flight in Shanghai to Bangkok, we settled in for three nights and two days in Thai Cozy House, a great little guest house I'd definitely recommend to anyone going to Thailand. The first full day was spent taking in the palace and the temple, and of course, eating delicious food. The food was great everywhere though, i must say. We did the weekend market the next morning, which was actually more overwhelming and cramped than we could really handle. The night market in the evening was far superior, and we got lots of great clothes and accessories there. All hand-made goods, of course, at ridiculously low prices. Bargaining was something I wasn't very good at, but Kelly managed to get the prices of things down to next-to-nothing a lot of the time. it was impressive.
early on the next morning, we took the seven hour bus and hour and half boat ride to Koh Tao, where we spent the next 8 days. Koh Tao is lovely, and if you look it up on wikipedia, it'll give you a good idea of what the place is like. Kelly did her diving certifications there, and i tagged along on the boat most days to swim, snorkel, and photograph the crew. there were four people in her class including her, two British guys named Ben and Matt and a German guy named Bjorn. Kelly was diving buddies with Bjorn, which was hilariously great because she was the shortest one of the group and Bjorn is 6'6''. they were all splendid fellows though, as was the instructor Jack, an absolutely hilarious Irishman. i enjoyed listening to his talks before the dives even though i wasn't taking part. i laughed til my sides hurt. and i really loved taking pictures for everyone else. i got pretty good at it too, catching people in mid-flip entering the water and such. in the evenings it was different restaurants and bars around the island, and i'll admit i had more to drink than i should have one or two nights. still, i really had a great time nearly every day and night. even the days where i sat alone on the porch of our room and read and thought and went and meditated on the beach were very productive for me, even if some of the things i uncovered in myself were less than fun (see previous post).
one day we went and rented motorbikes to tour around the island on a free afternoon, and that was a lot of fun except for when kelly hurt her foot a bit on one of the really rough stretches of road, which aren't much more than beaten-down dirt paths. we went to the full moon party on the last night on another island, Koh Phanang, but it wasn't really our scene, and a few of us, not being able to get back til the boat came in the morning, slept on the beach by the pier as there were no accommodations vacant due to the party. after that night, it was back to Koh Tao to get our luggage and then back up to Bangkok for another day and a half before our flight out.
it was a great vacation, but i'll admit after 12 days, i was also really happy to get back home to Japan. Tropical heat and sun are nice for a while, but the warmer spring weather that brought in the cherry blossom season back home was more my style. i would certainly consider going back though, it was a great experience that i'll never forget. i may even want to go diving, it looked like so much fun even watching my friends under the water as i snorkeled. we'll see. regardless, i will always have fondness for the time i spent and the friends i made there.
me and one of the guards at the palace. i have tons of pictures of this place, but this is one of me, since this is my journal, dammit!! but i can show more to anyone interested, just let me know.
the beach on Koh Tao just a few minutes from our door.
a beautiful shot of Kelly out on the boat that I'm particularly proud of.
the full team, from left to right: Matt, Ben, Bjorn, Kelly, Anna and Garret from South Africa (they only did a few days with the rest of us) and Jack.
a nice shot Kelly got of me at a lovely cafe/bar at the top of a mountain we motorbiked up. they also had a whale skeleton there, but the view was really the main attraction.
and just look at the kind of views we had!
Kelly and I on the boat before their night dive, the day before the full moon. such a pretty night!
in action as group photographer. notice one camera in my hand, and two in my lap. after Kelly took this, I got hers too, hehe.
we took nearly a thousand pictures on this trip, mostly of diving and scenery, but i might put more up on just my photo account if anyone is interested.
anyway, that's my Thailand post, next up will be Korea. I will also have to add to the list of things to post about our trip to Kyoto in full furisode kimono garb...a great day with great pictures! so stay tuned!!