But we did go to Thailand. It was a great trip; dare I say it, better than I was expecting? From the movies on the plane, to the quality of food, to our ability to avoid scams, to our string of mostly-good weather, we seemed to take in some of the best the country had to offer. We even recovered a Kindle left (!) on a plane (!!), and I discovered a love for fruit smoothies I never knew I had. You know what we call that? #Winning.
(Did I just do a hash tag that was made popular years ago by a self-destructing Charlie Sheen? Yes, I just did. Whew, that was embarrassing).
We landed in Bangkok, a city that in certain elements reminded me of the proverbial cousin that you can't help but love but who is always inappropriately drunk and finding themselves in bizarre and sometimes terrible situations, but who is just so fun that you don't mind sitting next to them at the next family reunion because you never quite know what you're going to get. Yeah, that's Bangkok. It's a beautiful, crazy, mess of a city where we managed to avoid most scams, stood in several lines that went nowhere, found very stinky sewers, beautiful palaces, cool and comfortable malls, and tuk-tuk drivers that wanted to give us the run around. We almost found every place we were looking for, and we didn't have anything stolen in the process, which I consider a very successful visit. We also had a lovely family friend show us around the first night, and I think that helped a great deal. (Hint: Insist taxis use their meters. Always. Unless you're by the Palace, ten taxis have turned you down on said meter-requirement, and one taxi offers you a fare that is very inflated but 75% lower than all previously offered fares. Then you take him up on that shit and hop in. Remember, taxis not tuk-tuks, and police men can be liar-faces. That temple is. not. closed.)
Whew. Bangkok! Google scams before you go, so you know what to look for, dive in, and hold on. I actually really liked the entire experience.
We took the train up to Chiang Mai, which is the second biggest city in Thailand but so much smaller than Bangkok. The train was long and a little run down, but I have an inexplicable affection for trains and I can't help but forgive them even when they are slow and late and a little gross. It was an old decommissioned Japanese train, so all the signs were in katakana, which made me laugh a bit. We got to sleep on a train, which no one in our group seemed to love as much as me (and perhaps the jolly and singing-at-1-am-Germans next to us).
In Chiang Mai we were supposed to go to an Elephant Reserve, but I accidently booked us for August instead of July, so we let ourselves be talked into going to pet tigers and visiting Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep instead. My PNW little heart wasn't sure about the tigers -- who were not drugged and looked well cared for, kept satiated by being fed constantly -- but I can't help but assume that they probably are not achieving their tiger life-long dreams when they being petted by tourists all day. But I may be making incorrect assumptions of the tigers, who could be stoked to eat all the time and then lie around and do nothing. I mean, I'm American. I can get behind that lifestyle.
After Amos' cousins had to head back to the Philippines, we stuck around Chiang Mai to go mountain biking. Since we are athletic and outdoorsy and apparently full of ourselves, I signed us up for the "intermediate" course even though neither has been on a mountain bike before (we road bike! same thing!). Um, no. It was really hard. We both fell multiple times. In the end, we were coved head to toe in mud and have several scrapes. I didn't realize that going down would be so completely exhausting. We're now both hooked on it. Amos is already planning a bike purchase when we return back to Seattle. Also: The mountain biking took a pit stop at a coffee plantation, which was just as cool as it sounded.
We ventured into the old City on that last night and ate at a place called the DaDa Cafe, which was a combination of Chiang Mai, Thailand and Boulder, Colorado. I loved it. Tofu green curry, with an avocado-mango-wheatgrass smoothie? Oh man, be still my little hippie heart. (If you listen closely, you can hear my dad pretend to vomit.)
We then caught a plane and flew down to Koh Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand, which we picked since it was one of the sunniest islands in Thailand (we were heading there in the rainy season) and had enough stuff to keep us busy should it monsoon while we were there (we're realists). Our big goal was to sit on our butts, read books, and drink Singha. The weather cooperated, I read Wolf Hall, Amos tackled 1Q84, and we had a fantastic time rotating from pool to beach to hammock to cabana deck and back again. There was that one time that I convinced Amos to go explore with me and we ended up walking along a busy, decidedly not picturesque road for an hour. I love walking in the same way I love trains, so I was okay with the situation. Amos, justifiably, was ready to return to said pool-beach-hammock schedule that we have previously agreed on. He course corrected by insisting we turn around and getting a dragonfruit smoothie on the way back to the hotel. We stayed 3 days on the beach, which we have realized is the perfect amount of R&R time, especially when I can't help but turn a nice shade of red, no matter how often I lather up with the 50 sunscreen. The trip ended with a majestic storm rolling in on our last night, and we were able to sit and watch the lightning over the angry ocean. It thundered so loud the windows shook, and I loved it. Thunderstorms are up there with trains and walking for me. I am a simple girl at heart.
On one of our last nights there, we went to a very touristy Fisherman's' Market (note: no fisherman, lots of white people) and ate dinner on the beach and then walked around and drank Pina Coladas out of plastic cups that cost about 50BHT, or a little over $1. We made an early toast to our upcoming anniversary and wondered how we managed to stumble into the life that we're currently living. All I can do is count my lucky starts, cheers my husband, and enjoy it for all it can offer. On that cheesy note, it's time for me to sign off and try to figure out how to get smelly jungle mud stains from our laundry. That shit is rank.