Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 7 Relaxation day

After a stressful day yesterday, we opted to stay at the resort for the day. Following breakfast, we went for a swim and just hung out on our room's patio. A storm came through but it passed quickly and the sun was back out shortly.
We hadn't been into town yet so we took the shuttle there and walked around for a bit. It was very very small. I got a manicure and pedicure but it definitely wasn't the US kind. It's always interesting seeing the similarities and differences between places.

When it was time to head back, we decided to walk to save the cost of a tuk tuk. A nice French couple ended up asking where we were staying since they were looking for a place. They ended up walking back with us and choosing to stay as well. Later on we ran into them at the pool.

In the late afternoon, we had our massage included with the hotel package. After expressing my disappointment with the included boat tour yesterday they offered to extend our massage to two hours followed by a romantic sunset drink and appetizers. The massage was great. Traditional Thai massages sure know how to stretch you in directions you didn't know were possible. Jeremy isn't the most flexible so he always giggles when they stretch him awkwardly. Even with me being more flexible, sometimes it's a bit much but feels really good at the same time.

Here are some pictures from our sunset spot! Just perfect!
Loving every moment
Delicious watermelon cocktails and apps
And even rocks with our initials. Too sweet and such a nice surprise from the hotel as an apology for our experience yesterday.
Next, we headed down to the reggae bar for the rest of the sunset and dinner on the beach. It's a rocky coast on this side of the resort but beautiful too.
Lounging around
Such a relaxing day!
Bamboo huts!

Last, we did a lantern ceremony! This was something I had researched and really wanted to do but wasn't sure if we were going to be able to. Again, this was something I had seen on TV on a Bachelor date. They lit lanterns and made wishes as they watched them sail off into the distance. Super romantic and sweet. I certainly know what my wish is, and I think you all probably know as well. I'm still dying to find out if we were successful this round and am wishing and hoping maybe we will have good news soon! We can certainly wish with some Thai lanterns. Who knows maybe it will come true!
Waiting for them to heat up! It took about five minutes.
About to release them and make wishes!
Off they up into the sky! Wish I thought to take a video sooner!
And now they are off in the distance, and we watched until they disappeared into the darkness! Very special experience!

And that wish brings me back to some updates on that front. While being away has been wonderful and a great distraction, I will definitely admit our pregnancy struggles are still very prevalent on my mind. In the quiet moments when flying or driving to or from a destination, I find my mind wandering and wondering if I could be pregnant. These two weeks waiting to find out get me every time! You would think it gets easier but it really doesn't. I feel like the hope actually gets stronger. I do know that this time around I'm doing everything the doctors said including the extra progesterone pill twice a day as well as the other medicines. I do feel like we are making progress but I'm terrified of starting over again. 

At least I know the next steps, and I will likely be at the doctor the Monday we get back getting my baseline bloodwork and ultrasound to make sure we are at a good starting point. I will also need another round of testing. Until we get back, all I can do is be patient and see what happens. Taking a pregnancy test is so tempting, and I actually did the other day because the doctor suggested I try one this week but I'm hoping it was just too early to test because I was not pleased with the result. We will see what happens but until then I'm going to keep enjoying every moment of our one year anniversary trip and taking in every moment of us being together in this special place! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 6 Disastrous island boat tour

We woke up very excited for a relaxing day on a boat exploring the islands of southern Thailand. The weather looked pretty good as seen here at breakfast. We had no idea what we were in for next!
After breakfast, we were driven thirty minutes to a pier where we saw the boat we would be taking. I had booked a package deal with this hotel that included 3 nights, breakfast, a day trip island tour, and a one hour massage. Sounded like a great deal but this definitely didn't play out as planned.

It is rainy season here, and I was well aware of the potential for monsoon like rains. We've been fortunate for most of our trip that the weather has been great but today things took a turn for the worse. Check out how the day started at 9am. These pictures are pretty misleading, and it's amazing how quickly a storm can come in on the water.
Pretty blue skies and looks nice right?
Enjoying the sun while we had it!
About fifteen minutes later, once we were about thirty off shore a huge storm hit. The problem was that we were in this little boat with an engine that seemed like it could break at any moment.
The three tour guides/boat drivers decided to continue on anyway. A lot of storms pass quickly so we hoped that would be the case. The wind, the rain, the waves splashing into our boat made for quite a rough, rocky experience. Thankfully, after about thirty minutes of boating through the storm, we made it to an island where we were able to spend sometime on land. It felt good not to be shaking back and forth. This was the beach we stopped at for lunch, and where we attempted to wait out the storm.
After waiting it out, they made the call not to go to the one cove because the waves were too big so they decided to go to another spot for snorkeling. The first spot we got to wasn't safe. The next spot we had the same problem. Finally, they found an area where the waves were a bit calmer, and we could snorkel. This turned out to be the highlight of the day.
The fish were pretty awesome! We fed them watermelon, pineapple, and rice. They swarmed you, and it tickled.
And my turn.
I'm glad we were able to snorkel even if just for a few minutes. There were some pretty amazing colored fish, and this one blue one was awesome!
We got back on the boat to try and find one more spot to go since we missed a few of the other islands. Not a good idea. They ended up having to anchor the boat to try and wait out the storm. They said the waves were too big that they couldn't even let us off onto the beach that was nearby. At this point, we were both getting a little scared but at least we knew we were in swimming distance to land. After at least an hour if not more waiting for the torrential downpours and wind to stop, they decided to try and get back to our original destination. It certainty didn't look like it was going to clear up any time soon, and it had been storming for a good 6 hours now. This is also the point when we asked ourselves why this trip wasn't cancelled. I guess no one checked the radar! There was no way you could miss this storm. Here are some pictures of our adventure!
Freezing and soaking wet!
Getting grumpier!
I wish I could have taken more pictures of the intense waves, wind, and rain but I was afraid of breaking my phone. The hour back to land was horrendous. Poor Jeremy got motion sickness from how terrible the rocking was which then led to a chain reaction of other people following. It makes me so sad when he is sick, and there is not much I can do to help. I'm actually shocked that I didn't throw up because my stomach has been bothering me a bit the past few days. Probably the food but also maybe the medicine. The rocking was so intense, and it was constant. One wave after the next. We were both pretty terrified at this point because we were no where near land at this point. The crashing of the waves on the boat seemed like it could flip the boat at any moment. The drivers looked scared as well. We all had on our life jackets preparing for the worse. It felt like we were living a scene of a movie. We thought this was something they dealt with regularly but they told us at lunch that this was actually the worst they had seen. It was a stressful, long, cold, scary hour but thankfully we made it back safely.

The drive back in the back of a truck was not very pleasant either. Definitely something that wouldn't happen in the US. We wanted an adventure, and we sure got one. Glad it's over! Land and a hot shower never felt so good! Tomorrow we were going to try to take a boat trip out to Koh Phi Phi but after todays craziness, we are opting to stay at the resort where we will enjoy the pool, the beach, and some reading. 

Day 5 Travel day to Koh Lanta

We enjoyed our last night in Chiang Mai at a cute little restaurant.
I just loved the swings! Very neat atmosphere. Such a cozy spot!
We were pretty exhausted from the elephant trip and our legs were definitely a bit sore! Then it was time to pack our bags and head south.

In the morning, we left Chiang Mai and flew about 2 hours to the area of Thailand where the beautiful beaches are. Our resort was only accessible by boat so I arranged transportation from the Krabi airport to the hotel. It took about two and a half hours of driving plus two car ferries. They are building a bridge but not so sure about how safe this looks! Definitely different than the building of bridges in the US.
Once we arrived, the hotel was beautiful. It's out on a little peninsula and on a lot of hilly property. Very tropical and right on the beach. Our room has an awesome swim up pool!
And there is a Reggae bar which is really cool too! 
After we explored the grounds, we had dinner at The Peak restaurant for the sunset.
And the sunset!
Traveling always seems to tired us out so we went to bed early. Bright and early tomorrow morning we are doing a four island boat tour. More tomorrow!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 4 Patara Elephant Farm

This morning we woke up early eager to start our elephant caretaker experience! We were picked up at our resort and were driven 45 minutes into the mountains of Northern Thailand. The scenery along the way was just beautiful, and we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather and blue skies for this special day. I had read tons of reviews and two friends recommended Patara Elephant farm. While it was more expensive than most elephant day trips, we wanted to do the most natural environment where the elephants were not mistreated. You could definitely tell these elephants are loved, respected, and well taken care of in their natural habitat which we loved about the day!
When we first got there!
Beautiful tusks!
They loved to hug you with their trunks!
She loves to munch on my leg! She kept looking for more bananas, sugar cane, and bamboo. It's incredible how much they eat and drink!
Hydrating before our long walk!
First, we learned a little bit about elephant commands and about how to take care of an elephant. We also learned that elephants are pregnant for 20-22 months which I didn't know! Such a long time until they have the baby. They taught  us what they like to eat, how to identify a healthy elephant, and so much more! A sign of a healthy elephant means that their tail is wagging, their ears are flapping, their toes are sweating, their bodies are clean, and they poop at least 6 or more balls each time! Very interesting stuff! After learning all about them, it was time to brush them off and start our trek into the jungle on our elephant! We also learned the three ways to get on your elephant. By the front leg, the trunk, or by having it lay down. But before you ride them, you must clean off the dirt so it doesn't hurt their back. Here is Jeremy brushing his off!
All dressed and ready!
So high up!
Jeremy and I were both paired with a mom that had a baby! The babies tagged along right next to us the whole time! Jeremy's elephant baby was quite awkward and loved to roll in the mud and  scratch her back. My elephant and her baby loved to eat and eat and eat! She would sometimes even wander off the path to get a quick snack and always ended up last in the group. My elephant was named Manoi and the baby was Pata. What gentle animals they are considering how enormous they are! I always felt very safe and well cared for by them. And then we were off!
The trek through the jungle was a few hour experience. We road for about 45 minutes through hills and trees. I kept thinking to myself how surreal it was that I was riding an elephant. This is something that I had seen on the Bachelor or in the movies. It didn't seem like real life but it really was happening! We are so lucky to have had this experience, and it is something I will never ever forget. I tried to take in each moment and the beauty that surrounded me. Next we took a lunch break!
After lunch we got back on the elephants and walked about 30 more minutes to a waterfall and area with water for the elephants to swim in. We got to swim and bath with them! It was actually hard work cleaning and brushing their whole huge body!
This was the area where we washed them.
My baby and mom elephant taking a break in the water!
Kissing in front of the elephant at the end of our day!
And finally our last stop of the day was to see a newborn baby! She is only 26 days old and is apparently much smaller than the typical newborn. She can only stand up for a few minutes before falling back over. The baby is also so small that she couldn't reach her Mom's breastmilk so they had to give her some pillows to stand on!
Too cute!
What an incredible experience it was! We learned so much and really enjoyed taking care of our elephants! Gorgeous drive home! Thanks Patara for being such great guides and for all the memories!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tiger Kingdom, orchid farm, and money school

This afternoon we went to a few different sights. Neither of us are a fan of touristy things but decided to check it out anyway since we had a few free hours.
First stop was monkey school where the monkeys are trained to do different tricks. I will admit it was a bit sad and felt kind of guilty being there but it was an interesting experience interacting with the monkeys.
There was also an adorable baby that we got to feed a bottle too.
She was so sweet and playful!
Then we moved on to an orchid farm with butterflies.
So pretty!
They even attached a little orchid to our shirt!
Pretty blue butterfly

Last stop was Tiger Kingdom. Along the way, we found an ox on the side of the road. Definitely not something you see everyday!
And here are a few of my favorites with the tigers! It was a neat experience but definitely intimidating being so close to a tiger especially one that was so massive!

Talk about sharp teeth and a big yawn!
Definitely some cool experiences!

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