Ghosts of Vacation Past: Thailand

Chinatown Bangkok (on a weeknight).

It's been a whirlwind of full blood super moon eclipses and planet retrogrades and now it's time for time travel. In 2009 my boyfriend (now husband) and I took a 17 hour flight to literally other side of the world. 14 hour flight from LAX to Taiwan and then a 3 hour flight to Bangkok, 20 minute cab ride to a bus station, 3 hour bus trip to a port, 45 minute ferry ride to an island, 20 minute pick-up truck ride to our cottage on its own private beach. By the time we arrived at Koh Samet, we had been traveling almost 24 hours, jet-lagged like a mother and pungent with sweat and jungle humidity. We did take digital pics as well but the photos on this post are all 35mm film pics so they're real special-like. 

Koh Samet: The Island

Koh Samet is literally an unpaved road, clear ocean, tropical paradise complete with a technicolor sunset that can still leave me breathless (who knew so many shades of pink were even possible?). The small island is equipped with one doctor's office and passengers ride in the back of pick-up trucks without safety restraints on unpaved, twisting single lane dirt roads where the edge falls off into a cliffside and head-on collisions seem likely since the only light sources are the moon and headlights. It was glorious. 

On Koh Samet we were up around 5am local time and fiending for breakfast by the time it was served at 7am. Their breakfast was the cutest - sausages were Vienna sausages, pancakes with syrup were more like plain cake with honey, but the only other option was seafood rice porridge so I ate the 'American breakfast' with gratitude. I have other stories about the island including a motorbike accident and the ensuing break up with my boyfriend (we technically never got back together but we did get married the following year), a moment of clarity on a hammock about three feet from the ocean, sea-kayaking, a trip to the one doctor's office in which I took two credit cards and literally $1200 in cash only to find out I only owed $6 for his services, hearing the ocean from our cottage all night, and many more...

Massage place in Pattaya

Chinatown, Bangkok

Drop dead gorgeous Shanghai Mansion, Chinatown in Bangkok

Shrimp in a bag, Bangkok

Food stop on Koh Samet

Bangkok in the day on our way to the Sky Train

Bangkok: The City

Next we stopped in Pattaya for a few days and then we went on Bangkok. The city air is highly polluted, the driving terrifying and everything else so satisfyingly foreign. Due to the potent smog, I ended up congested plus what felt like a throat infection. It was miserable, we had to stay in a couple days since I just didn't have the energy to go out. We stayed in the Chinatown section of Bangkok and wandered into a legitimate hole in the wall Chinese restaurant where I could barely decipher the menu since only a small part was in English. In a haze of suffering I ordered some soup thing and it turned out to be the best thing I've ever eaten. I don't know how to describe it but the broth tasted ancient and I swear it healed my congestion/infection. It was some kind of mystical...

Also we braved fresh oysters from a street vendor on the last night of our trip and I had a $38 champagne cocktail (presented with a fresh orchid) called the 'Sleeping Beauty' at the top of the Moon Bar...these are things I would never do in America. But when on another continent, I went for broke. And it was all worth it. Thailand had so many moments for me. It was a hot, sweaty, delicious, exotic, terrifying, deliriously beautiful trip and one day I'm convinced we will go back. How can I not?

View of Bangkok from 61 stories up on the Moon Bar.

Wat Pho

Shrines everywhere, so beautiful

Judging by the literal white collar button-up, I feel this is my Thai cubicle counterpart. I acknowledge him. (I wonder if I'm on his blog?)