The Daily – 11/25

Word of the Day: Stranger Things (upside-down)
Notable / Highlight of the Day: It poured all day. And not just rained, but really really poured. I spent some quality time catching up on my blog, trying to get rest, and binge-watching stranger things.
It was nice out and the rain sounded so pretty so I threw my balcony doors open. There was a bit of a break in the weather, so I headed down to grab a late lunch at the Italian place, and I must say, it was a pretty decent pizza! The guy next to me wanted to talk at me though, so I wrapped up and got out of there.
I went for a run because I needed to get out for a bit but didn’t see much of anyone out and about. I was heading out to Red Snapper for dinner, but no one from the hostel group wanted to join, so I grabbed a tuk tuk and ordered way too much food for one person. But, like everyone from the hostel, not many people were out and about. Like a champ though, I cleared my plate. Wow that was a delightful, creative, and delectable meal. One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.
I thought about meeting everyone, but decided to call it a night as I figured they had been drinking for a while. It turns out they found a bit more party that night and I was relieved to have called it an evening.
Current Location: Koh Lanta
Cost of Tea: free
Miles Traveled: 0
Miles Walked: 2
Dollars Spent Today: $27 on hotel, $6 on pizza, $20 on dinner
Mood Emoji: ⛈🌧⛈🌧⛈🌧⛈
Food/Beverage Highlights: holy shit, Red Snapper is the best meal I’ve had in months (save for Koh Phangan massaman curry)

The Daily – 11/24

Word of the Day: strep
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I woke up late, still feeling wrung out. I made a couple phone calls and sent a few thanksgiving text messages.
I went back to get my throat looked at again and, while one of my tonsils was no longer screaming, the other was still on fire. They boosted my antibiotics and sent me on my way. I grabbed breakfast and hung out a cafe for a bit, chatting with a girl who just wrapped up the Anapurna circuit but my quiet room and comfy bed were calling me.
I went back and slept most of the afternoon and woke up i time for sunset feeling a bit better. I went down to the beach bar by the hostel and ordered myself a pineapple juice, stuck my toes in the sand, and waited for the sun to set. On my way I finally got a video of the monitor lizard I keep seeing along the road. He’s a bit timid and I didn’t get the footage of him going all the way over the netting, but still it’s pretty good!
Kyland and Alex had gotten back from their overnight boat adventure, which, considering my state, I was incredibly thankful to have skipped. We all hung out enjoying sunset while others slowly joined us.
We all sat down for dinner together but we were a tired lot and called it an early evening. Having watched too much stranger things, the walk home was super creepy because the lights were all flickering and half out so I hustled backed.
Current Location: Loh Lanta
Cost of Tea: $2
Dollars Spent Today: $12 on drugs, $5 on breakfast, $27 on hotel, $6 on dinner, $5 on pineapple juice
Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: sunset doggo always slows down for the finer things
Mood Emoji: 🤧😷🤒

The Daily – 11/23

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Word of the Day: Octopus!
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I woke up feeling a bit like I had been hit by a truck.  I had gotten a pretty solid night of sleep, but wasn’t feeling much better.  After trying to fall back to sleep for a bit though, I failed and slowly got ready to go diving.  I threw on my hoodie and shorts, remembered my log book this time, and shuffled down to the lobby where the scuba place was already waiting for me.
There were a few other people already in the back of the truck who were pretty chatty and excited to go.  I immediately perked up and chatted with the two people who were on the boat…though I cannot remember either of their names!  We made one more stop to pick up two more groups of two, all Americans, and were off to the dive center.
But first, it was important to wish everyone a happy thanksgiving!  While there’d be no turkey on the menu, we had a number of Americans with us and we all felt the holiday should be noted.  I chatted with Justin, my dive master for a bit who had just arrived from South Africa with his beautiful girlfriend, Rebecca.
After our pre-dive meeting, we boarded the boat and headed to our dive site.  It was my first time on a speed boat and a much faster ride to the dive sites…which were farther away from the shop than on other dives I’ve done.  The first dive was in and through some caves and we went through some interesting little cutouts and enjoyed some shimmery fish.  Justin, our divemaster, asked for my oxygen at one point, and when I told him I still had 190 bar after about 25 minutes, he had to double check because it seemed too low to him.
It turns out I have a pretty good oxygen consumption rate under water. unfortunately, I was with a group of other newbies and after 36 minutes we were back on the boat.  I could have done my second dive on my first tank of air.  Justin, mercifully, put me in a more advanced group for the 2nd dive, so it was up to me to keep up with a dive-master Rebecca and two trained rescue-divers.
We dove down and our first obstacle was to dive through a chimney pipe formation…we came out around 23 meters and were facing what I could only describe as an underwater vegetable garden!  It was a wall of soft corals that swayed with the current and were blues, purples, pinks, and whites and full of fish.  As we moved through the dive we saw the Brazilian girl who was doing her open water flailing trying to get her instructor to see something in the rocks.  We swam over to discover it was an octopus on the hunt!!!  He was even changing colors and looked super sparkly and beautiful.  He was crawling down the rock face aiming for all those delicious shrimp.
We wrapped up after a lovely 56 minutes under the surface and had a very choppy ride back to base.  So choppy, in fact, that the awning on top of our boat ripped off.  Our 35 minutes out took more than an hour on the way back.  We were supposed to have visited another dive site, but on our way out the captain said the water was too rough and we’d reroute to a different site.
After a nice lunch with everyone at the dive shop, I came back to my room for a quick shower and a nap which ended up lasting until the next morning.
Current Location: Koh Lanta
Cost of Tea: Included in dive
Miles Traveled: 0
Dollars Spent Today: $140 on diving, $6 on dinner, $27 on hotel
Mood Emoji: 🐠🦀🦂🐙
People met: Justin & Rebecca, the divemasters

The Daily – 11/22

Word of the Day: old town
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I had made plans to check out the old town with Kerry, which, as I had to peel myself out of bed, I was regretting making any plans and just wanted to sleep.
I got to Kerry’s hotel around 8:30 and her songtheaw driver was ready to whisk us around Koh Lanta. She even thoughtfully saved her pizza so I could have leftovers for breakfast!
We first made our way to Old Town, which is a charming and full of traditional thai styled buildings. There were cute, hand-made craft shops and cafes galore. We weaved in and out of the shops, window-shopping and chatting and settled in at a cafe for fruit smoothies and a gorgeous view.
We made our way back and our driver suggested a pitstop at a lookout cafe which was on our way to the beach. We were not disappointed, Kerry enjoyed a wine while I had a coconut water, but I was started to drag. I was still sick and getting tired, but wasn’t ready to call it a day yet.
We headed over to the beach and picked a lunch stop after some wandering. The beach was far more posh than the beach we were on and it was speckled with beautiful little bungalows. I was done though, and after lunch I headed back to take a nap.
I woke up in time to watch the storm pass and decided to meet Kerry out for one last night before she left for home. We ended up hanging out for a few hours at a bar where local expats frequent and met a few who gave us tips on where to eat and what to check out.
I was diving tomorrow though, so called it a night and wished Kerry safe travels back to the states.
Current Location: Koh Lanta
Cost of Tea: $1
Dollars Spent Today: $2 on a smoothie, $27 on hotel, $6 on lunch, $7 on dinner
Mood Emoji: 🏘

The Daily – 11/21

Word of the Day: king-sized bed
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I woke up and had breakfast with Kyland, Derrick, and Sarah. I adore Sarah, she’s like this spunky, fun, and warm person ready for adventure. As the night had worn on last night her, Ky, and Derrick had done a pushup contest, and Sarah won. She’s pretty great.
Afterwards, I reluctantly packed up and checked out of my hostel to my hotel room. I had booked a few nights in advance to get a decent rate, and was kicking myself as I really liked the hostel. But no matter, I could still hang out there as my hotel (and king-sized bed, private shower, and swimming pools) was right down the street.
I checked in, dropped my stuff at my new hotel, and headed into town on my mission to find a new swimsuit and book a dive during the next couple of days. Success, dive booked with hidden depths and crappy but functional swimsuit attained.
I got back to my hotel and my room was ready, so I did what any respectable tired and sick person would do, napped, drank a whole lot of tea, and watched an episode of stranger things.
Around 5 I headed back down to Hey Hostel to go for a swim and enjoy a sunset drink at the beachside bar. I bumped into Ky and he joined me. He was about to take a nap but decided instead a swim was just the thing.
We hung out while people from our hostel came to join us and watch another fire show. At one point there were 8-9 of us all there. I was still not feeling great though, and called it a night around 10:30.
Current Location: Loh Lanta
Cost of Tea: included
Dollars Spent Today: $27 accommodations; $5 on breakfast, $3 at 7/11, $15 on dinner and drinks
Mood Emoji: 🌅

The Daily – 11/20

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Word of the Day: Views
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I was leaving Koh Phi Phi on the first ferry, but had to check out the view point before leaving.  I followed the signs along the beach, and within 45 minutes I was at the top.  The path was through a wash and quite jaunty.  It was only about 8am when I got to the top, but there were a few others up there, and that’s when I noticed a lovely, easy paved path.  Turns out I took the back way up for some extra jungle challenge in my flip flops.
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Since my ferry wasn’t until 11, I took my time enjoying the views and then headed down the easy way, which turned out to be a million stairs and I was pretty excited to have gone the ‘tough’ path.  I packed up, enjoyed checking out, and got out of that horrible hostel.  I stopped for breakfast and was seated next to a charming Brazilian guy who was in Thailand for a couple of weeks and eager to chat.
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I then gratefully headed to the ferry, which looked packed, but oddly, no one wanted to sit downstairs even though it was the only air conditioned part of the boat.  So I had a row all to myself where I laid down and slept for nearly the entire hour and half long ride.
Arriving in Koh Lanta I immediately exhaled.  Once through the chaos of the entry port, the island gives off a very chill vibe.  I caught a tuk tuk to my hostel, which, after Ibiza I was nervous about.  But the worry was useless because it ended up being one of the nicest hostels I’ve stayed in.  There was a big lounge area with beanbag chairs and a very very social group of people.
But first, I went to the clinic to get my throat looked at.  I was pretty sure what started as a dry cough had turned into strep throat, complete with the feeling of swallowing razor-blades.  I was in and out of the clinic quickly, and about $75 lighter, however with a pocket full of drugs.
I headed back to my hostel and was trying to catch up on my postcards in the lounge area, but immediately everyone included me in the conversation and I had an instant friend group.  Adele for Scotland who was charming and sweet, Robert from San Fran, Ky from Santa Rosa, and Adam from Chicago.
I was meeting Kerry from Railay for dinner, so split off to grab a bite with her and catch up.  We met up at this very fancy resort in their unbelievably tropical bar on a bamboo deck and enjoyed a posh dinner with a fire dancer.  She was beat from diving all day so I headed back to my hostel to meet up with everyone.
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They were all just a bit down the beach at Indian bar where a real fire dancer show was happening.  I decided because I was still battling my sore throat that I wasn’t going away I was going to abstain.  I hung out until about 1am chatting and watching the fire dancer, but after nearly a week of terrible sleep, I was tired and happy and ready for bed.
Current Location: Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta
Cost of Tea: $2
Miles Traveled: 20ish
Dollars Spent Today: $12 on ferry,
People Met: All the people
Mood Emoji: 🚶🏻‍♀️⛴🏝

The Daily – 11/19

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Word of the Day: Wreck
Notable / Highlight of the Day: After three hours of sleep and being so very very thankful I barely drank, I blearily woke up.  I was still in my swimsuit from last night, having thought I’d be able roll out of bed and head out to the dive shop…but wow did I smell.
So after a quick shower and a fresh swimsuit I waddled down to the dive shop keeping my eyes open for coffee options.  I arrived and met Mahon, a tiny little bright-eyed french dive instructor who was going to be my dive-master.  We were joined by Justin a tall, dark, bubbly german diver who was getting his Dive Master training and my dive-buddy….who’s name I failed to catch but was also a frenchie and so.damn.happy to be there.
We also had the entire dive boat to ourselves.  It almost made me wish I had a silent benefactor to pay for these luxuries all the time :).  I’m now torn because I love being on the ocean so much, but also feel the call of the mountains and love city life.  This trip has made me less sure of where I want to end up than I had hoped.
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The first dive was to the Klaed Keaw wreck and was way deeper than I should have gone but also, holy shit, it was the coolest dive I’ve done so far.  The boat was covered in lion fish and teeming with life.  We circled the wreck a few times and spotted some unbelievably huge puffer fish.  The lion fish were so interesting, because as you swam closer to them, or past them, they would slowly spread their barbs and spread out like a Chinese fan.
When we surfaced I asked if my dive partner was ok going on an additional dive and if the instructors had time to go too.  And everyone agreed! We ate a leisurely lunch floating near Maya bay, where the beach was filmed.  It’s so beautiful there, but so so so packed with people.  I couldn’t help but enjoy our huge four person paradise of a dive boat.
Our second dive was shallow as our first dive was deep.  But it was the fishiest dive I’ve done.  There were times where I was completely surrounded by silvery fish and could barely see the ocean around me.  We also saw some very shy REEF SHARKS!!!  They wanted nothing to do with us, but Mahon and I were hoping to catch up with them.  We also spotted a sea snake who I was all too happy to stay away from and a very clumsy looking cuttlefish. Turns out I feel the same way about underwater snakes as I do terrestrial snakes.  We also swam through this really cool crevasse that was teeming with life.
It was like swimming in the most crowded aquarium I’ve ever seen.  And the puffer fish, I wanted one to puff up so badly as there were dozens and dozens of them, all huge and curious.  and I mean, they were nearly the size of my torso and so clumsy.  Our third dive wasn’t as busy but we saw more sharks and swam in this wavy, colorful shallower area.  It was such an interesting sensation as you could feel yourself rolling with the waves and watch the fish move in the same circular pattern as yourself.
We headed back, but I had forgotten my log book so had to fill everything out on the temporary slips and come back after six pm to have Mahon sign and stamp my log book.
I arrived in my dorm and realized just what a shithole it was, but as I had paid for three nights and they wouldn’t credit me anything, I decided to tough it out one more night.  The music was pounding from the pool party outside so I decided to go read and write at a cafe in town instead of trying to nap.  One of the young girls in my dorm wanted to join so we headed into town together.
She complained about the English spellings in the menu, but I pointed out how unbelievably accommodating it was and how neither of us had bothered to learn anything outside of hello and thank you (which I taught her).  She was young and new to traveling so I have hope she’ll open her horizons more.  We chatted for a bit and I split off to work on post cards and my log book while she went to meet up with friends.
I met up with Justine, Ettiene, and Chris for the evening, we made it to a reggae bar, a Muay Thai match, and Phi Phi’s only rooftop bar.  They introduced me to this really cool couple from Seattle who I failed to connect on facebook with.  His name was Gotham and I don’t remember her name, but I wish I chatted with them longer and got their info.  But I was beat, so left to head to bed at one in the morning.
However the worlds shittiest hostel was having none of that and I had to put my headphones in to try and drown out the pumping base.  I decided I needed to get out of Phi Phi and onto Koh Lanta ASAP.
Current Location: Koh Phi Phi
Cost of Tea: $2
Miles Traveled: 10ish round trip to dive sites
Miles Walked: none
Dollars Spent Today: $140 on diving including marine park fees, $4 on breakfast, $8 on dinner, $6 on drinks, $15 on that shit hostel
Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: Koh Phi Phi is a cat island, so many cute kitties everywhere.  There’s even pockets where there’s a big black cat clan, the fluffy fat cat clan, the white and speckled ones. All so cute and so so very lazy.
Mood Emoji: 🐙🦑🐠🐟🐠🐟🐠🐟🐠🐟🐠🐟🐠🐟🦂🐡🐠🦂🦐🐠🦀🐡🦈🐡🦀🦀