Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventures in Thailand: Phuket

Part 1: Phuket
What could be more fun than going on an adventure with two of your best girlfriends? Meeting your dad and stepmom on the way! Amber, Kendall, and I met my dad for 5 nights on the first stop of our trip, Phuket. I had always heard wonderful things about Phuket and the incredible beaches there. I was thrilled to go somewhere tropical, but a little disappointed when I realized that we were going during the rainy season so our odds for sun were not great. we stayed at the Phuket Marriott Beach Club and it was GORGEOUS. Seriously, one of the nicest resorts I've ever stayed it. It had perfect touches of asian  design and the infinity pools were to die for. The only downfall was that it was quite a way out from Phuket town...a small compromise to make for a lovely resort!
 Enjoying the sun and a good book on our first day in Phuket

The first day in Phuket was gorgeous. It was a bit overcast, but the sun was still strong enough to tan and the pool was the perfect place to cool off. I can't explain how relaxing it was to just lay by the water and read!
Our resort had these adorable baby elephants- the perfect teaser for our upcoming trip to the Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai. this little baby was so sweet. She gave kisses and was so playful!
 Baby elephant kisses
 Enjoying a delicious treat at Swenson's Ice Cream shop

Unfortunately after that first sunny day our luck ran out. We spent the next day in Phuket Town perusing the shops, but it rained like crazy and the locals didn't want to bargain with us. We had high hopes of going to the Phi Phi Islands one of the last days, but those days were dreary and rainy also. Thank God for Kendall and her optimism and making the best of a cloudy situation- she kept the excitement up throughout the rest of our time in Phuket.

 Seeing this guy was the highlight of my time in Phuket. It had been a year and a half since I left the States, so it was great to see a familiar face. Thank you for sharing the resort with us, Dad!

In spite of the rain, Phuket was a gorgeous place. I'd like to take Turf back during the sunny season and explore more of the beaches in Thailand- Krabi, Phi Phi, etc.
From Phuket Amber, Kendall, and I ventured on to Chiang Mai while my dad and Tami hit up some of the other beaches in Thailand. More on the rest of our adventures to come!

Tokyo Take 2

Tokyo was even better the second time around! My first trip to Tokyo was a bit of a whirlwind. We saw SO much that it was all a bit of a blur- with the exception of Mt. Fuji....I have VERY vivid memories of Fuji :). This trip was all about hanging out with the ladies and seeing the sights. Kendall's friend Alex was coming to visit, so Amber, Kendall, and I met her at the Narita airport. That first night was terrible as far as weather goes. The rain was pouring, and we got to Tokyo a bit late after a delayed flight from Okinawa (we were racing against a somewhat disappointing typhoon). We sauntered into our hotel around 11:30 tired, wet, and hungry.
The front desk people at our hotel pointed us in the direction of a restaurant nearby, so we grabbed our cheap plastic umbrellas and braved the wind for the short walk around the block to this little hole in the wall bar. Now, in Japan, you never know what you're going to get. We asked for 3 orders of fish and chips, along with a "vegetarian" penne pasta and glass of wine. What we got was a few pieces of baguette bread, which was supposed to be an appetizer, 1 order of fish and chips, and "vegetarian" pasta...packed with seafood, along with a glass of wine. Total for our bill? 3800Yen=$45USD. EXCUSE ME?! Fun little side note: many bars in Japan charge a cover fee to sit down and eat. In this case, it was 300Yen each. Yikes!
The rest of our trip was incredible! We visited the Sensoji Temple and Ueno Park, did some much needed shopping, and introduced Alex to the unique and special country of Japan.

 Drawing her fortune
 What?! Bad Luck?!

 Ueno Park

 Band playing in Shibuya