Archive for the ‘sunset’ Category

Breaking Bread with Feathered Friends

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The first time I took Justin to the botanical gardens he was amazed to see the hundreds of cockatoos that inhabit the grounds. They can be seen all over Sydney, but there is a heavy concentration of them in the botanical gardens, and I suspect this is because people feed them there. So that first day we observed two girls feeding (read: getting mauled by) some cockatoos and while Justin tried it that day, not having anything better to offer than some seeds he picked up under a tree the birds didn’t take any particular interest in him. He made me promise we would return with bread. So one day after we had been doing some shopping and walking around downtown we headed to the botanical gardens once more, this time with bread in hand.

We walked around the park for a good 15 minutes before we could find a group of birds on the ground. When we eventually did find some they were already being fed by a couple sitting on a park bench. Justin attempted to lure them away and while it was slow at first, eventually word got out that there was food to be had.

Cockatoo feeding gets off to a slow start, but we have a taker

Justin makes some more friends

And they're up!

And then there were three

And the birds come marching in

Getting his head scratched

I am not quite the bird whisperer that Justin is

Getting the hang of it

At ease

NOT COOL

I don't know who is freaking out more here, me or the cockatoo I am trying to shake off of me.

I made peace

Once all the bread had been expended the birds tried to feed on the next obvious food source, Justin's shoe

I had far more fun watching Justin with the birds than I did having them on me. They have very sharp claws and I was very afraid of having one of the birds go all Mike Tyson on me and end up loosing a bit of my ear. Justin seemed not to have these fears and was giggly and geeking out the whole time. After we had used up all our bread we spent a little bit of time strolling along the waters edge and letting our minds wander out into the harbor. It was a beautiful autumn day as the sun shone warm on our faces and a cool breeze moved through the trees every few minutes.  It was a perfect way to end the day, and to think I would not have made it out there had Justin not been here. Having someone to share Sydney with has really given me a second wind and swept me right out of my routine. While I do love Sydney and Australia will always hold a special place in my heart and my memories, I think I will soon be ready to be stateside once more. After all, there’s no place like home right?

One of my favorite spots in Sydney

By Land, Air, Longboat, and Tractor

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Our last morning in Chiang Mai was an early one, we ate one more amazing hotel breakfast and then loaded into busses for the trip to the airport. We flew from Chiang Mai to Bankok, where we met a connecting flight to the Island of Krabi. Getting off our first flight into the Bankok airport was quite an ordeal, as it was thunder storming quite violently when we landed and so they could not bring out the long metal tubes to get the passengers off the plane and into the airport for fear of them being hit by lightning. However, the personel at the Bankok airport were able to very efficiently resolve this matter by brining rolling covered staircases up to the front and rear exits of the plane and getting everyone off after only having to wait for about twenty minutes. Our layover in the Bankok airport was less than an hour and by the time we landed in Krabi we were greeted with a stifling heat and humidity so thick it felt like we had walked into someone’s mouth.

Waiting for us at the arrivals gate were representatives from the Railay Bay Resort who were holding a huge banner that said “Welcome Study Australia Students.” They escorted us out to the parking lot where we placed our checked luggage into a van that would deliver it to the hotel we would stay at in Phuket, and we were left with only our backpacks, packed with the essentials that we would need for the next three days. The reason for this downsizing in luggage was because the bus then took us to a dock where we all loaded into two long boats, which were not big enough to hold all of our checked luggage.

Views even from the dock were absolutely incredible. All the posters and postcards you have ever seen with images of crystal clear blue water with jagged vegetated mountains in the background and the wooden longboats in the foreground was exactly the reality I found myself in. It was incredible and I was wide eyed and blinking hard trying to take it all in.

Other longboat headed for the resort

view from the longboat ride

more mountain outcroppings

It looked like we were on the set of "Lost" except it was REAL

Longboats are everywhere in coastal Thailand

Almost there!

The estuary side of the peninsula

We had arrived!

When we arrived the tide was on its way out, so a tractor with a large platform on wheels backed out from the shore to our boat and we all loaded onto it and it took us the remaining 40-60 feet to the sidewalk lining the beach. We were given some sort of iced guava juice and cold washcloths upon arrival and were then given keys and sent to check out our rooms. What I did not realize was that this was no ordinary hotel, this was a RESORT. A resort whose predominant clientele base is honeymooners, so the rooms were designed in accordance with that demographic group, meaning every aspect of the room was designed for optimal private honeymoon…activities.

Every "room" was really more of a one bedroom apt, each with a private entrance.

Each room had a private entrance, and a private enclosed patio that surrounded it. It also had a doorbell outside.

Once inside, each room had a private deck area complete with two reclining chairs, two patio chairs, an outdoor shower, and a small hot tub.

Hot tub/outdoor shower

We totally had a moat, the ultimate in honeymooner suite security

Our moat had fish in it, I don't think they were flesh eating, but hey, you can't have everything right?

Bedroom, notice how low and wide the bed is. Like I said- DESIGNED for private honeymoon activities

These rooms were so obviously designed for sex it was hysterical. The shower was HUGE and had a super wide bench seat in it and everything was private and enclosed. If you wanted to have your room made up every day you had to turn on a light that indicated that, otherwise the maids wouldn’t come in. I half expected the mini fridge to be stocked with gatorade and power bars and have a complimentary basket of condoms next to it. Shortly after checking in and throwing our stuff down we all changed into bathing suits and went exploring. There were two pools at the resort, one that was very close to our room and one that was overlooking the beach. After a swim we enjoyed a complimentary buffet style dinner on the beach at sunset, and once the sun went down tiki torches and candles were lit and we enjoyed our dessert via candlelight. After dinner it was dark and a fire spinner came out and did a routine for us, collectively it was the most scenically stunning dinner experience I have ever had.

One of two pools

A monkey. You know, just hanging out.

hotel bar

Sunset over the Andaman Sea

The water was so clear, and so pleasantly warm.

Where we ate dinner that night. It was a complimentary meal provided by the hotel for our group.

Lindsay, Anneka and I about to enjoy our dinner on the beach

Me, Lindsay, Anneka and Danielle on the beach at sunset

Fire dancer

After we had eaten our fill of dinner and finished it off with the freshest pineapple and dragon fruit I have ever tasted we went back to our rooms to shower and change with the intention of checking out some of the nightlife. Danielle and Anneka came over to our room and chatted with Lindsay and I as we got ready, but somebody turned the TV on and because this resort is fancy as hell they had all sorts of movie channels so we got sucked into watching “The Blind Side” on HBO and by the time it ended and we headed out it had started to rain. We ignored the rain at first and kept walking towards the bars but pretty soon the drizzly rain had evolved into a full on torrential downpour. That seems to happen a lot in Thailand. Before we reached any of the bars we decided to turn back, and ran all the way back to our rooms in the pouring rain returning completely soaked but laughing hysterically. So much for blow drying my hair. Since it was almost midnight at this point we all decided to turn in and vowed to get up early the next day to thoroughly explore the island and get in some time on the beach.