DAY 8 – Daily Photo Challenge

Day 08 – A picture that makes you laugh.

Two pics came instantly to mind and I’m not picking one over the other so today is a twofer 🙂

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This is my daughter Tiffany’s eye… Lol. She and my granddaughter Sadie were playing around with my iPhone when I was home on a holiday. I didn’t see it until I was on the plane flying back to Abu Dhabi. I laughed so hard because I could imagine her and Sadie giggling while taking covert pictures with my phone 🙂 Today my daughter and her husband Joey celebrate 7 years of marriage… Happy Anniversary, you two!

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This is my dear friend Cathy. We are on a bamboo raft in Thailand and she is mocking me! LOL! I was terrified on the raft (I have this ridiculous fear of crossing water on anything made of wood products, including bridges). If I’m feeling blue, I open this picture and remind myself that life is grand and full of wonderful friends that mock you… Hehehe… Love you, Cat!
p.s. she and her husband AKA The Big Guy celebrated 33 years of marriage this past week.

Life Is a Book

A lot of people ask me how I am able to travel so much. The answer is simple. I just do it. I make an average amount of money and I spend it on travel. Saying you don’t have enough, is an excuse. I was dirt poor and managed to scrape enough together to do a medical mission trip to Vanuatu in 2005 (I had to pay for flight and 30 days accommodation). Was it hard to come up with the money? Hell yeah, was it worth… every damn dime!

At this point in my life I am not married and the mom to 3 adult kids. I make a decent living working overseas. This puts me closer to a lot of places I’ve always wanted to visit. I don’t own a house, a car or very many “things”. I would rather spend my money exploring… and that’s what I do. Sometimes you just need to put on your big girl panties, pack up a back pack and walk out the door… You only live once!

This picture was taken by me, with my iPhone, while sitting on the beach on Phi Phi Island, Thailand in November 2011. I had an amazing vacation with my friends Cathy (from Illinois), Karen & Dominique. Karen & Dominique are Brits living in Abu Dhabi. Make memories… take the time to see something new… Step 1 get a passport and explore!

Ciao!

Phi Phi Island, Thailand November 2011

Thailand & Dukan Day 90

Friday was a PP Day.

Daily weight loss: 0.66 lb/0.3 kg
Total weight loss: 40.24 lb/18.3 kg

Today was a day off from touring. We were suppose to travel early morning to Phuket, but decided we wanted a lie in (I was up at 710!!!) and shop in Krabi, so I arranged a 400 pm pick up.

Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with onions, coffee and water.

Then a nice walk and a nice chat on Skype and an hour after breakfast, the BEST THAI MASSAGE I’ve ever had. I told her what was hurting and she fixed me. Stretching and yoga poses and 1 hour and 25 minutes later, I was a new woman! All for $11.35!!! I looked over at Cathy and asked her if we could stay an extra week!!

We then walked around Krabi, bought a few things, and then got the tat I’ve been wanting to get for a while 😀

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Here’s the tattoo artist…

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And here’s his adorable little girl… Who squealed with delight every time we spoke to her…

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I strangely LOVE the pain from tattoos and this high was over too damn quick! He finished in about 4 short minutes 😦 I was thinking I should have asked for a bigger tat! I even whined to Cathy about it… She thinks I’m a nut 😀

Lunch on the beach, then back to hotel for private van transfer to Phuket… Sigh, our holiday is coming to an end 😦

Ciao!

Thailand & Dukan – Day 89

Thursday was a PV Day

Daily weight loss: 0.44 lb/0.2 kg
Total weight loss: 39.58 lb/18 kg

Well I am sore as hell this morning! Yesterday was a super busy day!

Started off with an omelet with onions and some bacon.

Then private tour van to a crystal clear lagoon with little waterfalls and rushing water coming into it. We trekked about a kilometer into the forest to get to it, but worth every step!

Back in the van for a ride to the hot springs, we trekked 1.2 kms into the forest to get to it, again worth the hike! Hot water, running down the rocks to form pools to sit in. Nature is indeed awesome.

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Then back in the van to head for lunch. It was Thai food, of course, but everything was in heavy gravies, so I ordered a burger. Absolutely the worse burger I have ever tasted in my life. Obviously frozen, microwaved to thaw and thrown in fry pan… Blech! Really, though, the only disappointing meal of the trip.

After lunch we headed for a Buddhist temple where we were given 2 hours to explore. There was a steep climb (1200+ steps) up the mountain to a temple that I attempted. I got up just under 300 steps. It was like climbing a ladder and the height and steepness were freaking me out… LOL The steepness, I’m sure are why my quads are a bit sore this morning!

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I wrote my name on a gold leaf, said a long prayer of thanks for prayers answered and a good life 🙂

Then the icing on the cake… The BEST trip got even BESTER (I know that’s not a word,I get my vocab from my youngest child who has made up some great words over the years!). WE RODEA HUGE ELEPHANT INTO THE RAINFOREST! After impressing us with the amazing size of his, ahem, manliness….

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We climbed aboard for a 50 minute adventure into the rainforest. At first we sat on the bench and unlike the rest of the mahouts, our elephant’s mahout did not get on him. He walked next to him, ahead of him, hid behind trees from him and chatted quietly with him. They were very in-tune to one another. You could tell our mahout loved his elephant! Our elephant is 35 years old and the mahout has been working with him for nearly 11 years.

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After 10 minutes of trekking, the mahout told Cathy to get off the bench and get on the elephant’s neck to ride bareback. The joy on her face made me so happy! It is amazing to experience life long dreams with people you love. Cathy had been waiting for this opportunity since childhood. I feel so blessed to have shared it with her!

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The mahout took Cathy’s camera and shot tons of pics, asking at one point if he could have the camera, we said sure… Give us the memory card and the elephant and it’s yours… He gave us back the camera…

Then it was my turn to ride bareback. Riding bareback reminded of late night horse back riding in my teens, with my Palm City friends, only on a much larger scale! The powerful muscles of the elephant’s neck can be felt by your legs. You don’t feel the need to hold on for dear life (at least I didn’t). He slowly strolled through the rainforest guided by the gentle voice of the mahout. My hands, lightly placed on the top of his head, felt the soft skin with his little black, bristly hairs. His soft ears flapping lightly, to cool himself off, would occasionally hug me gently. THAT was so cool, to feel these ears gently pressing against your legs… Wow, wow, wow! Too soon we were back to the village and our amazing ride was over.

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We then fed him bananas, but instead of giving them in his trunk, we were allowed to put them in his mouth… Again, WOW! It is amazing how gentle an animal of this size can be. His powerful, HUGE tongue coming out to take the banana. What an experience!

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Then back to the resort for a one hour massage and then Mexican for dinner! I had fajitas without the tortillas 🙂

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What a fantastically, amazing day… Shared with some amazing friends!

Now off for my morning massage!

Ciao!

Thailand & Dukan Day 88

Today was a PV Day.
Lost weight, but don’t have the stats… they are on iPhone.

Breakfast of scrambled eggs with onions and bran, bacon and sausage, while listening to monkeys chattering and birds chattering… Blissful way to start the morn.

We then headed out on a 3 hour trek through the rainforest. It was awesome… rugged,hilly, rocky terrain. It was challenging, yet fun! The trees that make up the canopy of the rainforest soar 150 feet over your head. We were surrounded by amazing, lush greenery and the sounds of birds and monkeys and rushing water of the creek we crossed, many times on teeny bamboo bridges.

Lunch was BBQ pork rolled in fresh cracked black pepper, turmeric, sea salt and garlic… Heaven! Everyone else ate that and coconut milk soup and scrambled eggs, which would have been perfect for me to eat, until the cook through in sugar 😦 For dessert they had shredded coconut with sea salt, sugar and sticky rice… For me, the pork was good enough… Succulent and tasty, right off the barbie!

We then trekked 30 minutes back to Elephant Hills to pack up to move on to the beachside town of Krabi. The 3 days in Elephant Hills was AMAZING! It will be hard to get better service or accommodation or food… If you go to Thailand, it is a must do on your list!

Two and a half hours in a luxury van brings us out of the jungle and into a beachside touristy town called Krabi. We are staying at the Tipa Resort for 2 nights and we are on our own until tomorrow. Cathy and I got caught up on emails and Dominique and Karen met up with Dom’s friend Emma, who is on her honeymoon. Cathy and I had a yummy dinner in e resort’s restaurant. I had grilled chicken with onions, the presentation was gorgeous and a bowl of Tom Kah Gai soup, because it’s the one thing I won’t be denied while on this holiday!!! I literally slurped the broth to get as much of the flavor as I could… Exquisite flavors! Long walk through town, then a blissful sleep…

Life is good!

Ciao!

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Thailand & Dukan Day 87

Tuesday was a PP day… For the most part 🙂

Daily weight loss: Gain 2.8 lb/1.3 kg – Yikes!
Total weight loss: 38.7 lb/17.6 kg

The scales of woe are upon me! I’m not freaking out or anything, I am on vacation, but yuck! It had been a bit challenging to get the right balance of food here in Thailand, in regard to Dukan. They are mostly vegetarians, so very little meat goes into some of their dishes.

For the most part, I did have a PP day yesterday.
Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with onions in it.
Lunch: tofu on a stick and a couple of pieces of fried fish (no batter) while everyone else ate this….
MY LUNCH…

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EVERYONE ELSES LUNCH…

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Afternoon snack: beef jerky
Dinner: grilled pork and curried chicken, but I dipped the chicken in tea to get the curry gravy off 😦
And that was it! I definitely got my water in, but I haven’t had my bran in a couple of days (going to ask them to sprinkle in my eggs this morning).

We had a great time, again. We took a van down to the southern most part of Thailand and got on a high-speed boat which took us through some beautiful river. He then slowed down and went through a maze of channels into the mangrove forest. This reminded of my childhood when we used to explore the mangroves with the environmental studies center. We saw lots of different snakes in the trees above our heads. It felt like a real Disney Jungle cruise!

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VIETNAM BORDER…

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We were then taken to a Burmese Junk, where we were given the choice of soaking up some sun or taking a paddle canoe out… I chose the first option and soaked up some Vitamin D 🙂 Karen and Dominique went exploring.

After an hour they served up a delicious lunch… But I was a good girl. We were then taken to a deserted beach for some R$R. The beach is on the border of Thailand and Vietnam. Lots of crabs to chase and take pictures of. I took a nice long walk on the beach.

Then back to Elephant Hills for a good night’s sleep.

Ciao!

Thailand and Dukan – Day 86

Monday was a PV Day because of the limited choices while on holiday in Thailand.
Daily weight loss: GAIN- +0.2 lb/0.1 kg
Total weight loss: 41.5 lb/18.9 kg

Woke up to the beauty and mist of the mountains back in Kuraburi Lodge. Surrounded by the sounds of nature… Ahhhhhhh

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Breakfast of hard fried eggs and bacon and a cup of coffee, then back to the room to pack for our next adventure.

About an hour and half on the road we arrived at Elephant Hills Resort and after a brief meeting about what we would be doing, we were led to our luxury tent rooms… And are they luxurious! Wow! Mattresses with memory foam, softest pillows in the world, amazing bathroom… just Wow!

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After unpacking, we went to lunch buffet with delicious Thai food and then to our elephant experience! We walked down a mud track to an area where 13 elephants were brought in by their mahouts and we were given lessons about the difference between Asian and African elephants, about what they eat and how the mahout is with the elephant for life. The elephant hook is used the same as the reins on a horse to guide the elephant.
We then prepared a meal for our elephant, cutting sugar cane, chopping water melons and pineapples, preparing pumpkin and cucumbers and a special packet of tamarind, rice and sea salt wrapped in a banana leaf.
We then got to feed them… Oh it was wonderful! They reach in with their soft, delicate, yet powerful trunks and gently take the food from you. They cradle it in their trunk, near the “hand” (which, by the way, has one finger, versus the 2 that African elephants have), and then swing it in their mouths. Their tongues are huge! They really connect with you while feeding them.

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After caring for the elephants we had a little snack break and then walked down to the Sok River for a one hour canoe trip. We each had our own canoe guide who did all the work. We had tea on the embankment and then continued on. We saw snake, gorgeous birds and a monitor lizard! Great afternoon!
Movie about elephants, Thai dancing by some adorable local children and buffet dinner, with a pad thai cooking demo, and a nice cup of coffee ended our day… Slept like a baby with the tent windows pulled back…. BLISS!

I’m off to the shower… Ciao!