There are moments in our lives, split seconds and, if we are lucky, days where everything seems alive and well and happy. These are the moments you want to remember forever, and we swear we will. But time happens and memory fades and it is best in these instances to write it down, how it felt and what it tasted like, the scenes and smells and sounds.
This was, for me, my eighth day in Thailand.
The morning started with breakfast at our French hotel, which meant lots of really amazing pastries, and anything else you can imagine in a breakfast feast. We made it to the beach to find the boat we had reserved to take us to Kho Phi Phi and the four islands (think Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach, but no marijuana). This was our big splurge of the trip, to rent a VIP chartered speedboat for the two of us.
It was $400. Ouch.
But we thought, we are here. We have to do it.
The ride over to the first island can only be described as life changing. We both sat at the front with our headphones on listening to our favorite Spotify lists, literally being tossed around with each big wave, but laughing and singing and soaking it all in for that entire hour. We arrived at Phi Phi Leh and it was all it's hyped to be in the photographs. We were there with probably 500 of our closest friends, certainly not the quiet excursion we had hoped for, but still, it was paradise and we were in it. We spent an hour on the beach and exploring the island. Lauren almost got attacked by the largest spider in southeast Asia but a very handsome Danish gentlemen came to rescue her.
Ok, I made that last part up, but the spider was very real and I thanked our lucky stars she didn't get bit.
Our boat picked us up and we scooted to the other side of the island where we fed fish from the boat and looked at all the cave dwellings. Our next stop was Phi Phi Don, a fairly large island that had a hospital, clean bathrooms and several beach huts with local cuisine and adult beverages. We sat outside of one that was pumping American pop music and chatted about existentialist type topics, ok not really, we talked about boys. There were a ton of little booths selling there wares, but I didn't pick up a thing.
The next stop was Chicken Island. We hopped out of the boat semi-close to the beach with our snorkeling gear in hopes of finding some treasure chest. What we did discover was that the water is SUPER shallow and spiny black sea urchins with crazy red eyes were dangerously within reach. I think there might have been a scream or two. There were dozens of different fish, and one species in particular would swim right up in your face and practically yell at you to get out of its reef, I don't speak fish like Dory does, but I'm certain this was the message we were getting as these same fish were biting our feet.
Again, we knew we were in paradise and Lauren joked that we were on our honeymoon.
We walked along the beach and searched for cool seashells. On our way back to the boat we swam in deeper water, here we spotted the giant clams that had "feed me Seymour lips" that would move when you pushed water towards them. Our boatmen fished us out of the water and we were greeted with freshly cut watermelon and pineapple.
If I didn't already have a job, I would seriously consider being a boatman in Thailand, making people happy and soaking up the surroundings. Not a bad gig they have. We chose to skip the last island on the tour because it was really crowded and we were extremely sunburned from two days prior. The ride home went so much quicker that we expected, so in retrospect we should have gotten off on that last island.
There was still plenty of day left since we returned to the hotel around 4:30. I snagged a hammock and took a dip in the pool. We ate dinner at the hotel's Indian restaurant and continued our evening laughing.
Lauren had made a big life changing decision that day and we celebrated with a cocktail on the veranda.
I heard the music playing down below with the hotel mascot leading the way. They were playing the Cotton Eyed Joe to which I proceeded to dance around Lauren and proclaim that you can take the girl out of Oklahoma, but you can't take Oklahoma out of the girl. We stayed up until 1 or so. We truly did not want the day to end. It's a day that I will never forget and hope to return to that exact place with my family and show them just how perfect the world can be.
Feeling extremely grateful for that experience and for my courageous travel partner who made it memorable.