Yoga Retreat in the JungleI just spent the last week or so at a yoga retreat on the island of Ko Phangan. I'd like to say that it was a life altering experience and that I enjoyed every second of it, but that would be a lie. I am most grateful for the people I met while there rather than the yoga itself. The yoga was good but I couldn't fully appreciate it because of the constant swarm of gnats that followed me through every pose. I guess I should have been prepared for bugs knowing the retreat would be in the jungle and the yoga outdoors. Duh, Kate. I've been to South Africa and Mozambique, so I really should have seen it coming, yet I was completely dismayed by the spider resembling a tarantula that I found lurking in my bathroom. Holy hell, I screamed bloody murder.
Travel teaches you a lot about yourself. This trip is affirming that I am fiercely independent and adventurous; however, it is also showing me that I am somewhat prissy, I have expensive taste, and I kind of suck at "roughing it." I can get down with the lizards and the unreliable plumbing (hell, a gecko crawled on me during my massage today!) but I cannot handle huge, hairy spiders and gnats swarming my face when I'm trying to get my zen on. I am not perfect and I wish I could be more yogic and hippie and embrace all creatures, but that's just not me. There are also certain creature comforts that I am just not willing to give up, such as: fresh coffee, an american breakfast, daily showers, social media, FaceTime with my girlfriend, salads, and conditioner. There you have it. I am a strong girl with a strong will, but you won't ever find me completely roughing it. I have, however, foregone make-up and a blow dryer (with the exception of the half moon party) and I am mighty proud of myself for that.
Change of Scenery - Haad Yao Beach, Sri ThanuI moved to a beach side bungalow on Friday and I am now situated on Haad Yao beach. It's very private and incredibly peaceful. My porch looks out to the ocean and I have a heavenly hammock that I spent about 5 hours dozing in yesterday while listening to the waves crash. My bungalow is not glamorous by any means. There isn't any air conditioning, the toilet only works intermittently and yet again I have roommates in the form of ants and other bugs. With an ocean view for less than $15 a day, I'm willing to deal with all of that. The owners are a lovely Belgian couple with a top notch restaurant. I had the best Greek salad of my life there and they offer a mean espresso. No instant coffee up in here - thank Buddha!
I am in love with this area of Ko Phangan known as Sri Thanu. It's very bohemian with plenty of organic and vegetarian restaurants and holistic healing centers. There's a yoga school nearby with an intensive teacher training program so there are yogis aplenty. I had a crazy delicious tempeh sandwich and fresh juice at a macrobiotic cafe yesterday, so needless to say, my belly is happy!
Half Moon Party
I experienced one of the island's well known half moon parties on Friday. I can officially check that off my bucket list and never really need to do it again. It was as insane as I imagined and something I'm glad I was able to see while I am here. It is essentially a huge outdoor club in the jungle with thousands of people in UV body paint, DJs blaring house music, and magic mushroom shakes all around. I bopped around from place to place chatting with all sorts of interesting people. It was a total blast and I met people from Israel, France, the UK and Germany. By 3:30 AM I was ready to go home. The party goes until 7, so I felt a bit like an old lady and was reminded that I am certainly not 21 anymore. If you're ever on this island, I recommend checking out either the half or full moon party. You have to see it at least once.
I was finally able to run today for the first time since being in Thailand. I cut my feet pretty badly on coral my very first night on the island. I was drunk and thought it was a brilliant idea to go swimming in the ocean but chose an area full of coral and stones. I now have a major gash on the ball of my left foot and shin and I'm fairly sure I still have a few small pieces of coral stuck in each foot. It's been difficult to walk and downward dogs were a complete bitch all week. Running was definitely not an option, until today. I felt nauseous from the heat but grateful to have run at all. I plan to run often from here on out but to keep my runs short.
Tomorrow, I am meeting up with my friend Kate from London who I met at the yoga retreat and we're going to check out a beach that is supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. I don't know if it's possible that it is any more gorgeous than Salad Beach where I've been hanging out the last week. Check out some pictures from this little slice of heaven:
|my favorite massage place: Tuk Massage|
|heaven on earth|
|noodle soup...every damn day|
|one of the many, many beach dogs|
|iced soy latte with quite a view|
I'm so grateful to have met Kate on this trip. She is super fun, chatty, open minded, adventurous and she loves a cocktail as much as this Kate. Two Kates are proving to be better than one. We are headed to Koh Tao together this Wednesday and staying in luxurious beach bungalows for four nights. I cannot contain my excitement for a new island, new experiences, and new scenery! Eek!
|Kate and Kate do Thailand|