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This is Paradise

My final weekend in Seattle was rough. I’d spent weeks saying goodbye to friends and running errands. So my last 48 hours were mostly spent alone. I packed up my room so my mother can find a roommate, and portioned all my future belongings into three bags. A backpack for six months of travelling (weighing in at 32 pounds, way too heavy!), another bag some friends are bringing to Bali next month so I’ll have personal effects when I settle down in Vietnam mid-2012, and a final box my mother is bringing when she visits me in January 2013. It was fun to select my must-have items and imagine my new life in Vietnam, including occasions to wear my many party dresses! It wasn’t all smiles though, and I cried a lot that weekend. Phone calls, emails, in-person goodbye’s – I was a mess. Fortunately, a friend drove me and my mom to the airport as we clutched each other for a tear-filled ride. Once I got to the airport, I was absolutely fine and ready for the journey ahead.

I’ve been in Southern Thailand for one week and it is absolute paradise. Stayed in Ao Nang, Krabi, a small beach town and did a whole lotta nothin’ – just the way I like it. My quiet resort was outside town, just a short one mile walk to a lovely yoga studio. A few weeks ago I developed a frozen shoulder, and hauling a 32 pound backpack across 10,000 miles has only worsened the pain. Daily yoga practice has really helped with increasing my range of motion and reducing the pain. Three massages in one week has been pretty amazing as well! And lots of swimming in the sea. Staggeringly beautiful Railay Beach is a short 5-minute boat ride away. It’s the beach scene of movies. Limestone cliffs surrounding a white sand beach. Crystal blue water so clear I can see my toe-nail polish. Craggy islands dot the horizon. And it’s not even crowded!

My first yoga class was bliss. It’s an open air studio with the sounds of the country wafting through the room. Chickens clucking, birds chirping, trees rustling. A smile lights the corner of my mouth, a deep sigh permeating my body. The Thai yoga teacher comes around adjusting people, and during the final relaxation (savasana) he gongs the bowl next to me and I feel heat and electricity between us, instantaneously developing a crush. After class, he immediately approaches me and we brazenly flirt, to the point I feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s one thing for me to have a private crush, but would I really go on a man-date my second day in Thailand?!?

Today, I’m in transit to another beautiful quiet island, Koh Muk. I’ve taken the long cheap route that takes 8 hours and includes 2 mini-vans, a ferry and boat ride. But I don’t mind at all because while waiting for my next van, I went to the local outdoor market and ate delicious chicken satay and cucumber salad for $1. I’m staying in a $16 bungalow near the beach, with sunset yoga at the local dive shop. Maybe I’ll even go scuba diving on Christmas!



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