Phuket – Day 1

6:45 AM wake up to get ready to fly to Phuket! We had a yummy breakfast of jasmine tea, banana waffles, and eggs Benedict and then hopped into our taxi for the airport. The airports in Thailand are super-efficient and, after a 15 minute ride to the airport, we were at the terminal waiting area in under 10 minutes. I journaled the majority of the 2 hour plane ride to Phuket. It was an easy flight and went pretty quickly, especially since the plane was only 50% full so we had room to spread out.

The Phuket airport was small. We were off the plane and looking for a cab in 10 minutes. We got to the first taxi station and they wanted 500 BHT for the 15 minutes drive to The Slate hotel – way too high considering we paid 350 for the 40 minute drive from our hotel to BKK in Bangkok! We decided to try the next taxi stand outside and the guy the approached us first wanted 850 BHT to get to the hotel – no way! We told him the woman inside wanted 300 and started to walk away, so he caved and said 300 was OK. Geesh!

The roads in Thailand are quite deceiving. Both the Rachamankha Hotel in Chiang Mai and The Slate hotel in Phuket were down very sketchy roads, but once inside, an Eden awaited! The Slate hotel was gorgeous and we were greeted with cold towels and tea while we checked in. So refreshing in such humidity! Our check-in hostess took us through the grounds in a golf cart, showing us the beach areas, the various pools, restaurants, and gardens on the way to our room.

We finally made it to our building – the grounds were quite massive and maze-like. Our hostess led us to the second floor and opened the door to an amazing suite! We even had a day-bed and a huge tub on the balcony overlooking a garden and one of the pools. So beautiful!

We decided to walk around the grounds and get some lunch. We went to the Dirty Monstera restaurant at the resort for a celebratory drink, sandwich, and ahi tuna flatbread. It was so light and delicious which was much-needed with all of the heavy pad thai we had been eating.

After lunch, we walked down to the beach. It was so windy we were almost swept away (not exaggerating – it was intense!). There were markets all along the beach road but they were closed due to the strong winds and rain. Instead of staying at the beach, we went to the hotel pool across from our room. We were the only ones there due to the rain, so we swam up to the covered pool bar for a drink and some Connect Four. I totally owned Ryan at Connect Four and so we started talking with the two bar tenders instead. We ended up chatting with them and drinking for about two hours until the bar closed and we went back to the room.

img_3791

The sky decided to open up and for a complete downpour. Stuck in our room, we drew the bath on our covered patio and relaxed in the water with the rain. So luxurious, especially with the sound of the monsoon rain.  It poured for hours and, eventually, we had to call down to the lobby for an extra umbrella so we could walk the grounds to the lobby area for dinner. Even with the extra cover, we got totally soaked on the 5 minute, uncovered walk over to the Tin Mine restaurant. The restaurant was outside under a large pavilion and was candle lit. It was very romantic with the rain in the back ground. We had a lovely dinner of samosa appetizers, and a duck with mushrooms entrée. Yumm! After dinner, we braved the rain back to the hotel and got a very early night.

Advertisements

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Getting to our Alaskan Cruise:

After a stressful day at work getting everything finished before 7 days off the radar, dropping the dog off at daycare, loading our bags into the Uber, and bypassing security, we were finally in the airport by gate 14 for our departure to Seattle, Washington for our Princess cruise to Alaska! We grabbed some celebratory margaritas at the Chili’s by our gate, (which were surprisingly good for airport drinks), and finally boarded our plane! We had checked our bags, so we didn’t have to stress about finding overhead bin space.

The 4 hour American Airlines flight was bumpy but had some amazing views as we flew over Colorado’s mountains. We were not expecting the views to start before we even landed! The snow-capped mountains called our names as our recent skiing experiences have us hooked on the slopes. We had to remind ourselves of our current adventure and that skiing wouldn’t happen for a little longer, but the thought of moving to Colorado in the future did cross our minds!

Anyways, after watching one of my favorite movies, The King and I, it was time to land in Seattle; a new State to check off my list! It took about 30 minutes to grab our bags from baggage claim and we walked through a sea of Toyota Prius’ in the parking lot to find our Uber to town. Apparently, Uber and Taxis drivers at the airport can only drive Prius’ for eco-friendly reasons.

It took us about $30 and 40 minutes to arrive at the Maxwell Hotel in downtown Seattle. Boy did our hotel have personality! Upon checking in, we were greeted with cupcakes, pineapple water, and smiling receptionists. The hotel’s mascot is a Husky puppy and they have plushies you can “adopt” in each room for $25 that goes to the ASPCA. Additionally, there are free yellow bikes you can use to go around town, umbrellas for the rain, and huge feathery comforters for covering the bed! Each bed comes with two of these fluffy duvet covers and we took the two from our bed and the two from the other bed in our room to make a super comfy, pillow-fairy certified sheet experience. It was SO COMFY!

My boyfriend Ryan’s family arrived before us and were waiting in to lobby for us to check-in, dump our stuff, and head down the street to dinner. It was a quick, block long walk to the neighboring Vietnamese restaurant. We walked in and the smells we were greeted with made our empty stomachs rumble! The restaurant was tiny so we pushed a few tables together. While there were only a few other people in the place, the two young waiters were bustling around, a bit inefficiently if I may say so. Our waiter took Ryan’s sister and her husband’s order first, put their order in, ran to another table, came back for Ryan and my order, put our order in, ran food to another table, brought over Ryan’s sister’s drinks, went to another table, brought Ryan and my drink, ran to the back, and finally came back for Ryan’s parent’s orders. It made me tired just watching him!

I ended up getting some delicious pho soup and a grilled pork bahn mi sandwich for dipping into the soup. Yum! We arrived at 8:30 and the restaurant closed at 9. Usually, there is some wiggle room for current guests to stay after 9 PM closing time, especially on a Friday night, but the waiters were trying to hustle us out. They not only brought the checks right after we got our food, but were busing dishes and informing us they had busses to catch home at 9:10. Needless to say, we ate quickly, ran out the door, and walked back to the hotel to jump into the mound of covers and sleep.

Heading to the cruise:

The nice thing about going to the West Coast from Texas is that you gain two hours of sleeping in time. Getting up at 8 AM was really like sleeping in until 10 – so nice! It was sprinkling outside so I popped on my new yellow galoshes and we took off to meet Ryan’s family up the street at Mecca Café for breakfast. It was about a four block walk filled with lush gardens, cute little restaurants, and a great view of the Space Needle!

There was a line out the door for the restaurant but thankfully, Ryan’s family had some bar seats warmed up for us. The diner had a strange but warm personality with a menu full of comfort food. I got the biggest bowl of oatmeal and blueberries with a side of toast and their famous bacon. So much food but so good! After we had our fill, we paid and realized it was pouring out! Thankfully, my jacket’s hood saved my hair-day and we made it back to the hotel without being drenched.

The Maxwell Hotel rooms come with huge yellow umbrellas for use during your stay. We grabbed ours and took off for a post-breakfast stroll. The hotel was a quick walk from the EMP Museum, housed in huge colorful modern building. Right behind the EMP is the Space Needle surrounded by gardens and modern statues. Such a beautiful walk. This part of town is clean, seemed safe, full of well-kept gardens and surprises! We turned down a street and saw the bay at the end. We decided to walk to the bay and found a bridge overlooking the bay and a park on its shoreline. We could even see our cruise ship from there! We only had 30 minutes before we had to head to the ship, so we hustled back in the rain to depart from the hotel.

Graffiti wall in Seattle, Washington