This morning I woke up with a swollen eye! I went to bed totally fine after dinner, but something got into it between last night and this morning. We walked over to the front desk to ask about doctors and the guy said, “things are dirty in Thailand”…and to go to the pharmacy. We walked down the street to the pharmacy and showed my eye to them. He grabbed an antibiotic ointment and told me to put the gel inside my eye and on top of it a few times a day…it should be gone in a few days. He didn’t seem to be surprised or worried about it. We decided to give it a try rather than dealing with a doctor who probably wouldn’t speak English. I put the ointment on and then my sunglasses over my eyes so I wouldn’t scare people. We took a tuk tuk to town to find some food. We found a little restaurant in the center of town and sat down outside to order lunch. We ordered a couple of beers and some noodles before walking around, stopping to shop at some of the cute boutique stores.
We found an all Thai silk shop…upstairs were the tailors and downstairs were the products, silk ties, silk purses, silk dressed, silk everything. The prices were pretty good for the quality so we made a few purchases realizing we were now starting to accumulate quite a few things, we are going to need to ship some things back home.
As we continued to wander through the streets, we ran into a local market. There were various vendors displaying their goods, many fruits/veggies, durian and fresh grilled fish. Right after the market, we saw a couple massage parlors and decided we needed one (yes need vs. want). They placed us on simple beds next to each other and started our one hour full body massage for $10. It is tempting not to have one every other hour for this price…more please!
After our busy day of shopping, eating and being massaged…we went back to our hotel room to relax for a bit before going to the Muay Thai fight. The VIP tickets were about $12 each and gave us ringside seats! We had a tuk tuk bring us to the fight, he dropped us off on a street full of bars and restaurants. There were quite a few girls dressed in clothes too short and too tight for them, one of them greeted us and took our tickets. She walked us inside a building which was also lined with bars and then showed us to our seats. There was a big ring in the center with benches set up around the ring, some with little tables to place a drink.
We were early and decided to go back outside for a bit to grab some food. We saw a little pub style table at a restaurant and ordered a burger and fries to share. We chatted with one of the guys sitting next to us for a bit and then saw the fight was starting so paid the bill and walked back to the ring.
Muay Thai is referred to as the “art of eight limbs” because punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes are all used vs in boxing 2 points are used…fists and in kick boxing 4 points are used…hands and feet. Muay Thai evolved from an ancient combat technique called Muay Boran which was used by Siamese soldiers in war after their weapons were taken from them. It eventually evolved and became entertainment between two fighters being watched by spectators…Muay Thai. As we watched the fighters, we saw that they are also organized into weight classes. Before the fight, each fighter seemed to be doing some kind of ritual…going to each corner and then center of the mat in a praying motion, then the bell would ring and they would begin.
Giff had fun getting involved in the gambling side of the fight betting about $5. It was very informal…a local would walk around waiving his money and saying which fighter he wanted to place his money on…if Giff wanted the opposite fighter, he would match the money and both would place it on the table until there was a winner. After a few of the fights…it seemed like maybe these fights are set up…like they know who is going to win. Giff ended up breaking even with the locals and winning $5 with the guy sitting next to us.
We had a great time and also enjoyed the blind fight they put on just for entertainment…they blindfolded 3 fighters and let them loose in the ring. It was quite a spectacle watching them punch the air as they missed or realizing there were 3 fighters in the ring instead of 2.
After the fight, we went back to our place on a tuk tuk and went to bed for the evening.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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