After we got our morning beauty sleep and breakfast…we couldn’t resist laying by the infinity pool for a few hours. The views from the pool were so peaceful…leaning on the pool wall looking at the blue water with big boulders peppering the horizon…do we really have to leave this place?
Once it hit the afternoon, we got our things packed up, clothes on and rented a scooter to go explore the island…to see how the locals live etc. The scooter was a pretty funny experience…a bit on the dangerous side but so fun. It took a little getting use to…the guys giving us the bike were kind of laughing as Giff tried to gently push the gas and went flying. I was very nervous to have him driving…he did after all run a snow mobile right off a cliff one time so…I am hoping this ride goes smoothly! We grabbed a map and had an idea of where to go assuming there would be signs on the roads…
We drove by several homes made of bamboo and built on stilts…people were out going about their daily lives and were quite friendly, waiving to us as we drove by. We stopped at a store to see if they had contact solution, being that we were on a small island…English was not exactly well spoken, but through hand gestures we finally found a pharmacy who had two small bottles left…and they were much cheaper than back at home.
We noticed the island was muslim…all the women were covered up and there was no alcohol for sale anywhere (except our resort which is why the prices were so high). We took a few turns and missed a few of the intended turns but had fun getting lost looking at the very non-touristy island. We ended up on the other side of the island at a beach where some local kids were playing…we didn’t hang around too long because it would be getting dark soon and we needed to make sure we didn’t get lost…there are no street lights at night.
We took a side road and were driving through a rubber tree plantation, each tree had a little bowl attached to it collecting the tree’s latex sap and then is refined into a usable rubber. We saw some of the little stores and local vendors along the way..one of the vendors selling fruits/veggies had a monkey on a leash the way a dog would be, except he was jumping around back and forth testing the restraint of the string. We were hoping he wasn’t being sold as food…maybe he’s a pet?
We got a bit lost on the way back, but a local noticed us looking at the map and pointed us into the right direction…he spoke a bit of English which was nice. We made it back to our place but before pulling in…I wanted to try driving the scooter. We pulled over and I got in the driver’s seat, with Giff sitting in the back, it kept tilting over so I had to have Giff stand on the side of the road while I tested it out…it was fun but scary. I only drove down the road and then back to grab Giff before we pulled into our resort.
We had a great last day on the island…we mixed relaxation with exploring and were really glad we found this place. We actually leave for India tomorrow which we are both a little intimidated about…we have heard mixed stories!!
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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One Reply to “Day 334 of 400: Exploring the island of Yao Yai – Thailand”
What other girl?