After backpacking for months and staying in hostels with cold water showers and ant-covered walls*, I think that anybody would be ready for a change of pace.
Luckily for me, my parents have a vacation time share and offered me a week in the Marriott Phuket Resort in southern Thailand. I couldn't say "yes" fast enough, and neither could my good friend Katie, who took a two-week vacation to join me on the Thailand segment of my trip.
What a looker, eh?
By this point, I was long overdue for some indulgence, and I treated myself.
I woke up each morning in time for 8 o'clock yoga. After an hour class en plein air, Katie and I grabbed a smoothie, then headed to one of two plunge pools in the locker room of the fitness studio. We sipped our drinks and chatted for about an hour or so before heading up to our room to grab a book and some sunscreen.
The rest of the day was spent lounging by the pool under an umbrella, reading, sampling the free fresh fruit popsicles offered in big metal tubs and taking a dip whenever the heat got unbearable.
One afternoon brought an introduction to an adorable baby elephant named "Yum Yum". This cutie walked around the resort with its handler at the ocean's edge, and even allowed me to hop up on its neck and walk around a bit. The kids were enchanted, as was I.
Oh, and every once in a while Katie and I would head to the swim up bar for a quick cocktail. Not every day, mind you, but once or twice. As I said, I was ready to indulge.
We changed up the lunch and dinner routine every day, alternating between room service, the cafe or the official Thai restaurant at the resort. Our culinary highlight of the week was at the proper restaurant: shrimp poached in coconut milk with lime juice, red onion and hot red chilies.
I had to restrain myself from licking the bowl clean. Let's just say that it's a dish I plan to recreate at some point in the future.
Our last day at the resort, Katie and I decided to dive at nearby Ko Phi Phi Island.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and the morning dawned gray, misty and a bit windy...and that was on land.
Once we got on the boat, Katie and I both turned green and I spent the rest of the ride holding on to the boat edge for dear life, praying feverishly that I would be able to keep my breakfast down.
Due to the incredibly choppy weather, our boat rerouted itself towards a nearer and calmer dive site Raja Yai (or Racha Yai). Once we got in the water, my stomach calmed down a bit and I was able to enjoy the vibrant colors of the fish, a sight that I still find unbelievable.
Since I already gave you a rough outline of my favorite dish from my week in Phuket, and I haven't yet developed a concrete recipe, I thought I'd give you some ideas for fresh fruit smoothies and juice that I enjoyed during my daily smoothie break.
Feel free to play with proportions and let me know if you try one! Add ice to the mango and blueberry smoothies for texture.
Blueberries, lime, vanilla yogurt, milk and honey (frozen blueberries would work well here, and be much cheaper this time of year)
Lemongrass and pineapple (make sure to chop the lemongrass before putting it in your blender--not sure how lemongrass works in a juicer)
Ginger, carrot and pineapple (make sure to chop the ginger before putting it in your blender--not sure how ginger works in a juicer)
Mango, pineapple and sweetened condensed milk
*Don't worry, not all of my hostels were that bad, but they definitely deteriorated over the course of my trip. I started out with hot water showers and beds with sheets and ended with terrible mattresses and ants climbing all over the walls and floors. Thank goodness for Phuket.