Fourth of July, South of the Equator edition

Peru

The school asked us if we wanted a big celebration for Fourth of July. By now we know that “celebration” means ceremony which means long speeches and applauses ’til your hands fall off. We explained to them that the gesture would be nice, but we wanted something a bit more casual. American style. They thought this was weird, but put the planning in our hands.

We ended up with a barbecue on the beach complete with hamburgers, music, dancing, a bonfire, and pseudo s’mores. It was perfect. Plus, packing 11 people into a mini van, driving that mini van as close to the water as you can, and having a beach to yourself is always a good time.

Nothing compares to July 4th in the U.S. and we missed watching fireworks and parades and having the whole day off work, but we did the best we could, and the best we could ended up pretty great.

Puerto Eten

Puerto Eten

independence

independence

Peru

(this photo stolen from the one and only Ashley Call. Couldn’t not post it because we are the most photogenic)

peru

bonfire

Traveling Thailand-Phuket, Khao Lak

Similan Islands

The last leg of our trip was spent in the southern part of Thailand bouncing around to different islands and eating enough boiled bananas that I thought we would start oozing coconut milk. We stayed in Khao Lak, which is about an hour outside of Phuket. It’s quieter and less crowded, leaving us with most of the beach to ourselves.

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The first thing we did after arriving was hit the pool. The pool wrapped around the entire resort, had jet pools, a swim up bar, and in the main pool, a beach front view. We swam the entire thing and at one point during our time there, I was wandering around trying to find my family, only to stop by the swim up bar to find them singing and cheering because it was happy hour and they ordered pina coladas (virgin people, we aren’t that crazy) for everyone in the fam.

We decided to take a day trip out to the Similan Islands, which have been listed in National Geographics top 10 islands in the world (Andaman Sea). The trip out there is rough, but so worth it. I took a seasick pill because my stomach hasn’t held up too well lately. Little brother thought he could brave it, but ended up with his head in the trash can barfing in front of everyone on the boat. My mom had to resist her urge to capture this moment on film out of fear that everyone would think she was a bad mom. She sat back and giggled with me instead. (We aren’t mean and we felt bad, but it really was kiiiiind of funny).

The islands are beautiful and the water is an impossible blue.

Similan Islands

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Michael and I spent one of the days riding long boats and kayaks through Phang Nga Bay which left me speechless. You go early in the morning and kayak in and out of caves and grottoes. You have to lay flat in order to get in and out of these areas and you come so close to having your nose chopped off by limestone that your adrenaline is pumping it’s hardest. We also stopped by James Bond Island which is super crowded, but the formation is amazing. But really, what would it take for me to get a shack on one of these islands? Because I would move there in a heartbeat.

These islands are also beautiful and the water here is an impossible green.

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

James Bond Island

The other parts of our trip down south included getting massages (which later resulted in a shot in the butt for me, long story), pedicures, ringing in the New Year with fireworks on the beach, and lighting lanterns off at night over the ocean.

Lanterns in Thailand

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Also, shout out to this little restaurant on the beach where we ate every meal (I’m not kidding). They have some great thai food for even better prices. Plus, they are the nicest, most fun people and let us dance to Gangham style with them in the sand.

Khao Lak, Thailand

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Khao Lak, Thailand