A Very Thai 4th of July

Before I relay my 4th of July weekend adventures, I feel the need to rewind to the other weekend, which was filled with absolute cuteness. I headed back to Khao Sam Muk (AKA- “Monkey Mountain”) with my friend, Marie, to get up and personal with some wild monkeys. Last time, I drove up the mountain and stayed in the car. This time, we hiked by foot.

After a good 45-minute walk filled with “I think we are going in the right direction?!” we ended up on a deserted road and saw this guy just chilling on the railing:

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By the way, this is not a zoomed-in picture. I literally got this close. Not going to lie, a part of me was terrified that this monkey would go wild and attack me (the though Annnddd this is how I die kept going through my head). But this monkey, and the many, many more we came to see, were actually super calm and polite (you don’t bite the hand that feeds you).

When we finally made it to the top of the mountain, Marie and I bought bananas to feed the monkeys, resulting in these Hallmark pics:

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Totally worth the 8 miles of walking and sunburn. Seeing a monkey at a zoo will never be good enough now.

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Such a surreal experience! I felt like I was in an amusement attraction with mechanical monkeys because surely wild monkeys wouldn’t let you get within an arm span away?!?

So, to this past weekend. I think one of the hardest things about living in Thailand is seeing social media and all the stuff my family and friends are up to back home. Holidays are extra tough, especially because many of the U.S holidays are not celebrated here (yup, I’m sitting at my school desk as you all are posting away). Knowing that this past weekend would be full of 4th of July BBQ pictures, I wanted to travel and distract myself from stuff going on back home.

Friday night, Marie, Lucy and I went back to Pattaya to meet up with some other English teachers and see some sights. Despite my determination to mimic a 4th of July weekend, my food choices that weekend ended up being anything but; we ate Mexican (which ended up being mediocre), Indian (the food was just as I remembered it when I was in India!), and had an English breakfast (getting warmer…). I think my stomach is becoming culturally confused with all of the different cuisines…

Anyway, after settling in to our tiny hotel, we ventured to Pattaya’s Walking Street, which is known for its crazy night life. In one of the buildings we passed, I noticed large tanks filled with tiny fish. For 50 baht ($1.50), you could put your feet in a tank and have the fish eat the dead skin off for 20 minutes. As this was something on my “Thailand Bucket List,” Marie and I raced in and grabbed two seats for the ultimate pedicure.

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So what did it feel like? Like my feet were being tickled to death. It was a struggle to keep my feet inside the tank, and even more so to keep myself from laughing the whole time. Eventually, we got used to the tickling sensation (the key is to not think about the fish attached to your feet) and people-watched the other clients getting their pedicures. One Thai man came in and immediately started laughing the second his feet hit the water. I think he got super embarrassed that he was giggling next to two foreign girls because he left after 2 minutes in the tank. Poor dude, I hope he got a partial refund…

The next day, we spent the morning at Pattaya beach, met up with our fellow traveling companions, and then headed to Pattaya’s Tiger Park. At first, I was a little hesitant to go because some tiger parks in Thailand drug their tigers for the sake of entertainment. However, this tiger park checked out because they treat their animals humanly; the tigers are not drugged or chained, and their teeth and claws have not been removed.

 

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I got the chance to go inside a room and play with some baby tigers. Unfortunately, baby tigers sleep a lot, so it was nap time when we went. By the end of my visit though, my little tiger had woken up and was playing around in the room. So cute!

342641552_IMG_0652Afterwards, we headed over to Pattaya’s famous floating market, where all the stores are built over water and some vendors sell food right out of their boats. I got some good deals on clothes and by some miracle, was not bitten by any mosquitos.

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That night, we returned to Walking Street for some more night life fun, which included watching street performers do some AMAZING dance moves.

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Girls’ night out on Walking Street

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The following day, we decided to take a ferry to Koh Lan Island to spend a day in the sun. This was my first encounter with clear waters and white sand beaches. I didn’t want to leave.

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I mean, would you want to leave?

But, leave I grudging did because the next day was back to school! On Tuesday (July 4th), some of the girls I’m with and I decided to go to the local beach after school and celebrate the holiday as best we could.

Unfortunately, the weather was not agreeing with us and we had to push back our “celebration” to the following day. That’s “Thai time” for you! Instead, Jessica and I celebrated by getting pad see ew:

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4th of July dinner, Part 1

No worries though, the next day we were able to get to the beach and chow down some “American” grub.

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You can take the girl out of the country, but not the country pride out of the girl

Okay, so it was not 100% the hamburger I imagined. But hey, fried egg tastes good paired with beef and mustard. Guess my stomach will continue to be culturally confused…

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4th of July dinner, Part 2 (before I realized I had gotten the Thai version of the American hamburger)

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