Look how far we have come...

Trip Start May 31, 2011
1
8
Trip End Aug 24, 2012


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What I did
Anna & Jerry's Wedding

Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Off into the world I go again, headed for Canada, but fitting in a wedding and lots of catch ups on the way. Thailand was my first destination, for the wedding of my friend Anna and her Swedish beau. Anna and I first built our friendship over drunken nights and picnics in our friend Pat’s backyard in Shepparton, but over the last 10 years, our travels had meant we only saw each other every year at best and we have stayed in each others lives via email. Anna and Jerry have been living in London, but decided to get married in Koh Samui, Thailand as a sort of halfway mark for their families and friends. So I landed in bangkok and with the very clear directions from my friend Steph, made my way to her flat (which was easier to find when, on our third lap of her street, I actually read the directions).  refreshed and excited to be back in Thailand after 3 years, I head out into the city to find Anna and her family. We spent the day trawling through the shops, where all the clothes were 3 sizes to small for most of us and then met up with everyone again on the rooftop bar of Anna’s hotel, Centara grand. I jumped back on the skytrain and headed to Suk 11 to Cheap Charlies, a kitsch little bar in a surprisingly quiet back street to meet Steph for a drink and some dinner. My resolve to not drink beer while traveling (purely for superficial weight loss reasons) lasted not even a day and we enjoyed a few cold ones and caught each other up on the last few years of our lives. Steph and I had been working at the Salvo’s for a year when she moved to Bangkok 3 years ago to work as a counsellor in an international school. 
The next day I set off to MBK, the faux brand name mecca and as Anna had partied pretty hard the nigh before, I met up with her Canadian friend Michelle and we wandered through some street markets and generally got lost in the city. I was starting to get back in the swing of bartering and had a stand off with my cheeky tuk tuk driver who tried to charge me a fortune to get home. Steph and I went out to the Banyan Tree, a beautiful hotel with a roof top bar and a 360 degree view of the city. We had avoided wearing our flip flops out but as I soon discovered, shorts were not acceptable attire either. So the lovely  staff loaned  me a “skirt” which I suspect was a black tablecloth in disguise which she paper clipped in place. But it did the job for the time it took to drink a martini and eat 3 bowls of complimentary snacks. 
Early the next morning I farewelled Steph and headed to the airport, bound for Koh Samui.  Anna and Jerry had booked out Natural Wing Health Resort at Bang Por beach for a few days over the wedding and so over the next 3 days, friends from all over the world arrived. On the first night we all got to know each other over dinner and many drinks until the Swedish boys felt comfortable to through me and some of the other girls in the pool fully clothed. We messed about into the wee hours of the morning and the staff at the resort wondered what they had got themselves in for. 
The following day I headed into Chaweng, the main shopping and party town on the island with Anna, her cousin Donna and friend Dan to get some things for the wedding and find a spa for the Hens party the next day. We ate lunch on the beach and Donna and I figured we would take on the hard task of trying out some of the spa treatments before jumping on the back of one of the trucks that act as the main public transport on the island and heading back to the resort. A tribe of us headed back into Chaweng for dinner where they had set up a table on the sand for us. While Donna and I walked back from the bathrooms,  we saw everyone headed up the beach and thought they were going for a stroll before dinner. Turns out the waiter had sworn and spat at one of the swedish guys and everyone had decided to walk from the restaurant. The angry waiter, clearly agitated about all the business he had just lost, followed us up the beach and continued to abuse the guys. But we got the security at the next restaurant to shoo him away and enjoyed Pina coladas and dinner. 
It was a beach day the next day and all the girls tried to get a little color before the wedding and after lunch, 16 of us girls invaded the spa and got manicures and massages. We each had two staff working on us at a time and they even had to bring in more staff from another shop in town. Thoroughly relaxed, we strolled down to a garden restaurant and then went to a ‘lady-boys’ drag show. Despite the fact the the only one who knew any of the words they were lip syncing to was the 40 year old back up dancer, their costumes and moves were amazing. The boys all met us at the show and then we hit up the clubs and got thoroughly messy drinking vodka out of buckets and dancing up at storm. We stuffed almost 20 of us onto a truck to get back and were polite enough this time to take the party to the beach.
While everyone in the wedding party ran around doing last minute preps, I wandered between the pool and the beach all day and then we all headed down the beach to the nearby seafood restaurant for dinner. 
Then the big day had come and despite little dramas in the lead up, went fantastically. We all met down on the beach at 4pm to watch Anna and the bridesmaids arrive by long boat.  The ceremony was lovely and was followed by a blessing by local monks. We took photo's and congratulated the happy couple and Anna, Sarah, Pat and I couldn't help but reminisce and laugh at the fact that we started our friendship getting drunk in Pat's back yard as kids and now, almost 15 years later, we were all on this beautiful island together! As the sun set we settled into the beachside tables for dinner. The speeches from family and friends were moving and after a few too many champagnes, I was in tears when Anna serenaded Jerry at the end. New family and friends, we danced the night away until people slowly disappeared to bed in the wee hours of the morning. 
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