Wedding photos – Part III

Surrounded by flowers
After the wedding ceremony, we went to a local park with beautiful gardens for some photos with friends, family, and the wedding party. It was really hot and it didn’t help that I was wearing such a heavy dress. I love how these pictures turned out. Kendra did an amazing job!

Moving on to private photos
These next pictures were taken at a private location while everyone else went to the reception.

***Continued in next post.

Wedding photos – Part II

Putting on the dress
My bridesmaids and I put on our dresses at Amy’s grandfather’s house — the only place we could keep my huge dress! It was such a wonderful feeling putting on my sparkly gown.

Photoshoot outside
After we finished dressing, with time to kill before leaving for the church, we went outside and posed in the front yard. Some lovely shots!

During the ceremony
First we met in the library of the church to get our bouquets and then here comes the bride! After the receiving line we went outside and were greeted with bubbles.

***Continued in next post.

Wedding photos, six months later – Part I

I think it’s about time to post my favourite wedding photos. I have many favourites, so this may be a long post! For the record, Jordan and I have been married for six months, and have been together for 4 years. I’m a little sad that he is in Haiti during this time, but we will have many more anniversaries to celebrate in the future.

Searching for the dress
As posted before, my mom, good friend Kendra, and I traveled to Syracuse, New York to pick out a dress at David’s Bridal. I tried on quite a few dresses, thinking I knew what I wanted, but in the end I bought the dress that was absolutely perfect for me. Here are the dresses that could have been!

Decorating the hall and rehearsal dinner
Rehearsal at the church at 3 pm. Putting out the flowers and my photographer, Kendra, taking test shots. After this, we went to the hall to decorate, and then out to dinner at Swiss Chalet with all my lovely friends and family. Jordan had wacky facial hair that day — just for me — so no pictures of him!

Hair and make-up
We had our hair and make-up done early in the morning. A wonderful start to the day!

***Continued in next post.

Our Adventures in Phuket, Thailand – Part IV

***Final installment continued from last post.

July 23 – 6:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Got up this morning at 6 am to shower and get beach things gathered up. Ate peanut butter on bread to tide us over til breakfast on the boat. Waited downstairs in hotel lobby for mini-bus to pick us up at 8:05 am, but it didn’t show til ten minutes later. The mini-bus drove us and some others to the Royal Phuket Marina on the east side of the island for the boat trip we’d booked to see Phang-Nga Bay. **Cost 5600B ($172 CAD) for Jordan and I. Yet another scary drive across the island.

At the marina we were introduced to Geoff of Simba Sea Trips, a pretty cool Australian guy. All aboard. Once we were out to sea on this beautiful hot day, we settled down for some drinks and chatting. Jordan and I got to sit up front with the wind whipping through our hair. Made it difficult to talk but it was great for photo-taking. Once the speedboat reached Koh Panak, it slowed down so we could take pictures. Geoff explained it’s the largest island in the bay and I think he said it is made of limestone.

Moved on to Koh Hong, a lagoon area, where we saw a monkey on the tiny beach. When it saw us it clambered onto the rock and climbed away. Here we dropped anchor and Geoff said this is where we will swim — not off the beach but right off the boat. One of the younger girls was the first person in the water. Jordan was next; he jumped right in! I was apprehensive as I could see sticks and stuff floating on top of the green water, but he said it was quite nice so I braced myself and in I went. The water was very warm and extremely salty! So buoyant that I barely had to move my arms and legs to tread water.

After that little adventure and a breakfast of fresh fruit and home-made banana cake, we moved on to sea canoeing. The boat pulled up to what looks like a large floating building, and everyone paired off to get into a sea canoe with a Thai guide. We were paddled under caves where we had to duck to pass through, and inside were lots of trees and vegetation. It was neat seeing the hollow insides of the caves when they look solid from the outside.

I took lots of pictures (all are not posted here). When the guide paddled us back to the floating building to rejoin our group, we tipped him 15B as a thank you. Before we got back into the speedboat, we drank fruit juice and hung around for a few minutes to wait for any group stragglers to return. Finally it was time to move on.

Next stop: floating Muslim village. Technically on stilts. The village is called Koh Panyee (not sure if spelled correctly). Here we were seated in one of the restaurants and served a variety of foods for lunch: chicken fried rice, battered shrimps, chicken with cashews, curry chicken and vegetables, peppered shrimps, egg omelet, and more. The food was very tasty; especially enjoyed the chicken with cashews, a nice sweet dish. To drink we had water or Pepsi. After eating, Geoff gave us a tour of the village and the school that the kids attend. As we walked around we saw lots of cats and Geoff explained that dogs are not allowed in the Muslim village. After a really interesting tour, we were given fifteen minutes to browse the stalls in the market. I bought a pretty pink pearl magnetic bracelet that can also be worn as a necklace. **Cost 250B ($7.50 CAD).

Boarded the boat once more and off we go to the famous James Bond Island. Never seen the movie it was in. Truly beautiful island with a lovely view of the special rock. We made our way up the stone steps, took some photos, and then down the other steps toward the sandy beach. At bottom of steps removed sandals to wade through water up to my calves to get to the actual beach. A market set up on the sand. Lots of people. More pictures. Geoff took some of Jordan and I for me.

Back into the boat and on we go! This time we found ourselves heading toward a real beach on the island of Koh Naga. Other people were there, too. Anchored the boat. While we clambered off and waded to shore to set up our beach mats and then swim in the lovely water, Geoff and the boat crew prepared more fruit for us and set up food for us. I tried dragonfruit for the first time, which is red on the outside, and inside is white with black seeds; tastes like kiwi but not as sweet, I think. There were also lots of tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches, made by Jenny. I ate so many of these, they were very good!

After everyone had eaten, swam to their heart’s content, and paid up for the trip, we boarded the ship home. What an amazing trip! Definitely the highlight of our vacation. I truly enjoyed every minute of this day’s adventure. Once back at the marina, quite exhausted from the long day in the sun, we piled into the mini-bus for scary trip back to the west side of Phuket. During the ride, we saw a dog perched on the back of a scooter, riding along behind its master, which was both funny and cute.

9:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Back at hotel around 6:30 pm (I think), showered off seawater and sweat. Watched some television and then out for dinner at the German/Thai place we’d eaten at before. Me: sweet n’ sour chicken with steamed rice, Sprite; Jordan: bacon, fried eggs, toast, juice. **Cost 265B ($8.30 CAD) plus tip. The food was good but my meal took much too long to be served. Stopped at 7/11 on the way back for ice cream, snacks, big bottle of Sprite, and chocolate. **Cost 155B ($4.80 CAD). Picked up two more postcards at some shop for 4B each ($0.13 CAD).

July 24 – 10:10 am – Karon, Phuket
Woke up to sound of hammering; don’t know where it’s coming from but damn it’s annoying when we are trying to sleep. Absolutely pouring buckets outside. Can see big waves on the beach from balcony. Going to make a tea and watch TV for awhile.

2:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Went to lunch at “Karon Cafe”, but third time not a charm. Didn’t receive very good service today. Me: Italian chicken parmigiana sandwich, water; Jordan: American breakfast. **Cost 285 ($9 CAD) and no tip. Jordan’s breakfast came with both coffee and juice and even though he pointed this out the waitress asked him what he wanted to drink. She got a little huffy when he repeated it already came with beverages. My meal was great, like usual. After we finished, realized Jordan didn’t get the yoghurt from the breakfast, so we asked for it since we paid for the full meal. It turned out to be plain unsweetened yoghurt which Jordan found disgusting, so he didn’t eat it after all that. Did some shopping afterward and bought two Billabong tube dresses for gifts. **Cost 450B ($13.50) for both. Still raining lightly; gonna stay in and watch a movie but I’ll probably fall asleep.

9:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Went for a walk to market by the beach, hoping to spend more money. Only bought two wrap scarves for around your waist (over jeans or a bathing suit). **Cost 350B ($10.50) for both. Very pretty, might have overpaid a bit. I found a pair of dark purple Billabong pyjama shorts but the guy wouldn’t go low enough. Maybe another time. Had dinner at “Angus O’Tooles”. I didn’t really want to eat there because all I like on the menu is the pizza, but Jordan really wanted to. Me: spring rolls, hot brownie with vanilla ice cream; Jordan: cottage pie with vegetables. **Cost 500B ($15 CAD) plus tip. Back at hotel, found a baby salamander on bed frame which freaked Jordan out. Managed to shoo it out of the room. Now watching “The Pursuit of Happiness” on TV.

July 25 – 10:15 am – Karon, Phuket
Woke up at 9 o’ clock, feeling hungry. Not raining at the moment but sky is grey. Jordan is finally shaving. It’s my last day here; leaving tomorrow at 4:15 am to go to the airport.

12:10 pm – Karon, Phuket
Headed out for breakfast. Thought we would try “The Little Mermaid” again. Both of us had pancakes, fried eggs, bacon, and the waitress brought us syrup, and a drink each. **Cost 330B ($10 CAD) plus tip.

10:20 pm – Karon, Phuket
I wanted to go to the beach market one last time. Ended up buying the purple Billabong shorts I eyed up the other day, plus a brown Billabong tube top. **Cost 180B for shorts ($5.50) and 200B ($6) for top. Left the market and continued walking down beach road; nice breeze near the water. Stopped at convenience store for a can of beer for Jordan and iced tea for me. Continued on our way past Hilton Arcadia, and into Kata where we stopped at a small supermarket. Picked up two croissants, two chocolate Ovaltine drink boxes, and a shampoo and conditioner. **Cost 289B ($8.75 CAD). Very cheap, especially for damage control Dove shampoo and extra moisturizing Pantene conditioner. Starting to feel warm from walking. Sat on bench to have our snack.

In Kata at a shop, found black flip-flops identical to the ones I got in Kamala for 59B, except the girl wanted 300B for them. I got her down to 200B and I said, “No way, why would I pay that for them when I bought pink ones for 59 Baht?” We left and moved on to the next shop in the alleyway, and the girl came back to us and told us to go to her other shop of shoes. We did, and the ladies there agreed on a decent price for two pairs of the comfy black flip-flops. **Cost 120B ($3.50) for two pairs. Found the full Star Wars saga at a DVD place. **Cost 360B ($10.50 CAD).

Took a long walk through Kata, visiting parts we hadn’t seen during our first visit. Found a 7/11 for some Sprites and talked to a French guy outside the store about motorbikes and import taxes. On our way back into main shopping area of Kata, stopped at Starbucks because I really had to pee. Bought a pomegranate-peach frappuccino and Jordan had a danish. **Cost 170B ($5 CAD). Of course, no bathroom! Back in the outskirts of Karon, after a nice excursion, had dinner (and found a bathroom!) at “Baan Sailom”. Me: sweet n’ sour chicken, steamed rice, a beverage; Jordan: ham and cheese sandwich, French fries, a beverage. **Cost 240B ($7.50 CAD) plus tip. My last yummy sweet n’ sour dish in Thailand! Full from food, walked back to hotel, stopping along the way to take photos together. I can’t believe our time is up and I have to go back to Canada while he goes back to work.

Returned to the hotel through the short-cut market. Talked to a couple of the girls in their shops. Haggled for quite awhile with a young girl for two Billabong tie-front dresses in dark brown and light blue. **Cost 680B ($21 CAD) for both. I think I will give one to Crystal. Hit up the 7/11 for gum, cookies, and Milo drink box. **Cost 70B ($2 CAD). Gave the rest of money to Jordan for his final day. Wake up call will be at 2:30 am so that I can get ready; taxi at 4:15 am. Flight out of Phuket International Airport is 7:35 am. Must I leave?

***End of journal.

Obviously I made it home safely. The flights felt like forever; I just wanted to get home. At the Toronto airport, my dad was waiting for me. It felt good to be back in Canada, but I sure did miss Jordan. I still do, for that matter. Another few months and he will be coming home!

Our Adventures in Phuket, Thailand – Part II

***Continued from previous post.

July 15 – 9:00 am – Kamala, Phuket
Pouring heavily this morning. Hoping it won’t last long so we can go for breakfast. So foggy that the mist has completely obscured the mountains behind the hotel. The sea is slate grey and waves are crashing onto the sand. There was lightning last night.

3:30 pm – Kamala, Phuket
Went to “Oh La La” for breakfast, getting soaked in the process. Me: honey crepes, banana shake; Jordan: bacon, fried eggs, herbed bread, a beverage. **Cost 210B ($6.50 CAD) plus tip. The crepes were quite sweet, not sure what kind of honey was used, but they were yummy. The shake was great!

On our way to hotel, saw a cat from the bridge leading to the beach. He was clinging to a wood ladder, still half in the high water (first time we’d seen water under that bridge), mewing. Jordan tried to get at him but the cat ended up falling back in the brown water and managed to swim, bad leg and all, to safety on something attached to the back of a boat. Hopefully the cat survived, it was quite sad. After that we went for a swim in the pool since it had stopped raining. Going to head out for dinner in a half hour and then find a taxi or tuk tuk into Patong.

9:10 pm – Kamala, Phuket
Had dinner at “Chongdee’s”. Me: margherita pizza, Sprite; Jordan: a sandwich, water. **Cost 380B ($12 CAD) plus tip. Couldn’t find the metered taxi that usually sits near the Phuket Fantasea. Climbed into a red tuk tuk for a windy and scary ride to Ocean Plaza on Bangla Road. **Cost 300B ($9 CAD). He refused to negotiate any lower. The plaza is very small; left soon after using the toilets. Walked around Bangla Road for a bit, quite hectic. Found our way to Beach Road. At a stall I bought two stretchy shirts. **Cost 500B ($15 CAD) for both. I think I paid too much for them but the lady was very difficult to barter with, she seemed to think they were worth even more than that.

Found “Hello Kitty” shop that sells DVDs for 50B each. Jordan and I bought five. **Cost 250B ($7.50 CAD). Next we discovered “Mr Noon”, another place I’d heard about from the TripAdvisor Phuket forum. Also selling for 50B each. Bought eight DVDs and one game. **Cost 500B ($15 CAD). Next we went into a grocery store and picked up bread, small jar of Nutella, plastic chopsticks, and a bunch of drinks. **Cost 300B ($9 CAD).

Once again we looked for a metered taxi but they are no where to be found. Harassed by many tuk tuk drivers as we passed by. Bargained with a taxi driver to take us back to Kamala (air-conditioned). **Cost 275B ($8.50 CAD). I’m not yet sure if I like Patong. I think it is too busy for me. Only one more full day left in Kamala, then we move on to Karon on the 17th.

July 16 – 10:30 am – Kamala, Phuket
Woke up early today. Hasn’t begun to rain yet but the sky is overcast and a mist is beginning to descend on the mountains. Went out for breakfast. Since it’s our last day we wanted to go to “Jan Thai” one last time, but we had never gone out this early before and the restaurant was closed. Ended up at “Kamala Bakery”, an air-conditioned place. Me: fried eggs, hashbrown potatoes with onion and garlic, orange juice; Jordan: fried eggs, deep-fried toast, bacon, and beans, a beverage. **Cost 330B ($10 CAD) plus tip. The food was really good but I couldn’t finish my meal because I started to feel a little nauseous. I bought a cinnamon bun, though, on the way out the door for later, included in the price. On our way back to hotel we walked a different route that led by Kamala Temple instead of going down the main road. It started to rain lightly when we reached the beach and by the time we reached the hotel it had turned into a downpour.

1:05 pm – Kamala, Phuket
Watched some episodes of “Sex & the City” on the laptop. Decided to get ready to go to the pool but it started raining again. Hopefully it will cease soon. Jordan is singing along to a song now. Ate some of the cinnamon bun from the bakery, very tasty.

3:10 pm – Kamala, Phuket
Rain finally stopped and sun came out to say hello. We went for a swim for 45 minutes, then skies clouded over and once again down came the rain. We ran inside, dripping wet from pool AND rain. Wondering what to do on our last day in Kamala. Might go to “Oh La La” again for dinner and use the 15 minutes free internet.

8:10 pm – Kamala, Phuket
Rain stopped again so we made our way through puddles to “Oh La La” for supper. Me: fried noodles with chicken, Sprite; Jordan: spare ribs, fried eggs, and bacon, a beverage. **Cost 295B ($9 CAD) plus tip. The food was good like last time but the sauce Jordan dipped the spare ribs in was so spicy it burned the back of his throat. We used the free internet to check emails. When we left, used the ATM machine at the closest 7/11 to withdraw some cash. Went back to hotel and watched more episodes. Too bad it rained so much today.

July 17 – 9:30 am – Kamala, Phuket
Rained all night and still raining now. Tis to be expected. Will have to eat breakfast at the hotel before check-out.

1:10 pm – Karon, Phuket
Too expensive for breakfast buffet for the two of us at the hotel. Instead found a place called “The Beer House” to eat at. Still raining hard, wind is gusting, we practically blew into the place. Me: French toast, fruit platter, tea; Jordan: fried eggs, toast, fruit platter, Cornflakes with yoghurt. **Cost 370B ($11.50 CAD) plus tip. Loved the French toast, very thick slices, only ate banana from the platter but Jordan finished all his and some of mine.

Made it back in time for noon check-out. Paid 81B ($2.50 CAD) for phone call I made to confirm elephant trek for the next day. Expensive! A bit of trouble during check-out. Our mini-bar was checked (we didn’t take anything) and we were told one of the free glass bottles of water had a crack and they were going to charge us. Refused to pay since we had drank out of them that morning and there had been nothing wrong with either of the bottles. Did not appreciate the accusation. After that we stupidly paid the hotel to drive us to the Best Western Ocean Resort in Karon. **Cost 600B ($18.50 CAD). Yikes.

At check-in for the new hotel we were given a glass of grape juice. Bus-boy helped to bring our baggage up to our room. Fifth floor, lots of steps and passageways, luckily an elevator. Gave him a tip as thanks. The room very similar to the Kamala Beach Resort, set up slightly different but it’s almost like walking into the same room. There is a bedside clock and free in-room safe.

11:50 pm – Karon, Phuket
Jordan and I went for a walk to explore city. Our hotel is only a few minutes walk to traffic circle, the main street, and the road along the beach. Lots of different restaurants, shops, tailors, massage parlours. Popped into a shop and spotted some wood chopsticks I may get for Delia. Continued on our way. Starting pouring as if someone upturned a bucket. Of course we didn’t have an umbrella or raincoats so we ducked under an awning of a closed restaurant and sat at a table. Able to stay mostly dry, but the wind was really blowing. A lady and her son poked their heads out under the garage doors a couple times and smiled at us. Finally she opened up the restaurant (not sure of the name, a German-Thai place) after we’d been sitting there for ages and we went inside. Ordered food since we didn’t know how long the downpour would last. Me: Garlic and pepper fried chicken, steamed rice, Sprite; Jordan: chicken dish with coconut sauce, a beverage. **Cost 370B ($11.50) plus tip. Food delicious but unfortunately tried some of Jordan’s food that had a pepper in it and I felt like I had caught on fire.

Rain lightened but didn’t stop. Returned to hotel to dry off. Watched some episodes and one of the DVDs I’d got in Patong, “The Break-Up”. Went out again later in the evening, around 8 pm. Nice and breezy. Lots of tailors asking us to come into their shops. No thanks, not interested. Found a small indoor market, almost like a warehouse, that also acts as a short-cut to our hotel (we soon discovered). Saw an orange sarong I think my mom would like, but wasn’t impressed with the price. At another market along the beach I found a pretty blue skirt and haggled. **Cost 280B ($8.50 CAD). Pretty good price for the type of skirt. Finally ate dinner pretty late at “Karon Cafe”. Me: Italian chicken parmigiana sandwich, cole slaw, home-made chips, a beverage, hot apple strudel with ice cream for dessert; Jordan: ham and cheese croissant, cole slaw, home-made chips, a beverage, banana split for dessert. **Cost 465B ($14 CAD) plus tip. Food was really good, but chips tasted stale. Best sandwich I’ve had so far in Thailand.

As we left the restaurant, someone was using a remote-control car to chase a dog down the street. The dog ran towards me and the car smashed into the back of my foot. When we got back to the hotel, I noticed I was bleeding and there was a nice cut on my heel. The guy didn’t even apologize for hitting me.

July 18 – 8:00 am – Karon, Phuket
Today we have booked an elephant trek at Kok Chang. Must be ready by 9 o’ clock. Jordan’s feeling pretty lousy, poor guy; been sick a couple times.

3:15 pm – Karon, Phuket
Had to cancel the elephant trek due to Jordan being pretty sick this morning. He is feeling a little more settled now. Fell asleep and napped for two hours, woke up and looked outside to see it’s not even raining. Jordan felt strong enough to get out of bed and we went to lunch at “One Man Restaurant”. Me: chicken burger, best French fries so far, Sprite; Jordan: toast with butter, water. **Cost 160B ($5 CAD) plus tip. Very humid, about 30° C. Came back to hotel, ready for a swim, but rain started. Now Jordan is napping.

8:45 pm – Karon, Phuket
Read some Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire then fell asleep until 6:30 pm. We then went for a quick (cold!) dip in the upper level pool. Still smells very strongly of chlorine. My hair feels like straw now. All moisture seems to be sapped from it. Gonna head out and see if we can find a hat for Monday’s boat ride and then dinner.

10:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Didn’t find a hat because I am too picky. I don’t like hats and I refuse to pay much for something I don’t even like, but will need. Went inside “Big 1” grocery store to buy some detergent, toothpaste, and a candle gift for mom. **Cost 143B ($4.50 CAD). Found dinner at “Angus O’Tooles”, an Irish pub. Crowded and full of smokers inside so we grabbed a table outside. Of course then it started to rain so we had to move in. Me: ham and cheese pizza, chocolate milkshake; Jordan: tomato soup, toast, water. **Cost 310B ($10 CAD) plus tip. Pizza was delicious but I started to feel nauseous so brought the rest home with me. Jordan loved his soup. Spitting rain on the way back, took the shortcut through the warehouse market. Bought a pink necklace for Amy. **Cost 180B ($5.50 CAD). Also a red Billabong skirt for myself. **Cost 200B ($6 CAD). Discovered a big lizard over our room doorway when we returned to hotel. Took a photo then snuck into the room. Now washing underwear and some shirts in the sink.

***Continued in next post.