In true Lindsey fashion... I didn't complete my honeymoon blogging. The reasons for this are actually less Lindsey-ish than usual.
The morning of the elephant experience was terrible. I thought we were going to a conservatory or elephant rescue. Instead, we went to a place where the elephants were visibly upset, ridden for entertainment, and "trained" to entertain the mulitudes of clueless visitors. I convinced myself that there was cultural differences, I convinced myself that everything was okay. Even to the point of buying one of the paintings done by an elephant. When we got back to the hotel, I couldn't shake the feeling of extreme sadness I felt from one of the mother elephants (chained to a fence, clearly in distress as people fed her baby). I did more research on the "training" people do to get elephants, these gentle, giant, intelligent , living creatures, to perform the ways they did. And then I cried for the remainder of the day.
***In order to attempt to restore some sense of balance in my heart, and in the universe, Alex (who was a genius to come up with the idea) and I will be auctioning off our elephant painting and donating all the proceeds to an elephant rescue or foundation of some sort. As soon as we find one that's worthy we'll begin the process. ***
Despite the elephant camp misstep, the honeymoon carried on in Chiang Mai, a new favorite with tourists as I'm told and we could see why. The night market (which every city had) sprawled out across many city blocks. A dizzying and claustrophobic maze of vendors selling art and clothing and food and anything you can imagine. There was a large food court in the center with all the kinds of food you could imagine, and all at a bargain price and delicious. It was only a few steps from our hotel and Alex and I found ourselves getting lost in it every night. Trying new food, and buying up all the knick knacks.
The last night in Chiang Mai, we had a Thai cooking class. Our chef first took us through the open air market to teach us about different Thai ingredients and the differences between cocunut milk, cocunut water, and coconut cream and how to make them all. We then loaded up in another open air bus (see, back of a pickup truck) and drove outside the city limits to the "Best Thai Cooking School:. There we learned how to make Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Panang Curry, and mango with sticky rice (a local favorite dessert... I didn't care for it...where's the chocolate?!). Alex got a little overzealous with tossing food in the wok and gave me a nice souvenir burn on my arm, and then we ate like kings.
THE FINAL DAYS
The last few days of the honeymoon were spent in our private pool villa in Phuket. We ventured out only 1 day to kayak through the limestone caves and set our loy kratong out to sea amongst the bio-luminescent plankton that night. But other than that the last few days were rich with beach view dinners, a couples massage, and lots of naked pool time in our little corner of paradise. I'll spare you further detail... wink wink nudge nudge.
All in all the honeymoon was a success and not even 40 hours worth of travel back home could ruin it. We're now in the process of digging through 2000 pictures to weed out the best for social media viewing!