Published: March 27th 2011November 21st 2010
Realising an ambition
To light our floating lanterns as a married couple
The fine weather in Ko Samui was also present in Pattaya when we landed at the airport on Sunday 14th November. The temperature was a scorching 33 degrees and we were pleased to see Dad when he came to pick us up and take us for a lovely sushi lunch in Pattaya. I managed to indulge in another couple of my favourite Fuji restaurant coconut shakes and we also came a cropper of one of the stranger Thai laws. Regulations state that you cannot purchase alcohol in a shop between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. Unless of course, you are buying 10 litres or more of alcohol, in which case it's fine!
Once we had unpacked, I made a guest performance for the football team Dad plays 8-a-side for on a Sunday night. The less said about the game and my performance the better to be honest. We were no Tottenham Hotspur and we go thrashed!
The rest of the days and nights passed by in a blur of lie ins, job hunting, walks along the beach and delicious Thai food. It was brilliant spending time with Dad and enjoying our last week of travelling. The weather was
great and the sun seemed to shine every day. The beaches were packed with Eastern European tourists and the food in the local eateries was as good, and as spicy as ever!
The highlight of the week was the last Sunday we were there, and the last full day of our travels. Dad, Rachel and I set off for the Pattaya Floating Market where we wandered amongst the stalls. We got to see lots of authentic Thai crafts and art as well as sampling lots of different types of food, including Chiang Mai sausages, alligator, rice and others. We did however, stop short of eating the deep fried insects on offer!
The day also marked Loy Krathong which is an annual festival in Thailand. "Loi" means "to float" and a "krathong" is traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or styrofoam. We bought our krathongs from the floating market and made our way down to the beach in Pattaya as darkness fell and we were met with large crowds of mainly local people. As some people carried on swimming in the sea, others were attempting to fly their
lantern. We carried on walking along the beach and found a spot where we decided to fly our lanterns. This moment was extremely special to Rach and I as not only was it marking the end of our travels, but it was something we had wanted to do at our wedding but weren't allowed.
As we set about lighting our lanterns we noticed a little boy who was going up to tourists, taking their lanterns off them, trying to make them fly and then expecting to get paid for it - when he had in fact ruined a special moment, that they would probably not get again in their life!! Now bearing in mind how much this meant to Rachel and I, you can imagine our annoyance when this boy came over and tried to take over. Rachel was not impressed!!!!! Eventually after much persistence (and a bit of voice raising from Rach) the boy left us alone.
So finally we managed to light our lanterns and watched them float into the vast inky night sky with lots of others. It was a beautiful sight and a fitting way to end our travelling adventure. We lit the candles
and incense on our krathongs and Dad, Rach and I let them float out to sea and with them (according to the local traditions) went all our worries and bad spirits.
We had a great evening and sure enough it was soon over and with it, our incredible 6 month honeymoon. It had made us laugh and cry, we argued and shouted, yet felt closer than ever, we learnt so much about each other and about the incredible planet we live on. We made new friends, saw old friends and spent time with wonderful people. It has whet our appetite for more travelling in the future and we are so grateful for the opportunity to make such an amazing journey.
There are more photos below