Courtney Johnson

Joined September 2017
  • Day8

    Last Day in Amsterdam!

    April 6 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    Yesterday was the most fun! We started the day with some delicious bacon and eggs in a cozy cafe overlooking a canal. Tim had coffee while I had a very healthy apple carrot ginger juice. After breakfast we walked along a canal and hopped on a “Friendship” canal tour boat. We spent the next hour sipping cocktails and Heinekens as our tour guide told us some history of the canals and Amsterdam and pointed out some interesting buildings and bridges. He pointed out a draw bridge where couples who kiss in the middle will last forever (more on that later!) We kissed underneath as well just to be safe.

    After our beautiful canal tour, we popped into a nearby cafe for some beers. Then we walked along canals until we found a cafe that our airbnb hosts had recommended for lunch. We found a table on a terrace just 3 feet from the canal and enjoyed a leisurely lunch watching ducks and boats go by right below us and under a nearby bridge. Tim had a delicious Dutch sandwich of roast beef and peanut sauce while I had very tasty Chilean empanada. After a couple hours (and a couple more drinks!), we decided to have a coffee and explore the city.

    We wandered along canals for the next two or three hours, goofing off and popping into cafes and bars every so often for drinks. We found the drawbridge the guide had showed us earlier as the sun was setting and had another kiss to make sure our love would last forever (apparently a marriage isn’t enough for the Dutch!!). After some time on the bridge, we decided to go to our (now late) dinner. We spent about 45 minutes looking for a place recommended by our hosts but had a hard time. Eventually we found the restaurant but it was closed for renovations. Being so late, we decided finding a Chinese restaurant may be the best course of action. After wandering for about a half hour, we stumbled upon a very fancy looking restaurant and decided that might be better than Chinese. We wandered into the restaurant and were seated immediately ( good thing too...because it was 9:45 and we were starving). Over the next two hours we enjoyed a bottle of Spanish red, some very rare filet mignon and two lobsters all while goofing off and making a bit of a scene! To top the meal off, we had some coffee drinks (Baileys for Tim and amaretto for me) before making the slow wander home.

    We very much enjoyed Amsterdam and will definitely be back in the future. We had a blast and are very sad to leave (but are excited to get back to Georgie, Scamp, and Bella).
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  • Day7

    Amsterdam - Keukenhof Gardens and More!

    April 5 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☀️ 52 °F

    Yesterday was definitely the highlight of the whole trip!! We had a perfect day. We woke up “early” (8:00ish), got ready and headed out to the Keukenhof Gardens for the tulip festival. On our way to the bus, we stopped for a quick breakfast - a yummy spinach quiche for me and an omelette for Tim. We didn’t have the easiest time finding the bus stop or figuring out where to transfer, but we made it!

    Amsterdam’s tulip festival runs each year from mid-March to early May. The Keukenhof Garden is the largest flower garden in the world with over 7 million flower bulbs planted each year. The gardens are famous for the tulips but there are also hyacinths, daffodils, lillies, carnations, orchids, and more. Surrounding the gardens are fields and fields of flowers.

    We started our trip by renting bikes to explore the fields around the gardens. There are a bunch of different bike routes to take and the first thing we did was immediately take a wrong turn and ride for about 4 miles in the wrong direction. Not sure how it took us 4 miles to realize we were in a town and nowhere near the gardens, I guess we were having too much fun! We headed back and did the short 1 hour loop around the fields instead of the 3 hour loop we had originally planned!

    After we returned the bikes, we entered the gardens. Wow! I was completely amazed the entire time. We wandered around for hours. The tulips are at their peak bloom around mid-April. I think we went at the perfect time. One of my favorite things to look at was the different life spans of the tulips, from the first bulb to the huge flower. The gardens are laid out perfectly so that tulips are constantly blooming and in one small garden you can see every stage of bloom. It was incredible. But after about 3 or 4 hours, we were both exhausted. We took the bus back home around 6:00.

    Our night was also awesome. After we got ready, we headed out for dinner. One of my coworkers had told us we had to try the Turkish kabobs. There was a very highly rated Turkish restaurant a few blocks a away so that’s where we went! We got huge platters of lamb shawarma. It was so yummy but so much food.

    After dinner, we tried to go to a pub that our hosts had recommended, one of the oldest pubs in Amsterdam, but it was closed (what pub closes at 9:00?!). We ended up hopping around to a couple of different pubs and met/hung out with a really nice Dutch couple for awhile. Before we knew it, we were only a few blocks away from the red light district. We had hated it so much the first night but that was a traveling and tired day. We decided to go to one more bar and walk down the strip one last time while we were in such a good mood. Again, it sucked, but we had a much better time the second time around after we had grown to love Amsterdam.

    At this point, it was pretty late, so we headed back to the Jordaan district to our cute little canal apartment. On the way, we stopped for take away waffles!! Yum! The perfect ending to the perfect day.
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  • Day6

    Amsterdam Museums and Wandering

    April 4 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☀️ 46 °F

    Yesterday was so fun. Our first night in Amsterdam, we only really checked out the red light district, and didn’t love it. But yesterday, we wandered all around the outskirts of the city and fell in love.

    We started our day with a delicious healthy breakfast at a little cafe on a canal. Fresh squeezed orange juice, avocado egg toast, and goat cheese and jam toast with lots of veggies. Then we walked over to the Anne Frank Museum, which is only a few blocks from our place. The museum/house was really cool but also very depressing!

    After Anne Frank, we wandered around the canals for hours. We stopped in at a few pubs, people watched, and window shopped at some cool second hand good stores and record shops. Next up was the Van Gogh museum. This was probably my favorite museum I’ve been to, it was very cool! His artwork and his life story is pretty incredible and crazy.

    We had skipped lunch so by now we were starving. When we had first arrived in Amsterdam, I had looked up restaurants on TripAdvisor. An authentic Nepalese restaurant is ranked the #1 out of almost 4,000 Amsterdam restaurants. I’m still not sure what the Nepalese influence is but several of the reviews said stuff like “while in Amsterdam, I knew I had to try Nepalese food”. Anyways, the restaurant was on our walk back towards our neighborhood so we popped in around 6:00 before the dinner crowd had arrived (apparently the wait can be hours long). We were the first to arrive but by the time we left it was completely full. We split the chicken momo (Nepalese style dumplings) and bbq lamb, with three different delicious sauces. It was so yummy. After we left, I still wasn’t completely full, so we split a small fries from a walk up fry stand.

    For the rest of the evening, we just wandered around the canals and made our way home. We had an early night and got a good night’s sleep. Up early to head to the tulip gardens today!!
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  • Day5

    Amsterdam Arrival!

    April 3 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 45 °F

    We made it to Amsterdam! After breakfast on our terrace in Paris, we took the train to Amsterdam, passing by beautiful Brussels on the way. We walked the mile from Central Station to our canal apartment in the rain. After we dried off, showered, and did some laundry, the rain stopped and we hit the streets of Amsterdam!

    This city is absolutely beautiful. The canals remind me of Venice, the architecture is beautiful, and the bicycles are insane. We spent the evening hopping around bars and restaurants and did a quick stroll through the Red Light District. It’s definitely a site to see but it’s basically just filled with drunken tourists gawking at prostitutes. I’m happy that our Airbnb is off in the Jordaan district and a few blocks away from the tourism madness. Excited to explore some of the cool neighborhoods and get lost in the alleys and along the canals for the rest of our time here!

    The only picture I took yesterday was of the crazy steep stairs leading up to our apartment!
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  • Day4

    Last Day in Paris!

    April 2 in France ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Yesterday (especially yesterday night!) was the perfect end to our amazing trip to Paris. We finally adjusted to the time difference and to the travel night with no sleep. We woke up at a reasonable hour (9:00) and made our way to the Catacombs, which was only a short 10-15 minute walk from our Airbnb. We stopped for a sugar croissant on the way. We waited in line for a bit and then entered the Catacombs, the largest ossuary in the world. The underground tunnels hold the remains of over 2 million people. It is absolutely insane. The bones are never ending. It was very morbid but one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.

    After the Catacombs, we walked back to our awesome little neighborhood and had a delicious fondue lunch - three cheese fondue with garlic, onions, and white wine. For dipping, we had bread, apples, and potatoes. And a side of prosciutto. It was so yummy but I was about ready for a nap! We went back to the Airbnb and relaxed for a bit and got ready for the night.

    Next, we took an Uber over to the Arc de Triomphe, a giant monument overlooking the city. On our way, it started to drizzle, so we didn’t go up to the top of the tower. We walked down Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous streets in Paris, and stopped in for a glass of wine to escape the rain.

    The rain stopped and then we walked the mile and a half towards the theater district. We had a delicious dinner at a little Tavern - delicious perfectly cooked duck for Tim and a Caesar salad and French onion soup for me! Next up was one of the highlights of the trip - L’Olympia Theater to see Tedeschi Trucks Band. This beautiful old theater opened in 1888. The Grateful Dead recorded parts of their Europe 72 live album there. TTB is in my top 3 favorite bands so this was definitely an incredible experience (and a crazy coincidence that their European tour began here on our last night in Paris)!

    The concert was absolutely incredible. We had seats in the 5th row of the orchestra so we were a few yards away from Susan, Derek, and the band. This was a seated show and during the first set, we were a little worried about the crowd, who didn’t seem to be dancing too much. But after the set break, the crowd loosened up, and we saw some of the best live music we’ve ever seen. Although everyone remained seated, people were loving it. Everyone was dancing, cheering, “woo”-ing, and giving standing ovations. They ended with a couple of my absolute favorite songs. I have never seen a crowd clap and scream so loud for an encore. The encore was incredible and everyone finally stood and danced. That band is so good! We are strongly considering seeing them again Thursday in the Netherlands.

    After the show, we had another round of beers at the tavern where we had dinner and then Ubered home. Last night was the perfect ending to the perfect trip. Now off to Amsterdam!!!
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  • Day3

    Paris - Best Day Ever!

    April 1 in France ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    Yesterday was the best! We basically just wandered around hopping from cafe to cafe all day. After we woke up, Tim went to the super market for coffee while I got ready. Then I went to get croissants while he got ready. We sat on our balcony and split 3 different kinds of pastries - a chocolate croissant, some type of sugary bread, and a butter croissant. We sat on the balcony for a bit longer and made a 1:30 reservation for a delicious French lunch. On our way to the restaurant, to kill some time, we sat at a sidewalk cafe and had a beer.

    Next up was our first proper French meal (besides the daily croissants!). We chose Chez Lionel because it had such good reviews and was not super expensive. When we arrived, we saw the Michelin Star sticker next to the front door and got very excited. We sat on a sidewalk table and both ordered the prix fixe menu and split everything. We used our dictionary to translate but still didn’t know exactly what we were ordering. For our first course, we had a yummy green bean and radish dish (we had thought this was going to be a green salad) and an amazing eggplant, olive, tomato, hummus dish. For our entree, we split scallops and chorizo (we had thought this was going to be fish and were very pleasantly surprised) and the “beef of the day”, which was the best beef either of us had ever had. The prix fixe menu also came with a glass of wine and a cafe (decaf for me)! The waitress and chef were so nice too. This was one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

    After lunch, we wandered around, passing by the Luxembourg gardens again, and made our way up to the river, stopping in another couple of sidewalk cafes on the way. We then went to check out the stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle. This was probably the coolest thing we’ve seen so far. The glass was absolutely beautiful. We wandered around the city for a little bit longer and then started to head back towards home. Once we got back to our cool little neighborhood, we stopped at a walk-up crepe bar and ordered dinner. We ate our crepes in the middle of a little roundabout intersection surrounded by cafes and people watched for awhile. Then we were both exhausted. We came home and got to bed early. It was a perfect day full of yummy food!!
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  • Day2

    Touristy Day!

    March 31 in France ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    Yesterday was our day to check off some of the “must-see” touristy Paris stuff. We woke up late, and still pretty tired. We both could’ve slept for another several hours, but forced ourselves to get ready and to get out the door around noon. We made it to a cafe just before they stopped serving breakfast. We stood at the bar and ate chocolate croissants and Tim had an espresso. Then we wandered along Rue Mouffetard, bought some fruit from an outdoor market, had a beer from a pub, and made our way over to the Gardens of Luxembourg. This is huge public park/garden filled with people picnicking, relaxing, playing sports, and more. We walked around the gardens until we worked up an appetite for lunch. We headed towards the Seine River and looked for somewhere to eat lunch outside. Since it was almost 3:00, restaurants were starting to close for the afternoon. We had to make a quick decision and jumped into a Napoleon pizza place. Not exactly French food but it was delicious!

    Next stop - the Louvre. Woah. I had heard that the museum was huge but I had no idea it would be this big. Fortunately, there was no line and we walked right in. We had a guide on the “must see” rooms/paintings and stuck to that but were still pretty overwhelmed. We started off in Napoleon’s apartments, which were stunning. Then made our way to the Italian Renaissance paintings and saw a bunch of Botticelli and da Vinci pieces, including the Mona Lisa. Next was French History paintings, Greek statues, and the Egyptian galleries. We finished off the trip with a visit to the basement to check out the original walls of the fortress. People spend days in the Louvre. We were in and out in under 2 hours, which was enough for me.

    After the Louvre, we walked down the street to Musee d’Orsay, but it was about to close so we didn’t go in. We stopped in at a little wine bar and had a couple of glasses of Rose and tried to decide what to do with the end of our day. We decided to just knock out the last major tourist attraction so that we could spend the rest of our time in Paris wandering around doing whatever we want (besides the Catacombs that we’ll do tomorrow!). Off to the Eiffel Tower!

    At this point, we had probably walked 5-10 miles already and we were too exhausted to figure out the metro so we hopped in a little bike taxi and made our way to the tower. Once we got dropped off, we popped into a little market and bought a couple of beers and sat on the lawn, looking at the tower. It’s pretty amazing. I was definitely nervous to go to the top but I think the beer helped a little with that! It was about 7:45 at this point so we headed over to the tower, thinking we could get to the top for sunset. Unfortunately, the line for the elevator was pretty long and the stairs were closed for some reason. We waited for about an hour, bought 2 tickets, and got to the elevator around 9:00 just as it was starting to get dark. The first elevator takes you to the second floor. As soon as the doors opened and I realized that it wasn’t enclosed, I pretty much panicked. I was about to get back in the elevator and go down, but changed my mind and we walked over to the elevator to the top. When the guy went to scan our tickets, he said that we only had tickets to the second floor! The ticket lady had sold us the wrong tickets!! I was so upset and he was so nice and let us go anyways. We got in the elevator and rode for what felt like hours to the top. Fortunately, up there it was completely enclosed and I wasn’t scared at all. We used the 20 Euros we saved by accidentally buying the wrong tickets and bought two glasses of champagne! We hung out up there for awhile. The views were incredible. But it was very windy and we were very cold so after the champagne, we headed back down the elevator to the second floor. There was a long line for the elevator, so we took the stairs all the way down. The whole experience was pretty amazing. But now it’s checked off the bucket list and I could definitely go the rest of my life without going up there again.

    By the time we left the Eiffel Tower, it was 10:30 and we were starving. We tried to walk to a restaurant that we had read was very good but it was closed, and so was everything around it. The only thing open was a Vietnamese pho restaurant that was actually pretty crowded so we went in. Unfortunately, this was our second non-French meal in a row. Fortunately, we are obsessed with Vietnamese food and it was some of the best we’ve had. We split shrimp spring rolls, Tim had pho, and I had a beef and egg dish. After dinner, we took a taxi back home. Yesterday was a very long day, with so much walking, but we had a great time and were able to do so much. Excited for today, with no plans at all!
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  • Day1

    Paris Arrival!

    March 30 in France ⋅ ☀️ 66 °F

    After we FINALLY made it to Paris, we had the best day ever. But the trip here was exhausting! We sat in traffic all the way from Richmond to Dulles. Then had a yummy airport dinner before our redeye flight to Iceland. We each got a couple of hours of sleep on that flight and then a couple more on the flight from Iceland to Paris. We arrived in Paris at noon yesterday and we were both very tired. Our Airbnb host had told us to take the train to his stop in Paris. But the train was closed for maintenance, which we found out after we had already bought a ticket! So we waited in the longest line ever for the replacement bus then transferred to the train and then got off at our stop. Then we were planning to turn on cell data briefly to get walking directions to the Airbnb but the cell data wouldn’t work! Fortunately, all of the Parisians we met were the nicest and most helpful people ever. Three different people tried to give us directions and a random hotel let us use their WiFi. We arrived, about 2 hours late, and our awesome Airbnb host was still sitting there waiting for us!

    We were tempted to take a nap but decided to push through “until 8:00 or so”. That’s when the awesome part of the day started. Our Airbnb is in the perfect part of town. It is just south of the Latin quarter, right off of Rue Mouffetard, the oldest street in Paris, and probably the coolest street ever. For a couple of miles, the street is lined on both sides with everything you can imagine - bakeries, fruit stands, fresh seafood shops, butchers, cheese markets, cafes, bars, restaurants, creperies, shops, ice cream parlors, markets, and anything else you can imagine. Live music is played on every block. And it’s pretty much all Parisians, very few tourists. We started at a cafe with a cheese plate and wine. Four amazing types of cheeses and a basket of French bread. We sat outside and people watched and listened to a band and ate and drank for awhile.

    After we left the cafe, we walked north up Rue Mouffetard to Notre Dame and the Seine River, passing a beautiful old Church and the Pantheon on the way. We walked into Notre Dame during their Saturday night mass, which was pretty cool. The architecture, both inside and out, and the stained glass, was incredible. Next, we tried to go into Sainte-Chappell’s on the next block, but it had closed. We’ll try to go there today before the Louvre! We stood on a bridge over the Seine River and people watched and waved to the boats passing by.

    Then we wandered around the city for awhile. We ended up in an Irish pub (on accident) for a beer. While in the pub, Tim noticed that his phone was missing. We thought for sure he had been pick pocketed but decided to walk back to a restaurant that we had previously sat down at outside but had left before we had ordered anything. We poked our head around outside and a nice group of people asked us (in French) if we had lost a phone. Sure enough, it was sitting at the host stand!

    At this point, we were ready for dinner! We ended up at a restaurant back on Rue Mouffetard where Ernest Hemingway used to live! The place was packed with Parisians and had a TripAdvisor sticker and had a prix fixe menu so we figured it would be amazing. The wine was amazing, the food was just mediocre, but we had a blast. We each ordered off of the prix fixe menu. We both started with the duck salad, which was fantastic. Then I had the seafood plate (shrimp, scallops, and salmon) and Tim had the flank steak. Both of those plates were okay. And I had a delicious creme brûlée and Tim has a delicious chocolate mousse. The whole meal took about 3 hours (and 2 carafes of wine)! We had a great time sitting outside and eating and drinking and people watching. We finished the meal off with a couple of coffee drinks and headed home. After dinner, we got completely lost, but eventually found our way.

    To be honest, Paris was never really on my bucket list. I was thinking of this had more of a stopover on the way to Amsterdam. I was completely wrong. Tim and I both agreed yesterday that this may be our favorite city we’ve ever been to. Definitely in the top 3.
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  • Day61

    Final Thoughts on the Trip

    November 9, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    Final Thoughts on Vietnam -
    The Vietnamese people are the friendliest people I have ever encountered (besides, maybe, the Thai people). Every interaction we had was pleasant and everyone we met was helpful. While we occasionally had some fears in Europe (pickpockets, terrorists, riots, etc...), that fear was pretty nonexistent in Asia. The food, which is probably half the reason we went to Vietnam, was incredible. We ate so much pho, vermicelli, spring rolls, soup, and other beef, chicken, noodle, and rice dishes and it was pretty much all amazing. We ate everything from 25 cent pork on a stick from street vendors to 25 dollar oyster and whole fish meals at fancy restaurants. I drank fresh fruit and smoothies with just about every meal and we drank cheap beer everywhere we went. The hotels we stayed in in Hanoi were some of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. We could've stayed in hostels for a couple bucks, but we "splurged" and stayed in 5 star hotels for $20-30. We probably spent less per week in Vietnam than we did in a couple days in Italy. As for the different places we went in Vietnam - Hanoi (the capital) was awesome. It was crazy busy and loud and full of traffic. But it had so much to do - eat, drink, shop, visit museums, hang with locals, hang with tourists - anything you would expect in any major city. Hanoi was probably my favorite big city of the entire 60 day trip. Sapa, right on the Chinese border, was beautiful. The hike that we went on was one of the best hikes I've ever done. Unfortunately, this was the only city we had bad weather, so we didn't get to experience too much. It was also the most expensive place we went in Vietnam (though still incredibly cheap). Finally, Halong Bay - one of the seven natural wonders of the world was absolutely amazing. Cat Ba Island, where we went first, was definitely in the top 3 or 5 places of the trip. The boat trip we did was incredible and the motorbike ride around the island was one of the highlights of the trip. The next place we stayed, in a neighborhood outside of Halong City, was definitely the least touristy place we went on the entire trip. We didn't see a single other tourist (or English speaker) for 2 days. It was a little difficult but also really cool to just sit down at a restaurant and do our best to communicate but really to just take whatever we could get. The Vietnamese children would look through the glass at us like we were in a zoo. It was a pretty crazy experience. But again, everyone was so friendly. We only got to experience Northern Vietnam on this trip but we definitely want to go back at some point and see the whole country.

    Final Thoughts on Thailand -
    I love Thailand. So much. We are already trying to figure out the next time we can go. We basically only went to Thailand for the beach. We wanted to end the busy trip lounging in the sun for 2 weeks and that's exactly what we did. While Bangkok was cool, the cremation ceremony of the Late King really prevented us from doing anything. I was able to see and do much more on my previous trip to Bangkok. This Thailand trip was all about the islands. I can't say enough how amazing Shantaa Resort on Koh Kood was. That resort was perfect. We will absolutely make it back there at some point. The food, the beach, the villas, the water sports, the people, the gardens, everything. It was absolute paradise. We loved our little sea bungalow on Koh Chang, as well, but nothing could quite compare to Shantaa. If we go back to Koh Chang, we would probably stay on the busier White Sand Beach, just because the quieter beach couldn't quite live up to what you grow to expect in Thailand. But we really did have an amazing time there, as well. Anyone who is hesitant to travel to Asia, don't be. The Thai beaches are the best in the world. The people are so friendly that you wonder why everyone can't be that way all the time. The food is amazing. And you can see and do so much for a fraction of what you would spend in the Caribbean. Just go. You won't regret it. We'll be back as soon as possible.

    Final Thoughts on the Trip -
    There's not much to say that I haven't already said. Tim and I went on the trip of a lifetime. He is the most amazing travel (and life) partner I could ask for. We managed to spend 60 days traveling the world with nothing but 2 backpacks and each other and that's all we needed (and we're still getting married!!). I think we can both agree that our favorite places on the trip were 1) Koh Kood, Thailand, 2) Capri/Positano, Italy, 3) Cat Ba, Vietnam, 4) Southern Spain (Cadiz, Seville, Granada), and 5) a tie between basically everywhere else - Venice, Tuscany, Rome, Hanoi, Koh Chang. The food, the beaches, and the boat trips were the highlights. Scuba diving was probably the greatest I've ever come to facing my fears. We'll get certified at some point, but we're not in a major rush to get back down there. The #1 moment of the whole trip was probably swimming in the Blue Grotto. And one of the other best moments of the trip was getting home. I'm not sure we found anywhere that can top Richmond. But I'm excited to keep looking!!
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  • Day59

    Day 59 - Koh Chang Scuba

    November 7, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Wow! Scuba diving is incredible. I was finally able to get past my anxieties and enjoy the dives. We did two boat dives today with our awesome instructor, David. The first stop was at a giant rock sticking out of the water with a coral reef and incredible marine life surrounding it from about 4 meters down to the sea floor at 19 meters. David held my hand and helped me with the descent but once we got down past 4 or 5 meters, my fears were lifted and I had a blast. Non-certified divers are only supposed to go down to 12 meters but I checked his computer once we got to the floor and we were at 18.6 meters (61 feet!!). We saw so many fish. It is the coolest feeling in the world looking up and seeing literally thousands of fish surrounding you. The coral was incredible - mountains of it surrounding us on every side. We were under for about 40 minutes on the first dive before we had to come up. The ascent was a little scary. Apparently I hadn't been breathing deep enough (I only used half of the air that Tim had used) so I got dizzy on the way up and had a bloody nose once we reached the surface. That was a little unnerving and the dizzy feeling lasted about 20-30 minutes so I was of course nervous again for our second dive. But by the time we got to the next dive site, after some food and water and resting, I was ready to go. The second dive was a shallow reef, which only went about 12 meters deep. The visibility wasn't quite as good but it was still incredible. This dive had the coolest coral I've ever seen and we were able to swim in and out and around it and see lots of awesome fish. We also controlled our breathing a lot better this time and were able to stay under for an hour - Tim breathed slower and used less air and I breathed deeper and used more, which is what David had advised. David also gave us a little more independence on the second dive to swim around and explore. I did much better on the ascent this time and didn't get too dizzy, but I did have another nosebleed at the surface! Overall, it was a huge success. I faced my fears, Tim continued to be comfortable and awesome, and we had so much fun. After the scuba trip, we got lunch and then basically relaxed all afternoon until dinner.

    ...oh and I also got pooped on by a gecko today.

    Heading back to Bangkok tomorrow, then the journey on on Thursday. What an amazing trip!
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