Wave-alicious

Def.def,def,def,def,def,def,def.
Wave-a-licious definition, make those farangs vomit……

So a few days late to post, but kev and I are on the trusty Songserm ferry from Ko Tao, to Chumpon! From there we’ll hop a train to Prachaup Khiri Khan, a small fishing village known for drying squid and cheap seafood (which is naturally why we’re going:)).

Our time on Ko Tao (Little Turtle) has been great. We had a couple of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime dives, where we saw the most beautiful coral, anemones (I’m going to have to spell check that word, there’s no way that’s right!) and of course marine life ever….but the anemones were for sure my favorite. The entire time I kept thinking about my dad, and how much he would have loved it. The weather hasn’t been great–but still a welcomed change from the seemingly constant heat.

That being said, I just have to tell you about the Ferry Boat Ride From Hell we took getting to Ko Tao. Around 11am, our taxi took us to the loading dock where about 200 college aged farangs, still hungover from the Half Moon Party, were all huddled under this holey, makeshift tarp about 30 feet long waiting for the boat. While walking over, I felt a couple raindrops, but by the time we made it to the tarp it started to DOWNPOUR. Remember when I said “when it rains, it pours?” well, this was no exception. Out of nowhere rain comes hailing down and everyone is trying that much harder to secure a dry spot under the tarp for themselves and their packs. No one succeeded. While we’re all standing there, huddling in the arm pits of strangers, the ridiculous wind whips a giant part of the gutter on this tarp around, and turns the spout directly on our heads. We are, SOPPING wet. There is 0 chance one single thing I have with me is even remotely dry. At this point, our ferry has made it to the dock, but the waves are so enormous, they cant tie the boat off to let the passengers coming from Surat Thani off. So we wait…and wait….and wait, for another hour until the boat crew has muscled their way into tying off the boat. Thrilled that our 2+ hour wait for the ferry is finally over, everyone is wet, but smiling and ready to board. The cheering and excitement stops, however, when we see the passengers get off the boat: white- faced, sickly people wearily lugging their packs, and, carrying multiple bags of their vomit. I tried to conceal my laughter, and sort of rolled my eyes at kev, who also found the scene to be somewhat humorous. We were just so wet, and so tired of carrying our now extra- heavy packs that we were ready to get on that boat no matter what. Well, let me just say, karma came to bite me in the ass for laughing at my fellow farang’s misfortune. We sat down at our seats, and a crewman came around to give us each clear plastic bags, “just in case.” ha. While I thankfully did not puke, I was holding on for dear life as our tiny boat was ENGULFED in the giant waves, and rocking us around like a pinball. The waves had earned a “highscore” after that ride, to say the least! All around EVERYONE (I seriously bet more than 1/2 the boat) was puking into their CLEAR PLASTIC bags, which after looking at (which you couldn’t avoid) would be enough to make anyone sick. It was unreal. Between the disgusting noises, smells, tears and rocking, it was, without question the longest 1.5 hours of my life.

Things I’ve learned:
1) Don’t laugh at other’s misfortune. We are in the land if Buddha, and that guy knows how to instill some serious karma on the deserving.
2) Always keep raincoat and waterproofed bags close by during the rainy season.
3) Stay away from Sangsum rum buckets before ferry rides… Especially if the weather is less than ideal.
——————————–
Also: I had my first 1 hour long Thai Massage. Best $4 I’ve ever spent. Also, also: I just found out my family (Sean) bought 3 pigs which are now residing in our back yard. If you see my parents, be sure to call them “Maw” and “Paw” for me.
Also, also, also: Kevin got really drunk last night after drinking less than a full 40oz Chang beer. Apparently those Chinese know how to make a strong beer!
Also, also, also, also: I had French Fries with mayo last night, and they were a delicious reminder of home. ’tis all.

Keep the ketchup off your shirts, Lgt

For the dive log

For the dive logs,

Japanses gardens, green rock -dive 2
15 meters of vis

Chumpun pinnacle -dive 1
20-25 meters vis-very good, perhaps next best next to Cozumel
Jellyfish on long swim, Lindsay almost ran into them. Dive was great,
some great beautiful anenamies (sp?) and coral, large schools of
smaller fish. Also saw a decent sized black tipped reef shark.

Lindsay was a pro diver, perfect decents, etc. Plus perfect safety
stops. A real pro.

Quick update from Koh Tao

Hopefully my battery doesnt die before I finish this.

As I type this the tide is high, I'm sitting on a sodden step that
faces the ocean, which is maybe 10 feet in front of me. Behind me is
the main office of the Big Blue dive operation that Lindsay and I dove
with. It's 7:30 pm here and dark already. In front but to the left a
bit is a Thai cooking fresh fish and other seafood to order, his BBQ
"grill" has two legs in the water. It is a very nice atmosphere, to
the right if me and again only a few feet away is a palm tree with
lanterns hanging from it and surrounding it is a bunch of tables and
mats where people sit on the ground eating their freshly cooked
seafood. There seems to be a lot of large prawns, red snapper, and
baracuda. It's a very "tropical island" atmosphere. Lindsay is running
on the beach, which is lit up all along the coast with similar
establishments. Music of course is playing.

This will be night three on Koh Tao, and there us much to share. A
terrible boat ride here, very good diving, and a so so experience with
the "resort" we're staying at. I don't think I'll have time to post
about all of this right now, so the details will have to wait until
later. I just wanted to give a ganeral update on our progress and plans.

Tomorrow we are taking a four hour boat ride to chumpan (spelling?)
which is north of Surat thani which is where we first departed from.
Then we take a 4 hour train to a small fishing village along the coast
to the north, where we plan to stay for 1 or 2 nights, before we head
back to bangkok to regroup before Chiang Mai, in the very north.

Hope all is well for everybody, good luck Andrew!!!
-kev

pinney pine pine.

this just in: i LOVE PINEAPPLE SHAKES.

love. love. LOVE them.

in other, less exciting news (just kidding:)) kev and i have been livin’ it up on little ko phang. two days ago, after tooling around the island all day on our scooter, we headed down to haad rin, the main party beach, to grab a little sushi. it was this awesome restaurant, right next to the beach and while it may have been a BIT expensive, i had promised myself a good sushi dinner once we were here, and i was bound and determined to get it. so we waited for close to an hour for the place to open (most restaurant here don’t open until 7 at least) and got. the worst. sushi. ever. it was pretty depressing, but it was still a really fun, worthwhile experience…UNTIL! we walked out the doors and saw that it was raining. annnnd about to rain harder. ugh. for those of you that have heard the expression “when it rains, it pours…” i have no doubt that whomever came up with that lived on THIS ISLAND when they thought it up.

now, normally i consider myself up for most things and if not a daredevil, at least willing to try things once. but i seriously did not even want to get on the bike. not at all. after a bit of convincing, we drove home, in the rain, on our scooter, with the crazy winds, rain, traffic and then…NO ELECTRICITY, for seriously probably close to 40 minutes. oh, and did i mention the hills?! the 20% decline hills?! i thought driving out west with nick when we saw the signs for 6% were bad, but no. i was scared shitless. during the day is bad enough, but seriousssssly. thankfully, we made it back, soaked to the bone, and were without electricity for about 1.5 days. yesterday, since there were no cold drinks to be had, or internet joints to chill out in, we headed up north to mae haad, where we partook in some of the best snorkling (or so we’ve heard) that the island offers. it was AMAZING. we saw some of the most beautiful coral i have ever seen, sea slugs were EVERWHERE, as well as crabs, parrot fish, and huge schools of fish i dont know the name of (ky, you guys want tropical fish!? get a parrot fish, very cool). we stopped a few times to get pineapple shakes (they really are the best here) and went back to our place so i could run. beach running here is awesome, but not at night (the tide) and i ended up stepping on a huge piece of coral in my attempt for an all-out sprint (yes sean, i know i can’t sprint :)) and ended up bruising my foot kinda bad. all in all though, it was an awesome day. and i got to finish WHITE TEETH, which was a really entertaining, fun read.

i think we’re going to be here for another day or so, maybe finally get to go to the halfmoon party (as my previous sickness coupled with the terrible weather were not condusive to us going the first time), which is on the 25th. after which, i think the plan is to head up to ko tao for some diving, and then back to the mainland to see chiang mai. we shall see. we might just decide that beach life is something we want to extend our visas for.

pineapples and love,
lgt

A trying day….

So today has been a trying day. Koh Phangan has been great, except for two small issues:

1) on the ferry boat here we got burnt to epic porportions. Epic. We arrived here at 74 in the afternoon on Friday, and I passed out by 8:00, and did not wake up until 6 the next day. Now, 4 days later, I can almost put pants on without wincing in pain. It’s been a good one. You’d think I’d know by now that falling asleep for 2 hours with my feet hanging off the side of a giant ferry in the Thai sun, wouldn’t be the smartest thing.

I always have to learn the hard way.

For those of you that can remember back to my lovely sunlamp incident… It’s about on par with that. Okay, fine. Maybe not THAT bad, but I do have quite blistery lips, and heat radiating from my kneecaps (like Juno! But without the heartburn:)) to show for it.

2) I am sick. Very, very sick. I’m talking fever, cold sweats, nausea, and the-other-kind-of-sick.

IF you know what I mean.

It has been a long 36+ hours, to say the least. I truly thought I was going to have to go to the hospital this morning to get rehydrated after not eating or drinking anything for over 24 hours (and sweating off the rest of my energy from the lack of A/C in my bungalow), but thankfully kev came and saved the day, and went to the doctor and got some prescription-strength
meds which seem to be doing the trick. I’ll report back later to let you know if I’ve died yet….or, I guess maybe kev will have to do that…

OH!!!!! One final thing. This is the real kicker. I was told today that I looked like Hilary Clinton.

Yes. Today has been a trying day.

Quick update – Koh Phangan day 2ish

update: here is another sweet video 🙂

Very quick update as Lindsay is hungry and she gets like Nick when she is hungry.

Today was perhaps the best day we’ve had thus far, we rented a scooter and rode around the south end of koh phangan all day long. it was honestly amazing, like out of a movie. We’ll post more about it later, but for now check out flickr for a few photos from the bike. sadly the photos don’t do the experience justice, so we took a few videos, unfortunately they were too big to upload right now (well, not really, but with lindsay’s hunger in the picture no way she’ll last another 20 minutes while the video uploads!), but there is a small one in which you can at least see the bike.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shoelessone/2684625779/ (edit: it’s posted below actually, hopefully. These computers are from 1993 I think, so things don’t always work.)

Miss you all!!!

p.s. here is a view from the bike:


Koh Phangan day 1.5

Well, yesterday (or the day before actually) we hopped on the bus ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani. It was not great (but read on!) as it was shorter then expected and there was not much sleeping that got done. All in all it was better than I had expected though. After arriving sometime around 3 AM to a bus station, we waited another two or so hours on a concrete floor, trying to sleep, which worked out (again) better than I expected. Around 6 AM we took a bus to a dock, where we waited for another 30 or so minutes to get on this giant fairy. At this point I wasn’t feeling to great and the entire throng of people we were with looked like a group of zombies, for the most part. We got on the ferry near last, which means we didn’t get an air conditioned spot in the ferry (complete with a showing of Ransom) but rather were stuck on top. At first I figured this might suck (here’s where my positive attitude comes in) but it turned out to be an AWESOME boat ride, and I thoroughly loved/enjoyed it. The ride ended up being a long once, I believe we got to Koh Tao at around 10:30-11, and we got to our Island of Koh Phangan at around noon. All along the way though I sat in the front of the boat and the waves splashed up pretty good and I got soaked. It was wonderful, I love the water and it was a great ride.

Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking too clearly until the end of our ride, and the sun was pretty intense. Lindsay and I both got burned pretty badly. Luckily I had a long sleeved shirt on, but my face and legs and scalp are still pretty painful. Lindsay looked pretty miserable yesterday, she looks better today, I think I look worse.


notice my white legs, and ridiculously red face 🙂


We (read I) was very nervous about finding a place to stay once we got to the Island. It turns out that while it’s the low season in mainland Thailand/SE Asia, it’s the high season for the island as the water/winds/etc are such that it has clear water and optimal weather. Our guide book said to plan on spending 4000+ baht (around 120$ US) for a room, which is around 7 times our budget. Luckily, when we got off the ferry on Koh Phangan (again this is yesterday, the 18th) there were a bunch of people waving signs shouting at you as you walked off offering accommodation. Lindsay asked one lady if they had anything for cheap, and she said they had a room for 500 baht (around 15 bucks US). That sounded great to us, and although I had a feeling it was going to be a total dump in the middle of the island far from the beach, we decided to go with it anyway.

We jumped on the back of a taxi (literally hanging onto the side of the bus) and took a 10 minute ride to our place. We got off, walked across a questionably looking bridge to a spectacular place. Honestly the place is great, Lindsay and I each have a bungalow complete with a hammock hanging on our porch, a mosquito netting, a bathroom with a shower and toilet and sink (all which leak), etc. The people are the Happy Beach (as the place is called) are really nice, very friendly, etc. The beach is beautiful and is around 15 seconds away (truly).

We met Abdel, an actor from Belgium who gave us a lot of information about the Island, renting scooters, etc. Like most places in Thailand the Happy Beach bungalows has a restaurant/bar on site, which is not at all like a restaurant in the US (or Bangkok for that matter). You sit/lay on the floor with mats, and the family is often watching TV in the living room, which is the same room as you are eating. For those interested in prices, I had a curry with chicken and vegetables and steamed rice for 75 baht (~2.50 US), Lindsay had a Shrimp and vegetable rice dish (60 baht, about 2 bucks), and she had a Lassi and I had a coconut shake (30 and 30 baht). Not the cheapest meals we had, but with our 500 baht rooms it was OK that the food was a bit more. Plus you can see the incredible blue water and white sand from the beach.

Mr. Teeples: I’d consider this part of our trip to be a bit of a vacation :).

Lindsay went to bed around 6 PM (I know) on account of her sunburn and general miserable feeling, I wasn’t feeling so bad and sat in our hammock reading a book I stole from Dad (sorry Dad) – a wonderful *cough* Clive Cussler novel, which I finished around 8 after which I jumped in bed myself.

Lindsay woke up early today, I’m guessing around 6 if not earlier, went for a run on the beach, and found a small group of shops/internet cafes/bars/restaurants a few hundred feet down the road from us. I woke up at 9:30, brushed my teeth, and went into the town and found Lindsay. we used the internet and buy a pair of super-cool-dude sunglasses. That’s about where I am now, I slept too much so I feel sort of out of it and generally not spectacular, plus I’m getting over a bit of a cold. Lindsay and I both feel a bit burned and are going to try to avoid the sun today. I’m staving, and am going to see how much food is at the places in town here are.

Tonight is the big Full Moon Party (I feel so dumb typing that), and tomorrow or the next day I’m hoping to rent a scooter so we can look around the Island without worrying about a taxi. The Island is very slow, traffic wise, so I’m not too nervous about it. We’ll see!

Miss you all,
Kev

p.s. I’ll try to post some photos later, I didn’t know if we’d find internet and I didn’t want to bring all of my gear with me.

plans for the day

Today is (I’m not sure the day of the week actually), the 17th of July. Lindsay may very well already be typing a similar post as I type this (she’s across the room) but I wanted to post anyway, just in case.

Today we are catching a bus at 7 PM which will take us down to southern thailand, in particular (i forget the name of the town, Samui I believe) where we’ll catch a ferry to bring us to Kho Phangan, which is a smallish Island best known for the “full moon party”, which happens to be taking place the evening of the 19th. Lindsay really wanted to go to this “full moon party” and I’m sure it will be a good/fun experience, so here we go! (fake edit: here is a link to one of many tourist centered webpages about the full moon party. frankly I’m not a huge drinker/partier these days (some would claim I never was) so we’ll see what the full moon party is actually like – I’m just hoping to find a beach with some water. I can’t wait to go swimming in the ocean.

The bus ride is 11 hours, but I believe it’s air conditioned so it shouldn’t be too bad. Well, in theory it shouldn’t be too bad, but it’s a night bus and frankly I’m not great at sleeping in anything but a hard flat surface. I’m not picky, I can sleep on the hard ground with rocks sticking into my back without too much problem, but sleeping while sitting I’m not great at. I am looking forward to the trip on a whole though, being able to see more of Thailand than just the limited view of the city. It’s our first real mini-adventure of many.

miss you all,
kev

khaosan.

well, we’re leaving bangkok. probably not for good, but for a little while anyway. 2 days ago, we left out guesthouse and headed out on yet another adventure in the city to find a new one. i had read about one in our travel guide that had really great things to say, so without much research, and a, “kev, seriously, we’ll figure it out!” we jumped on the skytrain and tried to manage our way.

as you might expect with me in the lead, and our impeccable directional abilities, we got lost. very, very lost. 3 1/2 hours worth of lost, in a part of town where NO ONE spoke any english. kev, being the good sport he is, didn’t give me too hard of time, but did harrass me plenty about the address i happened to scribble down incorrectly in my rush to get out and see something new! needless to say, about about a million hours walking around with our heavy packs in the 100 degree heat, we happened across an aussie, who hailed us a cab and brought us to tourist heaven.

Khaosan Road.

while i’ve read a lot about this street over the last few months, nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming jive of this place. this cancunesque, gringolandia mecca seemingly beckoned for all the whities of the world to come hang out, party till 4, buy ridiculously cheap things and lounge by the pool 24-7. it was QUITE the change from start of our trip, but an interesting one just the same. i almost have a sense of guilt about being here, but haven’t let that stop me yet! we’ve eaten our fair share of 20 baht pad thai noodles and devoured one too many delicious “bannana pancakes.” and did i mention our guesthouse had a pool?! a ridiculously chlorinated roof pool, where we read for hours upon end and lathered on a ton of sunscreen. it’s been a blast. (dad, i would consider THIS a vacation :))

here’s a picture of kev in his room with some of his new purchases:

thai fisherman pants, and a new special “water necklace”

also, you’re not going to believe this, but Captain Jack was there. In Bangkok!

yesterday, however, we (read: I (poor kevin!) :)) decided it was again time for something new. i ended up convincing kev that we should head down to ko phargan, for the full moon party on the 19th. we’re leaving tonight on a 9 hour bus trip south, to do a little island hopping! I cannot WAIT! it too will be a big tourist haven, but i’m excited to meet some new people and experience island life. maybe i’ll even get to do a little surfing! we shall see! here’s where we’re headed!

on an entirely different note, yesterday, amidst all of the craziness of this place, we saw something great. a woman peeing on the street with no regard for the people, motorbikes or stray dogs among her. she was extremely well dressed, and while kev adverted his eyes, i practiced another serious character building exercise ( yet again) as i tried not to gawk and grin. while i did try to give her a bit of privacy (not that i can imagine she cared!!!) i couldn’t help but walk by with a big ol’ goofy grin.

oh, and we saw an elephant just cruzin’ down the road.

yes, my friends. welcome to thailand. where well dressed women, imitate the squatty potty, and take care of business right on the street (beats waiting in line for the women’s bathroom, that’s for sure!) while elephants meander right along side the motobikes.

anyway, i’m off to find some lunch. the feast of tomatoes and bread i had for breakfast has worn off and this girl’s getting hungry!!!!

love and sarongs from thailand,
lindz