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.
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,
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.
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,
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.
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 :))
thai fisherman pants, and a new special “water necklace”
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.
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,
I have yet to find a SINGLE open wifi network that actually works. If
this message is ever posted to the blog it will basically be a miracle.
(from iPod Touch)
so we made it!!! better late than never for a post, i suppose! i had great intentions of writing yesterday, but i just had too much to do in the good ol’ internets, and ran myself out of time (and money :)) before i could post!
so here i am!
day 3!!!! i can’t believe we’ve already been here for 4 nights, it’s crazy really.
so we’ve been having an awesome time so far. I’m not sure what kev has posted or not (so sorry if this is a repeat!)
we got in really late on saturday night — after a 16 hour+ flight, kev was too tired (or something!!!) to ward off the unwanted harassment of the non-metered taxi guy, so we jumped into his supped up honda accord, with fuzzy pink steering wheel cover for quite possibly, the longest taxi ride of my life. i’m not sure if it was because we were just totally whipped, or because we were getting seriously taken by this guy, the ride was long. veeeerrrry long. but interesting just the same. i even had 2 maps printed out, 1 for us, and 1 for the driver, so we would be less likely to get screwed, but after hearing “oh, very far!!! very long drive!” in his broken english, i knew no amount of maps, or “sir, it says we were supposed to turn on on nut road?!” would make us get there any quicker (or cheaper for that matter!:))
so we’ve been staying in a really cool little youth-style guest house. the people are really helpful and friendly, and overall, it’s been a great experience. we’re changing guest houses tonight though…time for something new. here’s a picture of my room the first night. they didn’t have anything “smaller” available, so TADA! big awesome bed ANNNND A/C for the price of just-about-nothing!!!
yesterday, kev adorned his newly purchased yellow “long live the king” shirt (the majority of thai’s wear yellow shirts on mondays to honor and respect their king…as monday was his day of birth! — i’ll try to post pictures later :)) and we went to see a movie in this ridiculously huge and spiffy cinema. (we’ve been seeking out air conditioned places like it is our job here!!!!)we saw hancock, which was honestly really enjoyable/humorous. although it was easy to get lost in the movie, and forget we were in a foreign country, we were snapped back into reality when we the national anthem began playing, and we all stood and paid respect (yet again :)) to the king at the beginning (and end) of the film 🙂
also, we have eaten some ridiculously good food. the first day, i had this huge plate of delicious noodles for seriously, 33cents (10 bht). craaaazy!
on a totally different note: after seeing only a hand full of white people so far, i have come to realize that i don’t need to darken my skin to fit in a bit better. no. i need bangs. and cute shoes. you would not believe how cute the shoes are here…and i am not even a shoe person!!!! but for less than $3 you can snaz yourself up with some cute little heeled shoes….and since kev has already done a little shopping of his own, i think it’s about time i “splurge” and buy myself some shoes….and bangs.
kev’s still sleeping as i type this. we’ve been on some crazy sleep schedules lately. i woke up 2 hours ago (6am) and haven’t been able to sleep….unfortunately by 8pm, i’m totally spent, and ready for bed. but, since i’m up, i’m doing a little research on where to go next…there are SOOO many places i want to see, so much i want to do. it makes me nervous that i wont be able to see everything in a month. one of the more touristy things i’m really excited for, is the full moon parties in Ko Phangan. it’s this giant beach party, where thousands of people come to hang out and celebrate the full moon. this month, it’s on the 19th…which might be pushing our schedule a bit to get there. we shall see. i’ll be trying to talk kev into it as soon as he gets up 🙂
anyway, i think this is enough of an update for now! i miss you all, and wish you were here to eat pad thai with us!!!
Lindsay told me that my post earlier didn’t sound particularly positive, which after reading it I’d have to agree.
Let the record reflect that it’s been an incredibly awesome, exciting, amazing, beautiful, and all around good day (now two days). I can’t REALLY complain about much, other than:
Today I was actually sick. I always thought I was supposed to get typhoid or diahrea or something similar, but I actually hve a pretty bad sore throught. Not exactly a deabilitating sore through, but not particularly pleasant. Lindz and I still had a great day, today we headed to Siam Square, which is sort of the huge shopping mall/shopping district – or so I’m assuming. The malls we went to were incdibly awesome, and the stuff in the malls was expensive – too expensive for us. There was even a lambergeni dealership (crazy). We had pad thai for the first time today.
It’s around 8:30 as I type this and I think Lindsay may have already headed to bed, I’m very tired but just got off the phone with my mom. I’ve gotta say with my sore through (in addition to my first “Singha” beer I had tonight in a little street square with two dudes singing/playing guitar on a stage – awesome) bed is going to feel really good. I’m trying to push back my bed time as much as possible so I don’t end up waking pu at 3 AM as I did today.
We are hoping to head on to a new hostel tomorrow, Suk 11 (suk11.com) but I haven’t heard back about our reservation yet.
Tomorrow Lindz and I are probably going to spend a few hours and figure out where we should go next after Bangkok.
For now, good night (actually, morning) to all of you in the US. To Anthea, good afternoon/evening/whtaever it is in Germany. To Brittany, same to you, except at the hospital.
Quick post, as I’m running out of internets: We made it through day one. We started out walking around our guesthouse which frankly didn’t do a lot for the spirit. I felt pretty out of place, not because we were the only farangs around but because every thing felt pretty depressing. We’ll get used to this type of thing probably. We then hopped on the “sky train” and went to the centerish of bangkok (40 baht for the 1 way ticket, roughly 1.25 US) which was awesome. Lots of street vendors with awesome looking food, fresh fruit, etc. We didn’t eat much from the street vendors and we avoided the fresh fruit and things as we weren’t sure what was safe to eat yet and didn’t want to get sick the first day. I worried a lot about where to find bathrooms, which I don’t think will be too difficult. Neither Lindsay or I know basically any Thai yet, which sort of sucks. I’d like to say “Thank you” in Thai, and I know how, but I don’t know when you actually say it. I haven’t taken many pictures, frankly I just don’t feel like it. I took a few just to have something to put up, but I’m seriously considering sending my digital camera back to the states as apposed to lugging it around for the next 5 months. We’ll see. Lots of stuff to look at, but I just don’t really feel like whipping out my camera.
here’s me eating breakfast our first day. we ordered “english tea, thai rice porridge, and boiled eggs.” it actually was, “english tea, salted rice soup and a ridiculously salted/preserved egg.” interesting.
I have terrible breath, I’m not sure why but it is. I just brushed my teeth, but it’s still here. I bought a yellow shirt yesterday for 6 bucks US as I guess Monday’s are the days everybody wears yellow in honor of the King. Money will stretch pretty good here, if we are somewhat careful. We had lunch/dinner for 33 cents yesterday, internet is 2.50 for an hour, sandals are 2 bucks, etc, etc. Our room is around 12.50 each (25 bucks total) for air conditioning, etc. Tonight Lindz and I are going to see a movie, hopefully the new batman movie. She wants to see the Will Smith movie though, even though she has no idea what it’s called, what it’s about (she said it might be about Will Smith being a super hero, or in a war, or something). We’ll see what happens I guess! Last night we went to bed around 7 PM. Well, Lindz went to bed around 6 PM, I went to bed around 7 PM. I think this may have been a bit mistake, as we woke up at around 4 AM this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. It could be a somewhat tiring/tired/etc day today. Miss you all! Here are a few pictures I took just to post here: Here is my room: Here is the city sort of:
Love and miss you all!!! Kev
Not sure the order these will get posted as we have no WiFi so they may or may not be sent in order – but we’ve made it to our connecting flight at Narita, and Lindsay and I are both going to make it on the flight (thanks again Jan!) but only she will be flying business this leg of the trip. So she is lucky. I’m lucky because it’s a shorter flight, only 5ish hours, so coach isn’t bad.
Edit: Actually I think I almost got an equal seating situation. Not quite, but I got a isle seat and of the 5 seats in my row, only one other was occupied. So I had three empty seats next to me. I think Lindsay’s dinner was a bit better though!
I read what Lindsay wrote, for the most part, and business class really is awesome – Jan, thank you so much. I feel very lucky. Really.
Dinner was gerat, I honestly can’t imagine what could be the advantage of sitting in first class, business is just so awesome. I’m sure there is an advantage, but really this is great.
We decided to check our luggage – well, actually I had to and Lindsay figures she might as well also. I’m a bit nervous about loosing our luggage but I have all of my impotant/expensive stuff anyway, including clothes, so worst case I’ll need to buy a new pack or something (EDIT: we have our bags!)
As I type this I’m south of the tip of Alaska, it’s around 9 PM in Michigan, 6 in Cali, and 10 AM in Tokyo. We expect to be to Tokyo by 4:34 PM. I’m listening to XM satalite, in particular dance technoish music.
I’m wondering if I should try to sleep for a few hours now or something. I want to minimize the effect of “jet lag” but I also want to be awake/not miserable when we get to Thailand as it’ll be 11 PM there and could e a bit stressful (EDIT: it was a bit stressful, but not too bad).
Only negative thing I can say is taht while my dinner was awesome, the guy next to me had sashimi, crab, and fish for dinner, but I guess you had to order it ahead of time.
I’ve seen 2 movies so far on the flight, I forget the names. One was “Flawless” and another was about a smart english teacher who was jaded. I think it had Dennis Quade or something in it. Now I’m gonna watch some moving about treasure hunting, which frankly looks terrible but it’s a 10 hour flight and the movie has scuba diving in it so why not.
We seem to be losing altitude fairly quickly and the fasten seatbelt sign is on. Either we’re avoiding turbulence or I might be the next Sawyer+Jack. (EDIT: We didn’t crash).