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Archive for November, 2009

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Thailand for a bit

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Left Boracay on Cebu Pacific, just under $170 CAD for the 1 hr flight from Kalebo to Manila + the 3 hr flight on to Bangkok so with the $10 charge for 1 kilo overweight luggage + the $17 airport tax it was still under $200 for the whole trip. Not bad when you consider the airport tax on a similar flight to Cuba is more!

What can I say but completely unprepared for the reality of Bangkok which is, from what I have seen, not that different from any progressive Western city except that public transportation is the norm for most residents but it has a better highway system than Toronto (which isn’t hard).

Was at The Mall a couple days ago to ship a parcel of my winter clothes & souvenirs to Canada from the Mail Boxes/UPS store & it could have been in any city if it wasn’t for the live trees & parrots in the 4story structure + the Thai food court that supplemented the usual American fast food joints.

On the return trip to the 13 Coins Airport Hotel where I am staying, a good solid 3*, for 900 Baht/night ($29) we drove past a Lamborghini dealership, some thing you don’t see in many North American cities!

Went to the Myanmar Embassy yesterday & got my visa to visit there with way less hassle & cost than it would have been to try & get it in Canada + same day service for only 450 Baht. So it’s off to Yangon Sunday morn to spend 3 weeks in the land that used to be called Burma, thought of leaving the return open but didn’t want to chance not getting a flight out near Xmas & overstaying my visa as not sure if Myanmar jails would agree with me LOL.

Have observed during my travels in CA last winter & now this year that Toyota is by far the most popular brand in the world, showing that old Generous Motors (now thanks to Obama & the North American tax-payer Government Motors) was just a rinky dink little mickey mouse mismanaged company that should have been let go the way of the Dodo bird.

From the way Lonely Planet & people I have talked to it sounds like Myanmar is stuck in a time warp similar to Cuba & not westernized yet with MacDonald’s etc, however without Fidel’s benevolent leadership. Another similarity according to LP is the use of the US$ for all government trains etc with use of their money only locally & no ATM’s with only major hotels accepting credit cards. Guess will find out for sure in a couple days. So should be another enlightening adventure!

In light of the situation money in Myanmar went to another local mall today to find a bank where I could get US$ as my cc limits me to drawing $500/day, will get the balance at the airport in the morning. Not surprisingly found that banks here are as money hungry as in Canada as them would not give me US$ on my US cc but made me use the ATM to get Baht then they would exchange that for US. Oh well less rip off’s here than in Canada as while wandering the mall spotted the exact same piece of garbage (compared to my old HP) Canon camera that I paid $140 for in August, selling the equivalent of $96 CAD!!

Boracay Island Philippines

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

manila-boracay-island-024.jpgSo everyone is looking for an update??

Well after 2 weeks here trying to get my head around what I had experienced in the past 3 months I have managed to relax enough to get 3 good nights sleep in a row & now with my blog rants out of the way can get on with the travel info.

Firstly my theory about the burgeoning middle class in Asia is proving accurate as here on the island by far & away the majority of tourists are from South Korea.

Also I noted about 4 years ago a change in a few of the Chinese attending the Great Lakes College summer camp, they were spoiled rich kids! Now in talking with Mario the ex-pat Italian owner of the Luna Rossa hotel where I am staying he has noticed this year for the first time some Chinese coming to the island for holidays.

Only spent a day in Manila & then only left the hotel to find an ATM then came here where the prices aren’t bad at around $30 CAD for a beach front resort or $20 for one near the beach, around $6 for western food or under $2 for what the locals eat.

The beach vendors are pretty laid back & not a problem (No time share morons) & have only noticed 2 beggars doing their daily rounds.

At the little place on a side alley where I get breakfast most days for 80 pesos I met a family of about a dozen Philippinos visiting from New Jersey who introduced themselves & we had a good talk at breakfast a couple days ago, not some thing likely to happen back in North America.

Have me a couple ex-pat Americans lucky enough to be able to do their jobs on line so have the best of all worlds!

Also a good place for any one looking for a wife as Philippino girls welcome westerners as potential husbands.

Other than that it’s just a beach town & I am not really a beach person. Have a flight booked for Bangkok on Tuesday, had considered going back & giving China another try but costs the same to fly to Bangkok as Hong Kong & Thailand is a lot cheaper + I still have a bad taste in my mouth about China & the theft of my Lonely Planet guide when I entered the country.

It,s true what they say about first impressions being lasting & that is what I will always remember China for; the police STEALING my book!!!! That coupled with a bunch of kids dressed in soldier suits harassing worshippers in Tibet doesn’t make for warm & fuzzy memories of that country!!

Actually from reports I have heard & my experience so far in Asia I have a feeling that I just might cut my time here shorter than planned & after OZ return to Guatemala for the balance of the winter. But time will tell!!

It was bound to happen!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Well I guess I am now really an ex-pat though I still have a Canadian address.

The reason being that in my travels I have experienced enough to see through the propaganda fed us in the North American media ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hmmmm!!! Whoa!! Down Boy!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Traveling 1/2 way around the world then flying most of the way across Asia & overlanding it back in 2+ months has taken it’s toll as I have been at a resort on the beach on Boracay Island now for ... [Continue reading this entry]

Not so nice China

Friday, November 6th, 2009

The first thing I noticed about China (I do NOT recognize China’s claim to Tibet) was upon awakening in the morning on the train from Lhasa to drab, dreary, mud colored shacks of the Chinese rural population. This was in ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tibet an occupied land

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Firstly I want to bring my readers up to date on the status of my mother, my children took charge & rescued her from incarceration in the bowels of Brockville General Hospital where she was serving time in purgatory due ... [Continue reading this entry]

Guardian Angels & Great Kids

Monday, November 2nd, 2009
So the busman arrives in Beijing after a 48 hr train ride on the piece of crap Bombardier built train from Lhasa at 08:30 (rush hour on a Monday morning) with no hotel reservation. As warned, practically no one in ... [Continue reading this entry]