World Trek 2004/2005
Amanda and Josh travel the world in 2004 & 2005!
* Delhi Belly, Peekin' at Bikaner, Agra-vated
* Tai-wan, Tai-pei, and Thai-Lads (I Think)
* Fine China
* Its Chinese to Me!!
* Up the Coast in Vietnam
* Phnom Pehn to Ho Chi Minh
* Angkor Wat? Angkor Whoa!!
* Wowed in Laos
* Know UNESCO?
* Slow Boat on the Mighty Mekong
* Chiang Mai Pad Thai
* Jungle Juice
* Banged Up in Bangkok
* Tied up in Thailand
* To Tha Highlands Laddies!!
* Malaysian Sensation
* Singapore - NOT a bore!
* Bye Bye Bali!
* To the Gilis!!!
* North, East, South - We circle East Bali!
October 05, 2004
Tied up in Thailand
Ok people. Forget the pics of Penang. We saw some fairly cool stuff but I stored them before I posted a blog and can't get them until I get home. Long story-don't ask.
From Penang we decided to travel in style by mini bus to Surat Thani, Thailand. At least, thats what we thought we were going to do. Mini bus in Asia means exactly what it says, MINI! At 5am in the early morning our first of about 7 mini bus drivers picked us up and began the drive. Did I mention that mini bus means small van? Well, it also means that if 8 people barely fit inside on a normal basis then they'll cram in 11 or 12 if possible. Oh, and the air con barely worked, the windows were locked shut and a request for more air from the driver was waved off with some kind of grunt. We got passed on to mini bus after mini bus and each time it seemed to get worse! Travelling around Asia is getting less and less enjoyable (more on that later). Why oh why did I ever complain about the busses in Australia?! We finally arrived at Surat Thani and jumped on a nice ferry for the ride over to the famed island, Koh Samui. Perhaps more well known with the younger generation is its neighbor, Koh Phangan, home of the world reknowned Full Moon Party! We only had to wait around on Samui till Sept. 28th when the moon was at its peak and we were able to take the night ferry over to the beach party. A few years ago Amanda and I saw a National Geographic program about the world's best party spots and Ko Phangan came in at #1. They weren't joking. Though its changed to a farang (foreigner) party the Thai still show up to boogie with the whiteys! People were everywhere. Drinks were cheap and the music was mind thumping. Even people a little further down the beach seemed blown away. Amanda and I broke it down! Notice how hard it is for me to hold back the famous white man's overbite. Around 3am our batteries were running low and we had to refuel with a banana-chocolate pancake. That woman cut the entire banana before the camera could take the picture! The party doesn't stop till the sun comes up but we had to head back around 4am before we fell asleep on the beach. I don't know how people stay up so late! I wouldsay it was drugs since the party is considered a big rave but that must have gotten toned back a bit. The police made their presencewell known and dealing drugs in Thailand carries the death penalty so we never got pestered to purhcase anything illicit except buckets of booze.
We weren't too productive the next day but did manage to tour Samui after a nice day of rest on the beach. Notice that sign? Thai has no relation to written English so forget about trying to read the signs in Thailand. You have to look for something familiar and welcoming but that isn't always something you want! The first place we stopped on our tour was the Big Buddha that sits on its own little island. The Thai have a fascination with Big Buddhas. This one wasn't the biggest we've seen but it was definitely imposing. After donating some Baht for temple up keep we took off for another temple. This time the feature is and actualy monk! Or WAS a feature! This monk was so spiritually advanced that he knew when we was going to die and prepared his body to avoid decomposing. I hear thats a hard thing to do. He's been sitting there since the early 70's, seems well preserved, and still has hair which is more than I can say for myself in 30 years. After we stopped gawking atthe dead guy we walked outside and noticed a monk motioning us over for a blessing. He had a string with a knot in the middle that he tied to my wrist after which he proceeded to play with my arm hair in awe. I guess my blonde arm hair and red beard was someting unusual. Amanda got a blessing too and we left in high spirits to seek out another boring jungle waterfall. The hikes to these things are starting to get anti-climactic. Next stop, Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. We were expecting to see rocks that looked like faces and just couldn't figure out what it was that people were coming to see. Can you figure it out? We were pretty tired by this point and I decided to lay down for a nap before we headed back to our hotel for the day.
Koh Samui was such a touristy place and so NOT what I expected of thailand that we decided to head out after a few days there. Amanda took on the challenge of finding out how to get to Bangkok while I stayed at the hotel. She decided that it would be best to travel by train from Surat Thani to Bangkok. We got the last two sleeper seats and were heading off to Bangkok the next day!! But, I made a mistake. A big mistake. I thought it would be a good idea to get a massage and relax on a travel day instead of stressing and fighting. The problem was that the massage that needed to end by noon ended at 12:30 since the place opened too late. I assumed that it only took a half hour to get to the ferry when it really took about an hour and of course, we missed the ferry. This led to an afternoon of running around in the rain trying to straighten things out. We missed the ferry adn this meant we missed our train and this meant that we had to get the only 2 seats left on the train, 3rd class bench seats for a 12-14 hour journey. This meant I was in BIG trouble! I don't think white people have ever sat in the back of these trains because we got stares for about 10 of 14 hours. It wasn't too comforatable either to say the least. I'm not sure how people can sleep like this. I know I didn't get any shut eye and I've never seen anyone sleep with such a pissed off look! Eventually we dozed off and woke up to find ourselves about 3 hours from Bangkok. Its times like these when tranquilizers would serve a noble purpose. The last three hours of the journey were about as bad as it gets. We were tired, grimy, nervous and Amanda was still mad. We had no idea where were going to stay and had to gather our stuff for a daunting trek in search of accomodation. All tourist traps and happy faces aside, this was not a fun journey. I guess thats the price you have to pay for seeing the world on a budget! Still, it all turned out well as it always does. We happened to meet a Thai gentleman who spoke English (a rarity) and directed us to a travel agent that hooked us up with a voucher to stay in a killer hotel. A place with a real bed, hot water showers, and air-con! It even had a TV with one English channel! It definitely made up for the last 14 hours and Amanda seemed to forgive me just a little. Amen!!
We're headed to Chang Mai in Northern Thailand so I'll have to update our Bangkok adventures from there. I'll keep you posted.
Posted by Josh on October 5, 2004 04:25 PM
Category: Where are we?
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