Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crystal's Birthday

On Boxing Day, after the internet session we slowly made it back to our hotel. We headed for the beach. Got a little sun, had a little swim, although it's so damn shallow on our beach it feels like we could walk all the way to the next island. We were at least a football field from the shore & the water was only up to our waists. So it is more of a floating area than a swimming area!
After spending a little time on the beach we went to our rooms to change & get ready for the birthday dinner & evening. Crystal showered, and then I did. And while I was in the shower the power flickered, and then it went out. But we are troopers! I just got dressed & didn't worry about my hair or anything, Crystal put on her headlamp & put on her makeup and got ready with that light. It was hilarious to watch, but it worked great! The power was still out at our hotel when we made our way back into town to eat
dinner & shop a little.
We had dinner at an english restaurant. Crystal had her first Branston Pickle sandwich experience, and I had Thai food.
Then we got a slice of cake each from this wonderful little bakery "Nira's Bakery" & went down to the
beach to eat it. We thought, two winter birthday gals -that it would be pretty cool to be eating birthday cake on the beach on Crystal's bday! Then we were wandering back up to the shops & got
distracted at this Irish Pub because there was live music - and I love
live music. So we went inside & had 3 beer & ended up staying there until
the two guys finished up their evening. One was an English bloke from
Manchester & the other a younger guy from Scotland. They have both
been living in Thailand for ages. They invited us to this other bar on
the beach where musicians go & have open mic night & Crystal
was half cut & wanted to chit chat with them more, so we went to the place. Not
a cheap night...lots of food, booze & taxis! But the place, called
The Jam, was pretty great. They busted out the tunes, old rock, newer
stuff, one guy brought out his didgeridoo and it was so awesome. We
were right on the beach, and Crystal was chatting up one of the guys - Scottish one. She learned all about his life here & they talked about her plans etc, she was having fun meeting
Thai girls & dancing around in the sand with them. I was thinking about all of the people that I know who would have loved the place - Gordo - you would have been in musical hippie heaven :)

We were there until 2am & then they closed down & we caught  a
taxi back to our hotel. Went to bed pretty much right away & then
yesterday Crystal was hung over all day. Didn't leave the room until
after 1pm. Then had some food & then she felt sick, but I was on
the beach for 3 hours or so. Met her back in our room, then a nap. And then we went out for
dinner & had a mellow night reading in our room and having rather
large beetles try to move in with us. There was this really cool, really big green beetle that just kept coming back in. I got some photos for Char. It was a really beautiful colour!

Today we came out to the bakery for breakfast & now we're not sure what the plan is. But Crystal is going to organize her week. Figure out about diving & all of that. And we have to find out about getting to Haad Rin for the Full Moon party. :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in a tropical paradise


Merry Christmas everyone!


Here we are on Boxing Day aka Crystal's birthday, and it is hella hot & I can't wait to get to the beach. What a trip! LOL We got so much rain in Kranbi & Ko Samui it's nice to be here in Ko Phangan & be sweatin' again. Beach on boxing day - how wicked is that?! We went to bed late (after 2am) last night because we were watching movies on the TV in our room..trying to get in some Christmas flavour on the 25th of December.


Our time in Ko Samui was spent reading a lot of the time. Sometimes on the beach, sometimes at our room because of the rain. I finished reading 2 books, so I went to the exchange & got Dr.Zhivago...I thought maybe a classic would take me a little more time so that I'm not powering thru a book a day. We went to a shisha place on the 23rd. Had some good eats & then smoked a little Shisha. Had grape with a little mint. It was pretty nice stuff. After the shisha we made a stop in an internet cafe & then we went to grab a couple of beers for the road. We had plans to go to this bar on the beach that we had seen - Swing Bar and we thought we could drink a beer on the walk to the bar. Only we didn't have anything to open them with. So I tried using the keychain on our door key  ripped my knuckles up, so I was bleeding for the rest of our walk. Then we found a guy at a shop doing wood carving stuff who offered to open our beers. So we drank them pretty quick because they were already warming up & warm beer is YUCK. Needless to say we ended up in an area with loads of bars & little market areas, so Swing Bar never happened. We went to this place called Fusion. Pretty sweet nightclub setup, but totally dead. We had a drink each & then we went to McDonalds. Then we went across the road. There were all these little bars...and each little place had a pole or two in them so that the girls could dance to attract customers, or the customers could dance. We went to one & had a drink, Crystal played some Connect 4 with one of the girls, and I had a little dance on the poles with a boy...who I think is going to be a lady boy in a year or two. And then this guy from New York sits beside us & asks to sleep at our place. I told him 'no we have bed bugs & no room". Crystal told him to take a cab back to his place. Eventually he went on his way. We ended up back at McDonald's (yes - we were on fire!) hahaha And then we walked back to our room to call it a night. Mostly it was good.


Slept in pretty good the next day & went for fruit for brekky & then to the beach for a bit. It was Christmas Eve and we ended up going back to this restaurant that we loved called Kokomiko. Cute little place & great food. I got a curry dish that nearly killed me it was so hot. And even though I was sweating so bad I needed a shower & my eyes felt like they were bugging out of my head - I made it through. And it did taste really good! LOL We had some wine with dinner & then went for a walk to the markets to look for Christmas gifts for one another. But had no luck.


Christmas Day we went out to buy one another a little gift, went to the Grand-rocks & found some things. On our way back to the hotel to catch our ride to the ferry we were stopped by two guys on a moped. Aussie's who wanted to invite us to the Christmas BBQ they were organizing on the beach. It was the first time that any travellers have approached us and we were pretty disappointed that we had to say no because we were leaving. But it left some Christmas cheer in our hearts. Then we came over to Ko Phangan. Holed up in our room for a bit, watching Christmas programs & Crystal had a nap. Then we went for dinner, exchanged gifts, wandered the town & grabbed some dessert. Ended up back in our room watching movies & trying to find Christmas shows, while we burned the little Christmas tree candle that Crystal brought with her. (Thanks Jaquie!) Very cute.


Today we slept in & called our families when we made it to a payphone. Both our mom's were a little teary. Both of our brothers were having a bit of a rough time - and everyone was struggling to hear us because the connection is so crappy & there were so many people in the houses we called. But it was nice to talk to everyone. Got to say hi to my grandparents & my sis, and I haven't spoken to them in a long while. Then grabbed some was pretty perfect, fresh squeezed OJ & the eggs were just like how Crystal likes them. So far her bday is turning out pretty good!


So now...the plan is the beach. And other than that?? Crystal is thinking of booking a trip to Ko Tao to go diving. I am thinking, beach, beach, beach... and the 31st is the Full Moon Party, so we're trying to figure out how the hell these two old grannies are going to be able to stay awake until sunrise!!! Yikes! Wish us luck!!


Love you all!

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ko Samui

Hello Everyone!


Ah Krabi!!! We were not actually in Krabi town & on our quiet little strip we took it pretty easy. But on our last day we decided that we would hire a long tail boat & go to this little pennisula on the island that is supposed to have some pretty ace snorkelling. So that is what we did. Sunshine & loveliness, and then we got out to the beach. Very cool limestone caves & definitely some snorkelling options. We put our stuff down & we headed for the water...and almost immediately a storm kicked up & it downpoured all over everything. So our day packs got soaked, and some of the stuff inside them got a little dampish. We ran out of the water (all I could think was I was NOT baywatch hot to be running along a beach in my swimsuit!!!) and we grabbed our stuff & tried to find shelter under some trees so that we weren't having constant water pouring on our bags. When it let up we went exploring around the caves & waited until it stopped entirely. Met an English guy & his family, he was happy to tell us that he had been born in Canada - but he had an English accent. LOL We  tucked our things into a little cavey area out of the possible rain & did some snorkelling. It was pretty good. Saw lots of cool fish, a couple crabs here & there & lots of living sea plants etc. Everything was really close in the shallow water & I sliced my finger a bit on some of the coral - but that's all cleared up now. We got our stuff together & spent a little time laying on the sand again. Crystal went adventuring & came to get me. Saw some monkeys in action taking fruit from the tourists & then we went to our stuff. We had arranged for a pickup at 5pm. And at 4:45 the skies opened up, yet again. So we ran back to the boats & saw our friend in orange & we headed back to the room. It poured for a bit & we showered & got ready. Then it let up & we walked into town to attend our "dinner & a show" that Crystal had discovered. It was a buffet dinner & a ladyboy cabaret show. It was good fun & went on a lot longer than we expected. We left before it was even over because we had a long walk & we had to get up early. Most of our stuff was still wet & very sandy - so our resolution is NOT to head out to places our stuff will get wet the day before a travel day. Also - we bought dry bags & we're using them as day bags & beach bags because if it does rain, our stuff will be ok, and you can't beat that!!


So now we're in Ko Samui. The journey was typical Thai. We took a minibus & went to pick up other passengers. Then we ended up back at our jungle depot in Surat Thani & got our stickers & hopped into another minibus. And then to a big bus, took that to the ferry & walked on. That time it was a ferry that also took vehicles! First one over here. We sat in some comfy seats, and Crystal watched some cheesy Thai soap opera on the TV, while I read. Got in to the port & took a taxi to our hotel. Moved into our bungalow, very cute. But budget. No hot water & no fridge. We miss the fridge the most, can't buy any drinks or fruit without it. We had dinner at the hotel & then went to the market on the strip, and grabbed a couple of Chang beers & went back to our little porch to soak up the evening. I pestered our neighbours a bit & they invited us out for some food with them. Two danish guys named Kim & Tim, one Swiss guy named Fabio, and a Dutch guy named Sam. It was a good night. Had another beer, some eats, ended up swimming in the pool at the hotel & then the ocean a bit. Still ended up back in bed not too late because Crystal had found some grease/tar on the beach somewhere & it was all over her toes & hands. Since then she has found more a couple times on our journey's down the beach. But it was a fun night. Slept in, took a chilled out day because it was crazy storming. The weather has been inconsistent at best since Krabi - but lots of rain & little bit of sunshine. It's always warm, but it's not tanning weather. Also - and this is the fun part. I have some kind of bug living in my bed area. I have gotten so many bites. I think it's bedbugs again. Why the hell am I always the one to chose the bed with them in it?!?! I told the staff, & they said they were going to deal with it today, so we'll see what happens. But I'm hella itchy & feel like I have some skanky disease LOL.


Yesterday we did a tour around the island. Went to a temple, then the Big Buddha, then "the viewpoint", then Grandfather & Grandmother Stone, then a monkey show where we watched monkeys harvest coconuts & ate some coconut, then to another temple where the mummified monk is, then to the national park to check out the waterfall & see a bunch of elephants doing trekking, and then into town for some shopping. It was a fun day & while the morning was dodgy - woke up at 6:30am to an enormous thunderstorm that shook the bungalow - we had nice weather by the end of it!


We here until the 25th & that morning we head to Ko Phangan. So far it's good. It's all good! I'm loving Thailand! I already can't wait until I come back! LOL


Mother - 4 days is nothing!!! Things happen & I don't want to spend all of my money paying to be online! I am OK!!! I love you - and I am ok!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Still hot as Hades!

Ko Phi Phi was good to us. We had some sun issues with the malaria pills. Crystal decided to go off hers until such time as we are in an area we really need to worry about it & I kept taking mine. My sun sensitivity wasn't as bad as hers, but it's still definitely making me more than I usually am! So I'm thinking about quitting them too, for now at least. We aren't in an area we need to worry.

We went down to the beach & then ended up back in our room pouring cold water all over ourselves. We ate lots of fruit & Crystal was mad about spring rolls for a bit. This kooky old lady had a stand & she would yell "10 baht, 10 baht Yoo Hoo Yoo Hoo" at everyone as they walked by. She was great. We got asked by a guy to go for beers, but refused. Went back to our room...still suffering the effects of the sun. We did a day out on a long tail boat. There was a couple from Vancouver Island on the boat with us. We went from our beach, to Shark Point & did some snorkelling - but didn't see any sharks. We went to Monkey Beach & hung out there for half an hour & did see some monkeys. Crystal got some great photos. Then we went to Bamboo Island & had lunch, we also went exploring, really strange rock formations,they kinda looked like lava rock. It was hot, our feet were burning b/c we forgot to take our flip flops on our little trek. Then we went to Maya Beach -the one from the movie The Beach. Hung out there for quite awhile. A stop at Viking Cave & then we sat on the boat & watched the sunset. And then it was quite windy & choppy for our ride back & we got entirely drenched. it was fun, really fun, but I could barely see because huge amounts of water kept smacking me in the face LOL. Crystal was hiding behind her sarong. Man, next trip I take I NEED to have one of those waterproof cameras because that would have been a great photo!!! We arrived back & went to our room,grabbed food along the way & mellowed out. The next morning we did the hike up to the Viewpoint where you can see all of the town that we were staying in. It was a 45min hike, in the heat & humidity & we were both thinking how we are in horrible shape. On the way up there was a bit of a sign to another beach, so we headed back down that way. Rantee Beach. It was quite the trek down the mountain. But the beach was cute, small & quiet, the people working there were really nice. But it was a bit buggy, ended up with some bites. And then when we headed back to our side of the island we were chased by mossies practically the whole trek thru the jungle! We got back, had showers & then went into town & grabbed some food & went to a place where they do "pedicures" with fish. You stick your feet into a big tank & hundreds of little fish nibble your feet, toes & legs & they are supposed to nibble all the dead skin off. LOL It was wild. It didn't work anything like a real pedicure, but was well worth the 150 baht to have the experience!

We have seen a few people who bring their pet monkeys to town with them, as well as the very scary families on mopeds, motorbikes & bicycles that ride along with their babies hanging on for dear life off the back. It seems so scary to us, but no one bats an eye here.

Our final morning was a slow going one, we ate breakfast, played some cards, put our bags in storage & headed out. Spent a bit of time online & then grabbed some food, rented a couple chairs & hung out in the shade for a couple of hours. Crystal slept & I read. Then we went & gathered our things & hopped on the ferry. Nicest one we've been on. Had some trouble out in the ocean, they think we hit a shark, so they stopped & dove under to check?! Crazy. We got here to Ao Nang in Krabi & got settled into our room. There was some confusion & our first night we had A/C instead of a fan room. So posh! Then we went wandering around. It's cute here, quiet on our little strip. Ended up at a restaurant on the beach having Pad Thai & a storm blew in & it was raining buckets & windy like mad. So we waited it out & when it seemed to mellow we headed back to our room. Only to have it come back & start to dump on us so we found some cover & waited until the next slow down & we made it back to our room during that trickle.

Yesterday we got up late & had breakfast & went down to the beach. Only the tide was way out & still receding, so the beach didn't look so tempting. We ended up chilling out on a bench in the shade beside the beach. I read, Crystal took some photos. She ate Pringles & I ate half a pinapple. :) And then we walked the strip. Further than we had the night before & it gets really busy & happening a little further on! We found a Hagaan Daas & had some overpriced ice cream & then stopped at a McDonalds because Crystal had a hankering for Broccoli Pie. I grabbed some Papaya. I was having an off day. The heat & not getting any sleep. So we headed back to our room. We watched Dirty Dancing on the Iphone & then went to bed. Today we spent the morning indoors. Late start, late brunch, then Crystal updated her journal & I read. Finished my book. My first Ann Rice book, courtesy of Miriam, so now I'm seeing ghosts everywhere! :) lol Now we're out & about. Off to see more of town & I'm hoping to call Spyros tonight & have a little chat. Crystal & I worked it out - the calling cards here are nuts - 33 cents a minute!!! What a rip off! So mom & dad & Spyros - forgive me when I don't call so often, but it's a little ridiculous!

One more full day here & then we're off to Ko Samui for a whole week!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Down South

Hello everybody!!


So we are now in Ko Phi-Phi. And what an adventure! We loved Bangkok, made friends with our TukTuk driver Bill. Cool guy. Ate some awesome & cheap food - wandered and wandered and wandered. Saw the festivities for the King's birthday, some fireworks etc. The driving here is crazy, but I feel safer because the roads are wider than in Europe. And everyone is friendly - no road rage.


So we booked our travels south. Pretty much the whole month, up to Jan 4th is now planned out. On the 7th we took a taxi to the train depot & sat there for 2 hours on the floor. Stood up at around 6:45pm when they played the National Anthem. Made pals with this Thai guy named Lo who couldn't speak any English but was determined to have a conversation & to get our phone number. Hilarious. And I helped another girl with her English homework haha. At 7:15 we got on the night train. Sat at our seats & ate our dinner. Then they come around & flip down the upper bunk & turn everything into beds. Crystal & I were in the top bunks. They have these straps so that you can't fall out. And it was pretty good. I woke up a lot because I'm such a light sleeper & everytime a curtain opened I wondered if it were mine or something. We arrived to Surat-Thani early morning, a little later than scheduled & were directed to a bus. That bus took us to this depot in the middle of the jungle. We waited there for 20 min and then a crazy pickup with seats in the box took us into some town & we talked to an Indian guy who charged us an extra 200 baht to take us straight to the hotel. So back onto another bus & got the last seats. Settled in for the next...7 hours!! Yikes. Got to Phuket, switched into a minibus & that took us straight to our hotel. All in all from train to hotel it was about a 19 hour trip. Totally dodgy being thrown from one vehicle into another & having no idea where you are or where you're going LOL. Spyros baby, you would LOVE Thailand!!! And at least you would have a language barrier here, so we would be even!


Phuket was ok, we stayed at Pa Tong beach. It's the ladyboy, prostitute, sex show type of capital here. Which we didn't know. But it was still cool. Spent the first evening wandering around & shopping. Went to a bar & had a couple beer. There were 3 very drunk aussie blokes that came through & took over the stage from the live band & started treating it like a kareoke bar. We laughed it up with them for a bit & took some photos. Then we went to another bar with them that they heard was awesome, but which was dead. Then they started getting pouty because one of them lost his wallet so we headed off. Ended up on the beach with a couple guys from Canada, a bit of a late night swim. And then hopped on the back of an old guy's motorbike taxi back to the hotel.


The next day was supposed to be our first beach day, but Crystal was SUPER hungover & my tummy was a little rough from the booze too. So we mellowed out & chatted & hung in the room until dinner. Went out, had some dinner & Crystal bought new flip flops because the night before she ended up coming home with one of hers & one of someone else's.


This morning we had breakfast, took a minibus to the ferry terminal, a 2 hour ferry ride here, to Ko Phi Phi. Very tropical, very lush. And hella hot. So I wanted to get out an update to everyone before we hit the beach. Ko Phi Phi is the sister island to the one where "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. So we're gonna do a hike up to The Viewpoint where you can see the other island from!


4 days here, then 4 in Krabi, and then we go to Ko Samui & the Ko Phagn (full moon party!) and that will take us to January. At which time we'll be heading over to Cambodia!


More later, maybe I will have some colour by my next update!!!


Friday, December 4, 2009

In Bangkok!!

Hello curious friends & family!

So far - we're in Bangkok. Last
night we were both pretty tired. Didn't get hardly any sleep on our
flights. The flights were uneventful, and China Air was great. I loved the asian flair the food had. Crystal wasn't as crazy about it as me LOL But we watched a lot of movies & tried to sleep without much success.

Got into Bangkok airport & we got some Baht & headed to Th Khao San in a taxi. We found a guest house with rooms for 290 baht each, which is less than $10. It's a room with a king sized bed, that is clean and has ac & a fan. The toilets are shared, and you can't flush your TP (if you choose to USE TP) but we will survive that, cuz it's cheaper than camping back home! hahaha We checked in, & then wandered a
bit & got some dinner. It's a very festive area right now, and the people are wanting you to ride their tuk tuks, get your fortune read & to come in & buy things. Went to bed early with the intent to figure out a bit of a plan & get up at 10ish to see some celebrations. But I read, Crystal slept & then we both just slept thru the night. Got up at 7ish. Now
it's the Kings Birthday or some kind of King celebration, so we are
going to take a TukTuk around to see a few places. I guess because of
the day admissions are free most places.  I had an "asian breakfast" this morning. pretty good.

have attempted to get my phone unlocked. Some people are saying it's
too new. So I'm going to try a few more places & we will see what
happens. I don't want to buy a new one now that I'm here. I want to be
able to use this one. And if I can get it unlocked here, then I have a
phone to use with other plans back at home too. And it would be very
nice to be able to just shoot off a text & let you all know that I
am safe & ok.

We are planning to leave Bangkok in the next couple of days. Head south
& spend some time beaching it & chilling out until Christmas
& Crystal's bday. And then we will wander over to some other
countries. Hoping to meet some people & discuss where they have
been & where they are going by that time. Last night was pretty
much just sleeping!! LOL

I'll keep you updated on the phone thing. And I will be updating the
blog too.

So far?? It is pretty much what we expected. It was a bit more intense than Crystal was expecting the first night, but she was just a little disoriented because she was so tired. It's hot, but I don't feel like I'm going to die. LOL at least not yet. The people are all very friendly. I feel like I'm being far more cautious than I ever have been in any country. I think it's because it's another language & we're not with a group of people. Oh well, better safe than sorry! Bangkok is cool. I know I could spend plenty of time here just wandering around markets & seeing the city, but I think we both want to get out of the big cities right now. We will let you know how our first Tuk Tuk experience is ---

OH! Had pinapple last night, I loved it. Crystal says it's better than home, but still not for her! :) cream...