Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Half a year later

I need some closure.

THE END.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The City that Sex Built

Back Up.

Jasper and I left Cambodia and went to a city called Pattaya a few hours South of Bangkok. It was sad to leave Cambodia, Seim Reap was really nice, but we wanted to hit a beach before we left.

Pattaya is an interesting place. Little did we know before we decided Pattaya should be the finale of out trip, Pattaya is one of the most prostitute-ridden cities in all of Thailand. Tens of square blocks all along the south beach are lined, door to door, with "Go-Go-Bars" or "Beer Bars". As you walk down the street you will see hundreds of scantily-clad girls sitting on stools or subtly dancing, waiting for someone to buy a drink...or more. Note: scantily-clad in Thailand is anything less than a T-shirt and shorts. Girls in north America out for a night at the clubs would surely be asked "how much?" in Thailand. Little do many of the visiting Bangkokers or traveling Europeans know, (or maybe they do...) a huge portion of these girls are not girls at all. Some are more convincing than others... For example both pictures on the left are of a Thai man. As good as these two are (note the areola in the second picture on the left), there are many that are much more feminine, more convincing. Homosexuality and gender modification is much more widely accepted in Southeast Asia and is, therefore, more popular. Or is it the other way around....?

We went on a snorkeling trip which was fun minus a few downfalls. The first is that it wasn't really a snorkeling trip. We paid 1000 Bhat to tag along with a group of scuba divers and splash around on top at some less than amazing sites while they explored the real goods. Also, our dive sites were filled with tiny, clear organisms that stung the skin with hard contact. Of course these stingers were only in the first meter of water, where the two snorkelers spent most of their time...

We also saw a cabaret show in which all the performers were transvestites (although you wouldn't know if it wasn't advertised as such). It was a touch strange but well done and worth the money.

Aside from the obvious negatives, we had a lot of fun in Pattaya. We touched up our tans then returned to Bangkok to shop. Jasper ended up sick in bed most of the time, but we still ended to get some sweet clothes before getting on the plane.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not the last

So we're back in Cincinnati. I don't really feel like writing a final blog... maybe I'll just write about the beginning.

The day we left Jasper gave me a surprise birthday present. One of our friends, Gillian, from the Starwood festival I try to go to every summer, drove here with her boyfriend Sami. We went to King's Island (a big theme park) which I was super excited about because I love roller coasters... unfortunately Sami lost his video camera.

Gillian and Sami went to bed and Jasper and I packed our stuff.
We went out to get in the car after at 2:30am after a long day on roller coasters only to have the car not start. We called her friend who left work to take us to the airport. What an Angel.

Ps....just in case you needed a lesson on breast types. (We found this advertisement in a mall in Bangkok)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thai Fruit

I am convinced that some of the world's most delicious fruit originates in Southeast Asia.

First, and most famously you've got the Durian. This one is the odd one out in my books. This is the most vile tasting excuse for a fruit known to human kind. It has a creamy texture (maybe think of creamed corn) with a taste resembling dish soap.

Then come the good ones.

The red one that looks like a koosh ball is called Gnaw. It's pronounced by positioning your tongue as if you were going to make a "G" sound, then pretty much just honking sound (very similar to the sounds you would expect to hear out of a Muppet). It's simply delicious.

The yellow one is Longan. It tastes somewhat piney, but is simply delicious.

The pink one is Dragonfruit, but it sucks.

The purple one by itself is mangosteen. It's simply delicious.

The yellow bulges hanging on the tree are Jackfruit. It's texture is something like a mango and isn't the best fruit around, but all in all, it's simply delicious too.

Then you have mango, rose apple aka. cham-poo (the only valid descriptor I can think of is refreshing), watermelon, guava, pineapple, starfruit and many many more.

To impress your friends with all of your sweet new knowledge on Thai fruit varieties, visit http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/fruit-tfruit.html.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cambodia

Due to the desturbingly poor internet here in Siem Reap, Cambodia, blogging has been somewhat of a luxury.

Chronological order.
Jasper, Nalnee, and I left Chaing Mai to Chaing Rai, one of Thailand's most northern cities. We spent some quality time there with Jasper's Aunt and G-ma, spending our days visiting the white temple, getting ourtdoor massages on the Mekong river overlooking Laos and Burma, and cleaning out the small guesthouse in the backyard.



Jasper and I left Chaing Rai, went back to Chaing Mai, then took a bus to Bangkok. We had a bit of a craving to see a movie. We were pleasantly surprised. Let me tell you about movies in Bangkok. The theatres in Bangkok compare to something like the opera house in Sydney. The seats recline and you can even get vip boxes with couches and a full bar menu. The Thais don't mess around when it comes to movie watching.



From there we took one of the most miserable trips of our lives.


-8:00am-meet at the travel agency for the bus to Siem reap


-9:10am-get on the bus and luckily get a seat as it was overbooked and 4 poor people had to sit on the floor


-1:00pm-Arrive at Thai-Cambodian border town and watch other tourists get sold overpriced visas while we buy food from the only restaurant around


-1:30pm-Arrive at the boarder and get lead through by 2 very sketchy locals who stop frequently to buy snacks (if you can call fried bugs a snack) and tell us to meet them several meters down the road.


-2:30pm-Leave the boarder town for Seam Reap


-6:30pm-Get stuck in a huge traffic jam which is stuck in the mud (true, the road isn't paved)


-9:00pm-We are told that we will have to spend the night on the bus (closer to a school bus than a vip air-con bus)


-10:30pm-The bus finally starts rolling to many cheers and we're on our way


-1:30am-we arrive at a guesthouse closely associated with the bus comany, obviously too tired to go to the one we originally wanted.




So now here we are in Siem Reap and loving it. The people are extremely friendly, much more fluent than the Thais, the city is cool, and the Temples of Angkor are simply stunning. We've spent the last 3 days wandering around them and even mustered up the discipline to see 2 sunrises. Yesterday we came across a pack of 25 monkies. We chilled out together and ate rasins. Jasper was lucky enough to get some special attention from one of the friendlier ones.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ephelumps, no woozles.

After a one day delay of rolling in the hay we decided not to stay in our rooms any longer. Yay.
Jasper and Nalnee both got a bit ill as well. We think it was a Pad Thai dish at an umbrella-making farm.

We went to an Elephant sanctuary. It was probably the coolest place we had been to. Earlier in the week we went to a silk farm, a silver manufacturer, a leather shop, and a couple others.

At the sanctuary, first we rode elephants through the jungle and across rivers for about 45 minutes. Then we rode the ox-carts back. We had lunch then lazied our way down a meandering stream on a bamboo raft. As tourist-oriented as the place was, it wasn't very busy and being in the jungle on an elephant's back or on a bamboo raft you can almost forget you're paying for it.

Elephants hae become some of my most favourite creatures. They are so huge and powerful but so gentle. We fed them bananas and sugar cane contunuously end even befrended a baby elephant (the cutest creature in existence.)

Later on we went to a monkey school were trained monkeys put on a show for us. Jasper and I were a little unimpressed but it's always fun to see monkies. There was an orchid farm there as well, too bad I can't bring any home.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Barf

So the title's a little much, but that sums it up.

Everyone's saying it's food poisoning.

I'm saying it sucks.

You don't want pictures.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Muay Thai

Have you ever seen 8-year-olds beat the crap out of each other in a boxing ring?

I have.

It was a good thing someone warned us there were young children that fought Muay Thai when we bought our tickets. Muay Thai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muay_Thai) is Thailand's national sport is is one of, if not the, most popular sport. It's pretty much kick-boxing but a little more hard core. Lots of knees and elbows. Jasper and I had front row seats and each of us got a complementary drop of blood on our legs (Don't worry, the 8-year-olds didn't bleed). We were also fortunate enough to see a few Technical Knock Outs (TKO's).

As aggressive as the sport is, many of the fighters seemed to be good friends and fun times were had by all.
video

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Full Moon Party

The Full Moon Party in Haad Rin, Ko Phangan, brought mixed emotions. I was looking forward to a huge beach party, sure, but before I even went there was some aspect of it that was bothering me.

Jasper and I began by having a few drinks with 2 Australian guys in the Bungalow next to us. We played Kings then Jasper and I went down to the beach for the party. It was pretty much as we expected... thousands of Europeans in their twenties power drinking on a beach.

As we walked from one end to the other, we continuously drifted into overlapping techno and house beats. The worst was being between two different bars because you'd be in a mush zone of loud musical confusion. After one full run of the beach we realized weren't going to find "our" place. Neither of us seemed to be able to get into it so we did what we do best: we people watched.

We saw fire spinners, hundreds of people peeing in the water, some puking, drunk people, high people...people. people. people. The ones that won over our attention most were the prostitutes. There were hundreds. We actually watched a complete "transaction". A Thai girl of roughly my age was dancing with her cigarette. Just dancing. These girls didn't need to pick up guys, guys would pick up them. A drunken man came over and they talked for a minute. The two headed off into the water and "embraced" each other for a few minutes. They returned hand-in hand. The man walked off and the girl went back to dancing with a new cigarette.

I couldn't help but feel ill after seeing all of this. At least, with all the sex tourism in Thailand, these girls seemed to be doing this by choice. There are thousands of girls in situations a thousand times worse.

We stayed up until the sunrise then headed off to bed.

My final synopsis is that I don't like the full moon party. I'm glad I went because It really was a life experience, but I don't like it. It just seems to me like a bunch of people pooping on Thailand. It's a shame that so many people come and use the country for its beaches and its beauty, and leave their garbage, their puke, and their stink.

Thailand is beautiful. It needs to stay that way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

When you go to Ko Phangan...


Be prepared for white people.


I suppose I should start by better explaining the idea of finding the pie. In this part of the world it is very easy to live first class...almost too easy. What Jasper and I are trying to do is find our own adventure. We don't want it brought to us, we want to find it. We'll have it when we travel until we want to stop and we stay until we want to leave... I hope it's blueberry.




We're in Ko Phangan. We came for the beaches but also for the beach parties. The Full Moon Party is tomorrow night. You know that crazy party that Leonardo DiCaprio is at in the movie "The Beach"? That's where we'll be tomorrow.


Hopefully we're going to do some snorkeling, some waterfall excursions, and elephant riding. We've kept up the massages nearly every other day... I'm so limber.


It's wonderful to be out of Bangkok and on the beaches...



Now it's Europeans on scooters I neet to watch out for not 8-year-old Thai girls like in Bangkok. We'll find our own corner of the island in a few days when the beer has been drank.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Finding the Pie

It's our third day in Bangkok. I've almost evened myself out from the jet lag in a timezone of exactly 12hrs difference. A nasty 30+ hr plane ride with layovers really killed me but a good night sleep brought me back to good health. So far Jasper, Nalnee (Jasper's mom), and me have done a lot of sleeping and eating. There have been multiple trips to the massage parlour and the market full of fish heads, eels, stray dogs, backpacks, underwear, fruit, chickens, children, filth, and stench. This market is beside the big unpronouncable river that runs through Bangkok, dubbed "the Bangkok nasty" by Jasper and me. There are a million motorcycles with too many people on them that no one can drive, a diversity of fashions from the dumpster to lacoste, and so many other characteristics reflectant of a third world city. I love it.

Things have been flowing smoothly since Nalnee is a Thai citizen and speaks fluent Thai. We're leaving our guesthouse tomorrow for some sandy beaches to the South. We have a general plan for the rest of the 6 weeks, but I'll spill those as they happen.

Trying to co-ordinate where to go and when is interesting to say the least. Jasper and my interests seem to clash slightly with Nalnee's. We want to plan only the essentials while Nalnee wants to call ahead to every guesthouse to ensure a room. This is the fun of traveling in groups though isn't it?

Friday, May 9, 2008

T-Minus to Thailand


I`m on Jasper`s couch in Cincinnati Ohio.

Tomorrow at this time I`ll be thinking about leaving... Good thing because I really haven`t done much thinking yet.