March 02, 2002

3/1/02 In The Caravan, OZ

3/1/02 In The Caravan, OZ (Kelly)

For some reason I thought it was leap year this year...but apparently I'm wrong (only the 2nd time in my life!!)

Today turned out to be the biggest waste of time ever--I may as well scratch it out of my records--everything went wrong...all we could do was laugh!!

We drove from Airlie Beach to Townsville, only about a 2 hour drive. I'm blaming this on Phillip (It was his idea!!) He wanted to go to Magnetic Island, right off the coast of Townsville. Okay, fine! We arrived at the ferry 2 minutes before it was supposed to leave. Because we were in a rush we sort of got on the wrong one. We boarded (and paid for) the ferry that is mainly for cars (tourists bringing their cars over to the island.) We were the only "walking" passengers on the boat. I didn't mind so much except the barge docked in the middle of nowhere on the island and we had to walk about 20 minutes to sit down. We should have taken the "real" passenger ferry that dropped off in the center of the island where buses and taxis were waiting. After we ate lunch we wanted to go snorkeling...no can do! It was low tide when we arrived and the bay that we went to had a spectacular reef but the water was knee high! We couldn't even go swimming because there are a high number of deadly jellyfish that are very prominent this time of year. If stung they kill you within 3 minutes. We then thought we would walk to the main area of the island. "Negative ghost rider, the pattern is full!" (quote from 'Top Gun') Town wound up being about 9 km away. About a third of the way there we caught a bus. By this time it was about 3:45 and our boat was leaving at 6:10 back to the main land. Swell, we had a couple of hours to lay on the beach...this was a no go as well considering the last bus that we could catch to make our boat in time was in 20 minutes. So what did we do...went down to the beach, took a quick dip (we were drenched with sweat from walking), and turned around to get back on the bus. Of course, these bus rides were not free! Screw ball it--we caught the bus back to the nearest hostel to our port and hung out in the pool! Once we did get back to Townsville we were so fed up with the day that we didn't even want to sleep there...we drove an hour north to Ingham to stay the night!

Posted by Admin at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

3/2/02 In The Caravan, OZ

3/2/02 In The Caravan, OZ (Kelly)

We arrived in Cairns this afternoon and decided to go to a movie. We figured we've done most everything we wanted to so a couple of hours in an air-conditioned theatre sounded extremely enticing. This is our last night in the camper van...I'm actually glad! It has definitely been a good 10 days but I'm ready for my own "personal space" and air-conditioned rooms!

Posted by Admin at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

3/3/02 Cairns, Austrailia (Kelly) Today

3/3/02 Cairns, Austrailia (Kelly)

Today has consisted of cleaning up the van, eating lunch, and lounging under a shaded tree over looking the ocean. I have a journal entry that I have written but we are changing the plans. We were going to check into a hostel, which opens at 3:00 pm and then return the van. But we just figured out that our flight out to Sydney is at 6:05 in the morning so I think we are just going to go sleep in the airport and save on over night expenses. Once we arrive in Sydney, we are staying with Jessie, an American girl who we met in New Zealand. She was so kind to offer her place until we depart to Singapore on the 9th. She is attending school in Sydney as an exchange student so fortunately this allows us to save a little dough!!

Okay, I'm returning to this journal entry because I think this needs to be added...last night, as I mentioned above, we spent the night in the Cairns International Airport. Check out the 'sleeping in airports' website at www.sleepinginairports.net to see the luxury we stayed in. It actually wasn't all that bad. It was air conditioned, had a shower, and little compfy sofa things to sleep on. However, little did we know that our flight to Sydney was located in the international terminal rather than the domestic terminal. At 2:00am there was a police lady that came and awoke all of the sleeping passengers and said that the international terminal was closing and that we needed to move to the domestic terminal. The domestic terminal was about a 10 minute walk across the street. So you can only imagine how we looked in these wee hours of the morning. We had our bags loaded on a little a luggage cart halling everything over. Is this how homeless people look when any major authority makes them move?

Posted by Admin at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2002

3/4/02 Sydney, Australia (Kelly) This

3/4/02 Sydney, Australia
(Kelly)

This day has started off brilliantly, not! So right now I'm in Sydney, and have been for a few hours now, with no luggage. Yup, you heard me! Not only have I been labeled a homeless person early this morning but I have no clothes either...the airline lost my backpack. Well, I shouldn't say lost, misplaced it is a better word. Our flight schedule was as follows: Cairns to Brisbane to Sydney. We did have to switch planes in Brisbane. Some how my bag made it to Melbourne...you do the math...I have no idea how it got THERE! Anyways, I get it tonight. On the bright side of this little situation...I didn't have to carry my 45 lb back pack around in the city...I get door to door service instead :-)

We made it to Jessie's dorm from taking a taxi from the airport. We were all quite hungry so we thought we would grab some food. I almost forgot how silly men can get with two young girls around. I saw what I thought was the saddest excuse for a living human being take form today, which I found to be quite humorous. We ate at this little Chinese outdoor restaurant, got some teriyaki chicken and some rice. Jessie brought up a conversation about someone she knew back home being able to drink 64 ounces of water in ten minutes...I know a dumb conversation. The manager I guess over heard us talking and interrupted to say that he could do this, no problem! Okay, Okay! We put him to the challenge. For the next 10 minutes he tried chugging almost 2.5 liters of water to prove that he could master the quest...guess what, he failed! He even had to go the restroom to throw up. I was hysterically laughing at this point...we took some pictures of him. I swear, MEN...this is why I never have a boyfriend...because 99% of them are complete fools! I do have to admit...it was quite entertaining, though!!

Posted by Admin at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2002

3/5/02 Sydney, Australia (Kelly) A

3/5/02 Sydney, Australia
(Kelly)

A dreary day in Sydney...pouring rain all day! I guess it doesn't really matter...a little rain poncho fixes anything! We hopped on a bus this morning (Jessie hooked us with some student bus passes...really cheap) and journeyed around down town Sydney. We went to St. Mary's Cathedral and toured the crypts...I don't know about any one else but looking at dead Archbishop's tombs was kind of morbid...but Phillip, being Catholic, I guess found it interesting! We then wondered on to the infamous Sydney Opera House...took a guided tour of the insides. There are many, many theatres...the biggest being the concert hall, which seats roughly 2,500 people. The Australia
n Symphony Orchestra was rehearsing for a concert that we were able to watch for about 15 minutes. Some useless facts that we learned about the Opera House: they started building it in 1959 and didn't complete it until 14 years later, the building had two architects, the 1st one quit after 7 years, and there are a total of 56,000 tiles used to make up the shells on the out side. The tour was pretty cool...we decided to buy some tickets to go see a show tomorrow in the Drama Theatre called "The Lady In The Van."

We met Jessie and about 7 of her friends for dinner again. Then we went to a hotel to watch the Australia
n version of "Temptation Island"...such a crap show! Anyways, the tempters and temptresses were there to make an appearance. They tried to act famous but they just aren't...it wound up being pretty funny. You know me though; I can't resist talking to "famous people." One of the guys came over to our table, Adam, to talk...and who was the first person to strike up conversation...yup, me, of course!

Posted by Admin at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

3/6/02 Sydney, Australia (Phillip) I

3/6/02 Sydney, Australia
(Phillip)

I hope this doesn't mess up Kelly's ordering too much. I thought I'd post my regular summary of what we're doing. We've done so much in Sydney already; it's been great. Sydney, of course, is built for tourists. Lots of things to see and a great transport system. We're staying in a college suburb called Coogee Beach, very close to the world famous Bondi Beach. The dorm we're staying in is literally full of Americans, and walking through the streets you're more likely to hear American accents than Aussie! Quite strange.

I think, at this point, we've covered most of Sydney's big sights. Today we did the Harbour Bridge, and took in a play at the Opera House; tonight is the Observatory. The reason we went to the play was that the Opera House tour was fabulous yesterday. We got to watch the Royal Orchestra practice and watched the set of the play we eventually saw, "The Lady in the Van" (it's British, of course), being setup. Incidentally, did you know there are 56,000 tiles on the Opera House roof?

Last night we got to meet some of the cast from Australia
's "Temptation Island". Nothing too special, we had no idea who any of them were anyway! I got to drink some beer though, which is quite a treat for me. Oh and I got to spend over an hour trying to sort out my Bank of America accounts that they hadn't bothered to close when I left. That was a frustrating two phone cards sorting out that mess! I think it got taken care of though.

What's strange about traveling the way we are is that it's very difficult to keep track of where you've been. People will ask you "Did you go to Brisbane" and it's strange not to be able to answer of the top of your head. We always have to think about it since we've done so many places in such a short time. The big problem is that it's only going to get worse!

Perhaps the thing I was looking forward to most about Sydney is happening tomorrow. Some of you may know that my family is complete nutters when it comes to the sport of rowing. We've been at it since we could swim and my brother coached in Sydney for a while. Tomorrow one of his friends is going to take me rowing here. My brother sent me an article once about rowing in the bay here and how it's been known for sharks to attack the boats! Very exciting :)

Right now I'm filing my American taxes in the other window and trying to arrange the meeting of my friend Jesse (not the one we're staying with) in Bangkok next Wednesday. We fly to Singapore on Saturday morning and I'm trying to convince Kel that we can just sleep in the airport again (7am flight). She's not going for it though! :)

The basic plan for Singapore is 3 or 4 days. We don't have accommodation booked, nor will we. We'll likely just catch the bus from the airport to the backpacker area and try to find something. There's no YHA's in Singapore, which makes booking anything less than US$100 a night very difficult. Once there we immediately have to find a flight or train to Thailand. Hopefully flights that let us avoid the hassle of Malaysian visa's (the train would go through Malaysia). Then on the 15th we meet Jesse and then over to Laos or up to Chaing Mai to go trekking, rafting and elephant riding.

That's about it!

Posted by Admin at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2002

3/8/02 Sydney, Australia (phillip) Check

3/8/02 Sydney, Australia
(phillip)

Check that out! Two journal entries in a row, I'm getting better! Kelly's off at the IMAX with Jessie and co. so I'm taking some quiet time to myself. Of course, being me I couldn't resist checking email :)

The last few days in Sydney have continued to be exciting and action packed. We spent yesterday at Olympic Park, the home of the 2000 games. Olympic Park is really something to see, our plan was to tour the main stadium and swim in the olympic pool. As always with Kelly and myself it didn't go quite to plan! The Sydney bus drivers were still on strike yesterday so we caught a cab to the nearest train station followed by another 2 trains to Olympic Park. There was a ferry that took you almost directly there except it is supposed to be met by a bus for the final 3km of the journey (also on strike).

When we arrived at the park it was quite a sight. The stadiums are very imposing but quite honestly the first thing I noticed was how empty the place was. We ended up buying a 'Superpass' which gave us guided tours of the Aquatic Center and the Stadium and a trip up to the top of the hotel for a birds-eye view. The Aquatic Center tour was actually pretty good, explained why the pool was such a success etc... We didn't have time to swim just then and we rushed off to the next tour planning on returning. The Stadium tour was a bit longer and took you through the VIP suites and underground tunnels. Explaining how each was used during the games and now for sporting events. The stadium is really technologically interesting, it can change from a rectanglular field to a round one (for cricket) by pushing a button and the stands slide back. Very cool!

Finally we returned to the Aquatic Center to swim only to discover that it was now overflowing with teenagers in swim class. There was an amzing amount of them in all 3 major pools so we opted to pass on the swim. I was getting ready to go row in the harbour anyway.

Kel and I parted ways so I could head over to the Sydney rowing club to meet my brothers friend Michael. The row was great. There was a lightning storm brewing off behind us so as we rowed we were entertained with the bolts of lightning over the Sydney skyline. The row had everything from flat water to whitecaps and from us rowing well to rowing like it was our first time! We rowed a pair (for you rowers) which is a very difficult boat to row but somehow we stayed upright. By the end of the row my hands were blistered and bleeding, always a sign of a good row! I'm still amazed that nomatter where you are in the world you can get a row. Michael dropped me back off in Coogee Beach (10pmish) and we all watched 'Best in Show'.

Today Kelly is off watching an IMAX with the girls. I've actually already seen the movie and I think it was about time for an alone day anyway. I'm sure Kelly gets the same concerned emails as I do questioing how we're surviving each other. From my perspective it's going okay, certainly there's ups and downs. Ironically the time we got along perhaps best was the camper van, which was also the most intense period of time we spent with each other. Perhaps it was the fact that we both made extra efforts because of the closed environment. Quite honestly I think it was the fact that we were on our own for the entire time and didn't have other people being a part of our group, if that makes sense.

Things seem to be falling into place to meet Jesse in Bangkok in 4 days. We fly to Singapore tomorrow morning and our first task is to try and book a flight to Bangkok. Jesse will only be there for another 10 days or so and therefore it's a bit of a rush to make things fall into place. Since we have no address nor arrival date you can understand the difficulty in trying to plan to meet someone! However, it'll all work out and hopefully we'll head off trekking to Laos.

Kel and I also started looking into guided tours of Southern Africa
figuring it might be a safer way to go. We're still no closer to finding a suitable tour but it's given us lots of ideas.

Okay I'm off to read about Singapore, Kelly seems to figure that since she's been there before there's no need for her to read, apparently I don't have that benefit :)

Posted by Admin at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2002

3/9/02 In The Air (Kelly)

3/9/02 In The Air (Kelly)

What can I say about today other than we spent nearly 14 hours either in airplanes or in airports...I call this "in transit!" We had such a bizzare flight pattern, though. We flew out of Sydney to Auckland, switched planes and then flew to Singapore. Ironically, we flew back over Sydney...I guess this is what we get for buying cheap flights...don't really get a choice. We arrived in Singapore about 8:30pm which is 3 hours behind Sydney. However, we are getting slightly closer to home...we are only 14 hours ahead now.

We are staying at the Hawaii Hostel, one of the only hostels in Singapore. It's pretty much a dump but hey, at least we have our own room! I'm definitely not complaining.

Posted by Admin at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

3/10/02 Singapore (Kelly) Slept in

3/10/02 Singapore (Kelly)

Slept in today until 10:00...recovering from jet lag! It's weird being back in Singapore five years later (I was here back in '97 for 2 weeks.) I have a slightly different perspective this time around. Instead of getting the five star treatment I was used to in this country, I am able to see things a little differently now...how most Asians "live" in Singapore. Most don't use toilet paper...did you know that it is not polite to shake with your left hand...I'm sure you can figure out why! Pretty disgusting I know! We are finding it pretty amusing that we have to flock to the public restrooms instead of using the toilets in our hostel, oh well...I guess it could be worse!

We went down to the famous Orchard Road where most of the main metropolitan is. Mainly malls, little shops, and restaurants. We did wind up seeing a movie...I think we have made it a tradition that we must see a movie in every country we go to. We then went down to China town. Stopped in a couple of temples...of course we had to take our shoes off and walk around on burning concrete...ouch! Tourists aren't allowed to take pictures but being us we snuck a couple in. I keep reminiscing on my last trip here to Phillip and all of the crazy pictures I took back then. It's amazing the things I remember about that trip...some minor details I thought I had forgotten have come alive again.

Posted by Admin at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

3/11/02 Singapore (Phillip) Welcome to

3/11/02 Singapore (Phillip)

Welcome to Singapore! So I think everyone has a vague idea of what to expect in one of Asia's richest cities: lots of high-rises and designer shops. Well that's pretty accurate, but it seems to miss the smell of the sewers! I don't understand how people can eat with this smell.

Singapore is supposed to be a very expensive city, but we're not finding it difficult to stay within budget. We managed to find a very cheap place to stay, although it's pretty low end. Most backpackers stay at the YMCA for about S$80 (US$40) per night, but we managed to cut that in half! The hostel is called the Hawaii Hostel but it's a long way from palm trees and open spaces. Reminds me more of a prison, lots of small, totally enclosed rooms. The bathrooms are an experience in themselves! Although I suppose you can look at having the shower and the toilet in the same cubical as an efficient use of space? :)

Really I quite like Singapore, it's an easy introduction to Asia which is about to get a lot more difficult. We bought flights today (on India Airlines) to Bangkok for Wednesday where we'll meet my friend Jessie. It'll be nice to have a third person for the treks which could be difficult.

The best thing about Singapore has to be the variety of food! Lots of food courts with great food and all for under US$3! Although we have gone to McDonalds once... but only for breakfast I promise...

Off to the Zoo now, it's an open zoo (no cages) so that should be cool.

Posted by Admin at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2002

3/12/02 Singapore (Kelly) "Welcome to

3/12/02 Singapore (Kelly)

"Welcome to Sentosa Island...do you want chicken and rice or chicken and rice with leaves?! Sorry, I couldn't resist...this is a famous quote from my first visit to Singapore. If you can tell we went to Sentosa today which is an island that was udes as a fort for military purposes during 1885 through 1945. Since then it has been turned into a recreation island. The underwater world aquarium and the dolphin lagoon were the main attractions along with a tour of Fort Siloso. Really we were both extremely exhausted so we both just sort of walked around like zombies...not really saying a word to each other the entire day! By the time we got back to our hostel we decided we were skipping dinner, packing, sn going to bed. Well I basicaly skipped dinner but I did have to walk down to the nearest corner shop and buy a banana and a small carton of milk...this pretty much did it for the night!

Posted by Admin at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2002

3/13/02 Bangkok, Thailand (Phillip)

3/13/02 Bangkok, Thailand (Phillip)

So we made it to our hostel in one piece, you're probably as amazed as I am. Indian Airlines was pretty funny, in all honesty not a terrible flight. There were probably 10 other backpackers on the flight and the airline had stuck us all together. The plane was unbelievably cramped, my backpack wouldn't fit through the gap between the seats so I had to force it! Incidently the big world news (according to The Times of India, which I read) was that Britney Spears has broken up with Justin Timberlake. Who'd have thought? Now's my chance....

As we landed in the plane I kept waiting for us to fly down through the clouds, only to eventually realize that it was smog! We caught an Airport bus and into Bangkok we went. Looking out of the window I kept trying to pickup street names (the few that were in English) so I could find it on the map. I gave up and eventually the bus stopped and a bunch of dazed looking tourists were pushed off. Reading all the horror stories of travelling inside Bangkok I was a bit cautious when I negotiated my Tuk-Tuk fare. The driver insisting on 80baht ($4) and my response as "I only have 40baht ($2) and that's all I'll pay", I won.....

The hostel is decent, we have our own ensuite room with aircon ($7/night for the room) which provides some nice privacy. I won't miss the toilet/showers of Singapore!

Anyway, Kelly is in the shower and will probably recap most of this far more eloquently that I can so I bid you farewell.

I just checked email and it sounds like Jessie is actually staying in the same hostel as us and so we'll see him in a matter of hours.

Posted by Admin at 04:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2002

3/16/02 Bangkok, Thailand (Phillip)

3/16/02 Bangkok, Thailand (Phillip)

I just wanted to make a quick entry while I have a few secs (waiting to leave Bangkok) to keep everyone posted on what we're up to. Kelly and I decided that it was perhaps overdue that we take some extended time apart. Don't worry, we're fine, but definitely we needed a break from each other. We had an opportunity to do that here so she's off to cambodia with an American named Jesse while I'm doing Western and Southern Thailand.

Bangkok turned out to be different from what I expected in both good and bad ways. The smell never went away but once I started exploring there were lots to see and do. Of course the city is famous for its temples and I saw quite a few of them including Wat Po (contains the largest Reclining Buddha in the world). The morning that Kelly left I met a few lovely English girls: Naomi, Louise and Claire and we explored Bangkok together. That night we met up with an Australia
n called David that I had gotten to know (ex-rower it turns out) and went for a few drinks on Khoa San road (just like 6th street). It seems we met just about every person sitting within range by the end of the night! Although there were a few English in the bar we were sitting between young Thai and Japanese groups. We made the usual chit chat, "how do you say this etc..", but one of the Thai asked who we thought he looked like and it was obviously Bruce Lee. In response they volunteered that they thought I looked like Mr. Bean! As I tried to deny this I was overwhelmed by the laughing in agreement of everyone within earshot! The joke was ongoing all night :)

Today David and I are off West to Kanchnaburi on our way to the river Kwai. It should be a great time and we will get to see the Death Railway built by the Western POW's from WWII. It's supposed to be a very chilling experience. After that we're off to the floating markets and perhaps cross into Burma (totally forbidden..) for a day. Finally off South to some of the islands to scuba dive in the reef's for a couple of days before meeting back up with Kel on the 28th in Bangkok.

Posted by Admin at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2002

3/21/02 In Transit to Bangkok,

3/21/02 In Transit to Bangkok, Thailand (Kelly)

This one is going to be short and sweet...I'm sure some of you are tired of reading my really long entries that I just posted...sorry...things just needed to be said!!

Jesse and I made it back alive into Bangkok from leaving cambodia at 6:30 this morning. We arrived in Bangkok around 3:00 pm so the bus ride wasn't to bad...still hot though! We are trying to figure out where we are going tommorrow...hopefully a beach somewhere in Thailand. We both need a rest...this past week as been both physically and emotionally draining, as I'm sure you read! The plan as far as Phillip and I are concerned is to still meet back in Bangkok on the 28th...if things change I'll be sure and let everyone know...as for now...ta ta!!

Posted by Admin at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2002

22/3/02 Camping Near Burmese Border

22/3/02 Camping Near Burmese Border Phillip

I'm cold! So it was a bit of a crazy trip in. The Monk (Phra Kityano) showed up at the hut in a 4x4 jeep! Nothing about this trip is how I expected it to be. Anyway, basically there are 12 of us including a dentist, mechanic, etc. It's a crazy group of Thai's! We drive for hours on nothing more than dirt paths in the jeeps. On the way two windows were broken and the jeeps really are taking a bit of a beating. I'm riding with the dentist, the Monk and a lovely Thai lady who's offered to come and live in America and cook for me! The entire group is honestly lovely. Ever since I've left Bangkok I've really begun to appreciate how great Thai people are. In Bangkok you generally only meet people who are trying to get something from you, but here they try and give what little they have. Oh yeah, as we drove in the extra petrol on top of the jeep opened and poured all over myself and the Thai lady (I can't spell her name). That was quite an experience topped by the mechanic smoking as he cleaned the petrol up!

We're camping in a remote nature reserve, the only others we see are park rangers so it's cool to be out here. We have a guide with us who's a specialist on the area and as we drive he'll point out the interesting things, Monkeys, plants etc... He doesn't speak English though so it's a bit of a challenge to understand what he's pointing at! The scenery is fabulous, driving along cliff faces and through rivers. We even stopped to bathe in a river today! The scenery is quite different from last week when Dave and I were traveling on the Death Railway over the Bridge over the river Kwai. Here it's more of a rain forest and quite dense at parts. We're still looking to see elephants and tigers but none yet.

One thing that I have learned is that Thai people snore! Also they will pick their nose almost constantly :) I didn't get too much sleep last night due to the snoring but also sleeping on the ground is difficult. Although I have to admit that the hard ground is far more comfortable than sleeping on the hard wood at the Monks place! I actually have bruises on my hip! I didn't pack well for this trip because I had no idea we'd be in a forest! In fact I have my snorkel and goggles for scuba Diving! Ho much more wrong can I be?

The Monk is really cool, totally not what I expected a Monk o be. He knows his technology, for example yesterday he asked me if my CD player also played MP3's! Dave and I both laughed and I offered to fix the Monks computer for him, which is the least I can do!

It's very cool to get this experience of Thai life. They live such a humble life, very peaceful and serene. They welcome you into their home but you have to be very careful with the etiquette. This is especially true with regards to the Monk, we've committed quite a few taboos but we're learning. Even taking pictures is difficult as we learned when we stood behind him, which is considered disrespectful. The group is being very patient and the Monk just tells us why it's not good and we don't do it again. I know I will remember Thailand from this experience, so few ferangs (foreigners) get to see this part of Thai life and I really do feel honored.

Posted by Admin at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

22/3/02 More camping, Thailand Phillip

22/3/02 More camping, Thailand Phillip

It's nighttime now, just had another fabulous Thai meal. We have an ongoing joke with the Monk where we call him TPK (techno Phra Katyano) but today it got upgraded to Yoda, followed by ET. It's all in good fun and since he refers to me as Mr. Bean, I think it's okay! Tonight I spent an hour or so talking to TPK about Buddhism and he explained the basics to me. I really think all cultures basically believe the same thing. Granted here they think you have multiple lives (the Monk thinks I was Thai in a past life..) but in the end the concept is the same: be good and you'll be rewarded. I don't think I'll be becoming Buddhist soon (Felicity you can relax) but I do fid their kindness inspiring. I was practicing meditating earlier when we waited to be picked up (broken jeep) and there were wasps crawling all over me. I mean all over me! But I was being told to ignore them and be "like a rock". You can't kill anything, of course, so flicking them off gets annoying. If you can imagine me sitting in a little elevated shrine with wasps crawling up my arm and up my shorts (yikes!) and trying to focus you can imagine how terrible it was! I managed to not flick them off but I didn't exactly relax enough to meditate!

Hopefully we'll be able to head south tomorrow. I've had a great time and I'll miss my new friends but we've been away from civilization for almost a week and really I miss toilets! :)

Tonight we're going on a night safari with the guide. We'll walk into the forest and try and see tigers. Apparently it's very rare to see them when the moon is almost full or full so I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm not quite sure what I'd do if I saw one anyway!

Posted by Admin at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

24/3/02 Bangkok, Thailand Phillip

24/3/02 Bangkok, Thailand Phillip

You would not believe my day yesterday. Basically we spent the entire day, from 9am to 1am, in the jeeps. Everything that could've broken did. The dentist actually has 5 jeeps and the one that keeps breaking he just bought. His mechanic actually built it from 5 other jeeps that were written off and it seems like that was a bad idea! The major problem was that the radiator burst and we couldn't drive it. So we're towing it behind another jeep and we're all crammed in the other two. Trust me when I say it's not comfortable, and very frustrating because we're towing the other jeep up massive hills and the car jerked the whole way!

Anyway, it became quickly evident that we'd be spending another night in Thuam Tham with the Monk. It's been fine though but I've now added squat toilets to my list of hated things!

One shocking thing for you Scots is that I actually saw a Rangers shirt in this tiny village. Quite the shocker, no running water or electricity but a Rangers shirt! I didn't like that town :)

Last night we briefly met a friend a TPK's who had flown back to Thailand after being in Brussels for awhile. She ended up getting us a ride with her (private car and driver) all the way to Bangkok. She's amazingly cool and reminds me a lot of my sister because of her commitment to her beliefs. She speaks English very well and invited me to go back to the Monks to practice meditating more and to celebrate the Water Festival with them. Quite the honor! So I'm thinking of doing that when Kelly is in the States.

Now that we're back in Bangkok I'm glad we chose to stop back here before heading out. I was rushing back for the 28th to meet Kel and basing my plans on that but now kel's not coming so it's nice just to have some peace and quiet and not have any commitments. Plus, of course, it's nice to have a mattress and a toilet......

Oh yeah, TPK loaned me a cell phone for my time in Thailand (didn't I say he was nice?) so I'm now back in contact with the rest of the world. It was definitely an insanely cool time; we've done and seen so much in such a short time. Cheesy as it sounds I think I've truly had my first experience as a traveler, way off the beaten track and getting to experience what the country is like and live with and like the locals.

Posted by Admin at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

26/3/02 Bangkok, Thailand Phillip

26/3/02 Bangkok, Thailand Phillip

Okay, I'll admit it, I've got a hangover today. Dave and I met some lovely girls (Ernie is from Canada, Wilma from Holland and Leigh-Ann from Seattle) and had dinner with them last night. Of course, we ended up going to the infamous Khoa San road and having a few drinks. Not sure why it hit me so hard but I phoned my mum at 1am or so and even she could tell I was drunk. I'm paying for it this morning!

We just booked a train ticket to go south for some Diving. We're heading to Suratani tonight and then going north through the islands to Ko Tao (cheapest place to dive in Thailand). I'm going to skip the Full Moon Party that most backpackers come here for and so unfortunately I won't cross paths with Kel. She's down there somewhere. So basically it looks like I'll do 3 or 4 days of Diving and then probably meet up with Wilma and head down to Kuala Lumpour in Malaysia. I need to be very careful down there,of course, mainly due to the fact that it's been linked as the regroup point for Al-Queda. Don't worry not staying for long :)

Posted by Admin at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2002

31/3/02 Koh Phan Ngan. Thailand

31/3/02 Koh Phan Ngan. Thailand (Phillip)

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So here I am in paradise roughing it for a few days :) Ko Phan Ngan is great. Our original plan was to catch a ferry here and connect to another ferry to Koh Tao, but plans changed. After missing the ferry due to a late train we ended up staying here. We found this wonderful place on the beach coincidently called "The Beach", catchy huh? Anyway, after talking to some dive centers we found out that this was actually a great place to dive. You can dive Koh Tao from here but our shop advised us to avoid Diving there because it tends to be overcrowded and you "only see bubbles". I reckon that's a bit of a line and I'm sure Kelly will let us know the truth but we did 4 dives through the shop here and they were fabulous. Just a few of us on the boat and we got to see sharks! Pretty cool.

Anyway, I'm thinking that tomorrow or the next day I'll hop on a bus down to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My friend Jamie from Austin is still there so I'm hoping to see her. After that I want to go to Brunei since it sounds like every other tourist avoids that. Brunei has the highest income per capita on the planet (all oil) and it sounds great. Well except for the fact that there is only one youth hostel and all other accommodation is over US$80. So we'll see, I'll be calling ahead :) I'm still planning on meeting back up in West Thailand with the Monk. They're also going to teach me Thai cooking! Then I won't be entirely useless. The food here is truly amazing, so simple yet great. I'll pop some in a box and mail it to you :)

Hang in there in the real world......

Posted by Admin at 04:12 AM | Comments (0)