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Tag Archives: Thailand

We Can Do It: Part 1

As some of my previous posts have illustrated, Rosie the Riveter was my faithful travel companion whilst exploring the lands of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand over the past couple of months. Through thick and thin, she never game me up, never let me down, never ran around and deserted me. I think this may be luv.

Some quick background, I have been friends with this particular Rosie action figure for the past nine years. We became acquainted in my friend’s minivan after a tough day of high school. Since then, Rosie moved into the luxurious interior of my 1992 Subara Legacy Wonder Wagon, where she and the dashboard became quite inseparable. No really, I glued her feet to the dashboard. She made my granny driving seem somehow more… liberated.

Then she migrated to sitting in the center console of my 2008 Subara Impreza Wonder Wagon II, and would have been resigned to an endless stream of daily commutes and occasional cross-country road trips, if I hadn’t enabled her to break free from her mundane life.

So now, Rosie and I are dedicated travel companions. While she has traveled across the US and even ventured into Canada, this was her first cross-continental journey. So, without further ado, here are the best of her travel photos. As I spend the next few months in Tianjin, then continue on with some more travel adventures, there will certainly be more photographic evidence of Rosie’s experiences abroad!

TAIWAN

HONG KONG

THAILAND

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Phuket: Phi Phi all over da place

Going to Phi Phi Island (pronounced Pee Pee, bahaha!) is one of the Things To Do while in Phuket. So as much as Helen and I dislike going with tour groups, and being tied to their schedules, and not being able to wander away whenever we feel like it, we decided to pay 1700 baht each and go Phi Phi it up.

Despite all of the aforementioned problems, I’m glad we went. Because of this.

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And let’s not forget this.

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Monkey Island. I'm not sure why it's called that.

We booked with one of the billion or so travel agencies near Kata Beach, then got picked up from our hostel around 10am. The van brought us to the pier, and we piled into a small speedboat. Helen and I kept thinking we would transfer to a bigger boat at some point, but no. That didn’t happen.

The hour-long speed boat ride to Phi Phi Island was a bit rough, and one of the Asian tourists on board got sea sick. Ewww. I don’t think she spewed on anyone but herself, though.

Our first stop was Maya Bay. There were approximately ten thousand other tourists there, but they couldn’t completely mask how beautiful it was. These girls made it particularly entertaining. They were taking sexy-time photos on the beach for about twenty minutes. I sarcastically praised them on their creative posing, but they ignored me.

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Haaaaaawt.

After that we snorkelled in the bay for a while. It was the first time for me, and after I figured out how not to keep swallowing gallons of salt water, it was a blast! I even had enough confidence in my swimming abilities to go without a life jacket. That’s a pretty big deal for me.

Next we saw Monkey Beach and Viking Cave. One girl in another group got bit by a monkey and kept asking her guide if she should be worried about it. Um yes, you should probably get that checked out. Viking Cave is a spot where they get the mystical ingredients for bird nest soup, an Asian delicacy.

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We got lunch in the touristy part of the island, then they had to move the boat to the other side of the bay. The water was so shallow with the low tide, that we could have gotten stuck there for a few hours if they hadn’t moved. We lost a couple from Australia for a few minutes on the walk through town to the boat, because they were sensationally drunk.
Later the guy lost one of his rings while out swimming and attempted to find it using his snorkel mask. When it was time for us to go, our tour guide went out there and found it in about five seconds. The Australian couldn’t sing his drunkenĀ  praises enough.

Wth our tour behind schedule because of the low tide, we just drove past Mosquito Island and spent about half an hour on Bamboo Island. I tried snorkelling in the shallow water, until I imagined that every rock below me was actually a rock fish that wanted to kill me. No joke.

Still, despite my unfounded fears and the rainy weather, it was a beautiful place. I’d never seem anything quite like it.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Travel

 

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Phuket: Eating and Lazing

For the past two days, I have been extraordinarily lazy. Beach, reading, naps, beer. Life is hard.

This is why I came to Phuket: to do nothing most of the time. My friend Helen isn’t as good at sitting around for hours as I am. She went on the most exciting scuba dives of her life yesterday, for dirt cheap. Sharks, seahorses, eels, blah blah blah. You know what wildlife I saw yesterday? Mosquitoes. They have sucked me dry.

On a brighter note, I’ve made a fantastic new friend at my hostel. His name is Dang.

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We’re pretty much BFFs now. I will prob take him home in my bag. He has a hardcore limp, I’m guessing from chasing SUV tires. That’s a dangerous hobby.

Last night Helen and I had possibly the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten in my life. They were also playing the Transformers movies on a projector, so we got dinner and a movie for a very reasonable price.

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Definitely not enough rice.

One more day in Phuket, then back to China…I could travel for another month or five and be perfectly happy, but young Chinese minds need to be enlightened.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Travel

 

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Phuket: Zoom Zoom

Today, we motorbiked. Hard.

Helen and I ignored all the advice of everyone trying to convince us that riding a motorbike for the first time in Thailand was a bad idea. We forked over 250 baht each for a couple of sweet Honda rides.

We also got helmets and a sick motorcycle attitude.

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My bike can reach 60kph in 10 seconds flat. Speed demon.

We hit the road, armed with a map and good intentions. Luckily our bikes were automatics, so our chances of dying decreased dramatically

We saw signs for a big Buddha, so obviously we had to go.

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It’s a new project, so they’re still raising money and constructing parts of it.

We also hit up the Chalong Temple and battled through the swarms of Russian tourists.

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Is he wearing a helmet or getting a perm?

Then we meandered through Pukhet Town, got some noodles for lunch, then somehow managed to find Siray Island. We were hoping to see some wild monkeys, but what we found instead was a beach covered in glass bottles and fishing wire. Still, there were a ton of crabs, beautious shells, and a jellyfish jiggling on shore.

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On our way back, we got hopelessly lost. Like it should have taken us 45 minutes, but we rode for over two hours. Yikes. But we learned some good motorbike survival skills, saw two trucks collide right next to us, and got a very decent tour of Patong.

Conclusion: I want a motorbike. Especially if I get to wear a cool helmet like this.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Travel

 

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Chiang Mai & Phuket: Temple and Sun

Helen and I are travel fiends.

On our last day in Chiang Mai I did laundry AGAIN (I didn’t want my shorts smelling like elephant.) I said goodbye to the puppy there, who is possibly the cutest puppy in the history of the universe.

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Love me!

We also checked out one more temple for hits and shiggles.

It was the best one in Chiang Mai yet! It’s on the north side of downtown and was sensationally sparkly.

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There was this awesome old Mercedes just chillin’

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And a prayer tree! I left a leaf on there for my family.

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Possibly the best part was finding some artists in the back of the temple, doing their art thing and being amazing. One guy was a wood carver and was selling these elephants. Even I, who doesn’t really buy souvenirs, couldn’t pass these up.

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By the time we were done exploring the temple, it was about time to go to the airport. A tuk tuk pulled into the hostel just as we walked out with our bags–perfect timing!

Our flight to Bangkok, with a connection to Phuket, was inexplicably delayed. We’ve come to expect this from Thai Smile. Luckily we and our luggage still made the next flight, and we found ourselves in Phuket!

The next morning, I picked up some swim shorts, towel, and flip flops, since I lost one of my flip flops on the trek. Then it was all about the beach, seeing fat men naked or in speedos, and getting a sunburn. Oh, beach life.

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You don't have to tell me how schmexy my white belly is.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Travel

 

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Chiang Mai: Trek, the Final Frontier

Too much to catch up on, dear readers! I’ve spent the last three days in Chiang Mai, and my time here has been full of adventure.

Initially when we arrived, Helen and I had a hard time deciding what sort of trek to go on. She was concerned about the way the elephants were treated, and some of the hill tribe visits seem like a big theatrical production. In the end, I decided to go on a two-day trek, and she did a one-day with a separate elephant training course. We were both happy.

So away I went! I got picked up from my hostel in a truck with benches and a cover in the back, and four other travelers and I embarked to the forests south of Chiang Mai.

The first day was just walking. We saw this pretty waterfall…

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…and we swam in this waterfall/pool thing while some locals did their laundry and two girls swam around in pink dresses…

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…and then we walked to our jungle paradise bungalows.

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We had dinner prepared by our guide, had a couple brews, then played a clapping game. If you messed it up, you got punished with soot on your face. I only messed up a few times, but our guide Leon particularly liked beautifying my face.

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After several minutes of vigorous scrubbing, I looked less like a coal mine worker.

The next morning, we checked THE bat cave. We didn’t find Batman or Robin, but we did see this disgustingly huge spider.

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Hard to see from this photo, but it was bigger than my hand.

Next up was another waterfall, with nice rocks from which we could throw ourselves off of.

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And because we hadn’t done enough yet, we took a pleasant float down a river on a bamboo raft. I even steered it around (very poorly) for a while.

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And then, saving the best for last, ELEPHANTS!!!

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I got to ride a momma elephant around bareback for about half an hour. It was hard work, and I felt like I was going to fall off more than once. But it’s an incredible feeling, being on top of such a huge, magnificent animal.

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So that was my Chiang Mai trek! Super touristy, sure, but still a fantastic experience. I mean come on, I RODE AN ELEPHANT AND JUMPED OFF ROCKS INTO A GORGEOUS WATERFALL. That is all.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Travel

 

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Bangkok: Ayutthaya and Idiocrity

First, a tale of tragedy and woe. And infinite embarrassment.

So our hostel in Bangkok provided lockers to hide away valuables, but they didn’t provide locks. Since I’m such a savvy traveller, I bought my own padlock for just such a situation.

A few nights ago, when Helen, Lisa, and I made our eye-opening trip to Soi Cowboy, I decided I didn’t want the hassle of my purse and put it away in the locker. I also locked up my camera, credit cards, and Helen’s debit card.

Away we went, on our night of adventure. The next morning, as we were about to head out to the Grand Palace, I realized I had made a grievous error: the key to the padlock was in my purse… which was in the locker.

Ahh shit.

My padlock and the locker itself were no joke, so I asked the hostel receptionist about a locksmith in the area. Luckily, there was one about a five minute walk down the street.

I went to go find him, but no luck. When we came back from the Grand Palace at 8pm-ish, I searched for him again, to no avail. We only had one more day in Bangkok… if we couldn’t find a guy to pick or cut the lock, things were about to get serious.

Thank our lucky charms, the following morning he was there. He came by to the hostel, tried picking it, went back to his shop and got more tools, and returned to the hostel. After a few minutes of effort, he did it! The lock fell open and I took a look inside the locker.

My purse wasn’t there. Meaning the key to the lock wasn’t there either.

That’s when it dawned on me: I knew exactly where the key was.

I looked between my bed and the wall, and there smiling up at me was my damn purse. It has been there all along.

I had to leave the room for a couple of minutes, lay out a string of obscenities, then come back and yell at myself some more. At least the locksmith was cheap (300 baht, or about $10.) Still, we wasted a lot of time looking for this guy, and shed many a silent tear.

Moral of the story: I can be an idiot. Moving on.

Our last day in the Bangkok area was spent at the old capital in Ayutthaya, about an hour and a half away. We caught a van there, which dropped us off in the middle of town. And we had no idea where to go next

Some “helpful” tuk tuk drivers offered to take us to all of the ruins for “only” 200 baht per hour. Knowing better, we had one drive us to the tourism center, since we clearly needed some help having any idea what we were doing there. Then, armed with maps and water, we headed out into the heat.

Hey look, elephants! We didn’t feel like paying 200 baht for every ten minutes riding them, so we just took some pictures and touched one of the smaller elephants instead.

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The area is full of temple ruins, including this Buddha head being slowly taken up by roots.

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The most spectacular (and crowded) area was the palace ruins. These featured spires, altars, headless Buddha statues, and Rosie the Riveter.

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After seeing most of the sights, we got a bus back to Bangkok. Trouble was, it dropped us off at a bus station near but not at the metro station.

That left us with trying to figure out the Bangkok public bus system (scary), tuk tuk… or a motorcycle?!? Clearly we went with the most exciting option.

Helen and I haggled half-heartedly, then piled onto the back of the motorcycle. It was exhilarating stuff. Oh, the roads are clogged with traffic? We’ll just go ahead and weave through that. It made me want to try riding a motorcycle even more.
Lastly, if you see green pancakes with strange hair-looking stuff at a food stall, buy it! It’s like cotton candy wrapped in pancakes. Yum.

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Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Travel

 

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