Thailand

A mishap with Colins pants

Colin at the Grand Palace in his new pants.

Today’s funny was brought to you by a crazy taxi ride and a pair of  ‘genuine fake Levis’.
In an effort to HURRY to meet the others at the Oriental hotel for ‘High Tea’ Colin and I ran down to the market to buy him some long pants, since his were left with our other luggage at Tha Phon and he had to wear them in the hotel. We found some ‘genuine fake’ Levis and ran back to our motel room where he put them on, only to find they had a button up fly and the button holes were WAY too small. The rest of our group had already gone so we both tried desperately to do the buttons up in a hurry. In the end, I had to ‘saw’ them with a small nail file on our nail clippers (while he was wearing them). We both got the giggles and luckily I didn’t slip with the nail file!!
After jumping into a taxi, the driver threw us out 10 minutes later. The 2nd taxi driver tried to con us into more money all the way and then Mel rang and said they weren’t having High tea after all… so we diverted the taxi driver to the Grand Palace and spent 3 hours there instead.
So much for the new long pants!!

Beach massages

Our arrival at Ko Sumet meant leaving the car at the ferry stop and catching a ‘boat’ across the the island. This island is a place where Thai people holiday and is not so commercialised. The boat was on a SERIOUS lean to the left and packed with luggage, 50 or so people and fish (which were stacked in bags under our feet). The 3 chaps sitting next to me were smoking, whilst sitting next to the fuel line (a hose which swirled around the feet of the passengers). Disembarking was quite awkward, but achievable! We found the ‘taxi’ which was a ute with seats in it and piled all our luggage in. The trip to the ‘resort’ was very rough and my sick tummy and head didn’t like it too much. The place we were staying wasn’t quite what I expected but I was feeling so yuk I

The pedicure on the beach.

went to bed and stayed there through tea and the remainder of the night.  I would say ‘slept’ but I can’t say sleeping on a brick (pillow) in a stuffy room where you had to stand in the loo to take a shower was too comfortable. The sound of the gecko honking in the bathroom all night almost drowned out the motorbikes which drove up the little road behind our room all night. In the morning most of us had our bags packed as a sign of rebellion. Eiam had a few ‘words’ with the owners and wechanged resorts. The new one was much nicer and also quieter. My phantom cousine, Mathew, arrived the night before and I hadn’t seen him so it was great to catch up with him too.

I was feeling a little better and spent all day on the beach on a hired chair, reading and having my feet massaged. Did I mention I had a pedicure and manicure too? It was so tiresome! The water was warm, sun was sunny and my tummy was starting to feel better. Lorraine was also feeling better and was already eating yummy Thai food.
Our last night with Eiam and Peter (uncle) was spent having dinner at a restaurant on the beach (literally). After tea… we went SHOPPING!
I cannot express how fantastic it has been to have them escort us around Thailand. To see the country from a local perspective is an experience I will never forget. Peter has been a tower of tolerance and Eiam our wonderful interpreter and spokesperson. We have given them bad directions, asked them endless questions and held up the itinerary with market stops, view points and the eternal hunting for a post office.
THANKS to both of you. We will miss you very much.
We have another day in Ko Sumet and then are off to Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and then Bangkok again.
Now we are all alone (6 of us)… with our Visa ending 2 days before we leave.

A hairy shopping trip

Shopping in Petchabun includes a trip to the hairdresser for Eiam (usually) to get her hair waashed. Eiam and I did this before going to the market. Unlike home, you get to lay down to have your hair washed with cold water. I had a head massage, shampoo, blow-dry and straightening with tongs, accompanied by a small child singing in Thai and a dog licking my foot. All this for $4 Aus.

There are more blog posts to read… just click ‘older entries’ at the bottom of the page.

 

We’re 37km from the next place

… ‘and we’ve just passed somewhere’. These lines were quoted today by Bruce (uncle) and Colin who were navigating the LOOONNNG journey from Tha Phon to NongKhai. The trip to the Laos border took 7-8 hours squished in the 4WD but not lacking entertaiment.

Our challenges included:

The usual squat toilets

Dodging 100’s of chooks on the road at every village

Dodging dogs on the road everywhere… including in the middle of no-where

Dodging other drivers, Tuk Tuks, bikes and children

Our trip entertainment consisted of sad jokes and stories, interpersed with the odd elephant hunt. Some of us insisted they saw elephants in a river. Peter (uncle) took the trouble of turning back and crawling slowly along the river bank while we argued about whether they were rocks or elephants. Since they weren’t moving we decided they were either dead or, in fact, rocks.

On our arrival to NangKhai we discovered an enormous ‘Hilton’ like motel. In awe of it’s size, we thought we had better send Eiam in to find out how much it would cost to stay. $40Aus, including breakfast!

For tea we spent a hysterical evening in a restaurant which had run out of almost everything we ordered and charged us 10 Baht  per hour more for using the room with aircon. Luckily, they redeemed themselves by cooking a gorgeous meal. During our walk along the river afterwards, in the dark, guess what we discovered? An elephant (which wasn’t a rock)!

The photos are only my iphone ones for now as I have no way of uploading my camera ones and I suspect the internet wouldn’t cope with it anyhow! For $1 per hour I shouldn’t complain.

Today we leave for Laos for the day (I think). I can’t remember where we are going so I’m just going with the flow. My itinerary is back at Tha Phon (Peter’s house).

Bangkok at last

After being held up at the airport for 5 hours we arrived at Bangkok at 5am Melbourne time. Tired and weary
I am stealing 20 mins wifi and typing on my iPhone so this is a brief update.
Bangkok is a bustling sensory overload! My choice yesterday was to shop with the women or go to the multiple story computer store withe the men. It just goes to show what a nerd I’ve become.
I can’t seem to put photos on here with this iPhone app but be sure that they will come!
Today we are off to Peter (uncle) and eiam’s house in Tha Phom 5 hours drive away. With 8 of us in a 4wd it should be a cozy trip.
Be sure we have enjoyed foot massages tok tok rides and boat cruises food, food and more food.
Watch this space.

Getting dizzy for Thailand

This has fast become my travel blog. Prior to 3 years ago it would have been blank!

Our next adventure will be in 2 weeks time (Nov 12th, 2010) when we will group with 6 of my Aunts and Uncles to tour Thailand. One of the lovely things about traveling with the ‘panel of aunts and uncles’, is that they are all very experienced at jetting around the world and have been to Thailand on numerous occasions. One Uncle (Peter) is married to a Thai woman (Eiam) and has a house in Tha phon, where we will stay for a week.
Tha phon is a small village in the middle of Thailand, here:

It will be great to travel with a more local perspective, rather than a tourist one.

Our itinerary has been set several times and now looks like a patchwork quilt with green dots and wish lists competing for space (see example below).

Getting dizzy in Thailand

NOTE: This map was created randomly and exaggerates… a little.

We are looking forward to the ‘figure it out as we go along’ approach, which is a contrast to our previous trips which we organised within an inch of their life!

Surely it will be more of an adventure this way. Watch this space!

Since there are 8 of us traveling in one vehicle, I’ve set Col and I a challenge… to travel with one ‘carry on luggage’ size bag each. I got some tips from my Twitter friend Colin Warren @colwar and from http://www.onebag.com/. So far so good. I have amazing tricks up my sleeve for expanding luggage for the inevitable shopping (of course)!

There is also a wonderful video on packing one bag by ‘Master packer’.

It’s definitely worth a watch…

Any tips or comments from readers would be welcome…

Comment here